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Title: Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 2
Author: Warner, Charles Dudley, 1829-1900 [Editor], Warner, George H., 1833-1919 [Editor], Mabie, Hamilton Wright, 1845-1916 [Editor], Runkle, Lucia Isabella Gilbert, 1844- [Editor]
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Connoisseur Edition




    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,
          PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, Princeton, N.J.

    Professor of Literature, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, New York City.

    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,
          UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, Berkeley, Cal.

    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,
          UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, Chicago, Ill.

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

    Professor of Literature in the



HENRI FRÉDÉRIC AMIEL--_Continued_:                      1821-1881
   Self-interest                        Woman's ideal the Community's Fate
   Wagner's Music                       French Self-Consciousness
   Secret of Remaining Young            Frivolous Art
   Results of Equality                  Critical Ideals
   View-Points of History               The Best Art
   Introspection and Schopenhauer       The True Critic
   Music and the Imagination            Spring--Universal Religion
   Love and the Sexes                   Introspective Meditations
   Fundamentals of Religion             Destiny (just before death)
   Dangers from Decay of Earnestness

ANACREON                                            B.C. 562?-477
   Drinking                             The Grasshopper
   Age                                  The Swallow
   The Epicure                          The Poet's Choice
   Gold                                 Drinking
   A Lover's Sigh

HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN (by Benjamin W. Wells)          1805-1875
   The Steadfast Tin Soldier            What the Moon Saw
   The Teapot                           The Lovers
   The Ugly Duckling                    The Snow Queen
   The Nightingale
   The Market Place and the Andersen Jubilee at Odense
     ('The Story of My Life')
   'Miserere' in the Sixtine Chapel ('The Improvisatore')

ANEURIN                                             Sixth Century
   The Slaying of Owain
   The Fate of Hoel, Son of the Great Cian
   The Giant Gwrveling Falls at Last

   From 'Beowulf'                       The Fortunes of Men
   Deor's Lament                        From 'Judith'
   From 'The Wanderer'                  The Fight at Maldon
   The Seafarer                         Cædmon's Inspiration
   From the 'Chronicle'

GABRIELE D'ANNUNZIO                                         1864-
   The Drowned Boy ('The Triumph of Death')
   To an Impromptu of Chopin (same)

ANTAR (by Edward S. Holden)                         About 550-615
  The Valor of Antar

LUCIUS APULEIUS                                    Second Century
   The Tale of Aristomenes, the Commercial Traveler ('The
   The Awakening of Cupid (same)

THOMAS AQUINAS (by Edwin A. Pace)                       1226-1274
   On the Value of Our Concepts of the Deity ('Summa
   How Can the Absolute Be a Cause? ('Quæstiones Disputatæ')
   On the Production of Living Things (same)

THE ARABIAN NIGHTS (by Richard Gottheil)
   From 'The Story of the City of Brass' (Lane's Translation)
   From 'The History of King Omar Ben Ennuman, and His
   Sons Sherkan and Zoulmekan' (Payne's Translation)
   From 'Sindbad the Seaman and Sindbad the Landsman'
     (Burton's Translation)
   Conclusion of 'The Thousand Nights and a Night' (Burton's

ARABIC LITERATURE (by Richard Gottheil)
   Imr-al-Kais: Description of a Mountain Storm
   Zuhéir: Lament for the Destruction of his Former Home
   Tarafah ibn al-'Abd: Rebuke to a Mischief-Maker
   Labîd: Lament for the Afflictions of his Tribe
   Antar: A Fair Lady
   Duraid, son of as-Simmah: The Death of 'Abdallâh
   Ash-Shanfarà of Azd: A Picture of Womanhood
   'Umar ibn Rabí'a: Zeynab at the Ka'bah
   'Umar ibn Rabí'a: The Unveiled Maid
   Al-Nâbighah: Eulogy of the Men of Ghassân
   Nusaib: The Slave-Mother Sold
   Al-Find: Vengeance
   Ibrahim, Son of Kunaif: Patience
   Abu Sakhr: A Lost Love
   Abu l'Ata of Sind: An Address to the Beloved
   Ja'far ibn 'Ulbah: A Foray
   Katari ibn al-Fujâ'ah: Fatality
   Al-Fadi ibn al-Abbas: Implacability
   Hittân ibn al-Mu'allà: Parental Affection
   Sa'd, son of Malik: A Tribesman's Valor
   From Sale's Koran:--Chapter xxxv.: "The Creator";
     Chapter lv.: "The Merciful"; Chapter lxxxiv.: "The
     Rending in Sunder"
   Al-Hariri: His Prayer
   Al-Hariri: The Words of Hareth ibn Hammam
   The Caliph Omar Bin Abd Al-Aziz and the Poets (From
     'Supplemental Nights': Burton's Translation)

DOMINIQUE FRANÇOIS ARAGO (by Edward S. Holden)          1786-1853

JOHN ARBUTHNOT                                          1667-1735
   The True Characters of John Bull, Nic. Frog, and Hocus
     ('The History of John Bull')
   Reconciliation of John and his Sister Peg (same)
   Of the Rudiments of Martin's Learning ('Memoirs of
     Martinus Scriblerus')

   The Victory of Orpheus ('The Life and Death of Jason')

LUDOVICO ARIOSTO (by L. Oscar Kuhns)                    1474-1533
   The Friendship of Medoro and Cloridane ('Orlando Furioso')
   The Saving of Medoro (same)
   The Madness of Orlando (same)

ARISTOPHANES (by Paul Shorey)                       B.C. 448-390?
   Origin of the Peloponnesian War ('The Acharnians')
   The Poet's Apology (same)
   Appeal of the Chorus ('The Knights')
   Cloud Chorus ('The Clouds')
   A Rainy Day on the Farm ('The Peace')
   The Harvest (same)
   Grand Chorus of Birds ('The Birds')
   Call to the Nightingale (same)
   The Building of Cloud-Cuckoo-Town (same)
   Chorus of Women ('Thesmophoriazusæ')
   Chorus of Mystæ in Hades ('The Frogs')
   A Parody of Euripides' Lyric Verse ('The Frogs')
   The Prologues of Euripides (same)

ARISTOTLE (by Thomas Davidson)                       B.C. 384-322
   Nature of the Soul ('On the Soul')
   On the Difference between History and Poetry ('Poetics')
   On Philosophy (Cicero's 'Nature of the Gods')
   On Essences ('Metaphysics')
   On Community of Studies ('Politics')
   Hymn to Virtue

JÓN ARNASON                                             1819-1888
   From 'Icelandic Legends':
     The Merman
     The Fisherman of Götur
     The Magic Scythe
     The Man-Servant and the Water-Elves
     The Crossways

ERNST MORITZ ARNDT                                      1769-1860
   What is the German's Fatherland?
   The Song of the Field-Marshal
   Patriotic Song

EDWIN ARNOLD                                            1832-
   Youth of Buddha ('The Light of Asia')
   The Pure Sacrifice of Buddha (same)
   Faithfulness of Yudhisthira ('The Great Journey')
   He and She
   After Death ('Pearls of the Faith')
   Solomon and the Ant (same)
   The Afternoon (same)
   The Trumpet (same)
   Envoi to 'The Light of Asia'
   Grishma; or the Season of Heat (Translated from Kalidasa)

MATTHEW ARNOLD (by George Edward Wood-berry)            1822-1888
   Intelligence and Genius ('Essays in Criticism')
   Sweetness and Light ('Culture and Anarchy')
   Oxford ('Essays in Criticism')
   To A Friend
   Youth and Calm
   Isolation--To Marguerite
   Stanzas in Memory of the Author of 'Obermann' (1849)
   Memorial Verses (1850)
   The Sick King in Bokhara
   Dover Beach
   Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse
   A Summer Night
   The Better Part
   The Last Word

   From Geoffrey of Monmouth's 'Historia Britonum'
   The Holy Grail (Malory's 'Morte d'Arthur')

PETER CHRISTEN ASBJÖRNSEN                               1812-1885
   Gudbrand of the Mountain-Side
   The Widow's Son

ROGER ASCHAM                                            1515-1568
   On Gentleness in Education ('The Schoolmaster')
   On Study and Exercise ('Toxophilus')

ATHENÆUS                                       Third Century B.C.
   Why the Nile Overflows ('Deipnosophistæ')
   How to Preserve the Health (same)
   An Account of Some Great Eaters (same)
   The Love of Animals for Man (same)

PER DANIEL AMADEUS ATTERBOM                             1790-1855
   The Genius of the North
   The Lily of the Valley
   Svanhvit's Colloquy ('The Islands of the Blest')
   The Mermaid

         Warren)                                  Twelfth Century
   'Tis of Aucassin and Nicolette

JOHN JAMES AUDUBON                                      1780-1851
   A Dangerous Adventure ('The American Ornithological

BERTHOLD AUERBACH                                       1812-1882
   The First Mass ('Ivo the Gentleman')
   The Peasant-Nurse and the Prince ('On the Heights')



       *       *       *       *       *

The Gutenberg Bible (Colored Plate)    Frontispiece
Lyly's "Euphues" (Fac-simile)                   485
Hans Christian Andersen (Portrait)              500
"Haroun al Raschid" (Photogravure)              622
Dominique François Arago (Portrait)             704
Ludovico Ariosto (Portrait)                     742
Aristotle (Portrait)                            788
Matthew Arnold (Portrait)                       844
"Lancelot Bids Adieu to Elaine" (Photogravure)  890
John James Audubon (Portrait)                   956


Anacreon                      Aristophenes
Lucius Apuleius               Ernst Moritz Arndt
Thomas Aquinas                Roger Ascham
John Arbuthnot                Berthold Auerbach


Reduced facsimile of title-page of the "Euphues" of John Lyly.

The Colophon reads:

Imprinted at London by Thomas East, for Gabriel Cawood dwelling
in Panics Church yard. 1581.

This is a good example of the quaint title-pages of the books of the
early printers;
showing the old-fashioned border, the true "old-style" type, the
ancient form of the S, the V, and the U, and the now obsolete
spelling of several words.



Verie pleasaunt for all
Gentlemen to read, and
most necessarie to remember.

wherein are contained the
delightes that Wit followeth in his youth
by the pleasantnesse of love, & the happinesse
he reapeth in age, by
the perfectnesse of

By John Lyly Master
of Art.

Corrected and augmented.

Imprinted at London
for Gabriel Cawood dwelling
in Paules. Church-yard.

(Continued from Volume I)

to the storms of air and sea; and while the soul of Mozart seems to
dwell on the ethereal peaks of Olympus, that of Beethoven climbs
shuddering the storm-beaten sides of a Sinai. Blessed be they both! Each
represents a moment of the ideal life, each does us good. Our love is
due to both.

Self-interest is but the survival of the animal in us. Humanity only
begins for man with self-surrender.

       *       *       *       *       *

MAY 27TH, 1857.--Wagner's is a powerful mind endowed with strong
poetical sensitiveness. His work is even more poetical than musical. The
suppression of the lyrical element, and therefore of melody, is with him
a systematic _parti pris._ No more duos or trios; monologue and the aria
are alike done away with. There remains only declamation, the
recitative, and the choruses. In order to avoid the conventional in
singing, Wagner falls into another convention,--that of not singing at
all. He subordinates the voice to articulate speech, and for fear lest
the muse should take flight he clips her wings; so that his works are
rather symphonic dramas than operas. The voice is brought down to the
rank of an instrument, put on a level with the violins, the hautboys,
and the drums, and treated instrumentally. Man is deposed from his
superior position, and the centre of gravity of the work passes into the
baton of the conductor. It is music depersonalized,--neo-Hegelian
music,--music multiple instead of individual. If this is so, it is
indeed the music of the future,--the music of the socialist democracy
replacing the art which is aristocratic, heroic, or subjective.

       *       *       *       *       *

DECEMBER 4TH, 1863.--The whole secret of remaining young in spite of
years, and even of gray hairs, is to cherish enthusiasm in one's self,
by poetry, by contemplation, by charity,--that is, in fewer words, by
the maintenance of harmony in the soul.

       *       *       *       *       *

APRIL 12TH, 1858.--The era of equality means the triumph of mediocrity.
It is disappointing, but inevitable; for it is one of time's
revenges.... Art no doubt will lose, but justice will gain. Is not
universal leveling down the law of nature?... The world is striving with
all its force for the destruction of what it has itself brought forth!

       *       *       *       *       *

MARCH 1ST, 1869.--From the point of view of the ideal, humanity is
_triste_ and ugly. But if we compare it with its probable origins, we
see that the human race has not altogether wasted its time. Hence there
are three possible views of history: the view of the pessimist, who
starts from the ideal; the view of the optimist, who compares the past
with the present; and the view of the hero-worshiper, who sees that all
progress whatever has cost oceans of blood and tears.

       *       *       *       *       *

AUGUST 31ST, 1869.--I have finished Schopenhauer. My mind has been a
tumult of opposing systems,--Stoicism, Quietism, Buddhism, Christianity.
Shall I never be at peace with myself? If impersonality is a good, why
am I not consistent in the pursuit of it? and if it is a temptation, why
return to it, after having judged and conquered it?

Is happiness anything more than a conventional fiction? The deepest
reason for my state of doubt is that the supreme end and aim of life
seems to me a mere lure and deception. The individual is an eternal
dupe, who never obtains what he seeks, and who is forever deceived by
hope. My instinct is in harmony with the pessimism of Buddha and of
Schopenhauer. It is a doubt which never leaves me, even in my moments of
religious fervor. Nature is indeed for me a Maïa; and I look at her, as
it were, with the eyes of an artist. My intelligence remains skeptical.
What, then, do I believe in? I do not know. And what is it I hope for?
It would be difficult to say. Folly! I believe in goodness, and I hope
that good will prevail. Deep within this ironical and disappointed being
of mine there is a child hidden--a frank, sad, simple creature, who
believes in the ideal, in love, in holiness, and all heavenly
superstitions. A whole millennium of idyls sleeps in my heart; I am a
pseudo-skeptic, a pseudo-scoffer.

     "Borne dans sa nature, infini dans ses voeux,
     L'homme est un dieu tombé qui se souvient des cieux."

       *       *       *       *       *

MARCH 17TH, 1870.--This morning the music of a brass band which had
stopped under my windows moved me almost to tears. It exercised an
indefinable, nostalgic power over me; it set me dreaming of another
world, of infinite passion and supreme happiness. Such impressions are
the echoes of Paradise in the soul; memories of ideal spheres whose sad
sweetness ravishes and intoxicates the heart. O Plato! O Pythagoras!
ages ago you heard these harmonies, surprised these moments of inward
ecstasy,--knew these divine transports! If music thus carries us to
heaven, it is because music is harmony, harmony is perfection,
perfection is our dream, and our dream is heaven.

       *       *       *       *       *

APRIL 1ST, 1870.--I am inclined to believe that for a woman love is the
supreme authority,--that which judges the rest and decides what is good
or evil. For a man, love is subordinate to right. It is a great passion,
but it is not the source of order, the synonym of reason, the criterion
of excellence. It would seem, then, that a woman places her ideal in the
perfection of love, and a man in the perfection of justice.

       *       *       *       *       *

JUNE 5TH, 1870.--The efficacy of religion lies precisely in that which
is not rational, philosophic, nor eternal; its efficacy lies in the
unforeseen, the miraculous, the extraordinary. Thus religion attracts
more devotion in proportion as it demands more faith,--that is to say,
as it becomes more incredible to the profane mind. The philosopher
aspires to explain away all mysteries, to dissolve them into light. It
is mystery, on the other hand, which the religious instinct demands and
pursues: it is mystery which constitutes the essence of worship, the
power of proselytism. When the cross became the "foolishness" of the
cross, it took possession of the masses. And in our own day, those who
wish to get rid of the supernatural, to enlighten religion, to economize
faith, find themselves deserted, like poets who should declaim against
poetry, or women who should decry love. Faith consists in the acceptance
of the incomprehensible, and even in the pursuit of the impossible, and
is self-intoxicated with its own sacrifices, its own repeated

It is the forgetfulness of this psychological law which stultifies the
so-called liberal Christianity. It is the realization of it which
constitutes the strength of Catholicism.

Apparently, no positive religion can survive the supernatural element
which is the reason for its existence. Natural religion seems to be the
tomb of all historic cults. All concrete religions die eventually in the
pure air of philosophy. So long then as the life of nations is in need
of religion as a motive and sanction of morality, as food for faith,
hope, and charity, so long will the masses turn away from pure reason
and naked truth, so long will they adore mystery, so long--and rightly
so--will they rest in faith, the only region where the ideal presents
itself to them in an attractive form.

       *       *       *       *       *

OCTOBER 26TH, 1870.--If ignorance and passion are the foes of popular
morality, it must be confessed that moral indifference is the malady of
the cultivated classes. The modern separation of enlightenment and
virtue, of thought and conscience, of the intellectual aristocracy from
the honest and vulgar crowd, is the greatest danger that can threaten
liberty. When any society produces an increasing number of literary
exquisites, of satirists, skeptics, and _beaux esprits_, some chemical
disorganization of fabric may be inferred. Take, for example, the
century of Augustus and that of Louis XV. Our cynics and railers are
mere egotists, who stand aloof from the common duty, and in their
indolent remoteness are of no service to society against any ill which
may attack it. Their cultivation consists in having got rid of feeling.
And thus they fall farther and farther away from true humanity, and
approach nearer to the demoniacal nature. What was it that
Mephistopheles lacked? Not intelligence, certainly, but goodness.

       *       *       *       *       *

DECEMBER 11TH, 1875.--The ideal which the wife and mother makes for
herself, the manner in which she understands duty and life, contain the
fate of the community. Her faith becomes the star of the conjugal ship,
and her love the animating principle that fashions the future of all
belonging to her. Woman is the salvation or destruction of the family.
She carries its destinies in the folds of her mantle.

       *       *       *       *       *

JANUARY 22D, 1875.--The thirst for truth is not a French passion. In
everything appearance is preferred to reality, the outside to the
inside, the fashion to the material, that which shines to that which
profits, opinion to conscience. That is to say, the Frenchman's centre
of gravity is always outside him,--he is always thinking of others,
playing to the gallery. To him individuals are so many zeros: the unit
which turns them into a number must be added from outside; it may be
royalty, the writer of the day, the favorite newspaper, or any other
temporary master of fashion.--All this is probably the result of an
exaggerated sociability, which weakens the soul's forces of resistance,
destroys its capacity for investigation and personal conviction, and
kills in it the worship of the ideal.

       *       *       *       *       *

DECEMBER 9TH, 1877.--The modern haunters of Parnassus carve urns of
agate and of onyx; but inside the urns what is there?--Ashes. Their work
lacks feeling, seriousness, sincerity, and pathos--in a word, soul and
moral life. I cannot bring myself to sympathize with such a way of
understanding poetry. The talent shown is astonishing, but stuff and
matter are wanting. It is an effort of the imagination to stand
alone--substitute for everything else. We find metaphors, rhymes, music,
color, but not man, not humanity. Poetry of this factitious kind may
beguile one at twenty, but what can one make of it at fifty? It reminds
me of Pergamos, of Alexandria, of all the epochs of decadence when
beauty of form hid poverty of thought and exhaustion of feeling. I
strongly share the repugnance which this poetical school arouses in
simple people. It is as though it only cared to please the world-worn,
the over-subtle, the corrupted, while it ignores all normal healthy
life, virtuous habits, pure affections, steady labor, honesty, and duty.
It is an affectation, and because it is an affectation the school is
struck with sterility. The reader desires in the poem something better
than a juggler in rhyme, or a conjurer in verse; he looks 'to find in
him a painter of life, a being who thinks, loves, and has a conscience,
who feels passion and repentance.

The true critic strives for a clear vision of things as they are--for
justice and fairness; his effort is to get free from himself, so that he
may in no way disfigure that which he wishes to understand or reproduce.
His superiority to the common herd lies in this effort, even when its
success is only partial. He distrusts his own senses, he sifts his own
impressions, by returning upon them from different sides and at
different times, by comparing, moderating, shading, distinguishing, and
so endeavoring to approach more and more nearly to the formula which
represents the maximum of truth.

The art which is grand and yet simple is that which presupposes the
greatest elevation both in artist and in public.

       *       *       *       *       *

MAY 19TH, 1878.--Criticism is above all a gift, an intuition, a matter
of tact and _flair_; it cannot be taught or demonstrated,--it is an art.
Critical genius means an aptitude for discerning truth under appearances
or in disguises which conceal it; for discovering it in spite of the
errors of testimony, the frauds of tradition, the dust of time, the loss
or alteration of texts. It is the sagacity of the hunter whom nothing
deceives for long, and whom no ruse can throw off the trail. It is the
talent of the _Juge d'Instruction_ who knows how to interrogate
circumstances, and to extract an unknown secret from a thousand
falsehoods. The true critic can understand everything, but he will be
the dupe of nothing, and to no convention will he sacrifice his duty,
which is to find out and proclaim truth. Competent learning, general
cultivation, absolute probity, accuracy of general view, human sympathy,
and technical capacity,--how many things are necessary to the critic,
without reckoning grace, delicacy, _savoir vivre_, and the gift of happy

       *       *       *       *       *

MAY 22D, 1879 (Ascension Day).--Wonderful and delicious weather. Soft,
caressing sunlight,--the air a limpid blue,--twitterings of birds; even
the distant voices of the city have something young and springlike in
them. It is indeed a new birth. The ascension of the Savior of men is
symbolized by the expansion, this heavenward yearning of nature.... I
feel myself born again; all the windows of the soul are clear. Forms,
lines, tints, reflections, sounds, contrasts, and harmonies, the general
play and interchange of things,--it is all enchanting!

In my courtyard the ivy is green again, the chestnut-tree is full of
leaf, the Persian lilac beside the little fountain is flushed with red
and just about to flower; through the wide openings to the right and
left of the old College of Calvin I see the Salève above the trees of
St. Antoine, the Voirons above the hill of Cologny; while the three
flights of steps which, from landing to landing, lead between two high
walls from the Rue Verdaine to the terrace of the Tranchées, recall to
one's imagination some old city of the south, a glimpse of Perugia or
of Malaga.

All the bells are ringing. It is the hour of worship. A historical and
religious impression mingles with the picturesque, the musical, the
poetical impressions of the scene. All the peoples of Christendom--all
the churches scattered over the globe--are celebrating at this moment
the glory of the Crucified.

And what are those many nations doing who have other prophets, and
honor the Divinity in other ways--the Jews, the Mussulmans, the
Buddhists, the Vishnuists, the Guebers? They have other sacred days,
other rites, other solemnities, other beliefs. But all have some
religion, some ideal end for life--all aim at raising man above the
sorrows and smallnesses of the present, and of the individual existence.
All have faith in something greater than themselves, all pray, all bow,
all adore; all see beyond nature, Spirit, and beyond evil, Good. All
bear witness to the Invisible. Here we have the link which binds all
peoples together. All men are equally creatures of sorrow and desire, of
hope and fear. All long to recover some lost harmony with the great
order of things, and to feel themselves approved and blessed by the
Author of the universe. All know what suffering is, and yearn for
happiness. All know what sin is, and feel the need of pardon.

Christianity, reduced to its original simplicity, is the reconciliation
of the sinner with God, by means of the certainty that God loves in
spite of everything, and that he chastises because he loves.
Christianity furnished a new motive and a new strength for the
achievement of moral perfection. It made holiness attractive by giving
to it the air of filial gratitude.

       *       *       *       *       *

JULY 28TH, 1880.--This afternoon I have had a walk in the sunshine, and
have just come back rejoicing in a renewed communion with nature. The
waters of the Rhone and the Arve, the murmur of the river, the austerity
of its banks, the brilliancy of the foliage, the play of the leaves, the
splendor of the July sunlight, the rich fertility of the fields, the
lucidity of the distant mountains, the whiteness of the glaciers under
the azure serenity of the sky, the sparkle and foam of the mingling
rivers, the leafy masses of the La Bâtie woods,--all and everything
delighted me. It seemed to me as though the years of strength had come
back to me. I was overwhelmed with sensations. I was surprised and
grateful. The universal life carried me on its breast; the summer's
caress went to my heart. Once more my eyes beheld the vast horizons, the
soaring peaks, the blue lakes, the winding valleys, and all the free
outlets of old days. And yet there was no painful sense of longing. The
scene left upon me an indefinable impression, which was neither hope,
nor desire, nor regret, but rather a sense of emotion, of passionate
impulse, mingled with admiration and anxiety. I am conscious at once of
joy and of want; beyond what I possess I see the impossible and the
unattainable; I gauge my own wealth and poverty: in a word, I am and I
am not--my inner state is one of contradiction, because it is one of

       *       *       *       *       *

APRIL 1OTH, 1881 [he died May 11th].--What dupes we are of our own
desires!... Destiny has two ways of crushing us--by refusing our wishes
and by fulfilling them. But he who only wills what God wills escapes
both catastrophes. "All things work together for his good."


(B.C. 562?-477)

[Illustration: ANACREON]

Of the life of this lyric poet we have little exact knowledge. We know
that he was an Ionian Greek, and therefore by racial type a
luxury-loving, music-loving Greek, born in the city of Teos on the coast
of Asia Minor. The year was probably B.C. 562. With a few
fellow-citizens, it is supposed that he fled to Thrace and founded
Abdera when Cyrus the Great, or his general Harpagus, was conquering the
Greek cities of the coast. Abdera, however, was too new to afford
luxurious living, and the singing Ionian soon found his way to more
genial Samos, whither the fortunes of the world then seemed converging.
Polycrates was "tyrant," in the old Greek sense of irresponsible ruler;
but withal so large-minded and far-sighted a man that we may use a trite
comparison and say that under him his island was, to the rest of Greece,
as Florence in the time of Lorenzo the Magnificent was to the rest of
Italy, or Athens in the time of Pericles to the other Hellenic States.
Anacreon became his tutor, and may have been of his council; for
Herodotus says that when Oroetes went to see Polycrates he found him in
the men's apartment with Anacreon the Teian. Another historian says that
he tempered the stern will of the ruler. Still another relates that
Polycrates once presented him with five talents, but that the poet
returned the sum after two nights made sleepless from thinking what he
would do with his riches, saying "it was not worth the care it cost."

After the murder of Polycrates, Hipparchus, who ruled at Athens, sent a
trireme to fetch the poet. Like his father Pisistratus, Hipparchus
endeavored to further the cause of letters by calling poets to his
court. Simonides of Ceos was there; and Lasus of Hermione, the teacher
of Pindar; with many rhapsodists or minstrels, who edited the poems of
Homer and chanted his lays at the Panathenæa, or high festival of
Athena, which the people celebrated every year with devout and
magnificent show. Amid this brilliant company Anacreon lived and sang
until Hipparchus fell (514) by the famous conspiracy of Harmodius and
Aristogeiton. He then returned to his native Teos, and according to a
legend, died there at the age of eighty-five, choked by a grape-seed.

Anacreon was a lyrist of the first order. Plato's poet says of him in
the 'Symposium,' "When I hear the verses of Sappho or Anacreon, I set
down my cup for very shame of my own performance." He composed in Greek
somewhat, to use a very free comparison, as Herrick did in English,
expressing the unrefined passion and excesses which he saw, just as the
Devonshire parson preserved the spirit of the country festivals of Old
England in his vivid verse.

To Anacreon music and poetry were inseparable. The poet of his time
recited his lines with lyre in hand, striking upon it in the measure he
thought best suited to his song. Doubtless the poems of Anacreon were
delivered in this way. His themes were simple,--wine, love, and the
glorification of youth and poetry; but his imagination and poetic
invention so animated every theme that it is the perfect rendering which
we see, not the simplicity of the commonplace idea. His delicacy
preserves him from grossness, and his grace from wantonness. In this
respect his poems are a fair illustration of the Greek sense of
self-limitation, which guided the art instincts of that people and made
them the creators of permanent canons of taste.

Anacreon had no politics, no earnest interest in the affairs of life, no
morals in the large meaning of that word, no aims reaching further than
the merriment and grace of the moment. Loving luxury and leisure, he was
the follower of a pleasure-loving court. His cares are that the bowl is
empty, that age is joyless, that women tell him he is growing gray. He
is closely paralleled in this by one side of Béranger; but the
Frenchman's soul had a passionately earnest half which the Greek
entirely lacked. Nor is there ever any outbreak of the deep yearning,
the underlying melancholy, which pervades and now and then interrupts,
like a skeleton at the feast, the gayest verses of Omar Khayyam.

His metres, like his matter, are simple and easy. So imitators, perhaps
as brilliant as the master, have sprung up and produced a mass of songs;
and at this time it remains in doubt whether any complete poem of
Anacreon remains untouched. For this reason the collection is commonly
termed 'Anacreontics'. Some of the poems are referred to the school of
Gaza and the fourth century after Christ, and some to the secular
teachings and refinement of the monks of the Middle Ages. Since the
discovery and publication of the text by Henry Stephens, in 1554, poets
have indulged their lighter fancies in such songs, and a small
literature of delicate trifles now exists under the name of
'Anacreontics' in Italian, German, and English. Bergk's recension of the
poems appeared in 1878. The standard translations, or rather imitations
in English, are those of Cowley and Moore. The Irish poet was not unlike
in nature to the ancient Ionian. Moore's fine voice in the London
drawing-rooms echoes at times the note of Anacreon in the men's quarters
of Polycrates or the symposia of Hipparchus. The joy of feasting and
music, the color of wine, and the scent of roses, alike inspire the
songs of each.


     The thirsty earth soaks up the rain,
     And drinks, and gapes for drink again,
     The plants suck in the earth, and are
     With constant drinking fresh and fair;
     The sea itself (which one would think
     Should have but little need of drink)
     Drinks twice ten thousand rivers up,
     So filled that they o'erflow the cup.
     The busy Sun (and one would guess
     By 's drunken fiery face no less)
     Drinks up the sea, and, when he's done,
     The Moon and Stars drink up the Sun:
     They drink and dance by their own light;
     They drink and revel all the night.
     Nothing in nature's sober found,
     But an eternal health goes round.
     Fill up the bowl then, fill it high,
     Fill all the glasses there; for why
     Should every creature drink but I?
     Why, man of morals, tell me why?

                    --Cowley's Translation.


     Oft am I by the women told,
     Poor Anacreon, thou grow'st old!
     Look how thy hairs are falling all;
     Poor Anacreon, how they fall!
     Whether I grow old or no,
     By th' effects I do not know;
     This I know, without being told,
     'Tis time to live, if I grow old;
     'Tis time short pleasures now to take,
     Of little life the best to make,
     And manage wisely the last stake.

                    Cowley's Translation.

          THE EPICURE


     Fill the bowl with rosy wine!
     Around our temples roses twine!
     And let us cheerfully awhile,
     Like the wine and roses, smile.
     Crowned with roses, we contemn
     Gyges' wealthy diadem.
     To-day is ours, what do we fear?
     To-day is ours; we have it here:
     Let's treat it kindly, that it may
     Wish, at least, with us to stay.
     Let's banish business, banish sorrow;
     To the gods belongs to-morrow.


     Underneath this myrtle shade,
     On flowery beds supinely laid,
     With odorous oils my head o'erflowing,
     And around it roses growing,
     What should I do but drink away
     The heat and troubles of the day?
     In this more than kingly state
     Love himself shall on me wait.
     Fill to me, Love, nay fill it up;
     And, mingled, cast into the cup
     Wit, and mirth, and noble fires,
     Vigorous health, and gay desires.
     The wheel of life no less will stay
     In a smooth than rugged way:
     Since it equally doth flee,
     Let the motion pleasant be.
     Why do we precious ointments show'r?
     Noble wines why do we pour?
     Beauteous flowers why do we spread,
     Upon the monuments of the dead?
     Nothing they but dust can show,
     Or bones that hasten to be so.
     Crown me with roses while I live,
     Now your wines and ointments give
     After death I nothing crave;
     Let me alive my pleasures have,
     All are Stoics in the grave.

                    Cowley's Translation.


     A mighty pain to love it is,
     And 'tis a pain that pain to miss;
     But, of all pains, the greatest pain
     It is to love, but love in vain.
     Virtue now, nor noble blood,
     Nor wit by love is understood;
     Gold alone does passion move,
     Gold monopolizes love;
     A curse on her, and on the man
     Who this traffic first began!
     A curse on him who found the ore!
     A curse on him who digged the store!
     A curse on him who did refine it!
     A curse on him who first did coin it!
     A curse, all curses else above,
     On him who used it first in love!
     Gold begets in brethren hate;
     Gold in families debate;
     Gold does friendship separate;
     Gold does civil wars create.
     These the smallest harms of it!
     Gold, alas! does love beget.

                    Cowley's Translation.


     Happy Insect! what can be
     In happiness compared to thee?
     Fed with nourishment divine,
     The dewy Morning's gentle wine!
     Nature waits upon thee still,
     And thy verdant cup does fill;
     'Tis filled wherever thou dost tread,
     Nature's self's thy Ganymede.
     Thou dost drink, and dance, and sing;
     Happier than the happiest king!
     All the fields which thou dost see,
     All the plants, belong to thee;
     All that summer hours produce,
     Fertile made with early juice.
     Man for thee does sow and plow;
     Farmer he, and landlord thou!
     Thou dost innocently joy;
     Nor does thy luxury destroy;
     The shepherd gladly heareth thee,
     More harmonious than he.
     Thee country hinds with gladness hear,
     Prophet of the ripened year!
     Thee Phoebus loves, and does inspire;
     Phoebus is himself thy sire.
     To thee, of all things upon Earth,
     Life's no longer than thy mirth.
     Happy insect, happy thou!
     Dost neither age nor winter know;
     But, when thou'st drunk, and danced, and sung
     Thy fill, the flowery leaves among,
     (Voluptuous, and wise withal,
     Epicurean animal!)
     Sated with thy summer feast,
     Thou retir'st to endless rest.

                    Cowley's Translation,

          THE SWALLOW

     Foolish prater, what dost thou
     So early at my window do,
     With thy tuneless serenade?
     Well 't had been had Tereus made
     Thee as dumb as Philomel;
     There his knife had done but well.
     In thy undiscovered nest
     Thou dost all the winter rest,
     And dreamest o'er thy summer joys,
     Free from the stormy season's noise:
     Free from th' ill thou'st done to me;
     Who disturbs or seeks out thee?
     Hadst thou all the charming notes
     Of the wood's poetic throats,
     All thou art could never pay
     What thou hast ta'en from me away.
     Cruel bird! thou'st ta'en away
     A dream out of my arms to-day;
     A dream that ne'er must equaled be
     By all that waking eyes may see.
     Thou, this damage to repair,
     Nothing half so sweet or fair,
     Nothing half so good, canst bring,
     Though men say thou bring'st the Spring.

                    Cowley's Translation.


     If hoarded gold possessed a power
     To lengthen life's too fleeting hour,
     And purchase from the hand of death
     A little span, a moment's breath,
     How I would love the precious ore!
     And every day should swell my store;
     That when the fates would send their minion,
     To waft me off on shadowy pinion,
     I might some hours of life obtain,
     And bribe him back to hell again.
     But since we ne'er can charm away
     The mandate of that awful day,
     Why do we vainly weep at fate,
     And sigh for life's uncertain date?
     The light of gold can ne'er illume
     The dreary midnight of the tomb!
     And why should I then pant for treasures?
     Mine be the brilliant round of pleasures;
     The goblet rich, the hoard of friends,
     Whose flowing souls the goblet blends!

                    Moore's Translation.


     I care not for the idle state
     Of Persia's king, the rich, the great!
     I envy not the monarch's throne,
     Nor wish the treasured gold my own.
     But oh! be mine the rosy braid,
     The fervor of my brows to shade;
     Be mine the odors, richly sighing,
     Amid my hoary tresses flying.
     To-day I'll haste to quaff my wine,
     As if to-morrow ne'er should shine;
     But if to-morrow comes, why then--
     I'll haste to quaff my wine again.
     And thus while all our days are bright,
     Nor time has dimmed their bloomy light,
     Let us the festal hours beguile
     With mantling cup and cordial smile;
     And shed from every bowl of wine
     The richest drop on Bacchus's shrine!
     For Death may come, with brow unpleasant,
     May come when least we wish him present,
     And beckon to the sable shore,
     And grimly bid us--drink no more!

                    Moore's Translation.

          A LOVER'S SIGH

     The Phrygian rock that braves the storm
     Was once a weeping matron's form;
     And Procne, hapless, frantic maid,
     Is now a swallow in the shade.
     Oh that a mirror's form were mine,
     To sparkle with that smile divine;
     And like my heart I then should be,
     Reflecting thee, and only thee!
     Or could I be the robe which holds
     That graceful form within its folds;
     Or, turned into a fountain, lave
     Thy beauties in my circling wave;
     Or, better still, the zone that lies
     Warm to thy breast, and feels its sighs!
     Or like those envious pearls that show
     So faintly round that neck of snow!
     Yes, I would be a happy gem,
     Like them to hang, to fade like them.
     What more would thy Anacreon be?
     Oh, anything that touches thee,
     Nay, sandals for those airy feet--
     Thus to be pressed by thee were sweet!

                    Moore's Translation.




The place of Hans Christian Andersen in literature is that of the
"Children's Poet," though his best poetry is prose. He was born in the
ancient Danish city of Odense, on April 2d, 1805, of poor and shiftless
parents. He had little regular instruction, and few childish associates.
His youthful imagination was first stimulated by La Fontaine's 'Fables'
and the 'Arabian Nights,' and he showed very early a dramatic instinct,
trying to act and even to imitate Shakespeare, though, as he says,
"hardly able to spell a single word correctly." It was therefore natural
that the visit of a dramatic company to Odense, in 1818, should fire his
fancy to seek his theatrical fortune in Copenhagen; whither he went in
September, 1819, with fifteen dollars in his pocket and a letter of
introduction to a danseuse at the Royal Theatre, who not unnaturally
took her strange visitor for a lunatic, and showed him the door. For
four years he labored diligently, suffered acutely, and produced nothing
of value; though he gained some influential friends, who persuaded the
king to grant him a scholarship for three years, that he might prepare
for the university.

Though he was neither a brilliant nor a docile pupil, he did not exhaust
the generous patience of his friends, who in 1829 enabled him to publish
by subscription his first book, 'A Journey on Foot from Holm Canal to
the East Point of Amager' a fantastic arabesque, partly plagiarized and
partly parodied from the German romanticists, but with a naïveté that
might have disarmed criticism.

In 1831 there followed a volume of poems, the sentimental and rather
mawkish 'Fantasies and Sketches,' product of a journey in Jutland and of
a silly love affair. This book was so harshly criticized that he
resolved to seek a refuge and new literary inspiration in a tour to
Germany; for all through his life, traveling was Andersen's stimulus and
distraction, so that he compares himself, later, to a pendulum "bound
to go backward and forward, tic, toc, tic, toc, till the clock stops,
and down I lie."

[Illustration: HANS CHR. ANDERSEN.]

This German tour inspired his first worthy book, 'Silhouettes,' with
some really admirable pages of description. His success encouraged him
to attempt the drama again, where he failed once more, and betook
himself for relief to Paris and Italy, with a brief stay in the Jura
Mountains, which is delightfully described in his novel, 'O.T.'

Italy had on him much the same clarifying effect that it had on Goethe;
and his next book, the novel 'Improvisatore' (1835), achieved and
deserved a European recognition. Within ten years the book was
translated into six languages. It bears the mark of its date in its
romantic sentiments. There is indeed no firm character-drawing, here or
in any of his novels; but the book still claims attention for its
exquisite descriptions of Italian life and scenery.

The year 1835 saw also Andersen's first essay in the 'Wonder Stories'
which were to give him his lasting title to grateful remembrance. He did
not think highly of this work at the time, though his little volume
contained the now-classic 'Tinderbox,' and 'Big Claus and Little Claus.'
Indeed, he always chafed a little at the modest fame of a writer for
children; but he continued for thirty-seven years to publish those
graceful fancies, which in their little domain still hold the first
rank, and certainly gave the freest scope to Andersen's qualities, while
they masked his faults and limitations.

He turned again from this "sleight of hand with Fancy's golden apples,"
to the novel, in the 'O.T.' (1836), which marks no advance on the
'Improvisatore'; and in the next year he published his best romance,
'Only a Fiddler,' which is still charming for its autobiographical
touches, its genuine humor, and its deep pathos. At the time, this book
assured his European reputation; though it has less interest for us
to-day than the 'Tales,' or the 'Picture Book without Pictures' (1840),
where, perhaps more than anywhere else in his work, the child speaks
with all the naïveté of his nature.

A journey to the East was reflected in 'A Poet's Bazaar' (1842); and
these years contain also his last unsuccessful dramatic efforts, 'The
King Dreams' and 'The New Lying-in Room.' In 1843 he was in Paris, in
1844 in Germany, and in the next year he extended his wanderings to
Italy and England, where Mary Howitt's translations had assured him a
welcome. Ten years later he revisited England as the guest of Dickens
at Gadshill.

The failure of an epic, 'Ahasuerus' (1847), and of a novel, 'The Two
Baronesses' (1849), made him turn with more interest to wonder tales and
fairy dramas, which won a considerable success; and when the political
troubles of 1848 directed his wanderings toward Sweden, he made from
them 'I Sverrig' (In Sweden: 1849), his most exquisite book of travels.
As Europe grew peaceful again he resumed his indefatigable wanderings,
visiting Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Bohemia, and
England; printing between 1852 and 1862 nine little volumes of stories,
the mediocre but successful 'In Spain' (1860), and his last novel, 'To
Be or Not To Be' (1857), which reflects the religious speculations of
his later years.

He was now in comparatively easy circumstances, and passed the last
fifteen years of his life unharassed by criticism, and surrounded with
the 'honor, love, obedience, troops of friends,' that should accompany
old age. It was not until 1866 that he made himself a home; and even at
sixty-one he said the idea 'positively frightened him--he knew he should
run away from it as soon as ever the first warm sunbeam struck him, like
any other bird of passage.'

In 1869 he celebrated his literary jubilee. In 1872 he finished his last
'Stories.' That year he met with an accident in Innsbruck from which he
never recovered. Kind friends eased his invalid years; and so general
was the grief at his illness that the children of the United States
collected a sum of money for his supposed necessities, which at his
request took the form of books for his library. A few months later,
after a brief and painless illness, he died, August 1st, 1875. His
admirers had already erected a statue in his honor, and the State gave
him a magnificent funeral; but his most enduring monument is that which
his 'Wonder Tales' are still building all around the world.

The character of Andersen is full of curious contrasts. Like the French
fabulist, La Fontaine, he was a child all his life, and often a spoiled
child; yet he joined to childlike simplicity no small share of worldly
wisdom. Constant travel made him a shrewd observer of detail, but his
self-absorption kept him from sympathy with the broad political
aspirations of his generation.

In the judgment of his friends and critics, his autobiographical 'Story
of My Life' is strangely unjust, and he never understood the limitations
of his genius. He was not fond of children, nor personally attractive to
them, though his letters to them are charming.

In personal appearance he was limp, ungainly, awkward, and odd, with
long lean limbs, broad flat hands, and feet of striking size. His eyes
were small and deep-set, his nose very large, his neck very long; but he
masked his defects by studied care in dress, and always fancied he
looked distinguished, delighting to display his numerous decorations on
his evening dress in complacent profusion.

On Andersen's style there is a remarkably acute study by his
fellow-countryman Brandes, in 'Kritiker og Portraite' (Critiques and
Portraits), and a useful comment in Boyesen's 'Scandinavian Literature.'
When not perverted by his translators, it is perhaps better suited than
any other to the comprehension of children. His syntax and rhetoric are
often faulty; and in the 'Tales' he does not hesitate to take liberties
even with German, if he can but catch the vivid, darting imagery of
juvenile fancy, the "ohs" and "ahs" of the nursery, its changing
intonations, its fears, its smiles, its personal appeals, and its
venerable devices to spur attention and kindle sympathy. Action, or
imitation, takes the place of description. We hear the trumpeter's
_taratantara_ and "the pattering rain on the leaves, _rum dum dum, rum
dum dum_," The soldier "comes marching along, _left, right, left,
right_." No one puts himself so wholly in the child's place and looks at
nature so wholly with his eyes as Andersen. "If you hold one of those
burdock leaves before your little body it's just like an apron, and if
you put it on your head it's almost as good as an umbrella, it's so
big." Or he tells you that when the sun shone on the flax, and the
clouds watered it, "it was just as nice for it as it is for the little
children to be washed and then get a kiss from mother: that makes them
prettier; of course it does." And here, as Brandes remarks, every
right-minded mamma stops and kisses the child, and their hearts are
warmer for that day's tale.

The starting-point of this art is personification. To the child's fancy
the doll is as much alive as the cat, the broom as the bird, and even
the letters in the copy-book can stretch themselves. On this
foundation he builds myths that tease by a certain semblance of
rationality,--elegiac, more often sentimental, but at their best, like
normal children, without strained pathos or forced sympathy.

Such personification has obvious dramatic and lyric elements; but
Andersen lacked the technique of poetic and dramatic art, and marred his
prose descriptions, both in novels and books of travel, by an intrusive
egotism and lyric exaggeration. No doubt, therefore, the most permanent
part of his work is that which popular instinct has selected, the
'Picture Book without Pictures,' the 'Tales and Stories'; and among
these, those will last longest that have least of the lyric and most of
the dramatic element.

Nearly all of Andersen's books are translated in ten uniform but
unnumbered volumes, published by Houghton, Mifflin and Company. Of the
numerous translations of the 'Tales,' Mary Howitt's (1846) and Sommer's
(1893) are the best, though far from faultless.

The 'Life of Hans Christian Andersen' by R. Nisbet Bain (New York, 1895)
is esteemed the best.

[Illustration: signature]


From 'Collected Fairy Tales,' newly translated

There were once twenty-five tin soldiers, who were all brothers, for
they were cast out of one old tin spoon. They held their muskets, and
their faces were turned to the enemy; red and blue, ever so fine, were
the uniforms. The first thing they heard in this world, when the cover
was taken from the box where they lay, were the words, "Tin soldiers!" A
little boy shouted it, and clapped his hands. He had got them because it
was his birthday, and now he set them up on the table. Each soldier was
just like the other, only one was a little different. He had but one
leg, for he had been cast last, and there was not enough tin. But he
stood on his one leg just as firm as the others on two, so he was just
the one to be famous.

On the table where they were set up stood a lot of other playthings; but
what caught your eye was a pretty castle of paper. Through the little
windows you could see right into the halls. Little trees stood in front,
around a bit of looking-glass which was meant for a lake. Wax swans swam
on it and were reflected in it. That was all very pretty, but still the
prettiest thing was a little girl who stood right in the castle gate.
She was cut out of paper too, but she had a silk dress, and a little
narrow blue ribbon across her shoulders, on which was a sparkling star
as big as her whole face. The little girl lifted her arms gracefully in
the air, for she was a dancer; and then she lifted one leg so high that
the tin soldier could not find it at all, and thought that she had only
one leg, just like himself.

"That would be the wife for me," thought he, "but she is too fine for
me. She lives in a castle, and I have only a box, which I have to share
with twenty-four. That is no house for her. But I will see whether I can
make her acquaintance." Then he lay down at full length behind a
snuff-box which was on the table. From there he could watch the trig
little lady who kept standing on one leg without losing her balance.
When evening came, the other tin soldiers were all put in their box, and
the people in the house went to bed. Then the playthings began to play,
first at "visiting," then at "war" and at "dancing." The tin soldiers
rattled in their box, for they would have liked to join in it, but they
could not get the cover off. The nutcracker turned somersaults, and the
pencil scrawled over the slate. There was such a racket that the
canary-bird woke up and began to sing, and that in verses. The only ones
that did not stir were the tin soldier and the little dancer. She stood
straight on tiptoe and stretched up both arms; he was just as steadfast
on his one leg. He did not take his eyes from her a moment.

Now it struck twelve, and bang! up went the cover of the snuff-box, but
it wasn't tobacco in it: no, but a little black Troll. It was a
trick box.

"Tin soldier!" said the Troll, "will you stare your eyes out?" But the
tin soldier made believe he did not hear. "You wait till morning!" said
the Troll.

When morning came, and the children got up, the tin soldier was put on
the window ledge; and whether it was the Troll, or a gust of wind, all
at once the window flew open and the tin soldier fell head first from
the third story. That was an awful fall. He stretched his leg straight
up, and stuck with his bayonet and cap right between the paving-stones.

The maid and the little boy came right down to hunt for him, but they
couldn't see him, though they came so near that they almost trod on him.
If the tin soldier had called "Here I am," they surely would have found
him; but since he was in uniform he did not think it proper to
call aloud.

Now it began to rain. The drops chased one another. It was a regular
shower. When that was over, two street boys came along.

"Hallo!" said one, "There's a tin soldier. He must be off and sail."

Then they made a boat out of a newspaper, put the tin soldier in it, and
made him sail down the gutter. Both boys ran beside it, and clapped
their hands. Preserve us! What waves there were in the gutter, and what
a current! It must have rained torrents. The paper boat rocked up and
down, and sometimes it whirled around so that the tin soldier shivered.
But he remained steadfast, did not lose color, looked straight ahead and
held his musket firm.

All at once the boat plunged under a long gutter-bridge. It was as dark
there as it had been in his box.

"Where am I going now?" thought he. "Yes, yes, that is the Troll's
fault. Oh! if the little lady were only in the boat, I would not care if
it were twice as dark."

At that instant there came a great water-rat who lived under the

"Have you a pass?" said the rat. "Show me your pass."

But the tin soldier kept still, and only held his musket the firmer. The
boat rushed on, and the rat behind. Oh! how he gnashed his teeth, and
called to the sticks and straws:--

"Stop him! Stop him! He has not paid toll. He has showed no pass."

But the current got stronger and stronger. Before he got to the end of
the bridge the tin soldier could see daylight, but he heard also a
rushing noise that might frighten a brave man's heart. Just think! at
the end of the bridge the gutter emptied into a great canal, which for
him was as dangerous as for us to sail down a great waterfall.

He was so near it already that he could not stop. The boat went down.
The poor tin soldier held himself as straight as he could. No one should
say of him that he had ever blinked his eyes. The boat whirled three or
four times and filled with water. It had to sink. The tin soldier stood
up to his neck in water, and deeper, deeper sank the boat. The paper
grew weaker and weaker. Now the waves went over the soldier's head. Then
he thought of the pretty little dancer whom he never was to see again,
and there rang in the tin soldier's ears:--

     "Farewell, warrior! farewell!
     Death shalt thou stiffer."

Now the paper burst in two, and the tin soldier fell through,--but in
that minute he was swallowed by a big fish.

Oh! wasn't it dark in there. It was worse even than under the
gutter-bridge, and besides, so cramped. But the tin soldier was
steadfast, and lay at full length, musket in hand.

The fish rushed around and made the most fearful jumps. At last he was
quite still, and something went through him like a lightning flash. Then
a bright light rushed in, and somebody called aloud, "The tin soldier!"
The fish had been caught, brought to market, sold, and been taken to the
kitchen, where the maid had slit it up with a big knife. She caught the
soldier around the body and carried him into the parlor, where everybody
wanted to see such a remarkable man who had traveled about in a fish's
belly. But the tin soldier was not a bit proud. They put him on the
table, and there--well! what strange things do happen in the world--the
tin soldier was in the very same room that he had been in before. He saw
the same children, and the same playthings were on the table, the
splendid castle with the pretty little dancer; she was still standing on
one leg, and had the other high in the air. She was steadfast, too. That
touched the tin soldier so that he could almost have wept tin tears, but
that would not have been proper. He looked at her and she looked at him,
but they said nothing at all.

Suddenly one of the little boys seized the tin soldier and threw him
right into the tile-stove, although he had no reason to. It was surely
the Troll in the box who was to blame.

The tin soldier stood in full light and felt a fearful heat; but whether
that came from the real fire, or from his glowing love, he could not
tell. All the color had faded from him; but whether this had happened on
the journey, or whether it came from care, no one could say. He looked
at the little girl and she looked at him. He felt that he was melting,
but still he stood steadfast, musket in hand. Then a door opened. A
whiff of air caught the dancer, and she flew like a sylph right into the
tile-stove to the tin soldier, blazed up in flame, and was gone. Then
the tin soldier melted to a lump, and when the maid next day took out
the ashes, she found him as a little tin heart. But of the dancer only
the star was left, and that was burnt coal-black.


From 'Riverside Literature Series': 1891, by Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

There was a proud Teapot, proud of being porcelain, proud of its long
spout, proud of its broad handle. It had something before and
behind--the spout before, the handle behind--and that was what it talked
about. But it did not talk of its lid--that was cracked, it was riveted,
it had faults; and one does not talk about one's faults--there are
plenty of others to do that. The cups, the cream-pot, the sugar-bowl,
the whole tea-service would be reminded much more of the lid's weakness,
and talk about that, than of the sound handle and the remarkable spout.
The Teapot knew it.

"I know you," it said within itself, "I know well enough, too, my fault;
and I am well aware that in that very thing is seen my humility, my
modesty. We all have faults, but then one also has a talent. The cups
get a handle, the sugar-bowl a lid; I get both, and one thing besides in
front which they never got,--I get a spout, and that makes me a queen on
the tea-table. The sugar-bowl and cream-pot are good-looking serving
maids; but I am the one who gives, yes, the one high in council. I
spread abroad a blessing among thirsty mankind. In my insides the
Chinese leaves are worked up in the boiling, tasteless water."

All this said the Teapot in its fresh young life. It stood on the table
that was spread for tea, it was lifted by a very delicate hand; but the
very delicate hand was awkward, the Teapot fell. The spout snapped off,
the handle snapped off; the lid was no worse to speak of--the worst had
been spoken of that. The Teapot lay in a swoon on the floor, while the
boiling water ran out of it. It was a horrid shame, but the worst was
that they jeered at it; they jeered at it, and not at the awkward hand.

"I never shall lose the memory of that!" said the Teapot, when it
afterward talked to itself of the course of its life. "I was called an
invalid, and placed in a corner, and the day after was given away to a
woman who begged victuals. I fell into poverty, and stood dumb both
outside and in; but there, as I stood, began my better life. One is one
thing and becomes quite another. Earth was placed in me: for a Teapot
that is the same as being buried, but in the earth was placed a flower
bulb. Who placed it there, who gave it, I know not; given it was, and it
took the place of the Chinese leaves and the boiling water, the broken
handle and spout. And the bulb lay in the earth, the bulb lay in me, it
became my heart, my living heart, such as I never before had. There was
life in me, power and might. My pulses beat, the bulb put forth sprouts,
it was the springing up of thoughts and feelings; they burst forth in
flower. I saw it, I bore it, I forgot myself in its delight. Blessed is
it to forget one's self in another. The bulb gave me no thanks, it did
not think of me--it was admired and praised. I was so glad at that: how
happy must it have been! One day I heard it said that it ought to have a
better pot. I was thumped on my back--that was rather hard to bear; but
the flower was put in a better pot--and I was thrown away in the yard,
where I lie as an old crock. But I have the memory: _that_ I can
never lose."


From 'Riverside Literature Series': 1891, by Houghton, Mifflin & Co.


It was glorious in the country. It was summer; the cornfields were
yellow, the oats were green, the hay had been put up in stacks in the
green meadows; and the stork went about on his long red legs, and
chattered Egyptian, for this was the language he had learned from his
mother. All around the fields and meadows were great woods, and in the
midst of these woods deep lakes. Yes, it was right glorious in
the country.

In the midst of the sunshine there lay an old farm, with deep canals
about it; and from the wall down to the water grew great burdocks, so
high that little children could stand upright under the tallest of them.
It was just as wild there as in the deepest wood, and here sat a Duck
upon her nest. She had to hatch her ducklings, but she was almost tired
out before the little ones came; and she seldom had visitors. The other
ducks liked better to swim about in the canals than to run up to sit
under a burdock and gabble with her.

At last one egg-shell after another burst open. "Pip! pip!" each cried,
and in all the eggs there were little things that stuck out their heads.

"Quack! quack!" said the Duck, and they all came quacking out as fast as
they could, looking all around them under the green leaves; and the
mother let them look as much as they liked, for green is good for
the eye.

"How wide the world is!" said all the young ones; for they certainly had
much more room now than when they were inside the eggs.

"D'ye think this is all the world?" said the mother. "That stretches far
across the other side of the garden, quite into the parson's field; but
I have never been there yet. I hope you are all together," and she stood
up. "No, I have not all. The largest egg still lies there. How long is
that to last? I am really tired of it." And so she sat down again.

"Well, how goes it?" asked an old Duck who had come to pay her a visit.

"It lasts a long time with this one egg," said the Duck who sat there.
"It will not open. Now, only look at the others! They are the prettiest
little ducks I ever saw. They are all like their father: the rogue, he
never comes to see me."

"Let me see the egg which will not burst," said the old Duck. "You may
be sure it is a turkey's egg. I was once cheated in that way, and had
much care and trouble with the young ones, for they are afraid of the
water. Must I say it to you? I could not make them go in. I quacked, and
I clacked, but it was no use. Let me see the egg. Yes, that's a turkey's
egg. Let it lie there, and do you teach the other children to swim."

"I think I will sit on it a little longer," said the Duck. "I've sat so
long now that I can sit a few days more."

"Just as you please," said the old Duck; and she went away.

At last the great egg burst. "Pip! pip!" said the little one, and crept
forth. He was so big and ugly. The Duck looked at him.

"It's a very large Duckling," said she. "None of the others looks like
that: it really must be a turkey chick! Well, we shall soon find out.
Into the water shall he go, even if I have to push him in."


The next day it was bright, beautiful weather; the sun shone on all the
green burdocks. The Mother-Duck, with all her family, went down to the
canal. Splash! she jumped into the water. "Quack! quack!" she said, and
one duckling after another plumped in. The water closed over their
heads, but they came up in an instant, and swam off finely; their legs
went of themselves, and they were all in the water; even the ugly gray
Duckling swam with them.

"No, it's not a turkey," said she: "look how well he uses his legs, how
straight he holds himself. It is my own child! On the whole he's quite
pretty, when one looks at him rightly. Quack! quack! come now with me,
and I'll lead you out into the world, and present you in the duck-yard;
but keep close to me all the time, so that no one may tread on you, and
look out for the cats."

And so they came into the duck-yard. There was a terrible row going on
in there, for two families were fighting about an eel's head, and so the
cat got it.

"See, that's the way it goes in the world!" said the Mother-Duck; and
she whetted her beak, for she too wanted the eel's head. "Only use your
legs," she said. "See that you can bustle about, and bend your necks
before the old Duck yonder. She's the grandest of all here; she's of
Spanish blood--that's why she's so fat; and do you see? she has a red
rag around her leg; that's something very, very fine, and the greatest
mark of honor a duck can have: it means that one does not want to lose
her, and that she's known by the animals and by men too. Hurry!
hurry!--don't turn in your toes, a well brought-up duck turns it's toes
quite out, just like father and mother,--so! Now bend your necks and
say 'Quack!'"

And they did so; but the other ducks round about looked at them, and
said quite boldly,--"Look there! now we're to have this crowd too! as if
there were not enough of us already! And--fie!--how that Duckling yonder
looks: we won't stand that!" And at once one Duck flew at him, and bit
him in the neck.

"Let him alone," said the mother: "he is not doing anything to any one."

"Yes, but he's too large and odd," said the Duck who had bitten him,
"and so he must be put down."

"Those are pretty children the mother has," said the old Duck with the
rag round her leg. "They're all pretty but that one; that is rather
unlucky. I wish she could have that one over again."

"That cannot be done, my lady," said the Mother-Duck. "He is not pretty,
but he has a really good temper, and swims as well as any of the others;
yes, I may even say it, a little better. I think he will grow up pretty,
perhaps in time he will grow a little smaller; he lay too long in the
egg, and therefore he has not quite the right shape." And she pinched
him in the neck, and smoothed his feathers. "Besides, he is a drake,"
she said, "and so it does not matter much. I think he will be very
strong: he makes his way already."

"The other ducklings are graceful enough," said the old Duck. "Make
yourself at home; and if you find an eel's head, you may bring it
to me."

And now they were at home. But the poor Duckling who had crept last out
of the egg, and looked so ugly, was bitten and pushed and made fun of,
as much by the ducks as by the chickens.

"He is too big!" they all said. And the turkey-cock, who had been born
with spurs, and so thought he was an emperor, blew himself up, like a
ship in full sail, and bore straight down upon him; then he gobbled and
grew quite red in the face. The poor Duckling did not know where he
dared stand or walk; he was quite unhappy because he looked ugly, and
was the sport of the whole duck-yard.

So it went on the first day; and then it grew worse and worse. The poor
Duckling was hunted about by every one; even his brothers and sisters
were quite angry with him, and said, "If the cat would only catch you,
you ugly creature!" And the ducks bit him, and the chickens beat him,
and the girl who had to feed the poultry kicked at him with her foot.


Then he ran and flew over the fence, and the little birds in the bushes
flew up in fear.

"That is because I am so ugly!" thought the Duckling; and he shut his
eyes, but flew on further; and so he came out into the great moor, where
the wild ducks lived. Here he lay the whole night long, he was so
tired and sad.

Toward morning the wild ducks flew up, and looked at their new mate.

"What sort of a one are you?" they asked; and the Duckling turned about
to each, and bowed as well as he could. "You are really very ugly!" said
the Wild Ducks. "But that is all the same to us, so long as you do not
marry into our family."

Poor thing! he certainly did not think of marrying, and only dared ask
leave to lie among the reeds and drink some of the swamp water.

There he lay two whole days; then came thither two wild geese, or, more
truly, two wild ganders. It was not long since each had crept out of an
egg, and that's why they were so saucy.

"Listen, comrade," said one of them. "You're so ugly that I like you.
Will you go with us, and become a bird of passage? Near here is another
moor, where are a few sweet lovely wild geese, all unmarried, and all
able to say 'Quack!' You've a chance of making your fortune, ugly as
you are."

"Piff! paff!" sounded through the air; and both the ganders fell down
dead in the reeds, and the water became blood-red. "Piff! paff!" it
sounded again, and the whole flock of wild geese flew up from the reeds.
And then there was another report. A great hunt was going on. The
gunners lay around in the moor, and some were even sitting up in the
branches of the trees, which spread far over the reeds. The blue smoke
rose like clouds in among the dark trees, and hung over the water; and
the hunting dogs came--splash, splash!--into the mud, and the rushes and
reeds bent down on every side. That was a fright for the poor Duckling!
He turned his head to put it under his wing; and at that very moment a
frightful great dog stood close by the Duckling. His tongue hung far out
of his mouth, and his eyes glared horribly. He put his nose close to the
Duckling, showed his sharp teeth, and--splash, splash!--on he went
without seizing it.

"Oh, Heaven be thanked!" sighed the Duckling. "I am so ugly that even
the dog does not like to bite me!"

And so he lay quite quiet, while the shots rattled through the reeds and
gun after gun was fired. At last, late in the day, all was still: but
the poor little thing did not dare to rise up; he waited several hours
still before he looked around, and then hurried away out of the moor as
fast as he could. He ran on over field and meadow; there was a storm, so
that he had hard work to get away.


Towards evening the Duckling came to a peasant's poor little hut: it was
so tumbled down that it did not itself know on which side it should
fall; and that's why it stood up. The storm whistled around the Duckling
in such a way that he had to sit down to keep from blowing away; and the
wind blew worse and worse. Then he noticed that one of the hinges of the
door had given way, and the door hung so slanting that he could slip
through the crack into the room; and that is what he did.

Here lived an old woman, with her Cat and her Hen. And the Cat, whom she
called Sonnie, could arch his back and purr; he could even give out
sparks--but for that, one had to stroke his fur the wrong way. The Hen
had quite small, short legs, and therefore she was called Chickabiddy
Shortshanks; she laid good eggs, and the woman loved her as her
own child.

In the morning they noticed at once the strange Duckling, and the Cat
began to purr and the Hen to cluck.

"What's this?" said the woman, and looked all around; but she could not
see well, and therefore she thought the Duckling was a fat duck that had
strayed. "This is a rare prize!" she said. "Now I shall have duck's
eggs. I hope it is not a drake. We must try that."

And so the Duckling was taken on trial for three weeks, but no eggs
came. And the Cat was master of the house, and the Hen was the lady, and
always said "We and the world!" for they thought they were half the
world, and by far the better half. It seemed to the Duckling that one
might have another mind, but the Hen would not allow it.

"Can you lay eggs?"


"Then will you hold your tongue!"

And the Cat said, "Can you curve your back, and purr, and give out


"Then you will please have no opinion of your own when sensible folks
are speaking!"

And the Duckling sat in a corner and was in low spirits; then he began
to think of the fresh air and the sunshine; and he was seized with such
a strange longing to swim on the water, that he could not help telling
the Hen of it.

"What are you thinking of?" cried the Hen. "You have nothing to do,
that's why you have these fancies. Lay eggs, or purr, and they will
pass over."

"But it is so charming to swim in the water," said the Duckling, "so
nice to feel it go over one's head, and to dive down to the bottom!"

"Yes, that's a fine thing, truly," said the Hen. "You are clean gone
crazy. Ask the Cat about it,--he's the cleverest thing I know,--ask him
if he likes to swim in the water, or to dive down: I won't speak about
myself. Ask our mistress herself, the old woman; no one in the world
knows more than she. Do you think she wants to swim, and let the water
close above her head?"

"You don't understand me," said the Duckling.

"We don't understand you! Then pray who is to understand you? You surely
don't pretend to be cleverer than the Cat and the woman--I won't say
anything of myself. Don't make a fool of yourself, child, and thank your
Maker for all the good you have. Are you not come into a warm room, and
have you not folks about you from whom you can learn something? But you
are a goose, and it is not pleasant to have you about. You may believe
me, I speak for your good. I tell you things you won't like, and by that
one may always know one's true friends! Only take care that you learn to
lay eggs, or to purr, and to give out sparks!"

"I think I will go out into the wide world," said the Duckling.

"Yes, do go," replied the Hen.

And so the Duckling went away. He swam on the water, and dived, but he
was shunned by every creature because he was so ugly.


Now came the fall of the year. The leaves in the wood turned yellow and
brown; the wind caught them so that they danced about, and up in the air
it was very cold. The clouds hung low, heavy with hail and snow-flakes,
and on the fence stood the raven, crying "Croak! croak!" for mere cold;
yes, one could freeze fast if one thought about it. The poor little
Duckling certainly had not a good time. One evening--the sun was just
going down in fine style--there came a whole flock of great handsome
birds out of the bushes; they were shining white, with long, supple
necks; they were swans. They uttered a very strange cry, spread forth
their glorious great wings, and flew away from that cold region to
warmer lands, to fair open lakes. They mounted so high, so high! and the
ugly Duckling had such a strange feeling as he saw them! He turned round
and round in the water like a wheel, stretched out his neck towards
them, and uttered a cry, so high, so strange, that he was frightened as
he heard it.

Oh! he could not forget those beautiful, happy birds; and as soon as he
could see them no longer, he dived down to the very bottom, and when he
came up again, he was quite beside himself. He did not know what the
birds were, nor where they were flying to; but he loved them more than
he had ever loved any one. He did not envy them at all. How could he
think of wishing to have such loveliness as they had? He would have been
glad if only the ducks would have let him be among them--the poor,
ugly creature!

And the winter grew so cold, so cold! The Duckling had to swim about in
the water, to keep it from freezing over; but every night the hole in
which he swam about became smaller and smaller. It froze so hard that
the icy cover sounded; and the Duckling had to use his legs all the time
to keep the hole from freezing tight. At last he became worn out, and
lay quite still, and thus froze fast in the ice.

Early in the morning a peasant came by, and found him there; he took his
wooden shoe, broke the ice to pieces, and carried the Duckling home to
his wife. Then the Duckling came to himself again. The children wanted
to play with him; but he thought they wanted to hurt him, and in his
terror he flew up into the milk-pan, so that the milk spilled over into
the room. The woman screamed and shook her hand in the air, at which the
Duckling flew down into the tub where they kept the butter, and then
into the meal-barrel and out again. How he looked then! The woman
screamed, and struck at him with the fire tongs; the children tumbled
over one another as they tried to catch the Duckling; and they laughed
and they screamed!--well was it that the door stood open, and the poor
creature was able to slip out between the bushes into the newly-fallen
snow--there he lay quite worn out.

But it would be too sad if I were to tell all the misery and care which
the Duckling had to bear in the hard winter. He lay out on the moor
among the reeds, when the sun began to shine again and the larks to
sing; it was a beautiful spring.

Then all at once the Duckling could flap his wings: they beat the air
more strongly than before, and bore him stoutly away; and before he well
knew it, he found himself in a great garden, where the elder-trees stood
in flower, and bent their long green branches down to the winding canal,
and the lilacs smelt sweet. Oh, here it was beautiful, fresh, and
springlike! and from the thicket came three glorious white swans; they
rustled their wings, and sat lightly on the water. The Duckling knew the
splendid creatures, and felt a strange sadness.

"I will fly away to them, to the royal birds! and they will beat me,
because I, that am so ugly, dare to come near them. But it is all the
same. Better to be killed by them than to be chased by ducks, and beaten
by fowls, and pushed about by the girl who takes care of the poultry
yard, and to suffer hunger in winter!" And he flew out into the water,
and swam toward the beautiful swans: these looked at him, and came
sailing down upon him with outspread wings. "Kill me!" said the poor
creature, and bent his head down upon the water, and waited for death.
But what saw he in the clear water? He saw below him his own image; and
lo! it was no longer a clumsy dark-gray bird, ugly and hateful to look
at, but--a swan!

It matters nothing if one is born in a duck-yard, if one has only lain
in a swan's egg.

He felt quite glad at all the need and hard times he had borne; now he
could joy in his good luck in all the brightness that was round him.
And the great swans swam round him and stroked him with their beaks.

Into the garden came little children, who threw bread and corn into the
water; and the youngest cried, "There is a new one!" and the other
children shouted, "Yes, a new one has come!" And they clapped their
hands and danced about, and ran to their father and mother; and bread
and cake were thrown into the water; and they all said, "The new one is
the most beautiful of all! so young and so handsome!" and the old swans
bowed their heads before him.

Then he felt quite ashamed, and hid his head under his wings, for he did
not know what to do; he was so happy, and yet not at all proud, for a
good heart is never proud. He thought how he had been driven about and
mocked and despised; and now he heard them all saying that he was the
most beautiful of all beautiful birds. And the lilacs bent their
branches straight down into the water before him, and the sun shone warm
and mild. Then his wings rustled, he lifted his slender neck, and cried
from the depths of his heart:--

"I never dreamed of so much happiness when I was the Ugly Duckling."


Hear what the Moon told me:--

"I have seen a cadet promoted to be an officer, and dressing himself for
the first time in his gorgeous uniform; I have seen young girls in
bridal attire, and the prince's young bride in her wedding dress: but I
never saw such bliss as that of a little four-year-old girl whom I
watched this evening. She had got a new blue dress, and a new pink hat.
The finery was just put on, and all were calling for light, for the
moonbeams that came through the window were not bright enough. They
wanted very different lights from that. There stood the little girl,
stiff as a doll, keeping her arms anxiously off her dress, and her
fingers stretched wide apart. Oh! what happiness beamed from her eyes,
from her whole face. 'To-morrow you may go to walk in the dress,' said
the mother; and the little one looked up at her hat and down again at
her dress, and smiled blissfully. 'Mother,' she cried, 'what will the
little dogs think when they see me in all these fine clothes?'"


From 'Riverside Literature Series': 1891, by Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

The Top and the Ball lay in a drawer among some other toys; and so the
Top said to the Ball:--"Shall we not be lovers, since we live together
in the same drawer?"

But the Ball, which had a coat of morocco leather, and thought herself
as good as any fine lady, had nothing to say to such a thing. The next
day came the little boy who owned the toys: he painted the Top red and
yellow, and drove a brass nail into it; and the Top looked splendidly
when he turned round.

"Look at me!" he cried to the Ball. "What do you say now? Shall we not
be lovers? We go so nicely together? You jump and I dance! No one could
be happier than we two should be."

"Indeed! Do you think so?" said the Ball. "Perhaps you do not know that
my papa and my mamma were morocco slippers, and that I have a cork
inside me?"

"Yes, but I am made of mahogany," said the Top; "and the mayor himself
turned me. He has a turning-lathe of his own, and it amuses
him greatly."

"Can I depend on that?" asked the Ball.

"May I never be whipped again if it is not true!" replied the Top.

"You talk well for yourself," said the Ball, "but I cannot do what you
ask. I am as good as half engaged to a swallow: every time I leap up
into the air he sticks his head out of the nest and says, 'Will you?
will you?' And now I have silently said 'Yes,' and that is as good as
being half engaged; but I promise I will never forget you."

"Much good that will do!" said the Top.

And they spoke no more to each other.

Next day the Ball was taken out. The Top saw how she flew high into the
air, like a bird; at last one could no longer see her. Each time she
came back again, but always gave a high leap when she touched the earth;
and that came about either from her longing, or because she had a cork
in her body. The ninth time the Ball stayed away and did not come back
again; and the boy looked and looked, but she was gone.

"I know very well where she is!" sighed the Top. "She is in the
Swallow's nest, and has married the Swallow!"

The more the Top thought of this, the more he longed for the Ball. Just
because he could not get her, he fell more in love with her. That she
had taken some one else, that was another thing. So the Top danced
around and hummed, but always thought of the Ball, which grew more and
more lovely in his fancy. Thus many years went by,--and now it was
an old love.

And the Top was no longer young. But one day he was gilt all over; never
had he looked so handsome; he was now a golden Top, and sprang till he
hummed again. Yes, that was something! But all at once he sprang too
high, and--he was gone!

They looked and looked, even in the cellar, but he was not to be found.

Where was he?

He had jumped into the dust-box, where all kinds of things were lying:
cabbage stalks, sweepings, and gravel that had fallen down from
the roof.

"Here's a nice place to lie in! The gilding will soon leave me here. And
what a rabble I've come amongst!"

And then he looked askance at a long cabbage stalk that was much too
near him, and at a curious round thing like an old apple; but it was not
an apple--it was an old Ball, which had lain for years in the
roof-gutter and was soaked through with water.

"Thank goodness, here comes one of us, with whom one can talk!" said the
little Ball, and looked at the gilt Top. "I am really morocco, sewn by a
girl's hands, and have a cork inside me; but no one would think it to
look at me. I was very near marrying a swallow, but I fell into the
gutter on the roof, and have laid there full five years, and am quite
soaked through. That's a long time, you may believe me, for a
young girl."

But the Top said nothing. He thought of his old love; and the more he
heard, the clearer it became to him that this was she. Then came the
servant-girl, and wanted to empty the dust-box. "Aha, there's a gilt
top!" she cried. And so the Top was brought again to notice and honor,
but nothing was heard of the Ball. And the Top spoke no more of his old
love: for that dies away when the beloved has lain for five years in a
gutter and got soaked through; yes, one does not know her again when one
meets her in the dust-box.


From 'Riverside Literature Series': 1891, by Houghton, Mifflin & Co.


Gerda was obliged to rest herself again, when just over against where
she sat, a large Crow hopped over the white snow. He had sat there a
long while, looking at her and shaking his head; and now he said, "Caw!
caw! Good day! good day!" He could not say it better; but he meant well
by the little girl, and asked her where she was going all alone out in
the wide world. The word "alone" Gerda understood quite well, and felt
how much lay in it; so she told the Crow her whole history, and asked if
he had not seen Kay.

The Crow nodded very gravely, and said, "It may be--it may be!"

"What--do you really think so?" cried the little girl; and she nearly
squeezed the Crow to death, so much did she kiss him.

"Gently, gently," said the Crow. "I think I know; I think that it may be
little Kay. But now he has quite forgotten you for the Princess."

"Does he live with a princess?" asked Gerda.

"Yes,--listen," said the Crow; "but it is hard for me to speak your
language. If you understand the Crow language, I can tell you better."

"No, I have not learnt it," said Gerda; "but my grandmother understands
it. I wish I had learnt it."

"No matter," said the Crow: "I will tell you as well as I can; but it
will be bad enough." And then he told all he knew.

"In the kingdom where we now are, there lives a princess, who is vastly
clever; for she has read all the newspapers in the whole world, and has
forgotten them again,--so clever is she. Some time ago, they say, she
was sitting on her throne,--which is no great fun, after all,--when she
began humming an old tune, and it was just 'Oh, why should I not be
married?' 'Come, now, there is something in that,' said she, and so then
she was bound to marry; but she would have a husband who knew how to
give an answer when he was spoken to,--not one who was good for nothing
but to stand and be looked at, for that is very tiresome. She then had
all the ladies of the court drummed together; and when they heard what
she meant to do, all were well pleased, and said, 'We are quite glad to
hear it: it is the very thing we were thinking of.' You may believe
every word I say," said the Crow, "for I have a tame sweetheart that
hops about in the palace quite freely, and she told me all.

"The newspapers at once came out with a border of hearts and the
initials of the Princess; and you could read in them that every
good-looking young man was free to come to the palace and speak to the
Princess; and he who spoke in such wise as showed he felt himself at
home there, and talked best, that one the Princess would choose for
her husband.

"Yes--yes," said the Crow, "you may believe it; it is as true as I am
sitting here. People came in crowds; there was a crush and a hurry, but
no one had good luck either on the first or second day. They could all
talk well enough when they were out in the street; but as soon as they
came inside the palace gates, and saw the guard richly dressed in
silver, and the lackeys in gold, on the staircase, and the large lighted
halls, then they were dumb; and when they stood before the throne on
which the Princess was sitting, all they could do was to repeat the last
word she had said, and she didn't care to hear that again. It was just
as if the people within were under a charm, and had fallen into a trance
till they came out again into the street; for then--oh, then they could
chatter enough. There was a whole row of them from the town gates to the
palace. I was there myself to look on," said the Crow. "They grew hungry
and thirsty; but from the palace they got not so much as a glass of
water. Some of the cleverest, it is true, had taken bread and butter
with them; but none shared it with his neighbor, for each thought, 'Let
him look hungry, and then the Princess won't have him.'"

"But Kay--little Kay," asked Gerda, "when did he come? Was he among the

"Give me time! give me time! we are coming to him. It was on the third
day, when a little personage, without horse or carriage, came marching
right boldly up to the palace; his eyes shone like yours, he had
beautiful long hair, but his clothes were very shabby."

"That was Kay," cried Gerda, with a voice of delight. "Oh, now I've
found him!" and she clapped her hands.

"He had a little knapsack at his back," said the Crow.

"No, that was certainly his sled," said Gerda; "for he went away with
his sled."

"That may be," said the Crow; "I did not see him close to; but I know
from my tame sweetheart that when he came into the courtyard of the
palace, and saw the body-guard in silver, and the lackeys on the
staircase in gold, he was not in the least cast down; he nodded and said
to them, 'It must be very tiresome to stand on the stairs; for my part,
I shall go in.' The halls were bright with lights. Court people and fine
folks were walking about on bare feet; it was all very solemn. His boots
creaked, too, very loudly; but still he was not at all afraid."

"That's Kay, for certain," said Gerda. "I know he had on new boots; I
have heard them creaking in grandmamma's room."

"Yes, they creaked," said the Crow. "And on he went boldly up to the
Princess, who was sitting on a pearl as large as a spinning-wheel. All
the ladies of the court stood about, with their maids and their maids'
maids, and all the gentlemen with their servants and their servants'
servants, who kept a boy; and the nearer they stood to the door, the
prouder they looked. The boy of the servants' servants, who always goes
in slippers, hardly looked at one, so very proudly did he stand in
the doorway."

"It must have been terrible," said little Gerda. "And did Kay get the

"Were I not a Crow, I should have taken the Princess myself, although I
am engaged. It is said he spoke as well as I speak when I talk crow
language; this I learned from my tame sweetheart. He was bold and nicely
behaved; he had not come to woo the Princess, but only to hear her
wisdom. She pleased him and he pleased her."

"Yes, yes, for certain that was Kay," said Gerda. "He was so clever; he
could do sums with fractions. Oh, won't you take me to the palace?"

"That is very easily said," answered the Crow. "But how are we to manage
it? I'll speak to my tame sweetheart about it; she can tell us what to
do; for so much I must tell you, such a little girl as you are will
never get leave to go in the common way."

"Oh, yes, I shall," said Gerda: "when Kay hears that I am here, he will
come out at once to fetch me."

"Wait for me here on these steps," said the Crow. He wagged his head and
flew away.

When it grew dark the Crow came back. "Caw! caw!" said he. "I bring you
a great many good wishes from her; and here is a bit of bread for you.
She took it out of the kitchen, where there is bread enough, and you are
hungry, no doubt. It is not possible for you to enter the palace, for
you are barefoot; the guards in silver and the lackeys in gold would not
allow it: but do not cry, you shall come in still. My sweetheart knows a
little back stair that leads to the chamber, and she knows where she can
get the key of it."

And they went into the garden by the broad path, where one leaf was
falling after the other; and when the lights in the palace were all put
out, one after the other, the Crow led little Gerda to the back door,
which stood ajar.

Oh, how Gerda's heart beat with doubt and longing! It was just as if she
had been about to do something wrong; and yet she only wanted to know if
little Kay was there. Yes, he must be there. She called to mind his
clear eyes and his long hair so vividly, she could quite see him as he
used to laugh when they were sitting under the roses at home. He would
surely be glad to see her--to hear what a long way she had come for his
sake; to know how unhappy all at home were when he did not come back.
Oh, what a fright and what a joy it was!

Now they were on the stairs. A single lamp was burning there; and on the
floor stood the tame Crow, turning her head on every side and looking at
Gerda, who bowed as her grandmother had taught her to do.

"My intended has told me so much good of you, my dear young lady," said
the tame Crow. "Your Life, as they call it, is very affecting. If you
will take the lamp, I will go before. We will go straight on, for we
shall meet no one."

"I think there is somebody just behind us," said Gerda; and it rushed
past her. It was like shadows on the wall: horses with flowing manes and
thin legs, huntsmen, ladies and gentlemen on horseback.

"They are only dreams," said the Crow. "They come to fetch the thoughts
of the fine folk to the chase; 'tis well, for now you can see them
asleep all the better. But let me find, when you come to have honor and
fame, that you possess a grateful heart."

"Tut! that's not worth talking about," said the Crow from the woods.

Now they came into the first hall, which was of rose-colored satin,
with painted flowers on the wall. Here the dreams were rushing past, but
they hurried by so quickly that Gerda could not see the fine people. One
hall was more showy than the other--well might people be abashed; and at
last they came into the bed-chamber.

The ceiling of the room was like a great palm-tree, with leaves of
glass, of costly glass; and in the middle of the floor, from a thick
golden stalk, hung two beds, each of which was shaped like a lily. One
was white, and in this lay the Princess: the other was red, and it was
here that Gerda was to look for little Kay. She bent back one of the red
leaves, and saw a brown neck--oh, that was Kay! She called him quite
loud by name, held the lamp toward him--the dreams rushed again on
horseback into the chamber--he awoke, turned his head, and--it was not
little Kay!

The Prince was only like him about the neck; but he was young and
handsome. And out of the white lily leaves the Princess peeped too, and
asked what was the matter. Then little Gerda cried and told her whole
history, and all that the Crows had done for her.

"Poor little thing!" said the Prince and the Princess, and they praised
the Crows very much, and told them they were not at all angry with them,
but they were not to do so again. However, they should have a reward.

"Will you fly about at liberty?" asked the Princess; "or would you like
to have a steady place as court Crows with all the broken bits from
the kitchen?"

And both the Crows nodded, and begged for a steady place; for they
thought of their old age, and said "it was a good thing to have
something for the old folks," as the saying is.

And the Prince got up and let Gerda sleep in his bed, and more than this
he could not do. She folded her little hands, and thought, "How good men
and animals are!" and then she shut her eyes and slept soundly. All the
dreams came flying in again, and they now looked like the angels; they
drew a little sled, on which Kay sat and nodded his head: but the whole
was only a dream, and so it was all gone as soon as she awoke.

The next day she was dressed from top to toe in silk and velvet. They
offered to let her stay at the palace, and lead a happy life; but she
begged only to have a little carriage with a horse in front, and for a
small pair of shoes; then, she said, she would again go forth in the
wide world and look for Kay.

And she got both shoes and a muff; she was dressed very nicely, too; and
when she was about to set off, a new carriage stopped before the door.
It was of pure gold, and the arms of the Prince and Princess shone like
a star upon it; the coachman, the footmen, and the outriders, for
outriders were there too, all wore golden crowns. The Prince and
Princess helped her into the carriage themselves, and wished her good
luck. The Crow of the woods, who was now married, went with her for the
first three miles. He sat beside Gerda, for he could not bear riding
backward; the other Crow stood in the doorway, and flapped her wings;
she could not go with Gerda, because she suffered from headache since
she had had a steady place, and ate so much. The carriage was lined
inside with sugar-plums, and in the seats were fruits and cookies.

"Good-by! good-by!" cried Prince and Princess; and little Gerda wept,
and the Crows wept. Thus passed the first miles; and then the Crow said
good-by, and this was the worst good-by of all. He flew into a tree, and
beat his black wings as long as he could see the carriage, that shone
from afar like the clear sunlight.


From 'Riverside Literature Series': 1891, by Houghton, Mifflin & Co.


In China, you must know, the Emperor is a Chinaman, and all whom he has
about him are Chinamen too. It happened a good many years ago, but
that's just why it's worth while to hear the story before it is

The Emperor's palace was the most splendid in the world. It was made
wholly of fine porcelain, very costly, but so brittle and so hard to
handle that one had to take care how one touched it. In the garden were
to be seen the most wonderful flowers, and to the prettiest of them
silver bells were tied, which tinkled, so that nobody should pass by
without noticing the flowers.

Yes, everything in the Emperor's garden was nicely set out, and it
reached so far that the gardener himself did not know where the end
was. If a man went on and on, he came into a glorious forest with high
trees and deep lakes. The wood went straight down to the sea, which was
blue and deep; great ships could sail to and fro beneath the branches of
the trees; and in the trees lived a Nightingale, which sang so finely
that even the poor Fisherman, who had many other things to do, stopped
still and listened, when he had gone out at night to throw out his nets,
and heard the Nightingale.

"How beautiful that is!" he said; but he had to attend to his work, and
so he forgot the bird. But the next night, when the bird sang again, and
the Fisherman heard it, he said as before, "How beautiful that is!"

From all the countries of the world travelers came to the city of the
Emperor, and admired it, and the palace, and the garden; but when they
heard the Nightingale, they all said, "That is the best of all!"

And the travelers told of it when they came home; and the learned men
wrote many books about the town, the palace, and the garden. But they
did not forget the Nightingale; that was spoken of most of all; and all
those who were poets wrote great poems about the Nightingale in the wood
by the deep lake.

The books went all over the world, and a few of them once came to the
Emperor. He sat in his golden chair, and read, and read; every moment he
nodded his head, for it pleased him to hear the fine things that were
said about the city, the palace, and the garden. "But the Nightingale is
the best of all!"--it stood written there.

"What's that?" exclaimed the Emperor. "The Nightingale? I don't know
that at all! Is there such a bird in my empire, and in my garden to
boot? I've never heard of that. One has to read about such things."

Hereupon he called his Cavalier, who was so grand that if any one lower
in rank than he dared to speak to him, or to ask him any question, he
answered nothing but "P!"--and that meant nothing.

"There is said to be a strange bird here called a Nightingale!" said the
Emperor. "They say it is the best thing in all my great empire. Why has
no one ever told me anything about it?"

"I have never heard it named," replied the Cavalier. "It has never been
presented at court."

"I command that it shall come here this evening, and sing before me,"
said the Emperor. "All the world knows what I have, and I do not know
it myself!"

"I have never heard it mentioned," said the Cavalier. "I will seek for
it. I will find it."

But where was it to be found? The Cavalier ran up and down all the
stairs, through halls and passages, but no one among all those whom he
met had heard talk of the Nightingale. And the Cavalier ran back to the
Emperor, and said that it must be a fable made up by those who
write books.

"Your Imperial Majesty must not believe what is written. It is fiction,
and something that they call the black art."

"But the book in which I read this," said the Emperor, "was sent to me
by the high and mighty Emperor of Japan, and so it cannot be a
falsehood. I will hear the Nightingale! It must be here this evening! It
has my high favor; and if it does not come, all the court shall be
trampled upon after it has supped!"

"Tsing-pe!" said the Cavalier; and again he ran up and down all the
stairs, and through all the halls and passages, and half the court ran
with him, for the courtiers did not like being trampled upon. There was
a great inquiry after the wonderful Nightingale, which all the world
knew, but not the people at court.

At last they met with a poor little girl in the kitchen. She said:--

"The Nightingale? I know it well; yes, how it can sing! Every evening I
get leave to carry my poor sick mother the scraps from the table. She
lives down by the beach, and when I get back and am tired, and rest in
the wood, then I hear the Nightingale sing. And then the tears come into
my eyes, and it is just as if my mother kissed me!"

"Little Kitchen-girl," said the Cavalier, "I will get you a fixed place
in the kitchen, with leave to see the Emperor dine, if you will lead us
to the Nightingale, for it is promised for this evening."

So they all went out into the wood where the Nightingale was wont to
sing; half the court went out. When they were on the way, a cow began
to low.

"Oh!" cried the court pages, "now we have it! That shows a great power
in so small a creature! We have certainly heard it before."

"No, those are cows mooing!" said the little Kitchen-girl. "We are a
long way from the place yet."

Now the frogs began to croak in the marsh.

"Glorious!" said the Chinese Court Preacher. "Now I hear it--it sounds
just like little church bells."

"No, those are frogs!" said the little Kitchen-maid. "But now I think we
shall soon hear it."

And then the Nightingale began to sing.

"That is it!" exclaimed the little Girl. "Listen, listen! and yonder it

And she pointed to a little gray bird up in the boughs.

"Is it possible?" cried the Cavalier. "I should never have thought it
looked like that! How simple it looks! It must certainly have lost its
color at seeing so many famous people around."

"Little Nightingale!" called the little Kitchen-maid, quite loudly, "our
gracious Emperor wishes you to sing before him."

"With the greatest pleasure!" replied the Nightingale, and sang so that
it was a joy to hear it.

"It sounds just like glass bells!" said the Cavalier. "And look at its
little throat, how it's working! It's wonderful that we should never
have heard it before. That bird will be a great success at court."

"Shall I sing once more before the Emperor?" asked the Nightingale, for
it thought the Emperor was present.

"My excellent little Nightingale," said the Cavalier, "I have great
pleasure in inviting you to a court festival this evening, when you
shall charm his Imperial Majesty with your beautiful singing."

"My song sounds best in the greenwood!" replied the Nightingale; still
it came willingly when it heard what the Emperor wished.

In the palace there was a great brushing up. The walls and the floor,
which were of porcelain, shone with many thousand golden lamps. The most
glorious flowers, which could ring clearly, had been placed in the
halls. There was a running to and fro, and a draught of air, but all the
bells rang so exactly together that one could not hear any noise.

In the midst of the great hall, where the Emperor sat, a golden perch
had been placed, on which the Nightingale was to sit. The whole court
was there, and the little Cook-maid had leave to stand behind the door,
as she had now received the title of a real cook-maid. All were in full
dress, and all looked at the little gray bird, to which the
Emperor nodded.

And the Nightingale sang so gloriously that the tears came into the
Emperor's eyes, and the tears ran down over his cheeks; and then the
Nightingale sang still more sweetly; that went straight to the heart.
The Emperor was happy, and he said the Nightingale should have his
golden slipper to wear round its neck. But the Nightingale thanked him,
it had already got reward enough.

"I have seen tears in the Emperor's eyes--that is the real treasure to
me. An Emperor's tears have a strange power. I am paid enough!" Then it
sang again with a sweet, glorious voice.

"That's the most lovely way of making love I ever saw!" said the ladies
who stood round about, and then they took water in their mouths to
gurgle when any one spoke to them. They thought they should be
nightingales too. And the lackeys and maids let it be known that they
were pleased too; and that was saying a good deal, for they are the
hardest of all to please. In short, the Nightingale made a real hit.

It was now to remain at court, to have its own cage, with freedom to go
out twice every day and once at night. It had twelve servants, and they
all had a silken string tied to the bird's leg which they held very
tight. There was really no pleasure in going out.

The whole city spoke of the wonderful bird, and when two people met, one
said nothing but "Nightin," and the other said "gale"; and then they
sighed, and understood one another. Eleven storekeepers' children were
named after the bird, but not one of them could sing a note.


One day a large parcel came to the Emperor, on which was written "The

"Here we have a new book about this famous bird," said the Emperor.

But it was not a book: it was a little work of art, that lay in a box; a
toy nightingale, which was to sing like a live one, but it was all
covered with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. So soon as the toy bird
was wound up, he could sing one of the pieces that the real one sang,
and then his tail moved up and down, and shone with silver and gold.
Round his neck hung a little ribbon, and on that was written, "The
Emperor of Japan's Nightingale is poor beside that of the Emperor
in China."

"That is capital!" said they all, and he who had brought the toy bird at
once got the title Imperial Head-Nightingale-Bringer.

"Now they must sing together: what a duet that will be!"

And so they had to sing together; but it did not sound very well, for
the real Nightingale sang in its own way, and the toy bird sang waltzes.

"That's not its fault," said the Play-master: "it's quite perfect, and
very much in my style."

Now the toy bird was to sing alone. It made just as much of a hit as the
real one, and then it was so much more fine to look at--it shone like
bracelets and breastpins.

Three-and-thirty times over did it sing the same piece, and yet was not
tired. The people would gladly have heard it again, but the Emperor said
that the living Nightingale ought to sing a little something. But where
was it? No one had noticed that it had flown away, out of the open
window, back to its green woods.

"But what is become of it?" asked the Emperor.

Then all the courtiers scolded, and thought the Nightingale was a very
thankless creature.

"We have the best bird, after all," said they.

And so the toy bird had to sing again, and this was the thirty-fourth
time they had listened to the same piece. For all that, they did not
know it quite by heart, for it was so very difficult. And the
Play-master praised the bird highly; yes, he declared that it was better
than the real Nightingale, not only in its feathers and its many
beautiful diamonds, but inside as well.

"For you see, ladies and gentlemen, and above all, your Imperial
Majesty, with the real Nightingale one can never make sure what is
coming, but in this toy bird everything is settled. It is just so, and
not any other way. One can explain it; one can open it, and can show how
much thought went to making it, where the waltzes come from, how they
go, and how one follows another."

"Those are quite our own ideas," they all said. And the Play-master got
leave to show the bird to the people on the next Sunday. The people
were to hear it sing too, said the Emperor; and they did hear it, and
were as much pleased as if they had all had tea, for that's quite the
Chinese fashion; and they all said "Oh!" and held their forefingers up
in the air and nodded. But the poor Fisherman, who had heard the real
Nightingale, said:--

"It sounds pretty enough, and it's a little like, but there's something
wanting, though I know not what!"

The real Nightingale was exiled from the land and empire.

The toy bird had its place on a silken cushion close to the Emperor's
bed. All the presents it had received, gold and precious stones, were
ranged about it. In title it had come to be High Imperial
After-Dinner-Singer, and in rank it was Number One on the left hand; for
the Emperor reckoned that side the most important on which the heart is
placed, and even in an Emperor the heart is on the left side. And the
Play-master wrote a work of five-and-twenty volumes about the toy bird:
it was so learned and so long, full of the most difficult Chinese words,
that all the people said they had read it and understood it, or else
they would have been thought stupid, and would have had their bodies
trampled on.

So a whole year went by. The Emperor, the court, and all the other
Chinese knew every little twitter in the toy bird's song by heart.
But just for that reason it pleased them best--they could sing
with it themselves, and they did so. The street boys sang,
"Tsi-tsi-tsi-glug-glug!" and the Emperor himself sang it too. Yes, that
was certainly famous.

But one evening, when the toy bird was singing its best, and the Emperor
lay in bed and heard it, something inside the bird said, "Svup!"
Something cracked. "Whir-r-r!" All the wheels ran round, and then the
music stopped.

The Emperor jumped at once out of bed, and had his own doctor called;
but what could he do? Then they sent for a watchmaker, and after a good
deal of talking and looking, he got the bird into some sort of order;
but he said that it must be looked after a good deal, for the barrels
were worn, and he could not put new ones in in such a manner that the
music would go. There was a great to-do; only once in a year did they
dare to let the bird sing, and that was almost too much. But then the
Play-master made a little speech, full of heavy words, and said this was
just as good as before--and so, of course, it was as good as before.


Five years had gone by, and a real grief came upon the whole nation. The
Chinese were really fond of their Emperor, and now he was sick, and
could not, it was said, live much longer. Already a new Emperor had been
chosen, and the people stood out in the street and asked the Cavalier
how their old Emperor did.

"P!" said he, and shook his head.

Cold and pale lay the Emperor in his great, gorgeous bed; the whole
court thought him dead, and each one ran to pay respect to the new
ruler. The chamberlains ran out to talk it over, and the ladies'-maids
had a great coffee party. All about, in all the halls and passages,
cloth had been laid down so that no one could be heard go by, and
therefore it was quiet there, quite quiet. But the Emperor was not dead
yet: stiff and pale he lay on the gorgeous bed with the long velvet
curtains and the heavy gold tassels; high up, a window stood open, and
the moon shone in upon the Emperor and the toy bird.

The poor Emperor could scarcely breathe; it was just as if something lay
upon his breast. He opened his eyes, and then he saw that it was Death
who sat upon his breast, and had put on his golden crown, and held in
one hand the Emperor's sword, and in the other his beautiful banner. And
all around, from among the folds of the splendid velvet curtains,
strange heads peered forth; a few very ugly, the rest quite lovely and
mild. These were all the Emperor's bad and good deeds, that stood before
him now that Death sat upon his heart.

"Do you remember this?" whispered one to the other, "Do you remember
that?" and then they told him so much that the sweat ran from
his forehead.

"I did not know that!" said the Emperor. "Music! music! the great
Chinese drum!" he cried, "so that I need not hear all they say!"

And they kept on, and Death nodded like a Chinaman to all they said.

"Music! music!" cried the Emperor. "You little precious golden bird,
sing, sing! I have given you gold and costly presents; I have even hung
my golden slipper around your neck--now, sing!"

But the bird stood still,--no one was there to wind him up, and he could
not sing without that; but Death kept on staring at the Emperor with
his great hollow eyes, and it was quiet, fearfully quiet.

Then there sounded close by the window the most lovely song. It was the
little live Nightingale, that sat outside on a spray. It had heard of
the Emperor's need, and had come to sing to him of trust and hope. And
as it sang the spectres grew paler and paler; the blood ran more and
more quickly through the Emperor's weak limbs, and Death himself
listened, and said:--

"Go on, little Nightingale, go on!"

"But will you give me that splendid golden sword? Will you give me that
rich banner? Will you give me the Emperor's crown?"

And Death gave up each of these treasures for a song. And the
Nightingale sang on and on; it sang of the quiet churchyard where the
white roses grow, where the elder-blossom smells sweet, and where the
fresh grass is wet with the tears of mourners. Then Death felt a longing
to see his garden, and floated out at the window in the form of a cold,
white mist.

"Thanks! thanks!" said the Emperor. "You heavenly little bird! I know
you well. I drove you from my land and empire, and yet you have charmed
away the evil faces from my bed, and driven Death from my heart! How can
I pay you?"

"You have paid me!" replied the Nightingale. "I drew tears from your
eyes, the first time I sang--I shall never forget that. Those are the
jewels that make a singer's heart glad. But now sleep and grow fresh and
strong again. I will sing you something."

And it sang, and the Emperor fell into a sweet sleep. Ah! how mild and
refreshing that sleep was! The sun shone upon him through the windows,
when he awoke strong and sound. Not one of his servants had yet come
back, for they all thought that he was dead; but the Nightingale still
sat beside him and sang.

"You must always stay with me," said the Emperor. "You shall sing as you
please; and I'll break the toy bird into a thousand pieces."

"Not so," replied the Nightingale. "It did well as long as it could;
keep it as you have done till now. I cannot build my nest in the palace
to dwell in it, but let me come when I feel the wish; then I will sit in
the evening on the spray yonder by the window, and sing for you, so
that you may be glad and thoughtful at once. I will sing of those who
are happy and of those who suffer. I will sing of good and of evil that
remain hidden round about you. The little singing bird flies far around,
to the poor fisherman, to the peasant's roof, to every one who dwells
far away from you and from your court. I love your heart more than your
crown, and yet the crown has an air of sanctity about it. I will come
and sing to you--but one thing you must promise me."

"Everything!" said the Emperor; and he stood there in his royal robes,
which he had put on himself, and pressed the sword which was heavy with
gold to his heart.

"One thing I beg of you: tell no one that you have a little bird who
tells you everything. Then all will go well."

And the Nightingale flew away.

The servants came in to look on their dead Emperor, and--yes, there he
stood, and the Emperor said, "Good-morning!"


From 'The Story of My Life'

If the reader was a child who lived in Odense, he would just need to say
the words "St. Knud's Fair," and it would rise before him in the
brightest colors, lighted by the beams of childish fancy.... Somewhere
near the middle of the town, five streets meet and make a little
square.... There the town crier, in striped homespun, with a yellow
bandoleer, beat his drum and proclaimed from a scroll the splendid
things to be seen in the town.

"He beats a good drum," said the chamberlain.

"It would delight Spontini and Rossini to hear the fellow," said
William. "Really, Odense at New Year would just suit these composers.
The drums and fifes are in their glory. They drum the New Year in. Seven
or eight little drummers, or fifers, go from door to door, with troops
of children and old women, and they beat the drum-taps and the reveille.
That fetches the pennies. Then when the New Year is well drummed in the
city, they go into the country and drum for meat and porridge. The
drumming in of the New Year lasts until Lent."

"And then we have new sports," said the chamberlain. "The fishers come
from Stege with a full band, and on their shoulders a boat with all
sorts of flags.... Then they lay a board between two boats, and on this
two of the youngest and spryest wrestle till one falls into the
water.... But all the fun's gone now. When I was young, there was
different sport going. That was a sight! the corporation procession with
the banners and the harlequin atop, and at Shrovetide, when the butchers
led about an ox decked with ribbons and carnival twigs, with a boy on
his back with wings and a little shirt.... All that's past now, people
are got so fine. St. Knud's Fair is not what it used to be."

"Well, I'm glad it isn't," said William; "but let us go into the market
and look at the Jutlanders, who are sitting with their pottery
amidst the hay."

Just as the various professions in the Middle Ages had each its quarter,
so here the shoemakers had ranged their tables side by side, and behind
them stood the skillful workman in his long coat, and with his
well-brushed felt hat in his hand. Where the shoemakers' quarter ended,
the hatters' began, and there one was in the midst of the great market
where tents and booths formed many parallel streets. The milliners, the
goldsmiths, the pastry cooks, with booths of canvas and wood, were the
chief attractions. Ribbons and handkerchiefs fluttered. Noise and bustle
was everywhere. The girls from the same village always went in rows,
seven or eight inseparables, with hands fast clasped. It was impossible
to break the chain; and if you tried to pass through, the whole band
wound itself into a clump. Behind the booth was a great space with
wooden shoes, pottery, turners' and saddlers' wares. Rude and rough toys
were spread on tables. Around them children were trying little trumpets,
or moving about the playthings. Country girls twirled and twisted the
work-boxes and themselves many a time before making their bargain. The
air was thick and heavy with odors that were spiced with the smell of

On Fair day, St. Knud's Church and all its tombs are open to the public.
From whatever side you look at this fine old building it has something
imposing, with its high tower and spire. The interior produces the same,
perhaps a greater, effect. But its full impression is not felt on
entering it, nor until you get to the main aisle. There all is grand,
beautiful, light. The whole interior is bright with gilding. Up in the
high vaulted roof there shine, since old time, a multitude of golden
stars. On both sides, high up above the side aisles, are great gothic
windows from which the light streams down. The side aisles are painted
with oil portraits, whole families, women and children, all in clerical
dress, with long gowns and deep ruffs. Usually the figures are ranged by
ages, the eldest first and then down to the very smallest.

They all stand with folded hands, and look piously down before them,
till their colors have gradually faded away in dust.


From 'The Story of My Life'

I heard on the morning of December 6th [1867] that the town was
decorated, that all the schools had a holiday, because it was my
festival. I felt myself as humble, meek, and poor as though I stood
before my God. Every weakness or error or sin, in thought, word, and
deed, was revealed to me. All stood out strangely clear in my soul, as
though it were doomsday--and it was my festival. God knows how humble I
felt when men exalted and honored me so.

Then came the first telegram from the Student Club. I saw that they
shared and did not envy my joy. Then came a dispatch from a private club
of students in Copenhagen, and from the Artisans' Club of Slagelse. You
will remember that I went to school in that town, and was therefore
attached to it. Soon followed messages from sympathetic friends in
Aarhuus, in Stege; telegram on telegram from all around. One of these
was read aloud by Privy Councillor Koch. It was from the king. The
assembly burst out in applause. Every cloud and shadow in my
soul vanished!

How happy I was! And yet man must not exalt himself. I was to feel that
I was only a poor child of humanity, bound by the frailty of earth. I
suffered from a dreadful toothache, which was increased unbearably by
the heat and excitement. Yet at evening I read a Wonder Story for the
little friends. Then the deputation came from the town corporations,
with torches and waving banners through the street, to the guild-hall.
And now the prophecy was to be fulfilled that the old woman gave when I
left home as a boy. Odense was to be illuminated for me. I stepped to
the open window. All was aglow with torchlight, the square was filled
with people. Songs swelled up to me. I was overcome, emotionally.
Physically racked with pain, I could not enjoy this crowning fruit of my
life, the toothache was so intolerable. The ice-cold air that blew
against me fanned the pain to an awful intensity, and, instead of
enjoying the bliss of these never-to-be-repeated moments, I looked at
the printed song to see how many verses had to be sung before I could
step away from the torture which the cold air sent through my teeth. It
was the acme of suffering. As the glow of the piled-up torches subsided,
my pain subsided too. How thankful I was, though! Gentle eyes were
fastened upon me all around. All wanted to speak with me, to press my
hand. Tired out, I reached the bishop's house and sought rest. But I got
no sleep till toward morning, so filled and overflowing was I.


From 'The Improvisatore': Translation by Mary Howitt

On Wednesday afternoon began the Miserere in the Sixtine Chapel. My soul
longed for music; in the world of melody I could find sympathy and
consolation. The throng was great, even within the chapel--the foremost
division was already filled with ladies. Magnificent boxes, hung with
velvet and golden draperies for royal personages and foreigners from
various courts, were here erected so high that they looked out beyond
the richly carved railing which separated the ladies from the interior
of the chapel. The papal Swiss Guards stood in their bright festal
array. The officers wore light armor, and in their helmets a waving
plume.... The old cardinals entered in their magnificent scarlet velvet
cloaks, with their white ermine capes, and seated themselves side by
side in a great half-circle within the barrier, while the priests who
had carried their trains seated themselves at their feet. By the little
side door of the altar the holy father now entered, in his scarlet
mantle and silver tiara. He ascended his throne. Bishops swung the
vessels of incense around him, while young priests, in scarlet
vestments, knelt, with lighted torches in their hands, before him and
the high altar.

The reading of the lessons began. But it was impossible to keep the
eyes fixed on the lifeless letters of the Missal--they raised
themselves, with the thoughts, to the vast universe which Michael Angelo
has breathed forth in colors upon the ceiling and the walls. I
contemplated his mighty sibyls and wondrously glorious prophets,--every
one of them a subject for a painting. My eyes drank in the magnificent
processions, the beautiful groups of angels; they were not, to me,
painted pictures;--all stood living before me. The rich tree of
knowledge, from which Eve gave the fruit to Adam; the Almighty God, who
floated over the waters,--not borne up by angels, as the older masters
had represented him--no, the company of angels rested upon him and his
fluttering garments. It is true, I had seen these pictures before, but
never as now had they seized upon me. My excited state of mind, the
crowd of people, perhaps even the lyric of my thoughts, made me
wonderfully alive to poetical impressions; and many a poet's heart has
felt as mine did!

The bold foreshortenings, the determinate force with which every figure
steps forward, is amazing, and carries one quite away! It is a spiritual
Sermon on the Mount, in color and form. Like Raphael, we stand in
astonishment before the power of Michael Angelo. Every prophet is a
Moses, like that which he formed in marble. What giant forms are those
which seize upon our eye and our thoughts as we enter! But when
intoxicated with this view, let us turn our eyes to the background of
the chapel, whose whole wall is a high altar of art and thought. The
great chaotic picture, from the floor to the roof, shows itself there
like a jewel, of which all the rest is only the setting. We see there
the Last Judgment.

Christ stands in judgment upon the clouds, and his Mother and the
Apostles stretch forth their hands beseechingly for the poor human race.
The dead raise the gravestones under which they have lain; blessed
spirits adoring, float upward to God, while the abyss seizes its
victims. Here one of the ascending spirits seeks to save his condemned
brother, whom the abyss already embraces in its snaky folds. The
children of despair strike their clenched fists upon their brows, and
sink into the depths! In bold foreshortenings, float and tumble whole
legions between heaven and earth. The sympathy of the angels, the
expression of lovers who meet, the child that at the sound of the
trumpet clings to the mother's breast, are so natural and beautiful
that one believes one's self to be among those who are waiting for
judgment. Michael Angelo has expressed in colors what Dante saw and has
sung to the generations of the earth.

The descending sun at that moment threw his last beams in through the
uppermost window. Christ, and the blessed around him, were strongly
lighted up; while the lower part, where the dead arose, and the demons
thrust their boat laden with the damned from the shore, were almost
in darkness.

Just as the sun went down the last lesson was ended, the last light
which now remained was extinguished, and the whole picture world
vanished in the gloom from before me; but in that same moment burst
forth music and singing. That which color had bodily revealed arose now
in sound; the day of judgment, with its despair and its exultation,
resounded above us.

The father of the church, stripped of his papal pomp, stood before the
altar, and prayed to the holy cross; and upon the wings of the trumpet
resounded the trembling choir, 'Populus meus quid feci tibi?' Soft
angel-tones rose above the deep song, tones which ascended not from a
human breast: it was not a man's nor a woman's; it belonged to the world
of spirits; it was like the weeping of angels dissolved in melody.


(Sixth Century A.D.)

Among the triad of singers--Llywarch, prince and bard, Aneurin, warrior
and bard, and Taliessin, bard only--who were among the followers of the
heroic British chief Urien, when he bravely but unsuccessfully resisted
the invasion of the victorious Angles and Saxons, Aneurin was famous
both as poet and warrior. He sang of the long struggle that eventually
was to turn Briton into England, and celebrated in his 'Gododin' ninety
of the fallen Cymric chiefs. The notes of his life are scanty, and are
drawn chiefly from his allusion to himself in his poem. He was the son
of Cwm Cawlwyd, a chief of the tribe of Gododin. He seems to have been
educated at St. Cadoc's College at Llancarvan, and afterwards entered
the bardic order. As appears from the 'Gododin,' he was present at the
battle of Cattræth both as bard and as priest. He fled, but was taken
prisoner. In his poem he refers to the hardships he endured in his
captivity. After his release he returned to Llancarvan, Wales, and in
his old age he went north to live with his brother in Galloway. Here he
was murdered; his death is referred to as one of the "three accursed
hatchet-strokes of the isle of Britain." His friendship with Taliessin
is commemorated by both bards.

The 'Gododin' is at once the longest and the most important composition
in early Welsh literature. It has been variously interpreted, but is
thought to celebrate the battle of Cattræth. This battle was fought in
570 between the Britons, who had formed a league to defend their
country, and their Teutonic invaders. It "began on a Tuesday, lasted for
a week, and ended with great slaughter of the Britons, who fought
desperately till they perished on the field." Three hundred and sixty
chieftains were slain; only three escaped by flight, among whom was
Aneurin, who afterwards commemorated the slaughter in the 'Gododin,' a
lament for the dead. Ninety-seven of the stanzas remain. In various
measures of alliterative and assonant verse they sing the praises of
ninety of the fallen chiefs, usually giving one stanza to each hero. One
of these stanzas is known to readers of Gray, who translated it under
the name of 'The Death of Hoel.'

Again the 'Gododin' is assumed to be, like many early epic poems whose
origin is wrapped in mystery, not the commemoration of one single,
particular event, but a collection of lays composed at various times,
which compresses into one battle the long and disastrous period of the
Anglo-Saxon invasion, ending in the subjugation of the Britons.

But whatever its history, the 'Gododin' is one of the finest monuments
of Cymric literature. "In the brevity of the narrative, the careless
boldness of the actors as they present themselves, the condensed energy
of the action, and the fierce exultation of the slaughter, together with
the recurring elegiac note, this poem (or poems if it be the work of two
authors) has some of the highest epic qualities. The ideas and manners
are in harmony with the age and the country to which it is referred."

Like all early songs, the poem was handed down through centuries by oral
tradition. It is now preserved in the 'Book of Aneurin,' a small quarto
manuscript of nineteen leaves of vellum, of the end of the
thirteenth century.

The 'Gododin' has been published with an English translation and notes
by the Rev. J. Williams (1852); and by the Cymmrodorion Society, with a
translation by Thomas Stevens, in 1885. Interesting information covering
it may be found in Skene's 'Four Ancient Books of Wales' (1866), and in
the article 'Celtic Literature' in this work.


[During the battle a conference was held, at which the British leaders
demanded as a condition of peace that part of the land of Gododin be
restored. In reply, the Saxons killed Owain, one of the greatest of the
Cymric bards. Aneurin thus pictures him:--]

     A man in thought, a boy in form,
     He stoutly fought, and sought the storm
     Of flashing war that thundered far.
     His courser, lank and swift, thick-maned,
     Bore on his flank, as on he strained,
     The light-brown shield, as on he sped,
     With golden spur, in cloak of fur,
     His blue sword gleaming. Be there said
     No word of mine that does not hold thee dear!
     Before thy youth had tasted bridal cheer,
     The red death was thy bride! The ravens feed
     On thee yet straining to the front, to lead.
     Owain, the friend I loved, is dead!
     Woe is it that on him the ravens feed!


[From various expressions used by Aneurin in different parts of his
great poem, it is evident that the warriors of whom he sang fortified
themselves, before entering the field of battle, with unstinted
libations of that favorite intoxicant of those days, sweet mead. He
mentions the condition of the warriors as they started for the fray, and
tells of Hoel's fate. This son of Cian had married the daughter of one
of the Bryneish. His marriage caused no abatement of a feud existing
between the tribes to which the husband and wife respectively belonged.
He repudiated her family, disdained to take her away, and was sought and
slain by her insulted father.]

     The warriors marched to Cattræth, full of mead;
     Drunken, but firm of array: great the shame,
     But greater the valor no bard can defame.
     The war-dogs fought fiercely, red swords seemed to bleed.
     Flesh and soul, I had slain thee, myself, had I thought,
     Son of Cian, my friend, that thy faith had been bought
     By a bribe from the tribe of the Bryneish! But no;
     He scorned to take dowry from hands of the foe,
     And I, all unhurt, lost a friend in the fight,
     Whom the wrath of a father felled down for the slight.


[The bard tells the story of Gwrveling's revelry, impulsive bravery, and
final slaughter of the foe before yielding to their prowess.]

     Light of lights--the sun,
       Leader of the day,
     First to rise and run
       His appointed way,
     Crowned with many a ray,
       Seeks the British sky;
     Sees the flight's dismay,
       Sees the Britons fly.
     The horn in Eiddin's hall
       Had sparkled with the wine,
     And thither, at a call
       To drink and be divine,
     He went, to share the feast
       Of reapers, wine and mead.
     He drank, and so increased
       His daring for wild deed.
     The reapers sang of war
       That lifts its shining wings,
       Its shining wings of fire,
     Its shields that flutter far.
     The bards, too, sang of war,
     Of plumed and crested war;
     The song rose ever higher.
         Not a shield
       Escapes the shock,
         To the field
       They fiercely flock,--
         There to fall.
         But of all
     Who struck on giant Gwrveling,
     Whom he would he struck again,
     All he struck in grave were lain,
     Ere the bearers came to bring
     To his grave stout Gwrveling.



The earliest recorded utterances of a race, whether in poetry or in
prose, become to the representatives of this race in later days a
treasure beyond price. The value of such monuments of the remote past is
manifold. In them we first begin to become really acquainted with
ancestors of the people of to-day, even though we may have read in the
pages of earlier writers of alien descent much that is of great
concurrent interest. Through the medium of the native saga, epic, and
meagre chronicle, we see for the first time their real though dim
outlines, moving in and out of the mists that obscure the dawn of
history; and these outlines become more and more distinct as the
literary remains of succeeding periods become more abundant and present
more varied aspects of life. We come gradually to know what manner of
men and women were these ancestors, what in peace and in war were their
customs, what their family and social relations, their food and drink,
their dress, their systems of law and government, their religion and
morals, what were their art instincts, what were their ideals.

This is essential material for the construction of history in its
complete sense. And this evidence, when subjected to judicious
criticism, is trustworthy; for the ancient story-teller and poet
reflects the customs and ideas and ideals of his own time, even though
the combination of agencies and the preternatural proportions of the
actors and their deeds belong to the imagination. The historian must
know how to supplement and to give life and interest to the colorless
succession of dates, names, and events of the chronicler, by means of
these imaginative yet truth-bearing creations of the poet.

Remnants of ancient poetry and legend have again an immediate value in
proportion as they exhibit a free play of fine imagination; that is,
according as they possess the power of stirring to response the
aesthetic feeling of subsequent ages,--as they possess the true poetic
quality. This gift of imagination varies greatly among races as among
individuals, and the earliest manifestations of it frequently throw a
clear light upon apparently eccentric tendencies developed in a
literature in later times.

For these reasons, added to a natural family pride in them, the early
literary monuments of the Anglo-Saxons should be cherished by us as
among the most valued possessions of the race.

The first Teutonic language to be reduced to writing was the
Moeso-Gothic. Considerable portions of a translation of the Bible into
that language, made by Bishop Ulfilas in the fourth century, still
remain. But this cannot be called the beginning of a literature; for
there is no trace of original creative impulse. The Gothic movement,
too, seems to have ceased immediately after its beginning. It is
elsewhere that we must seek for the rise of a real Teutonic literature.
We shall not find it till after the lapse of several centuries; and we
find it not among the tribes that remained in the fatherland, nor with
those that had broken into and conquered parts of the Roman empire, only
to be absorbed and to blend with other races into Romanic nations. The
proud distinction belongs to the Low German tribes that had created an
England in Britain.

The conquest of Britain by the Anglo-Saxons, begun in 449, seemed at
first to promise only retrogression and the ruin of an existing
civilization. These fierce barbarians found among the Celts of Britain a
Roman culture, and the Christian religion exerting its influence for
order and humanity. Their mission seemed to be to destroy both. In their
original homes in the forests of northern Germany, they had come little
if at all into contact with Roman civilization. At any rate, we may
assume that they had felt no Roman influence capable of stemming their
national and ethnical tendencies. We cannot yet solve the difficult
problem of the extent of their mingling with the conquered Celts in
Britain. In spite of learned opinions to the contrary, the evidence now
available seems to point to only a small infusion of Celtic blood. The
conquerors seem to have settled down to their new homes with all the
heathenism and most of the barbarism they had brought from their old
home, a Teutonic people still.

In these ruthless, plundering barbarians, whose very breath was battle,
and who seemed for the time the very genius of disorder and ruin, there
existed, nevertheless, potentialities of humanity, order, and
enlightenment far exceeding those of the system they displaced. In all
their barbarism there was a certain nobility; their courage was
unflinching; the fidelity, even unto death, of thane to lord, repaid the
open-handed generosity of lord to thane; they honored truth; and even
after we allow for the exaggerated claims made for a chivalrous devotion
that did not exist, we find that they held their women in higher respect
than was usual even among many more enlightened peoples.

There are few more remarkable narratives in history than that of the
facility and enthusiasm with which the Anglo-Saxons, a people
conservative then as now to the degree of extreme obstinacy, accepted
Christianity and the new learning which followed in the train of the
new religion. After a few lapses into paganism in some localities, we
find these people, who lately had swept Christian Britain with fire and
sword, themselves became most zealous followers of Christ. Under the
influence of the Roman missionaries who, under St. Augustine, had begun
their work in the south in 597 among the Saxons and Jutes, and under the
combined influence of Irish and Roman missionaries in the north and east
among the Angles, theological and secular studies were pursued with
avidity. By the end of the seventh century we find Anglo-Saxon
missionaries, with St. Boniface at their head, carrying Christianity and
enlightenment to the pagan German tribes on the Continent.

The torch had been passed to the Anglo-Saxon, and a new centre of
learning, York,--the old Roman capital, now the chief city of the
Northumbrian Angles,--became famous throughout Europe. Indeed, York
seemed for a time the chief hope for preserving and advancing Christian
culture; for the danger of a relapse into dense ignorance had become
imminent in the rest of Europe. Bede, born about 673, a product of this
Northumbrian culture, represented the highest learning of his day. He
wrote a vast number of works in Latin, treating nearly all the branches
of knowledge existing in his day. Alcuin, another Northumbrian, born
about 735, was called by Charlemagne to be tutor for himself and his
children, and to organize the educational system of his realm. Other
great names might be added to show the extent and brilliancy of the new
learning. It was more remarkable among the Angles; and only at a later
day, when the great schools of the north had gone up in fire and smoke
in the pitiless invasion of the Northmen, did the West Saxons become the
leaders, almost the only representatives, of the literary impulse among
the Anglo-Saxons.

It is significant that the first written English that we know of
contains the first Christian English king's provision for peace and
order in his kingdom. The laws of Athelbert, King of Kent, who died in
616, were written down early in the seventh century. This code, as it
exists, is the oldest surviving monument of English prose. The laws of
Ine, King of the West Saxons, were put into writing about 690. These
collections can scarcely be said to have a literary value; but they are
of the utmost importance as throwing light upon the early customs of our
race, and the laws of Ine may be considered as the foundation of modern
English law. Many of these laws were probably much older; but they were
now first codified and systematically enforced. The language employed is
direct, almost crabbed; but occasionally the Anglo-Saxon love of figure
shows itself. To illustrate, I quote, after Brooke, from Earle's
'Anglo-Saxon Literature,' page 153:--

     "In case any one burn a tree in a wood, and it came to light
     who did it, let him pay the full penalty, and give sixty
     shillings, _because fire is a thief_. If one fell in a wood
     ever so many trees, and it be found out afterwards, let him
     pay for three trees, each with thirty shillings. He is not
     required to pay for more of them, however many they may be,
     _because the axe is a reporter, and not a thief_." [The
     italicized sentences are evidently current sayings.]

But even these remains, important and interesting as they are, may not
be called the beginning of a vernacular literature. It is among the
Angles of Northumbria that we shall find the earliest native and truly
literary awakening in England. Here we perceive the endeavor to do
something more than merely to aid the memory of men in preserving
necessary laws and records of important events. The imagination had
become active. The impulse was felt to give expression to deep emotions,
to sing the deeds and noble character of some hero embodying the
loftiest ideals of the time and the race, to utter deep religious
feeling. There was an effort to do this in a form showing harmony in
theme and presentation. Here we find displayed a feeling for art, often
crude, but still a true and native impulse. This activity produced or
gave definite form to the earliest Anglo-Saxon poetry, a poetry often of
a very high quality; perhaps never of the highest, but always of intense
interest. We may claim even a greater distinction for the early fruit of
Anglo-Saxon inspiration. Mr. Stopford Brooke says:--"With the exception
of perhaps a few Welsh and Irish poems, it is the only vernacular poetry
in Europe, outside of the classic tongues, which belongs to so early a
time as the seventh and eighth centuries."

The oldest of these poems belong in all save their final form to the
ancient days in Northern Germany. They bear evidence of transmission,
with varying details, from gleeman to gleeman, till they were finally
carried over to England and there edited, often with discordant
interpolations and modifications, by Christian scribes. Tacitus tells us
that at his time songs or poems were a marked feature in the life of the
Germans; but we cannot trace the clue further. To these more ancient
poems many others were added by Christian Northumbrian poets, and we
find that a large body of poetry had grown up in the North before the
movement was entirely arrested by the destroying Northmen. Not one of
these poems, unless we except a few fragmentary verses, has come down to
us in the Northumbrian dialect. Fortunately they had been transcribed by
the less poetically gifted West Saxons into theirs, and it is in this
form that we possess them.

This poetry shows in subject and in treatment very considerable range.
We have a great poem, epic in character; poems partly narrative and
partly descriptive; poems that may be classed as lyric or elegiac in
character; a large body of verse containing a paraphrase of portions of
the Bible; a collection of 'Riddles'; poems on animals, with morals; and
others difficult to classify.

The regular verse-form was the alliterative, four-accent line, broken by
a strongly marked cæsura into two half-lines, which were in early
editions printed as short lines. The verse was occasionally extended to
six accents. In the normal verse there were two alliterated words in the
first half of the line, each of which received a strong accent; in the
second half there was one accented word in alliteration with the
alliterated words in the first half, and one other accented word not in
alliteration. A great license was allowed as to the number of unaccented
syllables, and as to their position in regard to the accented ones; and
this lent great freedom and vigor to the verse. When well constructed
and well read, it must have been very effective. There were of course
many variations from the normal number, three, of alliterated words, as
it would be impossible to find so many for every line.

Something of the quality of this verse-form may be felt in translations
which aim at the same effect. Notice the result in the following from
Professor Gummere's version of as election from 'Beowulf':--

     "Then the warriors went, as the way was showed to them,
          Under Heorot's roof; the hero stepped,
          Hardy 'neath helm, till the hearth he neared."

In these verses it will be noted that the alliteration is complete in
the first and third, and that in the second it is incomplete.

A marked feature of the Anglo-Saxon poetry is parallelism, or the
repetition of an idea by means of new phrases or epithets, most
frequently within the limits of a single sentence. This proceeds from
the desire to emphasize attributes ascribed to the deity, or to some
person or object prominent in the sentence. But while the added epithets
have often a cumulative force, and are picturesque, yet it must be
admitted that they sometimes do not justify their introduction. This may
be best illustrated by an example. The following, in the translation of
Earle, is Cædmon's first hymn, composed between 658 and 680, and the
earliest piece of Anglo-Saxon poetry that we know to have had its origin
in England:--

     "Now shall we glorify the guardian of heaven's realm,
     The Maker's might and the thought of his mind;
     The work of the Glory-Father, how He of every wonder,
          He, the Lord eternal, laid the foundation.
          He shaped erst for the sons of men
          Heaven, their roof, Holy Creator;
          The middle world, He, mankind's sovereign,
          Eternal captain, afterwards created,
          The land for men, Lord Almighty."

Many of the figurative expressions are exceedingly vigorous and poetic;
some to our taste not so much so. Note the epithets in "the lank wolf,"
"the wan raven," "bird greedy for slaughter," "the dewy-winged eagle,"
"dusky-coated," "crooked-beaked," "horny-beaked," "the maid,
fair-cheeked," "curly-locked," "elf-bright." To the Anglo-Saxon poet,
much that we call metaphorical was scarcely more than literal statement.
As the object pictured itself to his responsive imagination, he
expressed it with what was to him a direct realism. His lines are filled
with a profusion of metaphors of every degree of effectiveness. To him
the sea was "the water-street," "the swan-path," "the strife of the
waves," "the whale-path"; the ship was "the foamy-necked floater," "the
wave-farer," "the sea-wood," "the sea-horse"; the arrow was "the battle
adder"; the battle was "spear-play," "sword-play"; the prince was "the
ring-giver," "the gold-friend"; the throne was "the gift-stool"; the
body, "the bone-house"; the mind, "the breast-hoard."

Indeed, as it has been pointed out by many writers, the metaphor is
almost the only figure of the Anglo-Saxon poetry. The more developed
simile belongs to a riper and more reflective culture, and is
exceedingly rare in this early native product. It has been noted that
'Beowulf,' a poem of three thousand one hundred and eighty-four lines,
contains only four or five simple similes, and only one that is fully
carried out. "The ship glides away likest to a bird," "The monster's
eyes gleam like fire," are simple examples cited by Ten Brink, who gives
also the elaborate one, "The sword-hilt melted, likened to ice, when the
Father looseneth the chain of frost, and unwindeth the wave-ropes." But
even this simile is almost obliterated by the crowding metaphors.

Intensity, an almost abrupt directness, a lack of explanatory detail,
are more general characteristics, though in greatly varying degrees. As
some critic has well said, the Anglo-Saxon poet seems to presuppose a
knowledge of his subject-matter by those he addresses. Such a style is
capable of great swiftness of movement, and is well suited to rapid
description and narrative; but at times roughness or meagreness results.

The prevailing tone is one of sadness. In the lyric poetry, this is so
decided that all the Anglo-Saxon lyrics have been called elegies. This
note seems to be the echo of the struggle with an inhospitable climate,
dreary with rain, ice, hail, and snow; and of the uncertainties of life,
and the certainty of death. Suffering was never far off, and everything
was in the hands of Fate. This is true at least of the earlier poetry,
and the note is rarely absent even in the Christian lyrics. A more
cheerful strain is sometimes heard, as in the 'Riddles,' but it is
rather the exception; and any alleged humor is scarcely more than a
suspicion. Love and sentiment, in the modern sense, are not made the
subject of Anglo-Saxon poetry, and this must mean that they did not
enter into the Anglo-Saxon life with the same intensity as into modern
life. The absence of this beautiful motive has, to some degree, its
compensation in the exceeding moral purity of the whole literature. It
is doubtful whether it has its equal in this respect.

Anglo-Saxon prose displays, as a general thing, a simple, direct, and
clear style. There is, of course, a considerable difference between the
prose of the earlier and that of the later period, and individual
writers show peculiarities. It displays throughout a marked contrast
with the poetic style, in its freedom from parallelisms in thought and
phrase, from inversions, archaisms, and the almost excessive wealth of
metaphor and epithet. In its early stages, there is apparent perhaps a
poverty of resource, a lack of flexibility; but this charge cannot be
sustained against the best prose of the later period. In the
translations from the Latin it shows a certain stiffness, and becomes
sometimes involved, in the too conscientious effort of the translator to
follow the classic original.

No attempt will be made here to notice, or even to name, all the large
number of literary works of the Anglo-Saxons. It must be sufficient to
examine briefly a few of the most important and characteristic
productions of this really remarkable and prolific movement.

The 'Song of Widsith, the Far Traveler,' is now generally conceded to
be, in part at least, the oldest existing Anglo-Saxon poem. We do not
know when it assumed its present form; but it is certain that it was
after the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons, since it has interpolations
from the Christian scribe. The poem seems to give evidence of being a
growth from an original song by a wandering scôp, or poet, who claims to
have visited the Gothic king Eormanric, "the grim violator of treaties,"
who died in 375 or 376. But other kings are mentioned who lived in the
first half of the sixth century. It is probable, then, that it was begun
in the fourth century, and having been added to by successive gleemen,
as it was transmitted orally, was finally completed in the earlier part
of the sixth. It was then carried over to England, and there first
written down in Northumbria. It possesses great interest because of its
antiquity, and because of the light it throws upon the life of the
professional singer in those ancient times among the Teutons. It has a
long list of kings and places, partly historical, partly mythical or not
identified. The poem, though narrative and descriptive, is also lyrical.
We find here the strain of elegiac sadness, of regretful retrospection,
so generally present in Anglo-Saxon poetry of lyric character, and
usually much more pronounced than in 'Widsith.'

'Beowulf' is, in many respects, the most important poetical monument of
the Anglo-Saxons. The poem is undoubtedly of heathen origin, and the
evidence that it was a gradual growth, the result of grouping several
distinct songs around one central figure, seems unmistakable. We may
trace it, in its earliest stages, to the ancient home of the Angles in
North Germany. It was transplanted to England in the migration of the
tribes, and was edited in the present form by some unknown Northumbrian
poet. When this occurred we do not know certainly, but there seems good
reason for assuming the end of the seventh or the beginning of the
eighth century as the time.

The poem is epic in cast and epic in proportion. Although, judged by the
Homeric standard, it falls short in many respects of the complete form,
yet it may without violence be called an epic. The central figure,
Beowulf, a nobly conceived hero, possessing immense strength,
unflinching courage, a never-swerving sense of honor, magnanimity, and
generosity, the friend and champion of the weak against evil however
terrible, is the element of unity in the whole poem. It is in itself a
great honor to the race that they were able to conceive as their ideal a
hero so superior in all that constitutes true nobility to the Greek
ideal, Achilles. It is true that the poem consists of two parts,
connected by little more than the fact that they have the same hero at
different times of life; that episodes are introduced that do not blend
perfectly into the unity of the poem; and that there is a lack of repose
and sometimes of lucidity. Yet there is a dignity and vigor, and a large
consistency in the treatment of the theme, that is epic. Ten Brink
says:--"The poet's intensity is not seldom imparted to the listener....
The portrayals of battles, although much less realistic than the Homeric
descriptions, are yet at times superior to them, in so far as the
demoniac rage of war elicits from the Germanic fancy a crowding
affluence of vigorous scenes hastily projected in glittering lights of
grim half gloom." In addition to its great poetic merit, 'Beowulf' is of
the greatest importance to us on account of the many fine pictures of
ancient Teutonic life it presents.

In the merest outline, the argument of 'Beowulf' is as
follows:--Hrothgar, King of the Gar-Danes, has built a splendid hall,
called Heorot. This is the scene of royal festivity until a monster from
the fen, Grendel, breaks into it by night and devours thirty of the
king's thanes. From that time the hall is desolate, for no one can cope
with Grendel, and Hrothgar is in despair. Beowulf, the noble hero of the
Geats, in Sweden, hears of the terrible calamity, and with fourteen
companions sails across the sea to undertake the adventure. Hrothgar
receives him joyfully, and after a splendid banquet gives Heorot into
his charge. During the following night, Beowulf is attacked by Grendel;
and after one of his companions has been slain, he tears out the arm of
the monster, who escapes, mortally hurt, to his fen. On the morrow all
is rejoicing; but when night falls, the monster's mother attacks Heorot,
and kills Hrothgar's favorite thane. The next day, Beowulf pursues her
to her den under the waters of the fen, and after a terrific combat
slays her. The hero returns home to Sweden laden with gifts. This ends
the main thread of the first incident. In the second incident, after an
interval of fifty years, we find Beowulf an old man. He has been for
many years king of the Geats. A fire-breathing dragon, the guardian of a
great treasure, is devastating the land. The heroic old king,
accompanied by a party of thanes, attacks the dragon. All the thanes
save one are cowardly; but the old hero, with the aid of the faithful
one, slays the dragon, not, however, till he is fatally injured. Then
follow his death and picturesque burial.

In this sketch, stirring episodes, graphic descriptions, and fine
effects are all sacrificed. The poem itself is a noble one and the
English people may well be proud of preserving in it the first epic
production of the Teutonic race.

The 'Fight at Finnsburg' is a fine fragment of epic cast. The Finn saga
is at least as old as the Beowulf poem, since the gleeman at Hrothgar's
banquet makes it his theme. From the fragment and the gleeman's song we
perceive that the situation here is much more complex than is usual in
Anglo-Saxon poems, and involves a tragic conflict of passion.
Hildeburh's brother is slain through the treachery of her husband, Finn;
her son, partaking of Finn's faithlessness, falls at the hands of her
brother's men; in a subsequent counterplot, her husband is slain.
Besides the extraordinary vigor of the narrative, the theme has special
interest in that a woman is really the central figure, though not
treated as a heroine.

A favorite theme in the older lyric poems is the complaint of some
wandering scôp, driven from his home by the exigencies of those perilous
times. Either the singer has been bereft of his patron by death, or he
has been supplanted in his favor by some successful rival; and he passes
in sorrowful review his former happiness, and contrasts it with his
present misery. The oldest of these lyrics are of pagan origin, though
usually with Christian additions.

In the 'Wanderer,' an unknown poet pictures the exile who has fled
across the sea from his home. He is utterly lonely. He must lock his
sorrow in his heart. In his dream he embraces and kisses his lord, and
lays his head upon his knee, as of old. He awakes, and sees nothing but
the gray sea, the snow and hail, and the birds dipping their wings in
the waves. And so he reflects: the world is full of care; we are all in
the hands of Fate. Then comes the Christian sentiment: happy is he who
seeks comfort with his Father in heaven, with whom alone all things
are enduring.

Another fine poem of this class, somewhat similar to the 'Wanderer,' is
the 'Seafarer.' It is, however, distinct in detail and treatment, and
has its own peculiar beauty. In the 'Fortunes of Men,' the poet treats
the uncertainty of all things earthly, from the point of view of the
parent forecasting the ill and the good the future may bring to his
sons. 'Deor's Lament' possesses a genuine lyrical quality of high order.
The singer has been displaced by a rival, and finds consolation in his
grief from reciting the woes that others have endured, and reflects in
each instance, "That was got over, and so this may be." Other poems on
other subjects might be noticed here; as 'The Husband's Message,' where
the love of husband for wife is the theme, and 'The Ruin,' which
contains reflections suggested by a ruined city.

It is a remarkable fact that only two of these poets are known to us by
name, Cædmon and Cynewulf. We find the story of the inspiration, work,
and death of Cædmon, the earlier of these, told in the pages of Bede.
The date of his birth is not given, but his death fell in 680. He was a
Northumbrian, and was connected in a lay capacity with the great
monastery of Whitby. He was uneducated, and not endowed in his earlier
life with the gift of song. One night, after he had fled in
mortification from a feast where all were required to improvise and
sing, he received, as he slept, the divine inspiration. The next day he
made known his new gift to the authorities of the monastery. After he
had triumphantly made good his claims, he was admitted to holy orders,
and began his work of paraphrasing into noble verse portions of the
Scriptures that were read to him. Of the body of poetry that comes down
to us under his name, we cannot be sure that any is his, unless we
except the short passage given here. It is certainly the work of
different poets, and varies in merit. The evidence seems conclusive that
he was a poet of high order, that his influence was very great, and that
many others wrote in his manner. The actors and the scenery of the
Cædmonian poetry are entirely Anglo-Saxon, only the names and the
outline of the narrative being biblical; and the spirit of battle that
breathes in some passages is the same that we find in the heathen epic.

Cynewulf was most probably a Northumbrian, though this is sometimes
questioned. The dates of his birth and death are unknown. It seems
established, however, that his work belongs to the eighth century. A
great deal of controversy has arisen over a number of poems that have
been ascribed to him and denied to him with equal persistency. But we
stand upon sure ground in regard to four poems, the 'Christ,' the 'Fates
of the Apostles,' 'Juliana,' and 'Elene'; for he has signed them in
runes. If the runic enigma in the first of the 'Riddles' has been
correctly interpreted, then they, or portions of them, are his also. But
about this there is much doubt. The 'Andreas' and the 'Dream of the
Rood' may be mentioned as being of exceptional interest among the poems
that are almost certainly his. In the latter, he tells, in a personal
strain, the story of the appearance to him of the holy cross, and of his
conversion and dedication of himself to the service of Christ. The
'Elene,' generally considered the finest of his poems, is the story of
the miraculous finding of the holy cross by St. Helena, the mother of
the Emperor Constantine. The poet has lent great charm to the tradition
in his treatment. The poem sounds a triumphant note throughout, till we
reach the epilogue, where the poet speaks in his own person and in a
sadder tone.

The quality of Cynewulf's poetry is unequal; but when he is at his best,
he is a great poet and a great artist. His personality appears in direct
subjective utterance more plainly than does that of any other
Anglo-Saxon poet.

While we must pass over many fine Anglo-Saxon poems without mention,
there are two that must receive some notice. 'Judith' is an epic based
upon the book of Judith in the 'Apocrypha.' Only about one-fourth of it
has survived. The author is still unknown, in spite of many intelligent
efforts to determine to whom the honor belongs. The dates assigned to it
vary from the seventh to the tenth century; here, too, uncertainty
prevails: but we are at least sure that it is one of the best of the
Anglo-Saxon poems. It has been said that this work shows a more definite
plan and more conscious art than any other Anglo-Saxon poem. Brooke
finds it sometimes conventional in the form of expression, and denies it
the highest rank for that reason. But he does not seem to sustain the
charge. The two principal characters, the dauntless Judith and the
brutal Holofernes, stand out with remarkable distinctness, and a fine
dramatic quality has been noted by several critics. The epithets and
metaphors, the description of the drunken debauch, and the swift,
powerful narrative of the battle and the rout of the Assyrians, are in
the best Anglo-Saxon epic strain. The poem is distinctly Christian; for
the Hebrew heroine, with a naïve anachronism, prays thus: "God of
Creation, Spirit of Consolation, Son of the Almighty, I pray for Thy
mercy to me, greatly in need of it. Glory of the Trinity."

'The Battle of Maldon' is a ballad, containing an account of a fight
between the Northmen and the East Saxons under the Aldorman, Byrhtnoth.
The incident is mentioned in one MS. of the Chronicle under the date of
991; in another, under the date of 993. The poem is exceedingly graphic.
The poet seems filled with intense feeling, and may have been a
spectator, or may indeed have taken part in the struggle. He tells how
the brave old Aldorman disdains to use the advantage of his position,
which bade fair to give him victory. Like a boy, he cannot take a dare,
but fatuously allows the enemy to begin the battle upon an equal footing
with his own men. He pays for his noble folly with his life and the
defeat of his army. The devotion of the Aldorman's hearth-companions,
who refuse to survive their lord, and with brave words meet their death,
is finely described. But not all are true; some, who have been
especially favored, ignobly flee. These are treated with the racial
contempt for cowards. The poem has survived in fragmentary form, and the
name of the poet is not known.

As distinguished from all poetical remains of such literature, the
surviving prose of the Anglo-Saxons, though extensive, and of the
greatest interest and value, is less varied in subject and manner than
their poetry. It admits of brief treatment. The earliest known specimens
of Anglo-Saxon prose writing have been already mentioned. These do not
constitute the beginning of a literature, yet, with the rest of the
extensive collection of Anglo-Saxon laws that has survived, they are of
the greatest importance to students. Earle quotes Dr. Reinhold Schmid as
saying, "No other Germanic nation has bequeathed to us out of its
earliest experience so rich a treasure of original legal documents as
the Anglo-Saxon nation has,"--only another instance of the precocity of
our ancestors.

To the West Saxons belongs nearly the whole of Anglo-Saxon prose.
Whatever may have existed in Northumbria perished in the inroads of the
Northmen, except such parts as may have been incorporated in West Saxon
writings. It will be remembered, however, that the great Northumbrian
prose writers had held to the Latin as their medium. The West Saxon
prose literature may be said to begin in Alfred's reign.

The most important production that we have to consider is the famous
Anglo-Saxon 'Chronicle.' It covers with more or less completeness the
period from 449 to 1154. This was supplemented by fanciful genealogies
leading back to Woden, or even to Adam. It is not known when the
practice of jotting down in the native speech notices of contemporary
events began, but probably in very early times. It is believed, however,
that no intelligent effort to collect and present them with order and
system was made until the middle of the ninth century. In the oldest of
the seven MSS. in which it has come down to us, we have the 'Chronicle'
to 891, as it was written down in Alfred's time and probably under his

The meagreness of the earliest entries and the crudeness of the
language, together with occasional picturesque force, indicate that many
of them were drawn from current song or tradition. The style and
fullness of the entries differ greatly throughout, as might be expected,
since the 'Chronicle' is the work of so many hands. From mere bare
notices they vary to strong, full narrative and description. Indeed, the
'Chronicle' contains some of the most effective prose produced by the
Anglo-Saxons; and in one instance, under the date 937, the annalist
describes the battle of Brunanburh in a poem of considerable merit. But
we know the name of no single contributor.

This 'Chronicle' is the oldest and most important work of the kind
produced outside of the classical languages in Europe. It is meagre in
places, and its entire trustworthiness has been questioned. But it and
Bede's 'Ecclesiastical History,' supplemented by other Anglo-Saxon
writings, constitute the basis of early English history; and this fact
alone entitles it to the highest rank in importance among ancient

A large body of Anglo-Saxon prose, nearly all of it translation or
adaptation of Latin works, has come down to us under the name of King
Alfred. A peculiar interest attaches to these works. They belong to a
period when the history of England depended more than at any other time
upon the ability and devotion of one man; and that man, the most heroic
and the greatest of English kings, was himself the author of them.

When Alfred became king, in 871, his throne seemed tottering to its
fall. Practically all the rest of England was at the feet of the
ruthless Northmen, and soon Alfred himself was little better than a
fugitive. But by his military skill, which was successful if not
brilliant, and by his never-wavering devotion and English persistency,
he at last freed the southern part of the island from his merciless and
treacherous enemies, and laid the firm foundation of West Saxon
supremacy. If Alfred had failed in any respect to be the great king that
he was, English history would have been changed for all time.

Although Alfred had saved his kingdom, yet it was a kingdom almost in
ruins. The hopeful advance of culture had been entirely arrested. The
great centres of learning had been utterly destroyed in the north, and
little remained intact in the south. And even worse than this was the
demoralization of all classes, and an indisposition to renewed effort.
There was, moreover, a great scarcity of books.

Alfred showed himself as great in peace as in war, and at once set to
work to meet all those difficulties. To supply the books that were so
urgently needed, he found time in the midst of his perplexing cares to
translate from the Latin into the native speech such works as he
thought would supply the most pressing want. This was the more necessary
from the prevailing ignorance of Latin. It is likely that portions of
the works that go under his name were produced under his supervision by
carefully selected co-workers. But it is certain that in a large part of
them we may see the work of the great Alfred's own hand.

He has used his own judgment in these translations, omitting whatever he
did not think would be immediately helpful to his people, and making
such additions as he thought might be of advantage. Just these additions
have the greatest interest for us. He translated, for instance,
Orosius's 'History'; a work in itself of inferior worth, but as an
attempt at a universal history from the Christian point of view, he
thought it best suited to the needs of his people. The Anglo-Saxon
version contains most interesting additions of original matter by
Alfred. They consist of accounts of the voyages of Ohtere, a Norwegian,
who was the first, so far as we know, to sail around the North Cape and
into the White Sea, and of Wulfstan, who explored parts of the coast of
the Baltic. These narratives give us our first definite information
about the lands and people of these regions, and appear to have been
taken down by the king directly as related by the explorers. Alfred
added to this 'History' also a description of Central Europe, which
Morley calls "the only authentic record of the Germanic nations written
by a contemporary so early as the ninth century."

In Gregory's 'Pastoral Care' we have Alfred's closest translation. It is
a presentation of "the ideal Christian pastor" (Ten Brink), and was
intended for the benefit of the lax Anglo-Saxon priests. Perhaps the
work that appealed most strongly to Alfred himself was Boethius's
'Consolations of Philosophy'; and in his full translation and adaptation
of this book we see the hand and the heart of the good king. We shall
mention one other work of Alfred's, his translation of the already
frequently mentioned 'Historia Ecclesiastica Anglorum' of the Venerable
Bede. This great work Alfred, with good reason, considered to be of the
greatest possible value to his people; and the king has given it
additional value for us.

Alfred was not a great scholar. The wonder is that, in the troublous
times of his youth, he had learned even the rudiments. The language in
his translations, however, though not infrequently affected for the
worse by the Latin idiom of the original, is in the main free from
ornament of any kind, simple and direct, and reflects in its sincerity
the noble character of the great king.

The period between the death of Alfred (901) and the end of the tenth
century was deficient in works of literary value, except an entry here
and there in the 'Chronicle.' "Alfric's is the last great name in the
story of our literature before the Conquest," says Henry Morley. He
began writing about the end of the tenth century, and we do not know
when his work and his life ended. This gentle priest, as he appears to
us through his writings, following Alfred's example, wrote not from
personal ambition, but for the betterment of his fellow-men. His style
is eminently lucid, fluent, forcible, and of graceful finish. Earle
observes of it:--"The English of these Homilies is splendid; indeed, we
may confidently say that here English appears fully qualified to be the
medium of the highest learning." This is high praise, and should be well
considered by those disposed to consider the Anglo-Saxon as a rude
tongue, incapable of great development in itself, and only enabled by
the Norman infusion to give expression to a deep and broad culture.

Alfric's works in Anglo-Saxon--for he wrote also in Latin--were very
numerous, embracing two series of homilies, theological writings of many
kinds, translations of portions of the Bible, an English (Anglo-Saxon)
grammar, adapted from a Latin work, a Latin dictionary, and many other
things of great use in their day and of great interest in ours.

The names of other writers and of other single works might well be added
here. But enough has been said, perhaps, to show that a great and
hopeful development of prose took place among the West Saxons. It must
be admitted that the last years of the Anglo-Saxon nationality before
the coming of the Normans show a decline in literary productiveness of a
high order. The causes of this are to be found chiefly in the political
and ecclesiastical history of the time. Wars with the Northmen, internal
dissensions, religious controversies, the greater cultivation of Latin
by the priesthood, all contributed to it. But hopeful signs of a new
revival were not wanting. The language had steadily developed with the
enlightenment of the people, and was fast becoming fit to meet any
demands that might be made upon it, when the great catastrophe of the
Norman Conquest came, and with it practically the end of the historical
and distinctive Anglo-Saxon literature.

[Illustration: Signature: "Robert Sharp"]


[The Spear-Danes intrust the dead body of King Scyld to the sea, in a
splendidly adorned ship. He had come to them mysteriously, alone in a ship,
when an infant.]

     At the hour that was fated
     Scyld then departed to the All-Father's keeping
     War-like to wend him; away then they bare him
     To the flood of the current, his fond-loving comrades.
     As himself he had bidden, while the friend of the Scyldings
     Word-sway wielded, and the well-lovèd land prince
     Long did rule them. The ring-stemmèd vessel,
     Bark of the atheling, lay there at anchor,
     Icy in glimmer and eager for sailing;
     The beloved leader laid they down there,
     Giver of rings, on the breast of the vessel,
     The famed by the mainmast. A many of jewels,
     Of fretted embossings, from far-lands brought over,
     Was placed near at hand then; and heard I not ever
     That a folk ever furnished a float more superbly
     With weapons of warfare, weeds for the battle,
     Bills and burnies; on his bosom sparkled
     Many a jewel that with him must travel
     On the flush of the flood afar on the current.
     And favors no fewer they furnished him soothly,
     Excellent folk-gems, than others had given him
     Lone on the main, the merest of infants:
     And a gold-fashioned standard they stretched under heaven
     High o'er his head, let the holm-currents bear him,
     Seaward consigned him: sad was their spirit,
     Their mood very mournful. Men are not able
     Soothly to tell us, they in halls who reside,
     Heroes under heaven, to what haven he hied.

                            They guard the wolf-coverts,
     Lands inaccessible, wind-beaten nesses,
     Fearfullest fen-deeps, where a flood from the mountains
     'Neath mists of the nesses netherward rattles,
     The stream under earth: not far is it henceward
     Measured by mile-lengths the mere-water standeth,
     Which forests hang over, with frost-whiting covered,
     A firm-rooted forest, the floods overshadow.
     There ever at night one an ill-meaning portent,
     A fire-flood may see; 'mong children of men
     None liveth so wise that wot of the bottom;
     Though harassed by hounds the heath-stepper seek for,
     Fly to the forest, firm-antlered he-deer,
     Spurred from afar, his spirit he yieldeth,
     His life on the shore, ere in he will venture
     To cover his head. Uncanny the place is:
     Thence upward ascendeth the surging of waters,
     Wan to the welkin, when the wind is stirring
     The weather unpleasing, till the air groweth gloomy,
     Then the heavens lower.

[Beowulf has plunged into the water of the mere in pursuit of Grendel's
mother, and is a whole day in reaching the bottom. He is seized by the
monster and carried to her cavern, where the combat ensues.]

     The earl then discovered he was down in some cavern
     Where no water whatever anywise harmed him,
     And the clutch of the current could come not anear him,
     Since the roofed-hall prevented; brightness a-gleaming,
     Fire-light he saw, flashing resplendent.
     The good one saw then the sea-bottom's monster,
     The mighty mere-woman: he made a great onset
     With weapon-of-battle; his hand not desisted
     From striking; the war-blade struck on her head then
     A battle-song greedy. The stranger perceived then
     The sword would not bite, her life would not injure,
     But the falchion failed the folk-prince when straitened:
     Erst had it often onsets encountered,
     Oft cloven the helmet, the fated one's armor;
     'Twas the first time that ever the excellent jewel
     Had failed of its fame. Firm-mooded after,
     Not heedless of valor, but mindful of glory
     Was Higelac's kinsman; the hero-chief angry
     Cast then his carved-sword covered with jewels
     That it lay on the earth, hard and steel-pointed;
     He hoped in his strength, his hand-grapple sturdy.
     So any must act whenever he thinketh
     To gain him in battle glory unending,
     And is reckless of living. The lord of the War-Geats
     (He shrank not from battle) seized by the shoulder
     The mother of Grendel; then mighty in struggle
     Swung he his enemy, since his anger was kindled,
     That she fell to the floor. With furious grapple
     She gave him requital early thereafter,
     And stretched out to grab him; the strongest of warriors
     Faint-mooded stumbled, till he fell in his traces,
     Foot-going champion. Then she sat on the hall-guest
     And wielded her war-knife wide-bladed, flashing,
     For her son would take vengeance, her one only bairn,
     His breast-armor woven bode on his shoulder;
     It guarded his life, the entrance defended
     'Gainst sword-point and edges. Ecgtheow's son there
     Had fatally journeyed, champion of Geatmen,
     In the arms of the ocean, had the armor not given,
     Close-woven corselet, comfort and succor,
     And had God Most Holy not awarded the victory,
     All-knowing lord; easily did heaven's
     Ruler most righteous arrange it with justice;
     Uprose he erect ready for battle.
     Then he saw 'mid the war-gems a weapon of victory,
     An ancient giant-sword, of edges a-doughty,
     Glory of warriors: of weapons 'twas choicest,
     Only 'twas larger than any man else was
     Able to bear to the battle-encounter,
     The good and splendid work of the giants.
     He grasped then the sword-hilt, knight of the Scyldings,
     Bold and battle-grim, brandished his ring-sword.
     Hopeless of living, hotly he smote her,
     That the fiend-woman's neck firmly it grappled,
     Broke through her bone-joints, the bill fully pierced her
     Fate-cursed body, she fell to the ground then:
     The hand-sword was bloody, the hero exulted.

[Fifty years have elapsed. The aged Beowulf has died from the injuries
received in his struggle with the Fire Drake. His body is burned, and a
barrow erected.]

     A folk of the Geatmen got him then ready
     A pile on the earth strong for the burning,
     Behung with helmets, hero-knight's targets,
     And bright-shining burnies, as he begged they should have them;
     Then wailing war-heroes their world-famous chieftain,
     Their liege-lord beloved, laid in the middle.
     Soldiers began then to make on the barrow
     The largest of dead fires: dark o'er the vapor
     The smoke cloud ascended; the sad-roaring fire,
     Mingled with weeping (the-wind-roar subsided)
     Till the building of bone it had broken to pieces,
     Hot in the heart. Heavy in spirit
     They mood-sad lamented the men-leader's ruin....
     The men of the Weders made accordingly
     A hill on the height, high and extensive,
     Of sea-going sailors to be seen from a distance,
     And the brave one's beacon built where the fire was,
     In ten days' space, with a wall surrounded it,
     As wisest of world-folk could most worthily plan it.
     They placed in the barrow rings and jewels,
     All such ornaments as erst in the treasure
     War-mooded men had won in possession:
     The earnings of earlmen to earth they intrusted,
     The gold to the dust, where yet it remaineth
     As useless to mortals as in foregoing eras.
     'Round the dead-mound rode then the doughty-in-battle,
     Bairns of all twelve of the chiefs of the people,
     More would they mourn, lament for their ruler,
     Speak in measure, mention him with pleasure;
     Weighed his worth, and his warlike achievements
     Mightily commended, as 'tis meet one praise his
     Liege lord in words and love him in spirit,
     When forth from his body he fares to destruction.
     So lamented mourning the men of the Geats,
     Fond loving vassals, the fall of their lord,
     Said he was gentlest of kings under heaven,
     Mildest of men and most philanthropic,
     Friendliest to folk-troops and fondest of honor.

By permission of John Leslie Hall, the Translator, and D.C. Heath & Co.,

          DEOR'S LAMENT

     Wayland often wandered in exile,
     doughty earl, ills endur'd,
     had for comrades care and longing,
     winter-cold wandering; woe oft found
     since Nithhad brought such need upon him,--
     laming wound on a lordlier man.
       That pass'd over,--and this may, too!

     In Beadohild's breast, her brothers' death
     wrought no such ill as her own disgrace,
     when she had openly understood
     her maidhood vanished; she might no wise
     think how the case could thrive at all.
       That pass'd over,--and this may, too!

     We have heard enough of Hild's disgrace;
     heroes of Geat were homeless made,
     and sorrow stole their sleep away.
       That pass'd over,--and this may, too!

     Theodoric held for thirty winters
     Mæring's burg, as many have known.
       That pass'd over,--and this may, too!

     We have also heard of Ermanric's
     wolfish mind; wide was his sway
     o'er the Gothic race,--a ruler grim.
     Sat many a man in misery bound,
     waited but woe, and wish'd amain
     that ruin might fall on the royal house.
       That pass'd over,--and this may, too!

     Sitteth one sighing, sunder'd from happiness;
     all's dark within him; he deems forsooth
     that his share of evils shall endless be.
     Let such bethink him that thro' this world
     mighty God sends many changes:
     to earls a plenty honor he shows,
     ease and bliss; to others, sorrow.

     Now I will say of myself, and how
     I was singer once to the sons of Heoden,
     dear to my master, and Deor was my name.
     Long were the winters my lord was kind,
     happy my lot,--till Heorrenda now
     by grace of singing has gained the land
     which the "haven of heroes" erewhile gave me.
       That pass'd over,--and this may, too!

Translation of F.B. Gummere in the Atlantic Monthly, February, 1891: by
permission of Houghton, Mifflin and Company.


     Oft-times the Wanderer waiteth God's mercy,
       Sad and disconsolate though he may be,
     Far o'er the watery track must he travel,
       Long must he row o'er the rime-crusted sea--
     Plod his lone exile-path--Fate is severe.
       Mindful of slaughter, his kinsman friends' death,
       Mindful of hardships, the wanderer saith:--
     Oft must I lonely, when dawn doth appear,
       Wail o'er my sorrow--since living is none
       Whom I may whisper my heart's undertone.
     Know I full well that in man it is noble
       Fast in his bosom his sorrow to bind.
     Weary at heart, yet his Fate is unyielding--
       Help cometh not to his suffering mind.
     Therefore do those who are thirsting for glory
       Bind in their bosom each pain's biting smart.
     Thus must I often, afar from my kinsmen,
       Fasten in fetters my home-banished heart.
     Now since the day when my dear prince departed
       Wrapped in the gloom of his dark earthen grave,
     I, a poor exile, have wandered in winter
       Over the flood of the foam-frozen wave,
     Seeking, sad-hearted, some giver of treasure,
       Some one to cherish me friendless--some chief
     Able to guide me with wisdom of counsel,
       Willing to greet me and comfort my grief.
     He who hath tried it, and he alone, knoweth
       How harsh a comrade is comfortless Care
     Unto the man who hath no dear protector,
       Gold wrought with fingers nor treasure so fair.
     Chill is his heart as he roameth in exile--
       Thinketh of banquets his boyhood saw spread;
     Friends and companions partook of his pleasures--
     Knoweth he well that all friendless and lordless
       Sorrow awaits him a long bitter while;--
     Yet, when the spirits of Sorrow and Slumber
       Fasten with fetters the orphaned exile,
     Seemeth him then that he seeth in spirit,
       Meeteth and greeteth his master once more,
     Layeth his head on his lord's loving bosom,
       Just as he did in the dear days of yore.
     But he awaketh, forsaken and friendless,
       Seeth before him the black billows rise,
     Seabirds are bathing and spreading their feathers,
       Hailsnow and hoar-frost are hiding the skies.
     Then in his heart the more heavily wounded,
       Longeth full sore for his loved one, his own,
     Sad is the mind that remembereth kinsmen,
       Greeting with gladness the days that are gone.
     Seemeth him then on the waves of the ocean
       Comrades are swimming,--well-nigh within reach,--
     Yet from the spiritless lips of the swimmers
       Cometh familiar no welcoming speech.
     So is his sorrow renewed and made sharper
       When the sad exile so often must send
     Thoughts of his suffering spirit to wander
       Wide o'er the waves where the rough billows blend.
     So, lest the thought of my mind should be clouded,
       Close must I prison my sadness of heart,
     When I remember my bold comrade-kinsmen,
       How from the mede-hall I saw them depart.
     Thus is the earth with its splendor departing--
       Day after day it is passing away,
     Nor may a mortal have much of true wisdom
       Till his world-life numbers many a day.
     He who is wise, then, must learn to be patient--
       Not too hot-hearted, too hasty of speech,
     Neither too weak nor too bold in the battle,
       Fearful, nor joyous, nor greedy to reach,
     Neither too ready to boast till he knoweth--
       Man must abide, when he vaunted his pride,
     Till strong of mind he hath surely determined
       Whether his purpose can be turned aside.
     Surely the wise man may see like the desert
       How the whole wealth of the world lieth waste,
     How through the earth the lone walls are still standing,
       Blown by the wind and despoiled and defaced.
     Covered with frost, the proud dwellings are ruined,
       Crumbled the wine-halls--the king lieth low,
     Robbed of his pride--and his troop have all fallen
       Proud by the wall--some, the spoil of the foe,
     War took away--and some the fierce sea-fowl
       Over the ocean--and some the wolf gray
     Tore after death--and yet others the hero
       Sad-faced has laid in earth-caverns away.
     Thus at his will the eternal Creator
       Famished the fields of the earth's ample fold--
     Until her dwellers abandoned their feast-boards.
       Void stood the work of the giants of old.
     One who was viewing full wisely this wall-place,
       Pondering deeply his dark, dreary life.
     Spake then as follows, his past thus reviewing,
       Years full of slaughter and struggle and strife:--
     "Wither, alas, have my horses been carried?
       Whither, alas, are my kinspeople gone?
     Where is my giver of treasure and feasting?
       Where are the joys of the hall I have known?
     Ah, the bright cup--and the corseleted warrior--
       Ah, the bright joy of a king's happy lot!
     How the glad time has forever departed,
       Swallowed in darkness, as though it were not!
     Standeth, instead of the troop of young warriors,
       Stained with the bodies of dragons, a wall--
     The men were cut down in their pride by the spearpoints--
       Blood-greedy weapons--but noble their fall.
     Earth is enwrapped in the lowering tempest,
       Fierce on the stone-cliff the storm rushes forth,
     Cold winter-terror, the night shade is dark'ning,
       Hail-storms are laden with death from the north.
     All full of hardships is earthly existence--
       Here the decrees of the Fates have their sway--
     Fleeting is treasure and fleeting is friendship--
       Here man is transient, here friends pass away.
     Earth's widely stretching, extensive domain,
       Desolate all--empty, idle, and vain."
     In 'Modern Language Notes': Translation of W.R. Sims.

          THE SEAFARER

     Sooth the song that I of myself can sing,
     Telling of my travels; how in troublous days,
     Hours of hardship oft I've borne!
     With a bitter breast-care I have been abiding;
     Many seats of sorrow in my ship have known!
     Frightful was the whirl of waves when it was my part
     Narrow watch at night to keep on my Vessel's prow
     When it rushed the rocks along. By the rigid cold
     Fast my feet were pinched, fettered by the frost,
     By the chains of cold. Care was sighing then
     Hot my heart around; hunger rent to shreds
     Courage in me, me sea-wearied! This the man knows not,
     He to whom it happens, happiest on earth,
     How I, carked with care, in the ice-cold sea,
     Overwent the winter on my wander-ways,
     All forlorn of happiness, all bereft of loving kinsmen,
     Hung about with icicles; flew the hail in showers.
     Nothing heard I there save the howling of the sea,
     And the ice-chilled billow, 'whiles the crying of the swan.
     All the glee I got me was the gannet's scream,
     And the swoughing of the seal, 'stead of mirth of men;
     'Stead of the mead-drinking, moaning of the sea-mew.
     There the storms smote on the crags, there the swallow of the sea
     Answered to them, icy-plumed; and that answer oft the earn--
     Wet his wings were--barked aloud.

                                            None of all my kinsmen
     Could this sorrow-laden soul stir to any joy.
     Little then does he believe who life's pleasure owns,
     While he tarries in the towns, and but trifling ills,
     Proud and insolent with wine--how out-wearied I
     Often must outstay on the ocean path!
     Sombre grew the shade of night, and it snowed from northward,
     Frost the field enchained, fell the hail on earth,
     Coldest of all grains.

                            Wherefore now then crash together
     Thoughts my soul within that I should myself adventure
     The high streamings of the sea, and the sport of the salt waves!
     For a passion of the mind every moment pricks me on
     All my life to set a faring; so that far from hence,
     I may seek the shore of the strange outlanders.
     Yes, so haughty of his heart is no hero on the earth,
     Nor so good in all his giving, nor so generous in youth,
     Nor so daring in his deed, nor so dear unto his lord,
     That he has not always yearning unto his sea-faring,
     To whatever work his Lord may have will to make for him.
     For the harp he has no heart, nor for having of the rings,
     Nor in woman is his weal, in the world he's no delight,
     Nor in anything whatever save the tossing o'er the waves!
     Oh, forever he has longing who is urged towards the sea.
     Trees rebloom with blossoms, burghs are fair again,
     Winsome are the wide plains, and the world is gay--
     All doth only challenge the impassioned heart
     Of his courage to the voyage, whosoever thus bethinks him,
     O'er the ocean billows, far away to go.
     Every cuckoo calls a warning, with his chant of sorrow!
     Sings the summer's watchman, sorrow is he boding,
     Bitter in the bosom's hoard. This the brave man wots not of,
     Not the warrior rich in welfare--what the wanderer endures,
     Who his paths of banishment, widest places on the sea.
     For behold, my thought hovers now above my heart;
     O'er the surging flood of sea now my spirit flies,
     O'er the homeland of the whale--hovers then afar
     O'er the foldings of the earth! Now again it flies to me
     Full of yearning, greedy! Yells that lonely flier;
     Whets upon the Whale-way irresistibly my heart,
     O'er the storming of the seas!

                    Translation of Stopford Brooke.


     Full often it falls out, by fortune from God,
     That a man and a maiden may marry in this world,
     Find cheer in the child whom they cherish and care for,
     Tenderly tend it, until the time comes,
     Beyond the first years, when the young limbs increasing
     Grown firm with life's fullness, are formed for their work.
     Fond father and mother so guide it and feed it,
     Give gifts to it, clothe it: God only can know
     What lot to its latter days life has to bring.
     To some that make music in life's morning hour
     Pining days are appointed of plaint at the close.
     One the wild wolf shall eat, hoary haunter of wastes:
     His mother shall mourn the small strength of a man.
     One shall sharp hunger slay; one shall the storm beat down;
     One be destroyed by darts, one die in war.
     One shall live losing the light of his eyes,
     Feel blindly with fingers; and one, lame of foot,
     With sinew-wound wearily wasteth away,
     Musing and mourning, with death in his mind.
     One, failing feathers, shall fall from the height
     Of the tall forest tree; yet he trips as though flying,
     Plays proudly in air till he reaches the point
     Where the woodgrowth is weak; life then whirls in his brain,
     Bereft of his reason he sinks to the root,
     Falls flat on the ground, his life fleeting away.
     Afoot on the far-ways, his food in his hand,
     One shall go grieving, and great be his need,
     Press dew on the paths of the perilous lands
     Where the stranger may strike, where live none to sustain.
     All shun the desolate for being sad.
     One the great gallows shall have in its grasp,
     Stained in dark agony, till the soul's stay,
     The bone-house, is bloodily all broken up;
     When the harsh raven hacks eyes from the head,
     The sallow-coated, slits the soulless man.
     Nor can he shield from shame, scare with his hands,
     Off from their eager feast prowlers of air.
     Lost is his life to him, left is no breath,
     Bleached on the gallows-beam bides he his doom;
     Cold death-mists close round him called the Accursed.

       *       *       *       *       *

     One shall die by the dagger, in wrath, drenched with ale,
     Wild through wine, on the mead bench, too swift with his words;
     Through the hand that brings beer, through the gay boon companion,
     His mouth has no measure, his mood no restraint;
     Too lightly his life shall the wretched one lose,
     Undergo the great ill, be left empty of joy.
     When they speak of him slain by the sweetness of mead,
     His comrades shall call him one killed by himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Some have good hap, and some hard days of toil;
     Some glad glow of youth, and some glory in war,
     Strength in the strife; some sling the stone, some shoot.

       *       *       *       *       *

     One shall handle the harp, at the feet of his hero
     Sit and win wealth from the will of his Lord;
     Still quickly contriving the throb of the cords,
     The nail nimbly makes music, awakes a glad noise,
     While the heart of the harper throbs, hurried by zeal.

                    Translation of Henry Morley.

          FROM 'JUDITH'

[The Assyrian officers, obeying the commands of Holofernes, come to the

     They then at the feast proceeded to sit,
     The proud to the wine-drinking, all his comrades-in-ill,
     Bold mailèd-warriors. There were lofty beakers
     Oft borne along the benches, also were cups and flagons
     Full to the hall-sitters borne. The fated partook of them,
     Brave warriors-with-shields, though the mighty weened not of it,
     Awful lord of earls. Then was Holofernes,
     Gold-friend of men, full of wine-joy:
     He laughed and clamored, shouted and dinned,
     That children of men from afar might hear
     How the strong-minded both stormed and yelled,
     Moody and mead-drunken, often admonished
     The sitters-on-benches to bear themselves well.
     Thus did the hateful one during all day
     His liege-men loyal keep plying with wine,
     Stout-hearted giver of treasure, until they lay in a swoon.

[Holofernes has been slain by Judith. The Hebrews, encouraged by her,
surprise the drunken and sleeping Assyrians.]

     Then the band of the brave was quickly prepared,
     Of the bold for battle; stepped out the valiant
     Men and comrades, bore their banners,
     Went forth to fight straight on their way
     The heroes 'neath helmets from the holy city
     At the dawn itself; shields made a din,
     Loudly resounded. Thereat laughed the lank
     Wolf in the wood, and the raven wan,
     Fowl greedy for slaughter: both of them knew
     That for them the warriors thought to provide
     Their fill on the fated; and flew on their track
     The dewy-winged eagle eager for prey,
     The dusky-coated sang his war-song,
     The crooked-beaked. Stepped forth the warriors,
     The heroes for battle with boards protected,
     With hollow shields, who awhile before
     The foreign-folk's reproach endured,
     The heathens' scorn; fiercely was that
     At the ash-spear's play to them all repaid,
     All the Assyrians, after the Hebrews
     Under their banners had boldly advanced
     To the army-camps. They bravely then
     Forthright let fly showers of arrows,
     Of battle-adders, out from the horn-bows,
     Of strongly-made shafts; stormed they aloud,
     The cruel warriors, sent forth their spears
     Among the brave; the heroes were angry,
     The dwellers-in-land, with the loathed race;
     The stern-minded stepped, the stout-in-heart,
     Rudely awakened their ancient foes
     Weary from mead; with hands drew forth
     The men from the sheaths the brightly-marked swords
     Most choice in their edges, eagerly struck
     Of the host of Assyrians the battle-warriors,
     The hostile-minded; not one they spared
     Of the army-folk, nor low nor high
     Of living men, whom they might subdue.

          By consent of Ginn & Co. Translation of Garnett.


[The Anglo-Saxons under Byrhtnoth are drawn up on one side of Panta
stream, the Northmen on the other. The herald of the Northmen demands
tribute. Byrhtnoth replies.]

     Then stood on the stathe, stoutly did call,
     The wikings' herald, with words he spake,
     Who boastfully bore from the brine-farers
     An errand to th' earl, where he stood on the shore:--
     "To thee me did send the seamen snell,
     Bade to thee say, thou must send to them quickly
     Bracelets for safety; and 'tis better for you
     That ye this spear-rush with tribute buy off
     Than we in so fierce a fight engage.
     We need not each spill, if ye speed to this:
     We will for the pay a peace confirm.
     If thou that redest, who art highest in rank,
     If thou to the seamen at their own pleasure
     Money for peace, and take peace from us,
     We will with the treasure betake us to ship,
     Fare on the flood, and peace with you confirm."
     Byrhtnoth replied, his buckler uplifted,
     Waved his slim spear, with words he spake,
     Angry and firm gave answer to him:--
     "Hear'st thou, seafarer, what saith this folk?
     They will for tribute spear-shafts you pay,
     Poisonous points and trusty swords,
     Those weapons that you in battle avail not.
     Herald of seamen, hark back again,
     Say to thy people much sadder words:--
     Here stands not unknown an earl with his band,
     Who will defend this fatherland,
     Æthelred's home, mine own liege lord's,
     His folk and field; ye're fated to fall,
     Ye heathen, in battle. Too base it me seems
     That ye with our scats to ship may go
     Unfought against, so far ye now hither
     Into our country have come within;
     Ye shall not so gently treasure obtain;
     Shall spear and sword sooner beseem us,
     Grim battle-play, ere tribute we give."

[The Northmen, unable to force a passage, ask to be allowed to cross and
fight it out on an equal footing. Byrhtnoth allows this.]

     "Now room is allowed you, come quickly to us,
     Warriors to war; wot God alone
     Who this battle-field may be able to keep."
     Waded the war-wolves, for water they recked not,
     The wikings' band west over Panta,
     O'er the clear water carried their shields,
     Boatmen to bank their bucklers bore.
     There facing their foes ready were standing
     Byrhtnoth with warriors: with shields he bade
     The war-hedgel work, and the war-band hold
     Fast 'gainst the foes. Then fight was nigh,
     Glory in battle; the time was come
     That fated men should there now fall.
     Then outcry was raised, the ravens circled,
     Eagle eager for prey; on earth was uproar.
     Then they let from their fists the file-hardened spears,
     The darts well-ground, fiercely fly forth:
     The bows were busy, board point received,
     Bitter the battle-rush, warriors fell down,
     On either hand the youths lay dead.

          By consent of Ginn & Co. Translation of Garnett.


He [Cædmon] had remained in the secular life until the time when he was
of advanced age, and he had never learned any song. For that reason
oftentimes, when it was decided at a feasting that all should sing in
turn to the accompaniment of the harp for the sake of entertainment, he
would arise for shame from the banquet when he saw the harp approaching
him, and would go home to his house. When he on a certain occasion had
done this, and had left the house of feasting, and had gone to the
stable of the cattle, which had been intrusted to his care for that
night; and when he there, after a reasonable time, had arranged his
limbs for rest, he fell asleep. And a man stood by him in a dream, and
hailed him, and greeted him, and called him by name, and said: "Cædmon,
sing something for me." Then he answered and said: "I cannot sing; I
went out from the feast and came hither because I could not sing." Again
said the one who was speaking with him: "Nevertheless, thou canst sing
for me." Said Cædmon, "What shall I sing?" Said he, "Sing to me of

When Cædmon received this answer, then began he soon to sing in
glorification of God the Creator, verses and words that he had never
before heard.

       *       *       *       *       *

Then he arose from sleep and he had fast in his memory all those things
he had sung in his sleep; and to these words he soon added many other
words of song of the same measure, worthy for God.

Then came he in the morning to the town-reeve, who was his aldorman, and
told him of the gift he had received. And the reeve soon led him to the
abbess, and made that known to her and told her. Then bade she assemble
all the very learned men, and the learners, and bade him tell the dream
in their presence, and sing the song, so that by the judgment of them
all it might be determined what it was, and whence it had come. Then it
was seen by them all, just as it was, that the heavenly gift had been
given him by the Lord himself.

                    Alfred's 'Bede': Translation of Robert Sharp.


Selection from the entry for the year 897

Then Alfred, the King, ordered long ships built to oppose the war-ships
of the enemy. They were very nearly twice as long as the others; some
had sixty oars, some more. They were both swifter and steadier, and also
higher than the others; they were shaped neither on the Frisian model
nor on the Danish, but as it seemed to King Alfred that they would be
most useful.

Then, at a certain time in that year, came six hostile ships to Wight,
and did much damage, both in Devon and elsewhere on the seaboard. Then
the King ordered that nine of the new ships should proceed thither. And
his ships blockaded the mouth of the passage on the outer-sea against
the enemy. Then the Danes came out with three ships against the King's
ships; but three of the Danish ships lay above the mouth, high and dry
aground; and the men were gone off upon the shore. Then the King's men
took two of the three ships outside, at the mouth, and slew the crews;
but one ship escaped. On this one all the men were slain except five;
these escaped because the King's ship got aground. They were aground,
moreover, very inconveniently, since three were situated upon the same
side of the channel with the three stranded Danish ships, and all the
others were upon the other side, so that there could be no communication
between the two divisions. But when the water had ebbed many furlongs
from the ships, then went the Danes from their three ships to the King's
three ships that had been left dry upon the same side by the ebbing of
the tide, and they fought together there. Then were slain Lucumon, the
King's Reeve, Wulfheard the Frisian, and Æbbe the Frisian, and Æthelhere
the Frisian, and Æthelferth the King's companion, and of all the men
Frisians and English, sixty-two; and of the Danes, one hundred
and twenty.

But the flood came to the Danish ships before the Christians could shove
theirs out, and for that reason the Danes rowed off. They were,
nevertheless, so grievously wounded that they could not row around the
land of the South Saxons, and the sea cast up there two of the ships
upon the shore. And the men from them were led to Winchester to the
King, and he commanded them to be hanged there. But the men who were in
the remaining ship came to East Anglia, sorely wounded.

                    Translation of Robert Sharp.



An Italian poet and novelist of early promise, who has become a somewhat
unique figure in contemporary literature, Gabriele d'Annunzio is a
native of the Abruzzi, born in the little village of Pescara, on the
Adriatic coast. Its picturesque scenery has formed the background for
more than one of his stories. At the age of fifteen, while still a
student at Prato, he published his first volume of poems, 'Intermezzo di
Rime' (Interludes of Verse): "grand, plastic verse, of an impeccable
prosody," as he maintained in their defense, but so daringly erotic that
their appearance created no small scandal. Other poems followed at
intervals, notably 'Il Canto Nuovo' (The New Song: Rome, 1882), 'Isotteo
e la Chimera' (Isotteo and the Chimera: Rome, 1890), 'Poema Paradisiaco'
and 'Odi Navali' (Marine Odes: Milan, 1893), which leave no doubt of his
high rank as poet. The novel, however, is his chosen vehicle of
expression, and the one which gives fullest scope to his rich and
versatile genius. His first long story, 'Il Piacere' (Pleasure),
appeared in 1889. As the title implies, it was pervaded with a frank,
almost complacent sensuality, which its author has since been inclined
to deprecate. Nevertheless, the book received merited praise for its
subtle portrayal of character and incident, and its exuberance of
phraseology; and more than all, for the promise which it suggested. With
the publication of 'L'Innocente,' the author for the first time showed a
real seriousness of purpose. His views of life had meanwhile essentially
altered:--"As was just," he confessed, "I began to pay for my errors, my
disorders, my excesses: I began to suffer with the same intensity with
which I had formerly enjoyed myself; sorrow had made of me a new man."
Accordingly his later books, while still emphatically realistic, are
chastened by an underlying tone of pessimism. Passion is no longer the
keynote of life, but rather, as exemplified in 'Il Trionfo della Morte,'
the prelude of death. Leaving Rome, where, "like the outpouring of the
sewers, a flood of base desires invaded every square and cross-road,
ever more putrid and more swollen," D'Annunzio retired to
Francovilla-al-Mare, a few miles from his birthplace. There he lives in
seclusion, esteemed by the simple-minded, honest, and somewhat fanatical
peasantry, to whose quaint and primitive manners his books owe much of
their distinctive atmosphere.

In Italy, D'Annunzio's career has been watched with growing interest.
Until recently, however, he was scarcely known to the world at large,
when a few poems, translated into French, brought his name into
immediate prominence. Within a year three Paris journals acquired rights
of translation from him, and he has since occupied the attention of such
authoritative French critics as Henri Rabusson, René Doumic, Edouard
Rod, Eugène-Melchior de Vogüé, and, most recently, Ferdinand Brunetière,
all of whom seem to have a clearer appreciation of his quality than even
his critics at home. At the same time there is a small but hostile
minority among the French novelists, whose literary feelings are voiced
by Léon Daudet in a vehement protest under the title 'Assez d'Étrangers'
(Enough of Foreigners).

It is too soon to pass final judgment on D'Annunzio's style, which has
been undergoing an obvious transition, not yet accomplished. Realist and
psychologist, symbolist and mystic by turns, and first and always a
poet, he has been compared successively to Bourget and Maupassant,
Tolstoi and Dostoïevsky, Théophile Gautier and Catulle Mendès, Dante
Gabriel Rossetti and Baudelaire. Such complexity of style is the outcome
of his cosmopolitan taste in literature, and his tendency to assimilate
for future use whatever pleases him in each successive author.
Shakespeare and Goethe, Keats and Heine, Plato and Zoroaster, figure
among the names which throng his pages; while his unacknowledged and
often unconscious indebtedness to writers of lesser magnitude,--notably
the self-styled 'Sar' Joseph Peladan--has lately raised an outcry of
plagiarism. Yet whatever leaves his pen, borrowed or original, has
received the unmistakable imprint of his powerful individuality.

It is easy to trace the influences under which, successively, D'Annunzio
has come. They are essentially French. He is a French writer in an
Italian medium. His early short sketches, noteworthy chiefly for their
morbid intensity, were modeled largely on Maupassant, whose frank,
unblushing realism left a permanent imprint upon the style of his
admirer, and whose later analytic tendency probably had an important
share in turning his attention to the psychological school.

'Il Piacere,' though largely inspired by Paul Bourget, contains as large
an element of 'Notre Coeur' and 'Bel-Ami' as of 'Le Disciple' and 'Coeur
de Femme.' In this novel, Andrea Sperelli affords us the type of
D'Annunzio's heroes, who, aside from differences due to age and
environment, are all essentially the same,--somewhat weak, yet
undeniably attractive; containing, all of them, "something of a Don Juan
and a Cherubini," with the Don Juan element preponderating. The plot of
'Il Piacere' is not remarkable either for depth or for novelty, being
the needlessly detailed record of Sperelli's relations with two married
women, of totally opposite types.

'Giovanni Episcopo' is a brief, painful tragedy of low life, written
under the influence of Russian evangelism, and full of reminiscences of
Dostoïevsky's 'Crime and Punishment.' Giovanni is a poor clerk, of a
weak, pusillanimous nature, completely dominated by a coarse, brutal
companion, Giulio Wanzer, who makes him an abject slave, until a
detected forgery compels Wanzer to flee the country. Episcopo then
marries Ginevra, the pretty but unprincipled waitress at his _pension_,
who speedily drags him down to the lowest depths of degradation, making
him a mere nonentity in his own household, willing to live on the
proceeds of her infamy. They have one child, a boy, Ciro, on whom
Giovanni lavishes all his suppressed tenderness. After ten years of this
martyrdom, the hated Wanzer reappears and installs himself as husband in
the Episcopo household. Giovanni submits in helpless fury, till one day
Wanzer beats Ginevra, and little Ciro intervenes to protect his mother.
Wanzer turns on the child, and a spark of manhood is at last kindled in
Giovanni's breast. He springs upon Wanzer, and with the pent-up rage of
years stabs him.

'L'Innocente,' D'Annunzio's second long novel, also bears the stamp of
Russian influence. It is a gruesome, repulsive story of domestic
infidelity, in which he has handled the theory of pardon, the motive of
numerous recent French novels, like Daudet's 'La Petite Paroisse' and
Paul Marguerite's 'La Tourmente.'

In another extended work, 'Il Trionfo della Morte' (The Triumph of
Death), D'Annunzio appears as a convert to Nietzsche's philosophy and to
Wagnerianism. Ferdinand Brunetière has pronounced it unsurpassed by the
naturalistic schools of England, France, or Russia. In brief, the hero,
Giorgio Aurispa, a morbid sensualist, with an inherited tendency to
suicide, is led by fate through a series of circumstances which keep the
thought of death continually before him. They finally goad him on to
fling himself from a cliff into the sea, dragging with him the woman
he loves.

The 'Vergini della Rocca' (Maidens of the Crag), his last story, is more
an idyllic poem than a novel. Claudio Cantelmo, sickened with the
corruption of Rome, retires to his old home in the Abruzzi, where he
meets the three sisters Massimilla, Anatolia, Violante: "names
expressive as faces full of light and shade, and in which I seemed
already to discover an infinity of grace, of passion, and of sorrow." It
is inevitable that he should chose one of the three, but which? And in
the dénouement the solution is only half implied.

D'Annunzio is now occupied with a new romance; and coming years will
doubtless present him all the more distinctively as a writer of Italy on
whom French inflences have been seed sowed in fertile ground. The place
in contemporary Italian of such work as his is indisputably


From 'The Triumph of Death'

All of a sudden, Albadora, the septuagenarian Cybele, she who had given
life to twenty-two sons and daughters, came toiling up the narrow lane
into the court, and indicating the neighboring shore, where it skirted
the promontory on the left, announced breathlessly:--

"Down yonder there has been a child drowned!"

Candia made the sign of the cross. Giorgio arose and ascended to the
loggia, to observe the spot designated. Upon the sand, below the
promontory, in close vicinity to the chain of rocks and the tunnel, he
perceived a blotch of white, presumably the sheet which hid the little
body. A group of people had gathered around it.

As Ippolita had gone to mass with Elena at the chapel of the Port, he
yielded to his curiosity and said to his entertainers:--

"I am going down to see."

"Why?" asked Candia. "Why do you wish to put a pain in your heart?"

Hastening down the narrow lane, he descended by a short cut to the
beach, and continued along the water. Reaching the spot, somewhat out of
breath, he inquired:--

"What has happened?"

The assembled peasants saluted him and made way for him. One of them
answered tranquilly:--

"The son of a mother has been drowned."

Another, clad in linen, who seemed to be standing guard over the corpse,
bent down and drew aside the sheet.

The inert little body was revealed, extended upon the unyielding sand.
It was a lad, eight or nine years old, fair and frail, with slender
limbs. His head was supported on his few humble garments, rolled up in
place of pillow,--the shirt, the blue trousers, the red sash, the cap of
limp felt. His face was but slightly livid, with flat nose, prominent
forehead, and long, long lashes; the mouth was half open, with thick
lips which were turning blue, between which the widely spaced teeth
gleamed white. His neck was slender, flaccid as a wilted stem, and
seamed with tiny creases. The jointure of the arms at the shoulder
looked feeble. The arms themselves were fragile, and covered with a down
similar to the fine plumage which clothes the bodies of newly hatched
birds. The whole outline of the ribs was distinctly visible; down the
middle of the breast the skin was divided by a darker line; the navel
stood out, like a knot. The feet, slightly bloated, had assumed the same
sallow color as the little hands, which were callous and strewn with
warts, with white nails beginning to turn livid. On the left arm, on the
thighs near the groin, and further down, on the knees and along the
legs, appeared reddish blotches of scurf. Every detail of this wretched
little body assumed, in the eyes of Giorgio, an extraordinary
significance, immobile as it was and fixed forever in the rigidity
of death.

"How was he drowned? Where?" he questioned, lowering his voice.

The man dressed in linen gave, with some show of impatience, the account
which he had probably had to repeat too many times already. He had a
brutal countenance, square-cut, with bushy brows, and a large mouth,
harsh and savage. Only a little while after leading the sheep back to
their stalls, the lad, taking his breakfast along with him, had gone
down, together with a comrade, to bathe. He had hardly set foot in the
water, when he had fallen and was drowned. At the cries of his comrade,
some one from the house overhead on the bluff had hurried down, and
wading in up to the knees, had dragged him from the water half dead;
they had turned him upside down to make him throw up the water, they had
shaken him, but to no purpose. To indicate just how far the poor little
fellow had gone in, the man picked up a pebble and threw it into
the sea.

"There, only to there; at three yards from the shore!"

The sea lay at rest, breathing peacefully, close to the head of the dead
child. But the sun blazed fiercely down upon the sand; and something
pitiless, emanating from that sky of flame and from those stolid
witnesses, seemed to pass over the pallid corpse.

"Why," asked Giorgio, "do you not place him in the shade, in one of the
houses, on a bed?"

"He is not to be moved," declared the man on guard, "until they hold the

"At least carry him into the shade, down there, below the embankment!"

Stubbornly the man reiterated, "He is not to be moved."

There could be no sadder sight than that frail, lifeless little being,
extended on the stones, and watched over by the impassive brute who
repeated his account every time in the selfsame words, and every time
made the selfsame gesture, throwing a pebble into the sea:--

"There; only to there."

A woman joined the group, a hook-nosed termagant, with gray eyes and
sour lips, mother of the dead boy's comrade. She manifested plainly a
mistrustful restlessness, as if she anticipated some accusation against
her own son. She spoke with bitterness, and seemed almost to bear a
grudge against the victim.

"It was his destiny. God had said to him, 'Go into the sea and end

She gesticulated with vehemence. "What did he go in for, if he did not
know how to swim--?"

A young lad, a stranger in the district, the son of a mariner, repeated
contemptuously, "Yes, what did he go in for? We, yes, who know how to
swim--" ...

Other people joined the group, gazed with cold curiosity, then lingered
or passed on. A crowd occupied the railroad embankment, another gathered
on the crest of the promontory, as if at a spectacle. Children, seated
or kneeling, played with pebbles, tossing them into the air and catching
them, now on the back and now in the hollow of their hands. They all
showed the same profound indifference to the presence of other people's
troubles and of death.

Another woman joined the group on her way home from mass, wearing a
dress of silk and all her gold ornaments. For her also the harassed
custodian repeated his account, for her also he indicated the spot in
the water. She was talkative.

"I am always saying to _my_ children, 'Don't you go into the water, or I
will kill you!' The sea is the sea. Who can save himself?"

She called to mind other instances of drowning; she called to mind the
case of the drowned man with the head cut off, driven by the waves all
the way to San Vito, and found among the rocks by a child.

"Here, among these rocks. He came and told us, 'There is a dead man
there.' We thought he was joking. But we came and we found. He had no
head. They had an inquest; he was buried in a ditch; then in the night
he was dug up again. His flesh was all mangled and like jelly, but he
still had his boots on. The judge said, 'See, they are better than
mine!' So he must have been a rich man. And it turned out that he was a
dealer in cattle. They had killed him and chopped off his head, and had
thrown him into the Tronto."...

She continued to talk in her shrill voice, from time to time sucking in
the superfluous saliva with a slight hissing sound.

"And the mother? When is the mother coming?"

At that name there arose exclamations of compassion from all the women
who had gathered.

"The mother! There comes the mother, now!"

And all of them turned around, fancying that they saw her in the far
distance, along the burning strand. Some of the women could give
particulars about her. Her name was Riccangela; she was a widow with
seven children. She had placed this one in a farmer's family, so that he
might tend the sheep, and gain a morsel of bread.

One woman said, gazing down at the corpse, "Who knows how much pains the
mother has taken in raising him!" Another said, "To keep the children
from going hungry she has even had to ask charity."

Another told how, only a few months before, the unfortunate child had
come very near strangling to death in a courtyard in a pool of water
barely six inches deep. All the women repeated, "It was his destiny. He
was bound to die that way."

And the suspense of waiting rendered them restless, anxious. "The
mother! There comes the mother now!"

Feeling himself grow sick at heart, Giorgio exclaimed, "Can't you take
him into the shade, or into a house, so that the mother will not see him
here naked on the stones, under a sun like this?"

Stubbornly the man on guard objected:--"He is not to be touched. He is
not to be moved--until the inquest is held."

The bystanders gazed in surprise at the stranger,--Candia's stranger.
Their number was augmenting. A few occupied the embankment shaded with
acacias; others crowned the promontory rising abruptly from the rocks.
Here and there, on the monstrous bowlders, a tiny boat lay sparkling
like gold at the foot of the detached crag, so lofty that it gave the
effect of the ruins of some Cyclopean tower, confronting the immensity
of the sea.

All at once, from above on the height, a voice announced, "There she

Other voices followed:--"The mother! The mother!"

All turned. Some stepped down from the embankment. Those on the
promontory leaned far over. All became silent, in expectation. The man
on guard drew the sheet once more over the corpse. In the midst of the
silence, the sea barely seemed to draw its breath, the acacias barely
rustled. And then through the silence they could hear her cries as she
drew near.

The mother came along the strand, beneath the sun, crying aloud. She was
clad in widow's mourning. She tottered along the sand, with bowed body,
calling out, "O my son! My son!"

She raised her palms to heaven, and then struck them upon her knees,
calling out, "My son!"

One of her older sons, with a red handkerchief bound around his neck, to
hide some sore, followed her like one demented, dashing aside his tears
with the back of his hand. She advanced along the strand, beating her
knees, directing her steps toward the sheet. And as she called upon her
dead, there issued from her mouth sounds scarcely human, but rather like
the howling of some savage dog. As she drew near, she bent over lower
and lower, she placed herself almost on all fours; till, reaching him,
she threw herself with a howl upon the sheet.

She arose again. With hand rough and toil-stained, hand toughened by
every variety of labor, she uncovered the body. She gazed upon it a few
instants, motionless as though turned to stone. Then time and time
again, shrilly, with all the power of her voice, she called as if trying
to awaken him, "My son! My son! My son!"

Sobs suffocated her. Kneeling beside him, she beat her sides furiously
with her fists. She turned her despairing eyes around upon the circle of
strangers. During a pause in her paroxysms she seemed to recollect
herself. And then she began to sing. She sang her sorrow in a rhythm
which rose and fell continually, like the palpitation of a heart. It was
the ancient monody which from time immemorial, in the land of the
Abruzzi, the women have sung over the remains of their relatives. It was
the melodious eloquence of sacred sorrow, which renewed spontaneously,
in the profundity of her being, this hereditary rhythm in which the
mothers of bygone ages had modulated their lamentations.

She sang on and on:--"Open your eyes, arise and walk, my son! How
beautiful you are! How beautiful you are!"

She sang on:--"For a morsel of bread I have drowned you, my son! For a
morsel of bread I have borne you to the slaughter! For that have I
raised you!"

But the irate woman with the hooked nose interrupted her:--"It was not
you who drowned him; it was Destiny. It was not you who took him to the
slaughter. You had placed him in the midst of bread." And making a
gesture toward the hill where the house stood which had sheltered the
lad, she added, "They kept him there, like a pink at the ear."

The mother continued:--"O my son, who was it sent you; who was it sent
you here, to drown?"

And the irate woman:--"Who was it sent him? It was our Lord. He said to
him, 'Go into the water and end yourself.'"

As Giorgio was affirming in a low tone to one of the bystanders that if
succored in time the child might have been saved, and that they had
killed him by turning him upside down and holding him suspended by the
feet, he felt the gaze of the mother fixed upon him. "Can't you do
something for him, sir?" she prayed. "Can't you do something for him?"

And she prayed:--"O Madonna of the Miracles, work a miracle for him!"

Touching the head of the dead boy, she repeated:--"My son! my son! my
son! arise and walk!"

On his knees in front of her was the brother of the dead boy; he was
sobbing, but without grief, and from time to time he glanced around with
a face that suddenly grew indifferent. Another brother, the oldest one,
remained at a little distance, seated in the shade of a bowlder; and he
was making a great show of grief, hiding his face in his hands. The
women, striving to console the mother, were bending over her with
gestures of compassion, and accompanying her monody with an
occasional lament.

And she sang on:--"Why have I sent you forth from my house? Why have I
sent you to your death? I have done everything to keep my children from
hunger; everything, everything, except to be a woman with a price. And
for a morsel of bread I have lost you! This was the way you were
to die!"

Thereupon the woman with the hawk nose raised her petticoats in an
impetus of wrath, entered the water up to her knees, and cried:--"Look!
He came only to here. Look! The water is like oil. It is a sign that he
was bound to die that way."

With two strides she regained the shore. "Look!" she repeated, pointing
to the deep imprint in the sand made by the man who recovered the
body. "Look!"

The mother looked in a dull way; but it seemed as if she neither saw nor
comprehended. After her first wild outbursts of grief, there came over
her brief pauses, amounting to an obscurement of consciousness. She
would remain silent, she would touch her foot or her leg with a
mechanical gesture. Then she would wipe away her tears with the black
apron. She seemed to be quieting down. Then, all of a sudden, a fresh
explosion would shake her from head to foot, and prostrate her upon
the corpse.

"And I cannot take you away! I cannot take you in these arms to the
church! My son! My son!"

She fondled him from head to foot, she caressed him softly. Her savage
anguish was softened to an infinite tenderness. Her hand--the burnt and
callous hand of a hard-working woman--became infinitely gentle as she
touched the eyes, the mouth, the forehead of her son.

"How beautiful you are! How beautiful you are!"

She touched his lower lip, already turned blue; and as she pressed it
slightly, a whitish froth issued from the mouth. From between his lashes
she brushed away some speck, very carefully, as though fearful of
hurting him.

"How beautiful you are, heart of your mamma!"

His lashes were long, very long, and fair. On his temples, on his cheeks
was a light bloom, pale as gold.

"Do you not hear me? Rise and walk."

She took the little well-worn cap, limp as a rag. She gazed at it and
kissed it, saying:--

"I am going to make myself a charm out of this, and wear it always on my

She lifted the child; a quantity of water escaped from the mouth and
trickled down upon the breast.

"O Madonna of the Miracles, perform a miracle!" she prayed, raising her
eyes to heaven in a supreme supplication. Then she laid softly down
again the little being who had been so dear to her, and took up the worn
shirt, the red sash, the cap. She rolled them up together in a little
bundle, and said:--

"This shall be my pillow; on these I shall rest my head, always, at
night; on these I wish to die."

She placed these humble relics on the sand, beside the head of her
child, and rested her temple on them, stretching herself out, as if on
a bed.

Both of them, mother and son, now lay side by side, on the hard rocks,
beneath the flaming sky, close to the homicidal sea. And now she began
to croon the very lullaby which in the past had diffused pure sleep over
his infant cradle.

She took up the red sash and said, "I want to dress him."

The cross-grained woman, who still held her ground, assented. "Let us
dress him now."

And she herself took the garments from under the head of the dead boy;
she felt in the jacket pocket and found a slice of bread and a fig.

"Do you see? They had given him his food just before,--just before. They
cared for him like a pink at the ear."

The mother gazed upon the little shirt, all soiled and torn, over which
her tears fell rapidly, and said, "Must I put that shirt on him?"

The other woman promptly raised her voice to some one of her family,
above on the bluff:--"Quick, bring one of Nufrillo's new shirts!" The
new shirt was brought. The mother flung herself down beside him.

"Get up, Riccangela, get up!" solicited the women around her.

She did not heed them. "Is my son to stay like that on the stones, and I
not stay there too?--like that, on the stones, my own son?"

"Get up, Riccangela, come away."

She arose. She gazed once more with terrible intensity upon the little
livid face of the dead. Once again she called with all the power of her
voice, "My son! My son! My son!"

Then with her own hands she covered up with the sheet the unheeding

And the women gathered around her, drew her a little to one side, under
shadow of a bowlder; they forced her to sit down, they lamented
with her.

Little by little the spectators melted away. There remained only a few
of the women comforters; there remained the man clad in linen, the
impassive custodian, who was awaiting the inquest.

The dog-day sun poured down upon the strand, and lent to the funeral
sheet a dazzling whiteness. Amidst the heat the promontory raised its
desolate aridity straight upward from the tortuous chain of rocks. The
sea, immense and green, pursued its constant, even breathing. And it
seemed as if the languid hour was destined never to come to an end.

Under shadow of the bowlder, opposite the white sheet, which was raised
up by the rigid form of the corpse beneath, the mother continued her
monody in the rhythm rendered sacred by all the sorrows, past and
present, of her race. And it seemed as if her lamentation was destined
never to come to an end.


     When thou upon my breast art sleeping,
       I hear across the midnight gray--
     I hear the muffled note of weeping,
       So near--so sad--so far away!

     All night I hear the teardrops falling--
       Each drop by drop--my heart must weep;
     I hear the falling blood-drops--lonely,
       Whilst thou dost sleep--whilst thou dost sleep.

                    From 'The Triumph of Death.'


     India--whose enameled page unrolled
       Like autumn's gilded pageant, 'neath a sun
       That withers not for ancient kings undone
     Or gods decaying in their shrines of gold--

     Where were thy vaunted princes, that of old
       Trod thee with thunder--of thy saints was none
       To rouse thee when the onslaught was begun,
     That shook the tinseled sceptre from thy hold?

     Dead--though behind thy gloomy citadels
       The fountains lave their baths of porphyry;
     Dead--though the rose-trees of thy myriad dells
       Breathe as of old their speechless ecstasy;
     Dead--though within thy temples, courts, and cells,
       Their countless lamps still supplicate for thee.

Translated by Thomas Walsh, for 'A Library of the World's Best Literature.'


(About 550-615)


Arabia was opened to English readers first by Sale's translation of the
'Kuran,' in 1734; and by English versions of the 'Arabian Nights' from
1712 onward. The latter were derived from Galland's translation of the
'Thousand and One Nights,' which began to appear, in French, in 1704.
Next to nothing was generally known of Oriental literature from that
time until the end of the eighteenth century. The East India Company
fostered the study of the classics of the extreme Orient; and the first
Napoleon opened Egypt,--his _savans_ marched in the centre of the
invading squares.

The flagship of the English fleet which blockaded Napoleon's army
carried an Austro-German diplomatist and scholar,--Baron von
Hammer-Purgstall,--part of whose mission was to procure a complete
manuscript of the 'Arabian Nights.' It was then supposed that these
tales were the daily food of all Turks, Arabians, and Syrians. To the
intense surprise of Von Hammer, he learned that they were never recited
in the coffee-houses of Constantinople, and that they were not to be
found at all outside of Egypt.

His dismay and disappointment were soon richly compensated, however, by
the discovery of the Arabian romance of 'Antar,' the national classic,
hitherto unknown in Europe, except for an enthusiastic notice which had
fallen by chance into the hands of Sir William Jones. The entire work
was soon collected. It is of interminable length in the original, being
often found in thirty or forty manuscript volumes in quarto, in seventy
or eighty in octavo. Portions of it have been translated into English,
German, and French. English readers can consult it best in 'Antar,' a
Bedouin romance, translated from the Arabic by Terrick Hamilton, in four
volumes 8vo (London, 1820). Hamilton's translation, now rare, covers
only a portion of the original; and a new translation, suitably
abridged, is much needed.

The book purports to have been written more than a thousand years
ago,--in the golden prime of the Caliph Harún-al-Rashid (786-809) and of
his sons and successors, Amin (809-813) and Mamun (813-834),--by the
famous As-Asmai (born 741, died about 830). It is in fact a later
compilation, probably of the twelth century. (Baron von Hammer's MS.
was engrossed in the year 1466.) Whatever the exact date may have been,
it was probably not much later than A.D. 1200. The main outlines of
Antar's life are historical. Many particulars are derived from historic
accounts of the lives of other Arabian heroes (Duraid and others) and
are transferred bodily to the biography of Antar. They date back to the
sixth century. Most of the details must be imaginary, but they are
skillfully contrived by a writer who knew the life of the desert Arab at
first hand. The verses with which the volumes abound are in many cases
undoubtedly Antar's. (They are printed in italics in what follows.) In
any event, the book in its present form has been the delight of all
Arabians for many centuries. Every wild Bedouin of the desert knew much
of the tale by heart, and listened to its periods and to its poems with
quivering interest. His more cultivated brothers of the cities possessed
one or many of its volumes. Every coffee-house in Aleppo, Bagdad, or
Constantinople had a narrator who, night after night, recited it to rapt

The unanimous opinion of the East has always placed the romance of
'Antar' at the summit of such literature. As one of their authors well
says:--"'The Thousand and One Nights' is for the amusement of women and
children; 'Antar' is a book for men. From it they learn lessons of
eloquence, of magnanimity, of generosity, and of statecraft." Even the
prophet Muhammad, well-known foe to poetry and to poets, instructed his
disciples to relate to their children the traditions concerning Antar,
"for these will steel their hearts harder than stone."

The book belongs among the great national classics, like the
'Shah-nameh' and the 'Nibelungen-Lied.' It has a direct relation to
Western culture and opinion also. Antar was the father of knighthood. He
was the _preux-chevalier_, the champion of the weak and oppressed, the
protector of women, the impassioned lover-poet, the irresistible and
magnanimous knight. European chivalry in a marked degree is the child of
the chivalry of his time, which traveled along the shores of the
Mediterranean Sea and passed with the Moors into Spain (710). Another
current flowed from Arabia to meet and to modify the Greeks of
Constantinople and the early Crusaders; and still another passed from
Persia into Palestine and Europe. These fertilized Provençal poetry, the
French romance, the early Italian epic. The 'Shah-nameh' of Firdausi,
that model of a heroic poem, was written early in the eleventh century.
'Antar' in its present form probably preceded the romances of chivalry
so common in the twelfth century in Italy and France.

Antarah ben Shedad el Absi (Antar the Lion, the Son of Shedad of the
tribe of Abs), the historic Antar, was born about the middle of the
sixth century of our era, and died about the year 615, forty-five years
after the birth of the prophet Muhammad, and seven years before the
Hijra--the Flight to Medina--with which the Muhammadan era begins. His
father was a noble Absian knight. The romance makes him the son of an
Abyssinian slave, who is finally discovered to be a powerful princess.
His skin was black. He was despised by his father and family and set to
tend their camels. His extraordinary strength and valor and his
remarkable poetic faculty soon made him a marked man, in a community in
which personal valor failed of its full value if it were not celebrated
in brilliant verse. His love for the beautiful Ibla (Ablah in the usual
modern form), the daughter of his uncle, was proved in hundreds of
encounters and battles; by many adventurous excursions in search of fame
and booty; by thousands of verses in her honor.

The historic Antar is the author of one of the seven "suspended poems."
The common explanation of this term is that these seven poems were
judged, by the assemblage of all the Arabs, worthy to be written in
golden letters (whence their name of the 'golden odes'), and to be hung
on high in the sacred Kaabah at Mecca. Whether this be true, is not
certain. They are at any rate accepted models of Arabic style. Antar was
one of the seven greatest poets of his poetic race. These "suspended
poems" can now be studied in the original and in translation, by the
help of a little book published in London in 1894, 'The Seven Poems,' by
Captain F.E. Johnson, R.A.

The Antar of the romance is constantly breaking into verse which is
passionately admired by his followers. None of its beauties of form are
preserved in the translation; and indeed, this is true of the prose
forms also. It speaks volumes for the manly vigor of the original that
it can be transferred to an alien tongue and yet preserve great
qualities. To the Arab the work is a masterpiece both in form and
content. Its prose is in balanced, rhythmic sentences ending in full or
partial rhymes. This "cadence of the cooing dove" is pure music to an
Eastern ear. If any reader is interested in Arabic verse, he can readily
satisfy his curiosity. An introduction to the subject is given in the
Terminal Essay of Sir Richard Burton's 'Arabian Nights' (Lady Burton's
edition, Vol. vi., page 340). The same subject is treated briefly and
very clearly in the introduction to Lyall's 'Ancient Arabian Poetry'--a
book well worth consulting on other accounts.

The story itself appeals to the Oriental's deepest feelings, passions,

     "To realize the impetuous feelings of the Arab," says Von
     Hammer, "you must have heard these tales narrated to a circle
     of Bedouins crowded about the orator of the desert.... It is
     a veritable drama, in which the spectators are the actors as
     well. If the hero is threatened with imminent danger, they
     shudder and cry aloud, 'No, no, no; Allah forbid! that cannot
     be!' If he is in the midst of tumult and battle, mowing down
     rank after rank of the enemy with his sword, they seize their
     own weapons and rise to fly to his rescue. If he falls into
     the snares of treachery, their foreheads contract with angry
     indignation and they exclaim, 'The curse of Allah be on the
     traitor!' If the hero at last sinks under the superior forces
     of the enemy, a long and ardent sigh escapes from their
     breasts, with the farewell blessing, 'Allah's compassion be
     with him--may he rest in peace.'... Descriptions of the
     beauties of nature, especially of the spring, are received
     with exclamations. Nothing equals the delight which sparkles
     in every eye when the narrator draws a picture of
     feminine beauty."

The question as to the exact relation of the chivalry of Europe to the
earlier chivalry of Arabia and of the East is a large one, and one which
must be left to scholars. It is certain that Spenser and Sir Philip
Sidney owe far more to Saladin than we commonly suppose. The tales of
Boccaccio (1350) show that the Italians of that day still held the Arabs
to be their teachers in chivalry, and at least their equals in art,
science, and civilization; and the Italy of 1300 was a century in
advance of the rest of Europe. In 1268 two brothers of the King of
Castile, with 800 other Spanish gentlemen, were serving under the
banners of the Muslim in Tunis. The knightly ideal of both Moors and
Spaniards was to be

     "Like steel among swords,
     Like wax among ladies."

Hospitality, generosity, magnanimity, the protection of the weak,
punctilious observance of the plighted faith, pride of birth and
lineage, glory in personal valor--these were the knightly virtues common
to Arab and Christian warriors. Antar and his knights, Ibla and her
maidens, are the Oriental counterparts of Launcelot and Arthur, of
Guinevere and Iseult.

The primary duty of the early Arab was blood-revenge. An insult to
himself, or an injury to the tribe, must be wiped out with the blood of
the offender. Hence arose the multitude of tribal feuds. It was Muhammad
who first checked the private feud by fixing "the price of blood" to be
paid by the aggressor or by his tribe. In the time of Antar revenge was
the foremost duty. Ideals of excellence change as circumstances alter.
Virtues go out of fashion (like the magnificence of Aristotle), or
acquire an entirely new importance (as veracity, since England became a
trading nation). Some day we may possess a natural history of
the virtues.

The service of the loved one by the early Arab was a passion completely
different from the vain gallantry of the mediæval knight of Europe. He
sought for the complete possession of his chosen mistress, and was eager
to earn it by multitudes of chivalric deeds; but he could not have
understood the sentimentalities of the Troubadours. The systematic
fantasies of the "Courts of Love" would have seemed cold follies to Arab
chivalry--as indeed they are, though they have led to something better.
In generosity, in magnanimity, the Arab knight far surpassed his
European brother. Hospitality was a point of honor to both. As to the
noble Arabs of those days, when any one demanded their protection, no
one ever inquired what was the matter; for if he asked any questions, it
would be said of him that he was afraid. The poets have thus described
them in verse:--

     "They rise when any one calls out to them, and
     they haste before asking any questions;
     they aid him against his enemies
     that seek his life, and they return
     honored to their families."

The Arab was the knight of the tent and the desert. His deeds were
immediately known to his fellows; discussed and weighed in every
household of his tribe. The Christian knight of the Middle Ages, living
isolated in his stronghold, was less immediately affected by the
opinions of his class. Tribal allegiance was developed in the first
case, independence in the second.

Scholars tell us that the romance of 'Antar' is priceless for faithful
pictures of the times before the advent of Muhammad, which are confirmed
by all that remains of the poetry of "the days of ignorance." To the
general reader its charm lies in its bold and simple stories of
adventure; in its childlike enjoyment of the beauty of Nature; in its
pictures of the elemental passions of ambition, pride, love, hate,
revenge. Antar was a poet, a lover, a warrior, a born leader. From a
keeper of camels he rose to be the protector of the tribe of Abs and the
pattern of chivalry, by virtue of great natural powers and in the face
of every obstacle. He won possession of his Ibla and gave her the dower
of a queen, by adventures the like of which were never known before.
There were no Ifrits or Genii to come to his aid, as in the 'Thousand
Nights and a Night.' 'Antar' is the epic of success crowning human
valor; the tales in the 'Arabian Nights,' at their best, are the fond
fancies of the fatalist whose best endeavor is at the mercy of every
capricious Jinni.

The 'Arabian Nights' contains one tale of the early Arabs,--the story of
Gharib and his brother Ajib,--which repeats some of the exploits of
Antar; a tale far inferior to the romance. The excellences of the
'Arabian Nights' are of another order. We must look for them in the
pompous enchantments of the City of Brass, or in the tender constancy of
Aziz and Azizah, or in the tale of Hasan of Bassorah, with its lovely
study of the friendship of a foster-sister, and its wonderful
presentment of the magic surroundings of the country of the Jann.

To select specimens from 'Antar' is like selecting from 'Robinson
Crusoe.' In the romance, Antar's adventures go on and on, and the
character of the hero develops before one's eyes. It may be that the
leisure of the desert is needed fully to appreciate this master-work.

[Illustration: Signature: EDWARD S. HOLDEN]


Now Antar was becoming a big boy, and grew up, and used to accompany his
mother, Zebeeba, to the pastures, and he watched the cattle; and this he
continued to do till he increased in stature. He used to walk and run
about to harden himself, till at length his muscles were strengthened,
his frame altogether more robust, his bones more firm and solid, and his
speech correct. His days were passed in roaming about the mountain
sides; and thus he continued till he attained his tenth year.

     [He now kills a wolf which had attacked his father's flocks,
     and breaks into verse to celebrate his victory:--]

_O thou wolf, eager for death, I have left thee wallowing in dust, and
spoiled of life; thou wouldst have the run of my flocks, but I have left
thee dyed with blood; thou wouldst disperse my sheep, and thou knowest I
am a lion that never fears. This is the way I treat thee, thou dog of
the desert. Hast thou ever before seen battle and wars?_

     [His next adventure brought him to the notice of the chief of
     the tribe,--King Zoheir. A slave of Prince Shas insulted a
     poor, feeble woman who was tending her sheep; on which Antar
     "dashed him against the ground. And his length and breadth
     were all one mass." This deed won for Antar the hatred of
     Prince Shas, the friendship of the gentle Prince Malik, and
     the praise of the king, their father. "This valiant fellow,"
     said the king, "has defended the honor of women."]

From that day both King Zoheir and his son Malik conceived a great
affection for Antar, and as Antar returned home, the women all collected
around him to ask him what had happened; among them were his aunts and
his cousin, whose name was Ibla. Now Ibla was younger than Antar, and a
merry lass. She was lovely as the moon at its full; and perfectly
beautiful and elegant.... One day he entered the house of his uncle
Malik and found his aunt combing his cousin Ibla's hair, which flowed
down her back, dark as the shades of night. Antar was quite surprised;
he was greatly agitated, and could pay no attention to anything; he was
anxious and thoughtful, and his anguish daily became more oppressive.

     [Meeting her at a feast, he addressed her in verse:--]

_The lovely virgin has struck my heart with the arrow of a glance, for
which there is no cure. Sometimes she wishes for a feast in the
sandhills, like a fawn whose eyes are full of magic. She moves; I should
say it was the branch of the Tamarisk that waves its branches to the
southern breeze. She approaches; I should say it was the frightened
fawn, when a calamity alarms it in the waste_.

When Ibla heard from Antar this description of her charms, she was in
astonishment. But Antar continued in this state for days and nights, his
love and anguish ever increasing.

     [Antar resolves to be either tossed upon the spear-heads or
     numbered among the noble; and he wanders into the plain of

As soon as Antar found himself in it, he said to himself, Perhaps I
shall now find a lion, and I will slay him. Then, behold a lion appeared
in the middle of the valley; he stalked about and roared aloud; wide
were his nostrils, and fire flashed from his eyes; the whole valley
trembled at every gnash of his fangs--he was a calamity, and his claws
more dreadful than the deadliest catastrophe--thunder pealed as he
roared--vast was his strength, and his force dreadful--broad were his
paws, and his head immense. Just at that moment Shedad and his brothers
came up. They saw Antar address the lion, and heard the verses that he
repeated; he sprang forward like a hailstorm, and hissed at him like a
black serpent--he met the lion as he sprang and outroared his bellow;
then, giving a dreadful shriek, he seized hold of his mouth with his
hand, and wrenched it open to his shoulders, and he shouted aloud--the
valley and the country round echoed back the war.

     [Those who were watching were astonished at his prowess, and
     began to fear Antar. The horsemen now set off to attack the
     tribe of Temeem, leaving the slaves to guard the women.]

Antar was in transports on seeing Ibla appear with the other women. She
was indeed like an amorous fawn; and when Antar was attending her, he
was overwhelmed in the ocean of his love, and became the slave of her
sable tresses. They sat down to eat, and the wine-cups went merrily
round. It was the spring of the year, when the whole land shone in all
its glory; the vines hung luxuriantly in the arbors; the flowers shed
around ambrosial fragrance; every hillock sparkled in the beauty of its
colors; the birds in responsive melody sang sweetly from each bush, and
harmony issued from their throats; the ground was covered with flowers
and herbs; while the nightingales filled the air with their
softest notes.

     [While the maidens were singing and sporting, lo! on a sudden
     appeared a cloud of dust walling the horizon, and a vast
     clamor arose. A troop of horses and their riders, some
     seventy in number, rushed forth to seize the women, and made
     them prisoners. Antar instantly rescues Ibla from her captors
     and engages the enemy.]

He rushed forward to meet them, and harder than flint was his heart, and
in his attack was their fate and destiny. He returned home, taking with
him five-and-twenty horses, and all the women and children. Now the
hatred of Semeeah (his stepmother) was converted into love and
tenderness, and he became dearer to her than sleep.

     [He had thenceforward a powerful ally in her, a fervent
     friend in Prince Malik, a wily counselor in his brother
     Shiboob. And Antar made great progress in Ibla's heart, from
     the verses that he spoke in her praise; such verses as

_I love thee with the love of a noble-born hero; and I am content with
thy imaginary phantom. Thou art my sovereign in my very blood; and my
mistress; and in thee is all my confidence_.

     [Antar's astonishing valor gained him the praise of the noble
     Absian knights, and he was emboldened to ask his father
     Shedad to acknowledge him for his son, that he might become a
     chief among the Arabs. Shedad, enraged, drew his sword and
     rushed upon Antar to kill him, but was prevented by Semeeah.
     Antar, in the greatest agony of spirit, was ashamed that the
     day should dawn on him after this refusal, or that he should
     remain any longer in the country. He mounted his horse, put
     on his armor, and traveled on till he was far from the tents,
     and he knew not whither he was going.]

Antar had proceeded some way, when lo! a knight rushed out from the
ravines in the rocks, mounted on a dark-colored colt, beautiful and
compact, and of a race much prized among the Arabs; his hoofs were as
flat as the beaten coin; when he neighed he seemed as if about to speak,
and his ears were like quills; his sire was Wasil and his dam Hemama.
When Antar cast his eye upon the horse, and observed his speed and his
paces, he felt that no horse could surpass him, so his whole heart and
soul longed for him. And when the knight perceived that Antar was making
toward him, he spurred his horse and it fled beneath him; for this was a
renowned horseman called Harith, the son of Obad, and he was a
valiant hero.

     [By various devices Antar became possessed of the noble horse
     Abjer, whose equal no prince or emperor could boast of. His
     mettle was soon tried in an affray with the tribe of Maan,
     headed by the warrior Nakid, who was ferocious as a lion.]

When Nakid saw the battle of Antar, and how alone he stood against five
thousand, and was making them drink of the cup of death and perdition,
he was overwhelmed with astonishment at his deeds. "Thou valiant slave,"
he cried, "how powerful is thine arm--how strong thy wrist!" And he
rushed down upon Antar. And Antar presented himself before him, for he
was all anxiety to meet him. "O thou base-born!" cried Nakid. But Antar
permitted him not to finish his speech, before he assaulted him with the
assault of a lion, and roared at him; he was horrified and paralyzed at
the sight of Antar. Antar attacked him, thus scared and petrified, and
struck him with his sword on the head, and cleft him down the back; and
he fell, cut in twain, from the horse, and he was split in two as if by
a balance; and as Antar dealt the blow he cried out, "Oh, by Abs! oh, by
Adnan! I am ever the lover of Ibla." No sooner did the tribe of Maan
behold Antar's blow, than every one was seized with fear and dismay. The
whole five thousand made an attack like the attack of a single man; but
Antar received them as the parched ground receives the first of the
rain. His eyeballs were fiery red, and foam issued from his lips;
whenever he smote he cleft the head; every warrior he assailed, he
annihilated; he tore a rider from the back of his horse, he heaved him
on high, and whirling him in the air he struck down another with him,
and the two instantly expired. "By thine eyes, Ibla," he cried, "to-day
will I destroy all this race." Thus he proceeded until he terrified the
warriors, and hurled them into woe and disgrace, hewing off their arms
and their joints.

     [At the moment of Antar's victory his friends arrive to see
     his triumph. On his way back with them he celebrates his love
     for Ibla in verses.]

_When the breezes blow from Mount Saadi, their freshness calms the fire
of my love and transports.... Her throat complains of the darkness of
her necklaces. Alas! the effects of that throat and that necklace! Will
fortune ever, O daughter of Malik, ever bless me with thy embrace, that
would cure my heart of the sorrows of love? If my eye could see her
baggage camels, and her family, I would rub my cheeks on the hoofs of
her camels. I will kiss the earth where thou art; mayhap the fire of my
love and ecstasy may be quenched.... I am the well-known Antar, the
chief of his tribe, and I shall die; but when I am gone, histories shall
tell of me_.

     [From that day forth Antar was named Abool-fawaris, that is
     to say, the father of horsemen. His sword, Dhami--the
     trenchant--was forged from a meteor that fell from the sky;
     it was two cubits long and two spans wide. If it were
     presented to Nushirvan, King of Persia, he would exalt the
     giver with favors; or if it were presented to the Emperor of
     Europe, one would be enriched with treasures of gold and

As soon as Gheidac saw the tribe of Abs, and Antar the destroyer of
horsemen, his heart was overjoyed and he cried out, "This is a glorious
morning; to-day will I take my revenge." So he assailed the tribe of Abs
and Adnan, and his people attacked behind him like a cloud when it pours
forth water and rains. And the Knight of Abs assaulted them likewise,
anxious to try his sword, the famous Dhami. And Antar fought with
Gheidac, and wearied him, and shouted at him, and filled him with
horror; then assailed him so that stirrup grated stirrup; and he struck
him on the head with Dhami. He cleft his visor and wadding, and his
sword played away between the eyes, passing through his shoulders down
to the back of the horse, even down to the ground; and he and his horse
made four pieces; and to the strictest observer, it would appear that he
had divided them with scales. And God prospered Antar in all that he
did, so that he slew all he aimed at, and overthrew all he touched.

"Nobility," said Antar, "among liberal men, is the thrust of the spear,
the blow of the sword, and patience beneath the battle-dust. I am the
physician of the tribe of Abs in sickness, their protector in disgrace,
the defender of their wives when they are in trouble, their horseman
when they are in glory, and their sword when they rush to arms."

     [This was Antar's speech to Monzar, King of the Arabs, when
     he was in search of Ibla's dowry. He found it in the land of
     Irak, where the magnificent Chosroe was ready to reward him
     even to the half of his kingdom, for his victory over the
     champion of the Emperor of Europe.]

"All this grandeur, and all these gifts," said Antar, "have no value to
me, no charm in my eyes. Love of my native land is the fixed passion
of my soul."

"Do not imagine," said Chosroe, "that we have been able duly to
recompense you. What we have given you is perishable, as everything
human is, but your praises and your poems will endure forever."

     [Antar's wars made him a Nocturnal Calamity to the foes of
     his tribe. He was its protector and the champion of its
     women, "for Antar was particularly solicitous in the cause of
     women." His generosity knew no bounds. "Antar immediately
     presented the whole of the spoil to his father and his
     uncles; and all the tribe of Abs were astonished at his noble
     conduct and filial love." His hospitality was universal; his
     magnanimity without limit. "Do not bear malice, O Shiboob.
     Renounce it; for no good ever came of malice. Violence is
     infamous; its result is ever uncertain, and no one can act
     justly when actuated by hatred. Let my heart support every
     evil, and let my patience endure till I have subdued all my
     foes." Time after time he won new dowries for Ibla, even
     bringing the treasures of Persia to her feet. Treacheries
     without count divided him from his promised bride. Over and
     over again he rescued her from the hands of the enemy; and
     not only her, but her father and her hostile kinsmen.

     At last (in the fourth volume, on the fourteen hundred and
     fifty-third page) Antar makes his wedding feasts.]

"I wish to make at Ibla's wedding five separate feasts; I will feed the
birds and the beasts, the men and the women, the girls and the boys, and
not a single person shall remain in the whole country but shall eat at
Ibla's marriage festival."

Antar was at the summit of his happiness and delight, congratulating
himself on his good fortune and perfect felicity, all trouble and
anxiety being now banished from his heart. Praise be to God, the
dispenser of all grief from the hearts of virtuous men.

     [The three hundred and sixty tribes of the Arabs were invited
     to the feast, and on the eighth day the assembled chiefs
     presented their gifts--horses, armor, slaves, perfumes, gold,
     velvet, camels. The number of slaves Antar received that day
     was five-and-twenty hundred, to each of whom he gave a
     damsel, a horse, and weapons. And they all mounted when he
     rode out, and halted when he halted.]

Now when all the Arab chiefs had presented their offerings, each
according to his circumstances, Antar rose, and called out to
Mocriul-Wahsh:--"O Knight of Syria," said he, "let all the he and she
camels, high-priced horses, and all the various rarities I have received
this day, be a present from me to you. But the perfumes of ambergris,
and fragrant musk, belong to my cousin Ibla; and the slaves shall form
my army and troops." And the Arab chiefs marveled at his generosity....

And now Ibla was clothed in the most magnificent garments, and superb
necklaces; they placed the coronet of Chosroe on her head, and tiaras
round her forehead. They lighted brilliant and scented candles before
her--the perfumes were scattered--the torches blazed--and Ibla came
forth in state. All present gave a shout; while the malicious and
ill-natured cried aloud, "What a pity that one so beautiful and fair
should be wedded to one so black!"

     [The selections are from Hamilton's translation. Two long
     episodes in 'Antar' are especially noteworthy: the famous
     horse race between the champions of the tribes of Abs and
     Fazarah (Vol. iv., Chapter 33), and the history of Khalid and
     Jaida (Vol. ii., Chapter 11).]


(Second Century A. D.)

Lucius Apuleius, author of the brilliant Latin novel 'The
Metamorphoses,' also called 'The [Golden] Ass,'--and more generally
known under that title,--will be remembered when many greater writers
shall have been forgotten. The downfall of Greek political freedom
brought a period of intellectual development fertile in prose
story-telling,--short fables and tales, novels philosophic and
religious, historical and satiric, novels of love, novels of adventure.
Yet, strange to say, while the instinct was prolific in the Hellenic
domain of the Roman Empire, it was for the most part sterile in Italy,
though Roman life was saturated with the influence of Greek culture. Its
only two notable examples are Petronius Arbiter and Apuleius, both of
whom belong to the first two centuries of the Christian epoch.

[Illustration: Apuleius]

The suggestion of the plan of the novel familiarly known as 'The Golden
Ass' was from a Greek source, Lucius of Patræ. The original version was
still extant in the days of Photius, Patriarch of the Greek Church in
the ninth century. Lucian, the Greek satirist, also utilized the same
material in a condensed form in his 'Lucius, or the Ass.' But Apuleius
greatly expanded the legend, introduced into it numerous episodes, and
made it the background of a vivid picture of the manners and customs of
a corrupt age. Yet underneath its lively portraiture there runs a
current of mysticism at variance with the naïve rehearsal of the hero's
adventures, and this has tempted critics to find a hidden meaning in the
story. Bishop Warburton, in his 'Divine Legation of Moses,' professes to
see in it a defense of Paganism at the expense of struggling
Christianity. While this seems absurd, it is fairly evident that the
mind of the author was busied with something more than the mere
narration of rollicking adventure, more even than a satire on Roman
life. The transformation of the hero into an ass, at the moment when he
was plunging headlong into a licentious career, and the recovery of his
manhood again through divine intervention, suggest a serious symbolism.
The beautiful episode of 'Cupid and Psyche,' which would lend salt to a
production far more corrupt, is also suggestive. Apuleius perfected this
wild flower of ancient folk-lore into a perennial plant that has
blossomed ever since along the paths of literature and art. The story
has been accepted as a fitting embodiment of the struggle of the soul
toward a higher perfection; yet, strange to say, the episode is narrated
with as brutal a realism as if it were a satire of Lucian, and its style
is belittled with petty affectations of rhetoric. It is the enduring
beauty of the conception that has continued to fascinate. Hence we may
say of 'The Golden Ass' in its entirety, that whether readers are
interested in esoteric meanings to be divined, or in the author's vivid
sketches of his own period, the novel has a charm which long centuries
have failed to dim.

Apuleius was of African birth and of good family, his mother having come
of Plutarch's blood. The second century of the Roman Empire, when he
lived (he was born at Madaura about A. D. 139), was one of the most
brilliant periods in history,--brilliant in its social gayety, in its
intellectual activities, and in the splendor of its achievements. The
stimulus of the age spurred men far in good and evil. Apuleius studied
at Carthage, and afterward at Rome, both philosophy and religion, though
this bias seems not to have dulled his taste for worldly pleasure. Poor
in purse, he finally enriched himself by marrying a wealthy widow and
inheriting her property. Her will was contested on the ground that this
handsome and accomplished young literary man had exercised magic in
winning his elderly bride! The successful defense of Apuleius before his
judges--a most diverting composition, so jaunty and full of witty
impertinences that it is evident he knew the hard-headed Roman judges
would dismiss the prosecution as a farce--is still extant under the name
of 'The Apology; or, Concerning Magic.' This in after days became oddly
jumbled with the story of 'The Golden Ass' and its transformations, so
that St. Augustine was inclined to believe Apuleius actually a species
of professional wizard.

The plot of 'The Golden Ass' is very simple. Lucius of Madaura, a young
man of property, sets out on his travels to sow his wild oats. He
pursues this pleasant occupation with the greatest zeal according to the
prevailing mode: he is no moralist. The partner of his first intrigue is
the maid of a woman skilled in witchcraft. The curiosity of Lucius being
greatly exercised about the sorceress and her magic, he importunes the
girl to procure from her mistress a magic salve which will transform him
at will into an owl. By mistake he receives the wrong salve; and instead
of the bird metamorphosis which he had looked for, he undergoes an
unlooked-for change into an ass. In this guise, and in the service of
various masters, he has opportunities of observing the follies of men
from a novel standpoint. His adventures are numerous, and he hears many
strange stories, the latter being chronicled as episodes in the record
of his experiences. At last the goddess Isis appears in a dream, and
obligingly shows him the way to effect his second metamorphosis, by aid
of the high priest of her temple, where certain mysteries are about to
be celebrated. Lucius is freed from his disguise, and is initiated into
the holy rites.

'The Golden Ass' is full of dramatic power and variety. The succession
of incident, albeit grossly licentious at times, engages the interest
without a moment's dullness. The main narrative, indeed, is no less
entertaining than the episodes. The work became a model for
story-writers of a much later period, even to the times of Fielding and
Smollett. Boccaccio borrowed freely from it; at least one of the many
humorous exploits of Cervantes's 'Don Quixote' can be attributed to an
adventure of Lucius; while 'Gil Blas' abounds in reminiscences of the
Latin novel. The student of folk-lore will easily detect in the tasks
imposed by Venus on her unwelcome daughter-in-law, in the episode of
'Cupid and Psyche,' the possible original from which the like fairy
tales of Europe drew many a suggestion. Probably Apuleius himself was
indebted to still earlier Greek sources.

Scarcely any Latin production was more widely known and studied from the
beginning of the Italian Renaissance to the middle of the seventeenth
century. In its style, however, it is far from classic. It is full of
archaisms and rhetorical conceits. In striving to say things finely, the
author frequently failed to say them well. This fault, however, largely
disappears in the translation; and whatever may be the literary defects
of the novel, it offers rich compensation in the liveliness, humor, and
variety of its substance.

In addition to 'The Golden Ass,' the extant writings of Apuleius include
'Florida' (an anthology from his own works), 'The God of Socrates,' 'The
Philosophy of Plato,' and 'Concerning the World,' a treatise once
attributed to Aristotle. The best modern edition of his complete works
is that of Hildebrand (Leipzig, 1842); of the 'Metamorphoses,' that of
Eyssenhardt (Berlin, 1869). There have been many translations into the
modern languages. The best English versions are those of T. Taylor
(London, 1822); of Sir G. Head, somewhat expurgated (London, 1851); and
an unsigned translation published in the Bohn Library, which has been
drawn on for this work, but greatly rewritten as too stiff and prolix,
and in the conversations often wholly unnatural. A very pretty edition
in French, with many illustrations, is that of Savalète (Paris, 1872).


From 'The Metamorphoses'

I am a native of Ægina, and I travel in Thessaly, Ætolia, and Boeotia to
purchase honey of Hypata, cheese, and other articles used in cookery.
Having heard that at Hypata, the principal city of Thessaly,
fine-flavored new cheese was for sale cheap, I made the best of my way
there to buy it all up. But as usual, happening to start left foot
foremost, which is unlucky, all my hopes of profit came to nothing; for
a fellow named Lupus, a merchant who does things on a big scale, had
bought the whole of it the day before.

Weary with my hurried journey to no purpose, I was going early in the
evening to the public baths, when to my surprise I espied an old
companion of mine named Socrates. He was sitting on the ground, half
covered with a rag-tag cloak, and looking like somebody else, he was so
miserably wan and thin,--in fact, just like a street beggar; so that
though he used to be my friend and close acquaintance, I had two minds
about speaking to him.

"How now, friend Socrates!" said I: "what does this mean? Why are you
tricked out like this? What crime have you been guilty of? Why, you
look as though your family had given you up for dead and held your
funeral long ago, the probate judge had appointed guardians for your
children, and your wife, disfigured by her long mourning, having cried
herself almost blind, was being worried by her parents to sit up and
take notice of things, and look for a new marriage. Yet now, all of a
sudden, here you come before us like a wretched ghost from the dead, to
turn everything upside down.'"

"O Aristomenes!" said he, "it's clear that you don't know the slippery
turns, the freaks, and the never-ending tricks of fortune."

As he said this, he hid his face, crimson with shame, in his one garment
of patches and tatters. I could not bear such a miserable sight, and
tried to raise him from the ground. But he kept saying with his head all
covered up, "Let me alone! let me alone! let Fortune have her way
with me!"

However, I finally persuaded him to go with me; and at the same time
pulling off one of my own garments, I speedily clothed him, or at any
rate covered him. I next took him to a bath, scrubbed and oiled him
myself, and laboriously rubbed the matted dirt off him. Having done all
I could, though tired out myself, I supported his feeble steps, and with
great difficulty brought him to my inn. There I made him lie down on a
bed, gave him plenty of food, braced him up with wine, and entertained
him with the news of the day. Pretty soon our conversation took a merry
turn; we cracked jokes, and grew noisy as we chattered. All of a sudden,
heaving a bitter sigh from the bottom of his chest, and striking his
forehead violently with his right hand, he said:--

"Miserable wretch that I am, to have got into such a predicament while
having a good time at a gladiatorial show! As you know, I went to
Macedonia on business; it took me ten months; I was on my way home with
a very neat sum of money, and had nearly reached Larissa, which I
included in my route in order to see the show I mentioned, when I was
attacked by robbers in a lonely valley, and only escaped after losing
everything I had. In my distress I betook myself to a certain woman
named Meroë, who kept a tavern (and who, though rather old, was very
good-looking), and told her about my long absence, my earnest desire to
reach home, and my being robbed that very day. She treated me with the
greatest kindness, gave me a good supper for nothing, and then let me
make love to her. But from the very moment that I was such a fool as to
dally with her, my mind seemed to desert me. I even gave her the clothes
which the robbers in common decency had left me, and the little earnings
I made there by working as cloakmaker so long as I was in good physical
condition; until at length this kind friend, and bad luck together,
reduced me to the state you just now found me in."

"By Pollux, then," said I, "you deserve to suffer the very worst
misfortunes (if there be anything worse than the worst), for having
preferred a wrinkled old reprobate to your home and children."

"Hush! hush!" said he, putting his forefinger on his lips, and looking
round with a terror-stricken face to see if we were alone. "Beware of
reviling a woman skilled in the black art, for fear of doing yourself a

"Say you so?" said I. "What kind of a woman is this innkeeper, so
powerful and dreadful?"

"She is a sorceress," he replied, "and possessed of magic powers; she
can draw down the heavens, make the earth heave, harden the running
water, dissolve mountains, raise the shades of the dead, dethrone the
gods, extinguish the stars, and set the very depths of Tartarus ablaze!"

"Come, come!" said I: "end this tragic talk, fold up your theatrical
drop-scenes, and let us hear your story in every-day language."

"Should you like," said he, "to hear of one or two, yes, or a great many
of her performances? Why, to make not only her fellow-countrymen, but
the Indians, the Ethiopians, or even the Antipodeans, love her to
distraction, are only the easy lessons of her art, as it were, and mere
trifles. Listen to what she has done before many witnesses. By a single
word she changed a lover into a beaver, because he had gone to another
flame. She changed an innkeeper, a neighbor of hers she was envious of,
into a frog; and now the old fellow, swimming about in a cask of his own
wine, or buried in the dregs, croaks hoarsely to his old
customers,--quite in the way of business. She changed another person, a
lawyer from the Forum, into a ram, because he had conducted a suit
against her; to this very day that ram is always butting about. Finally,
however, public indignation was aroused by so many people coming to harm
through her arts; and the very next day had been fixed upon to wreak a
fearful vengeance on her, by stoning her to death. She frustrated the
design by her enchantments. You remember how Medea, having got Creon to
allow her just one day before her departure, burned his whole palace,
with himself and his daughter in it, by means of flames issuing from a
garland? Well, this sorceress, having performed certain deadly
incantations in a ditch (she told me so herself in a drunken fit),
confined everybody in the town each in his own house for two whole days,
by a secret spell of the demons. The bars could not be wrenched off, nor
the doors taken off the hinges, nor even a breach made in the walls. At
last, by common consent, the people all swore they would not lift a hand
against her, and would come to her defense if any one else did. She then
liberated the whole city. But in the middle of the night she conveyed
the author of the conspiracy, with all his house, close barred as it
was,--the walls, the very ground, and even the foundations,--to another
city a hundred miles off, on the top of a craggy mountain, and so
without water. And as the houses of the inhabitants were built so close
together that there was not room for the new-comer, she threw down the
house before the gate of the city and took her departure."

"You narrate marvelous things," said I, "my good Socrates; and no less
terrible than marvelous. In fact, you have excited no small anxiety
(indeed I may say fear) in me too; not a mere grain of apprehension, but
a piercing dread for fear this old hag should come to know our
conversation in the same way, by the help of some demon. Let us get to
bed without delay; and when we have rested ourselves by a little sleep,
let us fly as far as we possibly can before daylight."

While I was still advising him thus, the worthy Socrates, overcome by
more wine than he was used to and by his fatigue, had fallen asleep and
was snoring loudly. I shut the door, drew the bolts, and placing my bed
close against the hinges, tossed it up well and lay down on it. I lay
awake some time through fear, but closed my eyes at last a little
before midnight.

I had just fallen asleep, when suddenly the door was burst open with
such violence that it was evidently not done by robbers; the hinges were
absolutely broken and wrenched off, and it was thrown to the ground. The
small bedstead, minus one foot and rotten, was also upset by the shock;
and falling upon me, who had been rolled out on the floor, it completely
covered and hid me. Then I perceived that certain emotions can be
excited by exactly opposite causes; for as tears often come from joy,
so, in spite of my terror, I could not help laughing to see myself
turned from Aristomenes into a tortoise. As I lay on the floor,
completely covered by the bed, and peeping out to see what was the
matter, I saw two old women, one carrying a lighted lamp and the other a
sponge and a drawn sword, plant themselves on either side of Socrates,
who was fast asleep.

The one with the sword said to the other:--"This, sister Panthea, is my
dear Endymion, my Ganymede, who by day and by night has laughed my youth
to scorn. This is he who, despising my passion, not only defames me with
abusive language, but is preparing also for flight; and I forsooth,
deserted through the craft of this Ulysses, like another Calypso, am to
be left to lament in eternal loneliness!"

Then extending her right hand, and pointing me out to her friend

"And there," said she, "is his worthy counselor, Aristomenes, who was
the planner of this flight, and who now, half dead, is lying flat on the
ground under the bedstead and looking at all that is going on, while he
fancies that he is to tell scandalous stories of me with impunity. I'll
take care, however, that some day, aye, and before long, too,--this very
instant, in fact,--he shall repent of his recent chatter and his present

On hearing this I felt myself streaming with cold perspiration, and my
heart began to throb so violently that even the bedstead danced on
my back.

"Well, sister," said the worthy Panthea, "shall we hack him to pieces at
once, like the Bacchanals, or tie his limbs and mutilate him?"

To this Meroë replied,--and I saw from what was happening, as well as
from what Socrates had told, how well the name fitted her,--"Rather let
him live, if only to cover the body of this wretched creature with a
little earth."

Then, moving Socrates's head to one side, she plunged the sword into his
throat up to the hilt, catching the blood in a small leathern bottle so
carefully that not a drop of it was to be seen. All this I saw with my
own eyes. The worthy Meroë--in order, I suppose, not to omit any due
observance in the sacrifice of the victim--then thrust her right hand
through the wound, and drew forth the heart of my unhappy companion. His
windpipe being severed, he emitted a sort of indistinct gurgling noise,
and poured forth his breath with his bubbling blood. Panthea then
stopped the gaping wound with a sponge, exclaiming, "Beware, O sea-born
sponge, how thou dost pass through a river!"

When she had said this, they lifted my bed from the ground, and dashed
over me a mass of filth.

Hardly had they passed over the threshold when the door resumed its
former state. The hinges settled back on the panels, the posts returned
to the bars, and the bolts flew back to their sockets again. I lay
prostrate on the ground in a squalid plight, terrified, naked, cold, and
drenched. Indeed, I was half dead, though still alive; and pursued a
train of reflections like one already in the grave, or to say the least
on the way to the cross, to which I was surely destined. "What," said I,
"will become of me, when this man is found in the morning with his
throat cut? If I tell the truth, who will believe a word of the story?
'You ought at least,' they will say, 'to have called for help, if as
strong a man as you are could not withstand a woman! Is a man's throat
to be cut before your eyes, and you keep silence? Why was it that you
were not assassinated too? How did the villains come to spare you, a
witness of the murder? They would naturally kill you, if only to put an
end to all evidence of the crime. Since your escape from death was
against reason, return to it.'"

I said these things to myself over and over again, while the night was
fast verging toward day. It seemed best to me, therefore, to escape on
the sly before daylight and pursue my journey, though I was all in a
tremble. I took up my bundle, put the key in the door, and drew back the
bolts. But this good and faithful door, which had opened of its own
accord in the night, would not open now till I had tried the key again
and again.

"Hallo, porter!" said I, "where are you? Open the gate, I want to be off
before daybreak."

The porter, who was lying on the ground behind the door, only grunted,
"Why do you want to begin a journey at this time of night? Don't you
know the roads are infested by robbers? You may have a mind to meet your
death,--perhaps your conscience stings you for some crime you have
committed; but I haven't a head like a pumpkin, that I should die for
your sake!"

"It isn't very far from daybreak," said I; "and besides, what can
robbers take from a traveler in utter poverty? Don't _you_ know, you
fool, that a naked man can't be stripped by ten athletes?"

The drowsy porter turned over and answered;--"And how am I to know but
what you have murdered that fellow-traveler of yours that you came here
with last night, and are running away to save yourself? And now I
remember that I saw Tartarus through a hole in the earth just at that
hour, and Cerberus looking ready to eat me up."

Then I came to the conclusion that the worthy Meroë had not spared my
throat out of pity, but to reserve me for the cross. So, on returning to
my chamber, I thought over some speedy method of putting an end to
myself; but fortune had provided me with no weapon for self-destruction,
except the bedstead. "Now, bedstead," said I, "most dear to my soul,
partner with me in so many sorrows, fully conscious and a spectator of
this night's events, and whom alone when accused I can adduce as a
witness of my innocence--do thou supply me (who would fain hasten to the
shades below) a welcome instrument of death."

Thus saying, I began to undo the bed-cord. I threw one end of it over a
small beam projecting above the window, fastened it there, and made a
slip-knot at the other end. Then I mounted on the bed, and thus elevated
for my own destruction, put my head into the noose and kicked away my
support with one foot; so that the noose, tightened about my throat by
the strain of my weight, might stop my breath. But the rope, which was
old and rotten, broke in two; and falling from aloft, I tumbled heavily
upon Socrates, who was lying close by, and rolled with him on the floor.

Lo and behold! at that very instant the porter burst into the room,
bawling out, "Where are you, you who were in such monstrous haste to be
off at midnight, and now lie snoring, rolled up in the bed-clothes?"

At these words--whether awakened by my fall or by the rasping voice of
the porter, I know not--Socrates was the first to start up; and he
exclaimed, "Evidently travelers have good reason for detesting these
hostlers. This nuisance here, breaking in without being asked,--most
likely to steal something,--has waked me out of a sound sleep by his
outrageous bellowing."

On hearing him speak I jumped up briskly, in an ecstasy of unhoped-for
joy:--"Faithfulest of porters," I exclaimed, "my friend, my own father,
and my brother,--behold him whom you, in your drunken fit, falsely
accuse me of having murdered."

So saying, I embraced Socrates, and was for loading him with kisses; but
he repulsed me with considerable violence. "Get out with you!" he cried.
Sorely confused, I trumped up some absurd story on the spur of the
moment, to give another turn to the conversation, and taking him by the
right hand--

"Why not be off," said I, "and enjoy the freshness of the morning on our

So I took my bundle, and having paid the innkeeper for our night's
lodging, we started on our road.

We had gone some little distance, and now, everything being illumined by
the beams of the rising sun, I keenly and attentively examined that part
of my companion's neck into which I had seen the sword plunged.

"Foolish man," said I to myself, "buried in your cups, you certainly
have had a most absurd dream. Why, look: here's Socrates, safe, sound,
and hearty. Where is the wound? Where is the sponge? Where is the scar
of a gash so deep and so recent?"

Addressing myself to him, I remarked, "No wonder the doctors say that
hideous and ominous dreams come only to people stuffed with food and
liquor. My own case is a good instance. I went beyond moderation in my
drinking last evening, and have passed a wretched night full of shocking
and dreadful visions, so that I still fancy myself spattered and defiled
with human gore."

"It is not gore," he replied with a smile, "that you are sprinkled with.
And yet in my sleep I thought my own throat was being cut, and felt some
pain in my neck, and fancied that my very heart was being plucked out.
Even now I am quite faint; my knees tremble; I stagger as I go, and feel
in want of some food to hearten me up."

"Look," cried I, "here is breakfast all ready for you." So saying, I
lifted my wallet from my shoulders, handed him some bread and cheese,
and said, "Let us sit down near that plane-tree." We did so, and I
helped myself to some refreshment. While looking at him more closely, as
he was eating with a voracious appetite, I saw that he was faint, and of
a hue like boxwood. His natural color, in fact, had so forsaken him,
that as I recalled those nocturnal furies to my frightened imagination,
the very first piece of bread I put in my mouth, though exceedingly
small, stuck in the middle of my throat and would pass neither downward
nor upward. Besides, the number of people passing along increased my
fears; for who would believe that one of two companions could meet his
death except at the hands of the other?

Presently, after having gorged himself with food, he began to be
impatient for some drink, for he had bolted the larger part of an
excellent cheese. Not far from the roots of the plane-tree a gentle
stream flowed slowly along, like a placid lake, rivaling silver
or crystal.

"Look," said I: "drink your fill of the water of this stream, bright as
the Milky Way."

He arose, and, wrapping himself in his cloak, with his knees doubled
under him, knelt down upon the shelving bank and bent greedily toward
the water. Scarcely had he touched its surface with his lips, when the
wound in his throat burst open and the sponge rolled out, a few drops of
blood with it; and his lifeless body would have fallen into the river
had I not laid hold of one of his feet, and dragged him with great
difficulty and labor to the top of the bank. There, having mourned my
hapless comrade as much as there was time, I buried him in the sandy
soil that bordered the stream. Then, trembling and terror-stricken, I
fled through various unfrequented places; and as though guilty of
homicide, abandoned my country and my home, embraced a voluntary exile,
and now dwell in Ætolia, where I have married another wife.

Translated for 'A Library of the World's Best Literature.'


     [The radical difference in the constituent parts of the
     'Golden Ass' is startling, and is well illustrated by the
     selection given previously and that which follows. The story
     of the "drummer" comports exactly with the modern idea of
     realism in fiction: a vivid and unflinching picture of
     manners and morals, full of broad coarse humor and worldly
     wit. The story of Cupid and Psyche is the purest, daintiest,
     most poetic of fancies; in essence a fairy tale that might be
     told of an evening by the fire-light in the second century or
     the nineteenth, but embodying also a high and beautiful
     allegory, and treated with a delicate art which is in extreme
     contrast with the body of the 'Golden Ass.' The difference is
     almost as striking as between Gray's lampoon on "Jemmy
     Twitcher" and his 'Bard' or 'Elegy'; or between
     Aristophanes's revels in filth and his ecstatic soarings into
     the heavenliest regions of poetry.

     The contrast is even more rasping when we remember that the
     tale is not put into the mouth of a girl gazing dreamily into
     the glowing coals on the hearth, or of some elegant reciter
     amusing a social group in a Roman drawing-room or garden,
     but of a grizzled hag who is maid of all work in a robbers'
     cave. She tells it to divert the mind of a lovely young bride
     held for ransom. It begins like a modern fairy tale, with a
     great king and queen who had "three daughters of remarkable
     beauty," the loveliest being the peerless Psyche. Even Venus
     becomes envious of the honors paid to Psyche's charms, and
     summons Cupid to wing one of his shafts which shall cause her
     "to be seized with the most burning love for the lowest of
     mankind," so as to disgrace and ruin her. Cupid undertakes
     the task, but instead falls in love with her himself.
     Meanwhile an oracle from Apollo, instigated by Venus, dooms
     her to be sacrificed in marriage to some unknown aërial
     monster, who must find her alone on a naked rock. She is so
     placed, awaiting her doom in terror; but the zephyrs bear her
     away to the palace of Love. Cupid hides her there, lest Venus
     wreak vengeance on them both: and there, half terrified but
     soon soothed, in the darkness of night she hears from Cupid
     that he, her husband, is no monster, but the fairest of
     immortals. He will not disclose his identity, however; not
     only so, but he tenderly warns her that she must not seek to
     discover it, or even to behold him, till he gives permission,
     unless she would bring hopeless disaster on both. Nor must
     she confide in her two sisters, lest their unwisdom or sudden
     envy cause harm.

     The simple-hearted and affectionate girl, however, in her
     craving for sympathy, cannot resist the temptation to boast
     of her happiness to her sisters. She invites them to pass a
     day in her magnificent new home, and tells contradictory
     stories about her husband. Alas! they depart bitterly
     envious, and plotting to make her ruin her own joy out of
     fear and curiosity.]

"What are we to say, sister, [said one to the other] of the monstrous
lies of that silly creature? At one time her husband is a young man,
with the down just showing itself on his chin; at another he is of
middle age, and his hair begins to be silvered with gray.... You may
depend upon it, sister, either the wretch has invented these lies to
deceive us, or else she does not know herself how her husband looks.
Whichever is the case, she must be deprived of these riches as soon as
possible. And yet, if she is really ignorant of her husband's
appearance, she must no doubt have married a god, and who knows what
will happen? At all events, if--which heaven forbid--she does become the
mother of a divine infant, I shall instantly hang myself. Meanwhile let
us return to our parents, and devise some scheme based on what we have
just been saying."

The sisters, thus inflamed with jealousy, called on their parents in a
careless and disdainful manner; and after being kept awake all night by
the turbulence of their spirits, made all haste at morning to the rock,
whence, by the wonted assistance of the breeze, they descended swiftly
to Psyche, and with tears squeezed out by rubbing their eyelids, thus
craftily addressed her:--

"Happy indeed are you, and fortunate in your very ignorance of so heavy
a misfortune. There you sit, without a thought of danger; while we, your
sisters, who watch over your interests with the most vigilant care, are
in anguish at your lost condition. For we have learned as truth, and as
sharers in your sorrows and misfortunes cannot conceal it from you, that
it is an enormous serpent, gliding along in many folds and coils, with a
neck swollen with deadly venom, and prodigious gaping jaws, that
secretly sleeps with you by night. Remember the Pythian Oracle. Besides,
a great many of the husbandmen, who hunt all round the country, and ever
so many of the neighbors, have observed him returning home from his
feeding-place in the evening. All declare, too, that he will not long
continue to pamper you with delicacies, but will presently devour you.
Will you listen to us, who are so anxious for your precious safety, and
avoiding death, live with us secure from danger, or die horribly? But if
you are fascinated by your country home, or by the endearments of a
serpent, we have at all events done our duty toward you, like
affectionate sisters."

Poor, simple, tender-hearted Psyche was aghast with horror at this
dreadful story; and quite bereft of her senses, lost all remembrance of
her husband's admonitions and of her own promises, and hurled herself
headlong into the very abyss of calamity. Trembling, therefore, with
pale and livid cheeks and an almost lifeless voice, she faltered out
these broken words:--

"Dearest sisters, you have acted toward me as you ought, and with your
usual affectionate care; and indeed, it appears to me that those who
gave you this information have not invented a falsehood. For, in fact, I
have never yet beheld my husband's face, nor do I know at all whence he
comes. I only hear him speak in an undertone by night, and have to bear
with a husband of an unknown appearance, and one that has an utter
aversion to the light of day. He may well, therefore, be some monster or
other. Besides, he threatens some shocking misfortune as the consequence
of indulging any curiosity to view his features. So, then, if you are
able to give any aid to your sister in this perilous emergency, don't
delay a moment."

     [One of them replies:--]

"Since the ties of blood oblige us to disregard peril when your safety
is to be insured, we will tell you the only means of safety. We have
considered it over and over again. On that side of the bed where you are
used to lie, conceal a very sharp razor; and also hide under the
tapestry a lighted lamp, well trimmed and full of oil. Make these
preparations with the utmost secrecy. After the monster has glided into
bed as usual, when he is stretched out at length, fast asleep and
breathing heavily, as you slide out of bed, go softly along with bare
feet and on tiptoe, and bring out the lamp from its hiding-place; then
having the aid of its light, raise your right hand, bring down the
weapon with all your might, and cut off the head of the creature at the
neck. Then we will bring you away with all these things, and if you
wish, will wed you to a human creature like yourself."

     [They then depart, fearing for themselves if they are near
     when the catastrophe happens.]

But Psyche, now left alone, except so far as a person who is agitated by
maddening Furies is not alone, fluctuated in sorrow like a stormy sea;
and though her purpose was fixed and her heart was resolute when she
first began to make preparations for the impious work, her mind now
wavered, and feared. She hurried, she procrastinated; now she was bold,
now tremulous; now dubious, now agitated by rage; and what was the most
singular thing of all, in the same being she hated the beast and loved
the husband. Nevertheless, as the evening drew to a close, she hurriedly
prepared the instruments of her enterprise.

The night came, and with it her husband. After he fell asleep, Psyche,
to whose weak body and spirit the cruel influence of fate imparted
unusual strength, uncovered the lamp, and seized the knife with the
courage of a man. But the instant she advanced, she beheld the very
gentlest and sweetest of all creatures, even Cupid himself, the
beautiful God of Love, there fast asleep; at sight of whom, the joyous
flame of the lamp shone with redoubled vigor, and the sacrilegious
dagger repented the keenness of its edge.

But Psyche, losing the control of her senses, faint, deadly pale, and
trembling all over, fell on her knees, and made an attempt to hide the
blade in her own bosom; and this no doubt she would have done had not
the blade, dreading the commission of such a crime, glided out of her
rash hand. And now, faint and unnerved as she was, she felt herself
refreshed at heart by gazing upon the beauty of those divine features.
She looked upon the genial locks of his golden head, teeming with
ambrosial perfume, the circling curls that strayed over his milk-white
neck and roseate cheeks, and fell gracefully entangled, some before and
some behind, causing the very light of the lamp itself to flicker by
their radiant splendor. On the shoulders of the god were dewy wings of
brilliant whiteness; and though the pinions were at rest, yet the tender
down that fringed the feathers wantoned to and fro in tremulous,
unceasing play. The rest of his body was smooth and beautiful, and such
as Venus could not have repented of giving birth to. At the foot of his
bed lay his bow, his quiver, and his arrows, the auspicious weapons of
the mighty god.

While with insatiable wonder and curiosity Psyche is examining and
admiring her husband's weapons, she draws one of the arrows out of the
quiver, and touches the point with the tip of her thumb to try its
sharpness; but happening to press too hard, for her hand still trembled,
she punctured the skin, so that some tiny drops of rosy blood oozed
forth. And thus did Psyche, without knowing it, fall in love with Love.
Then, burning more and more with desire for Cupid, gazing passionately
on his face, and fondly kissing him again and again, her only fear was
lest he should wake too soon.

But while she hung over him, bewildered with delight so overpowering,
the lamp, whether from treachery or baneful envy, or because it longed
to touch, and to kiss as it were, so beautiful an object, spirted a drop
of scalding oil from the summit of its flame upon the right shoulder of
the god.... The god, thus scorched, sprang from the bed, and seeing the
disgraceful tokens of forfeited fidelity, started to fly away, without a
word, from the eyes and arms of his most unhappy wife. But Psyche, the
instant he arose, seized hold of his right leg with both hands, and hung
on to him, a wretched appendage to his flight through the regions of the
air, till at last her strength failed her, and she fell to the earth.

Translation of Bohn Library, revised.




Thomas Aquinas, philosopher and theologian, was born in 1226, at or near
Aquino, in Southern Italy. He received his early training from the
Benedictines of Monte Cassino. Tradition says he was a taciturn and
seemingly dull boy, derisively nicknamed by his fellows "the dumb ox,"
but admired by his teachers. He subsequently entered the University of
Naples. While studying there he joined the Dominican Order, and was sent
later on to Cologne, where he became a pupil of Albertus Magnus. In 1251
he went to Paris, took his degrees in theology, and began his career as
a teacher in the University. His academic work there was continued, with
slight interruptions, till 1261. The eleven years which followed were
spent partly in Rome, where Thomas enjoyed the esteem of Urban IV. and
Clement IV., and partly in the cities of Northern Italy, which he
visited in the interest of his Order. During this period he produced the
greatest of his works, and won such repute as a theologian that the
leading universities made every effort to secure him as a teacher. He
was appointed to a professorship at Naples, where he remained from 1272
until the early part of 1274. Summoned by Gregory X. to take part in the
Council of Lyons, he set out on his journey northward, but was compelled
by illness to stop at Fossa Nuova. Here he died March 7th, 1274. He was
canonized in 1323, and was proclaimed a doctor of the Church by Pius
V. in 1567.

[Illustration: THOMAS AQUINAS]

These honors were merited by a remarkable combination of ability and
virtue. To an absolute purity of life, St. Thomas added an earnest love
of truth and of labor. Calm in the midst of discussion, he was equally
proof against the danger of brilliant success. As the friend of popes
and princes, he might have attained the highest dignities; but these he
steadfastly declined, devoting himself, so far as his duty permitted, to
scientific pursuits. Judged by his writings, he was intense yet
thoroughly objective, firm in his own position but dispassionate in
treating the opinions of others. Conclusions reached by daring
speculation and faultless logic are stated simply, impersonally. Keen
replies are given without bitterness, and the boldest efforts of reason
are united with the submissiveness of faith.

His works fill twenty-five large quarto volumes of the Parma edition.
This is, so far, the most complete collection, though various portions
have been edited from time to time with the commentaries of learned
theologians like Cajetan and Sylvius. Partial translations have also
been made into several modern languages; but as yet there is no complete
English edition of St. Thomas.

Turning to the Latin text, the student cannot but notice the contrast
between the easy diction of modern philosophical writers and the rugged
conciseness of the mediæval Schoolman. On the other hand, disappointment
awaits those who quit the pages of Cicero for the less elegant Latinity
of the Middle Ages. What can be said in favor of scholastic "style" is
that it expresses clearly and tersely the subtle shades of thought which
had developed through thirteen centuries, and which often necessitated a
sacrifice of classic form. With the Schoolmen, as with modern writers on
scientific subjects, precision was the first requisite, and terminology
was of more consequence than literary beauty.

Similar standards must be kept in view when we pass judgment upon the
technique of St. Thomas. In his presentation we find neither the
eloquence nor the rhetoric of the Fathers. He quotes them continually,
and in some of his works adopts their division into books and chapters.
But his exposition is more compact, consisting at times of clear-cut
arguments in series without an attempt at transition, at other times of
sustained reasoning processes in which no phrase is superfluous and no
word ambiguous. Elsewhere he uses the more rigid mold which was peculiar
to the Scholastic Period, and had been fashioned chiefly by Alexander
Hales. Each subject is divided into so many "questions," and each
question into so many "articles." The "article" begins with the
statement of objections, then discusses various opinions, establishes
the author's position, and closes with a solution of the difficulties
which that position may encounter. This method had its advantages. It
facilitated analysis, and obliged the writer to examine every aspect of
a problem. It secured breadth of view and thoroughness of treatment. It
was, especially, a transparent medium for reason, unbiased by either
sentiment or verbiage.

If such qualities of style and presentation were encouraged by the
environment in which Aquinas pursued his earlier studies, they were also
helpful in the task which he chose as his life-work. This was the
construction of a system in which all the elements of knowledge should
be harmoniously united. An undertaking so vast necessitated a long
preparation, the study of all available sources, and the elucidation of
many detailed problems. Hence, a considerable portion of St. Thomas's
works is taken up with the explanation of Peter Lombard's 'Sententiæ,'
with Commentaries on Aristotle, with Expositions of Sacred Scripture,
collections from the Fathers, and various _opuscula_ or studies on
special subjects. Under the title 'Quæstiones Disputatæ,' numerous
problems in philosophy and theology are discussed at length. But the
synthetic power of Aquinas is shown chiefly in the 'Contra Gentes' and
the 'Summa Theologica,' the former being a defense of Christian belief
with special reference to Arabian philosophy, and the latter a masterly
compendium of rational and revealed truth.

The conception of the 'Summa' was not altogether original. From the
earliest days of the Church, men of genius had insisted on the
reasonableness of Christian belief by showing that, though supernatural
in its origin, it did not conflict with either the facts or the laws of
human knowledge. And as these had found their highest expression in
Greek philosophy, it was natural that this philosophy should serve as a
basis for the elucidation of revealed truth. The early Fathers turned to
Plato, not only because his teaching was so spiritual, but also because
it could be so readily used as a framework for those theological
concepts which Christianity had brought into the world. Thus adopted by
men who were recognized authorities in the Church,--especially men like
Augustine and the Areopagite,--Platonism endured for centuries as the
rational element in dogmatic exposition.

Scholasticism inaugurated a new era. Patristic erudition had gathered a
wealth of theological knowledge which the Schoolmen fully appreciated.
But the same truths were to receive another setting and be treated by
different methods. Speculation changed its direction, Aristotle taking
the place of his master. The peripatetic system found able exponents in
the earlier Scholastics; but Aquinas surpassed them alike in the mastery
of the philosopher's principles and in his application of these
principles to Christian doctrine. His Commentaries on Aristotle adhere
strictly to the text, dissecting its meaning and throwing into relief
the orderly sequence of ideas. In his other works, he develops the germs
of thought which he had gathered from the Stagirite, and makes them the
groundwork of his philosophical and theological speculations.

With the subtlety of a metaphysician St. Thomas combined a vast
erudition. Quotations from the Fathers appear on nearly every page of
his writings, serving either as a keynote to the discussion which
follows, or as an occasion for solving objections. Toward St. Augustine
he shows the deepest reverence, though their methods differ so widely,
and his brief but lucid comments throw light on difficult sayings of the
great Doctor. His familiarity with patristic theology is shown
particularly in the 'Catena Aurea,' where he links with passages from
the Sacred Text numerous extracts from the older commentators.

His respect for these interpretations did not prevent him from making a
thorough search of Scripture itself. With characteristic clearness and
depth he interpreted various books of the Bible, insisting chiefly on
the doctrinal meaning. The best of his work in this line was devoted to
the Pauline Epistles and to the Book of Job; but his mastery of each
text is no less evident where he takes the authority of Scripture as the
starting-point in theological argument, or makes it the crowning
evidence at the close of a philosophical demonstration.

The materials gathered from Philosophy, Tradition, and Scripture were
the fruit of analysis; the final synthesis had yet to be accomplished.
This was the scope of the 'Summa Theologica,' a work which, though it
was not completed, is the greatest production of Thomas Aquinas. In the
prologue he says:--

     "Since the teacher of Catholic truth should instruct not only
     those who are advanced, but also those who are beginning, it
     is our purpose in this work to treat subjects pertaining to
     the Christian religion in a manner adapted to the instruction
     of beginners. For we have considered that young students
     encounter various obstacles in the writings of different
     authors: partly because of the multiplication of useless
     questions, articles, and arguments; partly because the
     essentials of knowledge are dealt with, not in scientific
     order, but according as the explanation of books required or
     an occasion for disputing offered; partly because the
     frequent repetition of the same things begets weariness and
     confusion in the hearer's mind. Endeavoring, therefore, to
     avoid these defects and others of a like nature, we shall
     try, with confidence in the Divine assistance, to treat of
     sacred science briefly and clearly, so far as the
     subject-matter will allow."

The work intended for novices in theology, and so unpretentiously
opened, is then portioned out in these words:--

     "Whereas, the chief aim of this science is to impart a
     knowledge of God, not only as existing in Himself, but also
     as the origin and end of all things, and especially of
     rational creatures, we therefore shall treat first of God;
     second, of the rational creature's tendency toward God;
     third, of Christ, who as man is the way whereby we approach
     unto God. Concerning God, we shall consider (1) those things
     which pertain to the Divine Essence; (2) those which regard
     the distinction of persons; (3) those which concern the
     origin of creatures from Him. As to the Divine Essence we
     shall inquire (1) whether God exists; (2) what is, or rather
     what is not, the manner of His existence; (3) how He acts
     through His knowledge, will, and power. Under the first
     heading we shall ask whether God's existence is self-evident,
     whether it can be demonstrated, and whether God does exist."

Similar subdivisions precede each question as it comes up for
discussion, so that the student is enabled to take a comprehensive view,
and perceive the bearing of one problem on another as well as its place
in the wide domain of theology. As a consequence, those who are familiar
with the 'Summa' find in it an object-lesson of breadth, proportion, and
orderly thinking. Its chief merit, however, lies in the fact that it is
the most complete and systematic exhibition of the harmony between
reason and faith. In it, more than in any other of his works, is
displayed the mind of its author. It determines his place in the history
of thought, and closes what may be called the second period in the
development of Christian theology. Scholasticism, the high point of
intellectual activity in the Church, reached its culmination in
Thomas Aquinas.

His works have been a rich source of information for Catholic
theologians, and his opinions have always commanded respect. The
polemics of the sixteenth century brought about a change in theological
methods, the positive and critical elements becoming more prominent.
Modern rationalism, however, has intensified the discussion of those
fundamental problems which St. Thomas handled so thoroughly. As his
writings furnish both a forcible statement of the Catholic position and
satisfactory replies to many current objections, the Thomistic system
has recently been restored. The "neo-scholastic movement" was initiated
by Leo XIII. in his Encyclical 'Æterni Patris,' dated August 4th, 1879,
and its rapid growth has made Aquinas the model of Catholic thought in
the nineteenth century, as he certainly was in the thirteenth.

The subjoined extracts show his views on some questions of actual
importance, with regard not alone to mediæval controversies, but to the
problems of the universe, which will press on the minds of men
twenty-five hundred years in the future as they did twenty-five hundred
years in the past.

[Illustration: Signature: Edw. A. Pace]


Part I--From the 'Summa Theologica'

It is obvious that terms implying negation or extrinsic relation in no
way signify the divine substance, but simply the removal of some
attribute from Him, or His relation with other beings, or rather the
relation of other beings with Him. As to appellations that are absolute
and positive,--such as _good, wise_, and the like,--various opinions
have been entertained. It was held by some that these terms, though used
affirmatively, were in reality devised for the purpose of elimination,
and not with the intent of positive attribution. Hence, they claimed,
when we say that God is a living being, we mean that God's existence is
not that of inanimate things; and so on for other predicates. This was
the position of Rabbi Moses. According to another view these terms are
employed to denote a relation between God and creatures; so that for
instance, when we say, God is good, we mean, God is the cause of
goodness in all things.

Both interpretations, however, are open to a threefold objection. For,
in the first place, neither can offer any explanation of the fact that
certain terms are applied to the Deity in preference to others. As He is
the source of all good, so He is the cause of all things corporeal;
consequently, if by affirming that God is good we merely imply that He
is the cause of goodness, we might with equal reason assert that He is a
corporeal being.

Again, the inference from these positions would be that all terms
applied to God have only a secondary import, such, for instance, as we
give to the word _healthy_, as applied to medicine; whereby we signify
that it is productive of health in the organism, while the organism
itself is said, properly and primarily, to be healthy.

In the third place, these interpretations distort the meaning of those
who employ such terms in regard to the Deity. For, when they declare
that He is the living God, they certainly mean something else than that
He is the cause of our life or that He is different from
inanimate bodies.

We are obliged, therefore, to take another view, and to affirm that such
terms denote the substantial nature of God, but that, at the same time,
their representative force is deficient. They express the knowledge
which our intellect has of God; and since this knowledge is gotten from
created things, we know Him according to the measure in which creatures
represent Him. Now God, absolutely and in all respects perfect,
possesses every perfection that is found in His creatures. Each created
thing, therefore, inasmuch as it has some perfection, resembles and
manifests the Deity; not as a being of the same species or genus with
itself, but as a supereminent source from which are derived its effects.
They represent Him, in a word, just as the energy of the terrestrial
elements represents the energy of the sun.

Our manner of speech, therefore, denotes the substance of God, yet
denotes it imperfectly, because creatures are imperfect manifestations
of Him. When we say that God is good, we do not mean that He is the
cause of goodness or that He is not evil. Our meaning is this: What we
call goodness in creatures preexists in God in a far higher way. Whence
it follows, not that God is good because He is the source of good, but
rather, because He is good, He imparts goodness to all things else; as
St. Augustine says, "Inasmuch as He is good, _we are_."


From the 'Quæstiones Disputatæ'

The relations which are spoken of as existing between God and creatures
are not really in Him. A real relation is that which exists between two
things. It is mutual or bilateral then, only when its basis in both
correlates is the same. Such is the case in all quantitive relations.
Quantity being essentially the same in all quanta, gives rise to
relations which are real in both terms--in the part, for instance, and
in the whole, in the unit of measurement and in that which is measured.

But where a relation originates in causation, as between that which is
active and that which is passive, it does not always concern both terms.
True, that which is acted upon, or set in motion, or produced, must be
related to the source of these modifications, since every effect is
dependent upon its cause. And it is equally true that such causes or
agencies are in some cases related to their effects, namely, when the
production of those effects redounds in some way to the well-being of
the cause itself. This is evidently what happens when like begets like,
and thereby perpetuates, so far as may be, its own species.... There
are cases, nevertheless, in which a thing, without being related, has
other things related to it. The cognizing subject is related to that
which is the object of cognition--to a thing which is outside the mind.
But the thing itself is in no way affected by this cognition, since the
mental process is confined to the mind, and therefore does not bring
about any change in the object. Hence the relation established by the
act of knowing cannot be in that which is known.

The same holds good of sensation. For though the physical object sets up
changes in the sense-organ, and is related to it as other physical
agencies are related to the things on which they act, still, the
sensation implies, over and above the organic change, a subjective
activity of which the external activity is altogether devoid. Likewise,
we say that a man is at the right of a pillar because, with his power of
locomotion, he can take his stand at the right or the left, before or
behind, above or below. But obviously these relations, vary them as we
will, imply nothing in the stationary pillar, though they are real in
the man who holds or changes his position. Once more, a coin has nothing
to do with the action that gives it its value, since this action is a
human convention; and a man is quite apart from the process which
produces his image. Between a man and his portrait there is a relation,
but this is real in the portrait only. Between the coin and its current
value there is a relation, but this is not real in the coin.

Now for the application. God's action is not to be understood as going
out from Him and terminating in that which He creates. His action is
Himself; consequently altogether apart from the genus of created being
whereby the creature is related to Him. And again, he gains nothing by
creating, or, as Avicenna puts it, His creative action is in the highest
degree generous. It is also manifest that His action involves no
modification of His being--without changing, He causes the changeable.
Consequently, though creatures are related to Him, as effects to their
cause, He is not really related to them.


From the 'Quæstiones Disputatæ'

According to Augustine, the passage "Let the earth bring forth the green
herb" means, not that plants were then actually produced in their proper
nature, but that a germinative power was given the earth to produce
plants by the work of propagation; so that the earth is then said to
have brought forth the green herb and the fruit-yielding tree, inasmuch
as it received the power of producing them. This position is
strengthened by the authority of Scripture (Gen. ii. 4):--"These are the
generations of the heaven and the earth, when they were created, in the
day that the Lord God made the heaven and the earth, and every plant in
the field before it sprang up in the earth, and every herb in the ground
before it grew." From this text we infer, first, that all the works of
the six days were created in the day that God made heaven and earth and
every plant of the field; and consequently that all plants, which are
said to have been created on the third day, were produced at the same
time that God created heaven and earth. The second inference is that
plants were then produced not actually, but only according to causal
virtues, in that the power to produce them was given to the earth. And
this is meant when it is said that He produced every plant of the field
before it actually arose upon the earth by His dispositive action, and
every herb of the earth before it actually grew. Hence, before they came
forth in reality, they were made causally in the earth.

This view, moreover, is supported by reason. For in those first days God
made the creature either in its cause, or in its origin, or in its
actuality, by the work from which He afterward rested; He nevertheless
works even till now in the administration of things created by the work
of propagation. To this latter process belongs the actual production of
plants from the earth, because all that is needed to bring them forth is
the energy of the heavenly bodies as their father, so to say, and the
power of the earth in place of a mother. Plants, therefore, were
produced on the third day, not actually, but causally. After the six
days, however, they were actually brought forth, according to their
proper species and in their proper nature, by the work of



The Arabian Nights--or, more accurately, 'The Thousand Nights and a
Night' (Alf Leilah wa-leílah)--have gained a popularity in Europe, since
they were first turned into a modern language by Galland in 1704, which
rivals, if it does not exceed, their regard in the East. They opened up
to Europe a wealth of anecdote, a fertility of daring fancy, which has
not ceased to amuse and to interest. It is not their value as literature
which has placed them so high in the popular esteem, both in the East
and in the West; for they are written in a style not a little slovenly,
the same scenes, figures, and expressions are repeated to monotony, and
the poetical extracts which are interwoven are often of very uncertain
excellence. Some of the modern translations--as by Payne and
Burton--have improved upon the original, and have often given it a
literary flavor which it certainly has not in the Arabic. For this
reason, native historians and writers seldom range the stories in their
literary chronicles, or even deign to mention them by name. The 'Nights'
have become popular from the very fact that they affect little; that
they are _contes_ pure and simple, picturing the men and the manners of
a certain time without any attempt to gloss over their faults or to
excuse their foibles: so that "the doings of the ancients become a
lesson to those that follow after, that men look upon the admonitory
events that have happened to others and take warning." All classes of
men are to be found there: Harun al-Rashid and his viziers, as well as
the baker, the cobbler, the merchant, the courtesan. The very coarseness
is a part of the picture; though it strikes us more forcibly than it did
those to whom the tales were told and for whom they were written down.
It is a kaleidoscope of the errors and failings and virtues of the men
whose daily life it records; it is also a picture of the wonderfully
rich fantasy of the Oriental mind.


In the better texts (_i.e._, of Boulak and Calcutta) there are no less
than about two hundred and fifty stories; some long, others short. There
is no direct order in which they follow one upon the other. The chief
story may at any moment suggest a subordinate one; and as the work
proceeds, the looseness and disconnectedness of the parts increase. The
whole is held together by a "frame"; a device which has passed into the
epic of Ariosto ('Orlando Furioso,' xxviii.), and which is not unlike
that used by Boccaccio ('Decameron') and Chaucer ('Canterbury
Tales'). This "frame" is, in short:--A certain king of India, Shahriyar,
aroused by his wife's infidelity, determines to make an end of all the
women in his kingdom. As often as he takes a wife, on the morrow he
orders her slain. Shahrzad, the daughter of his Vizier, takes upon
herself the task of ridding the king of his evil intent. On the night of
her marriage to the king, she, together with her sister Dunyazad, so
engrosses his mind with her stories that the king seeks their
continuance night after night; thus she wards off her fate for nearly
three years. At the end of that time she has borne the king three male
children; and has, by the sprightliness of her mind, gradually drawn all
the conceit out of him, so that his land is at rest. The tales told
within this frame may be divided into: (_a_) Histories, or long
romances, which are often founded upon historical facts; (_b_) Anecdotes
and short stories, which deal largely with the caliphs of the house of
Abbas; (_c_) Romantic fiction, which, though freely mingled with
supernatural intervention, may also be purely fictitious (_contes
fantastiques_); (_d_) Fables and Apologues; (_e_) Tales, which serve the
teller as the peg upon which to hang and to exhibit his varied learning.
In addition to this "frame," there is a thread running through the
whole; for the grand theme which is played with so many variations is
the picturing of love--in the palace and in the hovel, in the city and
in the desert. The scenes are laid in all the four corners of the globe,
but especially in the two great centres of Muhammadan activity, Bagdad
and Cairo. It is not a matter of chance that Harun al-Rashid is the
Caliph to whom the legends of the 'Nights' have given a crown so very
different from the one which he really wore. Though his character was
often far from that which is pictured here, he was still a patron of art
and of literature. His time was the heyday of Muhammadan splendor; and
his city was the metropolis to which the merchants and the scholars
flocked from the length and breadth of Arab dominion.

To unravel the literary history of such a collection is difficult
indeed, for it has drawn upon all civilizations and all literatures. But
since Hammer-Purgstall and De Sacy began to unwind the skein, many
additional turns have been given. The idea of the "frame" in general
comes undoubtedly from India; and such stories as 'The Barber's Fifth
Brother,' 'The Prince and the Afrit's Mistress,' have been "traced back
to the Hitopadesa, Panchatantra, and Katha Sarit Sagara." The 'Story of
the King, his Seven Viziers, his Son, and his Favorite,' is but a late
version, through the Pahlavi, of the Indian Sindibad Romance of the time
of Alexander the Great. A number of fables are easily paralleled by
those in the famous collection of Bidpai (see the list in Jacobs's 'The
Fables of Bidpai,' London, 1888, lxviii.). This is probably true of the
whole little collection of beast fables in the One Hundred and
Forty-sixth Night; for such fables are based upon the different
reincarnations of the Buddha and the doctrine of metempsychosis. The
story of Jali'ad and the Vizier Shammas is distinctly reported to have
been translated from the Persian into Arabic. Even Greek sources have
not been left untouched, if the picture of the cannibal in the
adventures of Sindbad the Sailor be really a reflex of the story of
Odysseus and Polyphemus. Arabic historians--such as Tabari, Masudi,
Kazwini, al-Jaúzi--and the Kitab al-Aghani, have furnished innumerable
anecdotes and tales; while such old Arabic poets as Imr al-Kais,
Alkamah, Nabhighah, etc., have contributed occasional verses.

It is manifest that such a mass of tales and stories was not composed at
any one time, or in any one place. Many must have floated around in
drinking-rooms and in houses of revelry for a long time before they were
put into one collection. Even to this day the story of Ali Baba is
current among the Bedouins in Sinai. Whenever the digest was first made,
it is certain that stories were added at a later time. This is evident
from the divergences seen in the different manuscripts, and by the
additional stories collected by Payne and Burton. But in their present
form, everything points to the final redaction of the 'Nights' in Egypt.
Of all the cities mentioned, Cairo is described the most minutely; the
manners and customs of the _personæ_ are those of Egyptian society--say
from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century. For this we have the
warrant of Mr. Lane, than whom no one is to be heard upon this subject
with greater respect. That such stories as these were popular in Egypt
seems to follow from the fact that the only mention of them is found in
Makrisi's 'Description of Cairo' (1400) and in Abu al-Mahasin, another
historian of Egypt (1470). The collection cannot have been made later
than 1548, the date placed by a reader on the manuscript used by
Galland. But that its date is not much earlier is shown by various
chance references. The mention of coffee (discovered in the fourteenth
century); of cannon (first mentioned in Egypt in 1383); of the wearing
of different-colored garments by Muslims, Jews, and Christians
(instituted in 1301 by Muhammad ibn Kelaün); of the order of
Carandaliyyah (which did not exist until the thirteenth century); of
Sultani peaches (the city Sultaniyyah was founded in the middle of the
thirteenth century)--point to the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries as
the approximate date of the final composition of the 'Nights.' This is
supported by the mention of the office of the Sheikh al-Islam, an office
not created before the year 1453. Additions, such as the 'Story of Abu
Ker and Abu Zer,' were made as late as the sixteenth century; and
tobacco, which is mentioned, was not introduced into Europe until the
year 1560. The thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries are a
period of the revival of letters in Egypt, which might well have induced
some Arab lover of folk-lore to write down a complete copy of these
tales. The Emperor Salah-al-din (1169) is the last historical personage
mentioned, and there is absolutely no trace of Shiite heresy to be found
in the whole collection. This omission would be impossible had they been
gathered up at the time of the heretical Fatimide dynasty (900-1171).

But it seems equally certain that the 'Nights' did not originate
altogether in the land of the Nile. The figure of Harun al-Rashid, the
many doings in the "City of Peace" (Bagdad), lead us irresistibly over
to the Eastern capital of the Muhammadan Empire. The genii and Afrits
and much of the gorgeous picturing remind one of Persia, or at least of
Persian influence. The Arabs were largely indebted to Persia for
literature of a kind like this; and we know that during the ninth and
tenth centuries many books were translated from the Pahlavi and Syriac.
Thus Ibn al-Mukaffah (760) gave the Arabs the 'Kholanamah,' the
'Amirnamah' (Mirror of Princes), 'Kalilah,' and 'Dimnan.' etc. The
historian Masudi (943) expressly refers the story of the 'Thousand and
One Nights' to a Persian original. "The first who composed such tales
and made use of them were the ancient Persians. The Arabs translated
them, and made others like them." He then continues ('Prairies d'Or,'
ed. De Meynard) and mentions the book 'Hezar Afsane,' which means "a
thousand tales," a book popularly called the 'Thousand and One Nights,'
and containing the story of the king and his vizier, and of his daughter
Shirazaad and her slave-girl Dinazad. Other books of the same kind are
the book of Simas, containing stories of Indian kings and viziers, the
book of Sindibad, etc. (See also 'Hanzæ Ispahanensis Annalium,' ed.
Gottwaldt, 1844, page 41.) A similar statement is made by Abu Yákub
al-Nadim (987) in the 'Fihrist' (ed. Flügel, page 304):--"This book,
'Hezar Afsane,' is said to have been written by the Princess Homai (or
Homain), daughter of Bahman. It comprises a Thousand Nights, but less
than two hundred stories; for a night story often was related in a
number of nights. I have seen it many times complete; but it is in truth
a meagre and uninteresting publication." A translation of the 'Hezar
Afsane' was made into Arabic, and it is again mentioned in the middle of
the twelfth century by Abdulhec al-Házraji; but neither it nor the
original Pahlavi has yet been found. It thus remains a matter of
speculation as to how much of the 'Hezar Afsane' has found its way into
the 'Nights.' It is evident that to it they are indebted for the whole
general idea, for many of the principal names, and probably for the
groundwork of a great many of the stories. The change of the title from
'The Thousand' to 'The Thousand and One' is due to the fact that the
Arabs often expressed "a large number" by this second cipher. But the
'Nights' cannot be a translation from the Persian; for the other two
books mentioned by Masudi are in the Arabic collection. Lane supposes
the relationship to be that of the 'Æneid' to the 'Odyssey.' But it is
probably closer: one fifth of the collection which, according to Payne,
is common to all manuscripts, will doubtless be found to be based on the
Pahlavi original. That the dependence is not greater is evident from the
absence of the great heroes of the Persian Epos--Feridun, Zer,
Isfandyar, etc. The heroes are all Arabs; the life depicted is
wholly Arabic.

The original Persian 'Nights' must be quite old. Homai, the Persian
Semiramis, is mentioned in the 'Avesta'; and in Firdausi she is the
daughter and the wife of Artaxerxes Longimanus (B.C. 465-425). Her
mother was a Jewess, Shahrazaad, one of the captives brought from
Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar; she afterward delivered her nation from
captivity. Tabari calls Esther, of Old Testament fame, the mother of
Bahman; and Professor de Goeje (de Gids, 1886, iii. 385) has cleverly
identified the Homai of the old 'Nights,' not only with Shahrazaad of
the Arabian, but also with Esther of the Bible. That his argument holds
good is seen from its acceptance by Kuenen ('Hist. Krit. Einleitung,' 1,
2, page 222), August Müller (Deutsche Rundschau, 1887), and Darmesteter
('Actes du Huitième Congrès des Orientalistes,' 1893, ii. 196).

The best translations of the 'Nights' have been made by Antoine Galland
in French (12 vols., Paris, 1704-1712); by G. Weil in German (4 vols.,
1838-1842); and in English by E.W. Lane (3 vols., 1839-1841), John Payne
(13 vols., 1882-1884), and Richard Burton (16 vols., 1885-1888). Lane's
and Burton's translations are enriched by copious notes of great value.

[Illustration: Signature: Richard Gottheil]


Part of Nights 566 and 578: Translation of E.W. Lane

There was in olden time, and in an ancient age and period, in Damascus
of Syria, a King, one of the Khaleefehs, named Abd-El-Melik, the son of
Marwán; and he was sitting, one day, having with him the great men of
his empire, consisting of Kings and Sultans, when a discussion took
place among them respecting the traditions of former nations. They
called to mind the stories of our lord Suleymán the son of Daood (on
both of whom be peace!) and the dominion and authority which God (whose
name be exalted!) had bestowed upon him, over mankind and the Jinn and
the birds and the wild beasts and other things; and they said, We have
heard from those who were before us, that God (whose perfection be
extolled, and whose name be exalted!) bestowed not upon any one the like
of that which He bestowed upon our lord Suleymán, and that he attained
to that to which none other attained, so that he used to imprison the
Jinn and the Márids and the Devils in bottles of brass, and pour molten
lead over them, and seal this cover over them with his signet....

And the Prince of the Faithful, Abd-El-Melik, the son of Marwán,
wondered at these words, and said, Extolled be the perfection of God!
Suleymán was endowed with a mighty dominion!--And among those who were
present in that assembly was En-Fábighah Edh-Dhubyánee; and he said,
Tálib hath spoken truth in that which he hath related, and the proof of
his veracity is the saying of the Wise, the First [thus versified]:--

     And [consider] Suleymán, when the Deity said to him, Perform
       the office of Khaleefeh, and govern with diligence;
     And whoso obeyeth thee, honor him for doing so; and whoso
       disobeyeth thee, imprison him forever.

He used to put them into bottles of brass, and to cast them into the

And the Prince of the Faithful approved of these words, and said, By
Allah, I desire to see some of these bottles! So Tálib the son of Sahl
replied, O Prince of the Faithful, thou art able to do so and yet remain
in thy country. Send to thy brother Abd-El-Azeez, the son of Marwán,
desiring him to bring them to thee from the Western Country, that he may
write orders to Moosà to journey from the Western Country, to this
mountain which we have mentioned, and to bring thee what thou desirest
of these bottles; for the furthest tract of his province is adjacent to
this mountain.--And the Prince of the Faithful approved of his advice,
and said, O Tálib, thou has spoken truth in that which thou hast said,
and I desire that thou be my messenger to Moosà the son of Nuseyr for
this purpose, and thou shalt have a white ensign, together with what
thou shalt desire of wealth or dignity or other things, and I will be
thy substitute to take care of thy family. To this Tálib replied, Most
willingly, O Prince of the Faithful. And the Khaleefeh said to him, Go,
in dependence on the blessing of God, and his aid....

So Tálib went forth on his way to Egypt ... and to Upper Egypt, until
they came to the Emeer Moosà, the son of Nuseyr; and when he knew of his
approach he went forth to him and met him, and rejoiced at his arrival;
and Tálib handed to him the letter. So he took it and read it, and
understood its meaning; and he put it upon his head, saying, I hear and
obey the command of the Prince of the Faithful. He determined to summon
his great men; and they presented themselves; and he inquired of them
respecting that which had been made known to him by the letter;
whereupon they said, O Emeer, if thou desire him who will guide thee to
that place, have recourse to the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad, the son of
Abd-El-Kuddoos Es-Sa-moodee; for he is a knowing man, and hath traveled
much, and he is acquainted with the deserts and wastes and the seas, and
their inhabitants and their wonders, and the countries of their
districts. Have recourse, therefore, to him, and he will direct thee to
the object of thy desire.--Accordingly he gave orders to bring him, and
he came before him; and lo, he was a very old man, whom the vicissitudes
of years and times had rendered decrepit. The Emeer Moosà saluted him,
and said to him, O sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad, our lord the Prince of the
Faithful, Abd-El-Melik the son of Marwán, hath commanded us thus and
thus, and I possess little knowledge of that land, and it hath been told
me that thou art acquainted with that country and the routes. Hast thou
then a wish to accomplish the affair of the Prince of the Faithful?--The
sheykh replied, Know, O Emeer, that this route is difficult, far
extending, with few tracks. The Emeer said to him, How long a period
doth it require? He answered, It is a journey of two years and some
months going, and the like returning; and on the way are difficulties
and horrors, and extraordinary and wonderful things. Moreover, thou art
a warrior for the defense of the faith, and our country is near unto the
enemy; so perhaps the Christians may come forth during our absence; it
is expedient, therefore, that thou leave in thy province one to govern
it.--He replied, Well. And he left his son Hároon as his substitute in
his province, exacted an oath of fidelity to him, and commanded the
troops that they should not oppose him, but obey him in all that he
should order them to do. And they heard his words, and obeyed him. His
son Hároon was of great courage, an illustrious hero, and a bold
champion; and the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad pretended to him that the place
in which were the things that the Prince of the Faithful desired was
four months' journey distant, on the shore of the sea, and that
throughout the whole route were halting-places, adjacent one to another,
and grass and springs. And he said, God will assuredly make this affair
easy to us through the blessing attendant upon thee, O Viceroy of the
Prince of the Faithful. Then the Emeer Moosà said, Knowest thou if any
one of the Kings have trodden this land before us? He answered him, Yes,
O Emeer: this land belonged to the King of Alexandria, Darius the Greek.

     [The cavalcade fare on, and soon reach a first "extraordinary
     and wonderful thing,"--the palace-tomb of great "Koosh, the
     son of Sheddad," full of impressive mortuary inscriptions
     that set the party all a-weeping. Thence--]

The soldiers proceeded, with the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad before them
showing them the way, until all the first day had passed, and the
second, and the third. They then came to a high hill, at which they
looked, and lo, upon it was a horseman of brass, on the top of whose
spear was a wide and glistening head that almost deprived the beholder
of sight, and on it was inscribed, O thou who comest unto me, if thou
know not the way that leadeth to the City of Brass, rub the hand of the
horseman, and he will turn, and then will stop, and in whatsoever
direction he stoppeth, thither proceed, without fear and without
difficulty; for it will lead thee to the City of Brass.--And when the
Emeer Moosà had rubbed the hand of the horseman, it turned like the
blinding lightning, and faced a different direction from that in which
they were traveling.

The party therefore turned thither and journeyed on, and it was the
right way. They took that route, and continued their course the same day
and the next night until they had traversed a wide tract of country. And
as they were proceeding, one day, they came to a pillar of black stone,
wherein was a person sunk to his arm-pits, and he had two huge wings,
and four arms; two of them like those of the sons of Adam, and two like
the forelegs of lions, with claws. He had hair upon his head like the
tails of horses, and two eyes like two burning coals, and he had a third
eye, in his forehead, like the eye of the lynx, from which there
appeared sparks of fire. He was black and tall; and he was crying out,
Extolled be the perfection of my Lord, who hath appointed me this severe
affliction and painful torture until the day of resurrection! When the
party beheld him, their reason fled from them, and they were stupefied
at the sight of his form, and retreated in flight; and the Emeer Moosà
said to the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad, What is this? He answered, I know not
what he is. And the Emeer said, Draw near to him, and investigate his
case: perhaps he will discover it, and perhaps thou wilt learn his
history. The sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad replied, May God amend the state of
the Emeer! Verily we fear him.--Fear ye not, rejoined the Emeer; for he
is withheld from injuring you and others by the state in which he is. So
the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad drew near to him, and said to him, O thou
person, what is thy name, and what is thy nature, and what hath placed
thee here in this manner? And he answered him, As to me, I am an 'Efreet
of the Jinn, and my name is Dáhish the son of El-Amash, and I am
restrained here by the majesty, confined by the power, [of God,]
tormented as long as God (to whom be ascribed might and glory!) willeth.
Then the Emeer Moosà said, O sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad, ask him what is the
cause of his confinement in this pillar. He therefore asked respecting
that, and the 'Efreet answered him, Verily my story is wonderful, and
it is this:

     [The Evil Spirit narrates to them his history, being part of
     the famous war between Solomon and the Jinn.]

The party therefore wondered at him, and at the horrible nature of his
form; and the Emeer Moosà said, There is no deity but God! Suleymán was
endowed with a mighty dominion!--And the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad said to
the 'Efreet, O thou, I ask thee concerning a thing of which do thou
inform us. The 'Efreet replied, Ask concerning what thou wilt. And the
sheykh said, Are there in this place any of the 'Efreets confined in
bottles of brass from the time of Suleymán, on whom be peace? He
answered, Yes, in the Sea of El-Karkar, where are a people of the
descendants of Nooh (on whom be peace!), whose country the deluge
reached not, and they are separated there from [the rest of] the sons of
Adam.--And where, said the sheykh, is the way to the City of Brass, and
the place wherein are the bottles? What distance is there between us and
it? The 'Efreet answered, It is near. So the party left him and
proceeded; and there appeared to them a great black object, with two
[seeming] fires corresponding with each other in position, in the
distance, in that black object; whereupon the Emeer Moosà said to the
sheykh, What is this great black object, and what are these two
corresponding fires? The guide answered him, Be rejoiced, O Emeer; for
this is the City of Brass, and this is the appearance of it that I find
described in the Book of Hidden Treasures; that its wall is of black
stones, and it hath two towers of brass of El-Andalus, which the
beholder seeth resembling two corresponding fires; and thence it is
named the City of Brass. They ceased not to proceed until they arrived
at it; and lo, it was lofty, strongly fortified, rising high into the
air, impenetrable: the height of its walls was eighty cubits, and it had
five and twenty gates, none of which would open but by means of some
artifice; and there was not one gate to it that had not, within the
city, one like it: such was the beauty of the construction and
architecture of the city. They stopped before it, and endeavored to
discover one of its gates; but they could not; and the Emeer Moosà said
to the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad, O sheykh, I see not to this city any gate.
The sheykh replied, O Emeer, thus do I find it described in the Book of
Hidden Treasures; that it hath five and twenty gates, and that none of
its gates may be opened but from within the city. And how, said the
Emeer, can we contrive to enter it, and divert ourselves with a view of
its wonders?

Then the Emeer Moosà ordered one of his young men to mount a camel, and
ride round the city, in the hope that he might discover a trace of a
gate, or a place lower than that to which they were opposite. So one of
his young men mounted, and proceeded around it for two days with their
nights, prosecuting his journey with diligence, and not resting; and
when the third day arrived, he came in sight of his companions, and he
was astounded at that which he beheld of the extent of the city, and its
height. Then he said, O Emeer, the easiest place in it is this place at
which ye have alighted. And thereupon the Emeer Moosà took Tálib the son
of Sahl, and the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad, and they ascended a mountain
opposite the city, and overlooking it; and when they had ascended that
mountain, they saw a city than which eyes had not beheld any greater.
Its pavilions were lofty, and its domes were shining; its mansions were
in good condition, and its rivers were running; its trees were fruitful,
and its gardens bore ripe produce. It was a city with impenetrable
gates, empty, still, without a voice or a cheering inhabitant, but
the owl hooting in its quarters, and birds skimming in circles in
its areas, and the raven croaking in its districts and its great
thoroughfare-streets, and bewailing those who had been in it. The Emeer
Moosà paused, sorrowing for its being devoid of inhabitants, and its
being despoiled of people and dwellers; and he said, Extolled be the
perfection of Him whom ages and times change not, the Creator of the
creation by his power! And while he was extolling the perfection of God,
(to whom be ascribed might and glory!) he happened to look aside, and
lo, there were seven tablets of white marble, appearing from a distance.
So he approached them, and behold, they were sculptured and inscribed;
and he ordered that their writing should be read: therefore the sheykh
Abd-Es-Samad advanced and examined them and read them; and they
contained admonition, and matter for example and restraint, unto those
endowed with faculties of discernment. Upon the first tablet was
inscribed, in the ancient Greek character,--

     O son of Adam, how heedless art thou of the case of him who
     hath been before thee! Thy years and age have diverted thee
     from considering him. Knowest thou not that the cup of death
     will be filled for thee, and that in a short time thou wilt
     drink it? Look then to thyself before entering thy grave.
     Where are those who possessed the countries and abased the
     servants of God and led armies? Death hath come upon them;
     and God is the terminator of delights and the separator of
     companions and the devastator of flourishing dwellings; so He
     hath transported them from the amplitude of palaces to the
     straightness of the graves.

And in the lower part of the tablet were inscribed these verses:--

     Where are the Kings and the peoplers of the earth? They have
       quitted that which they have built and peopled;
     And in the grave they are pledged for their past actions: there
       after destruction, they have become putrid corpses.
     Where are the troops? They repelled not, nor profited. And
       where is that which they collected and hoarded?
     The decree of the Lord of the Throne surprised them. Neither
       riches nor refuge saved them from it.

And the Emeer Moosà fainted; his tears ran down upon his cheeks, and he
said, By Allah, indifference to the world is the most appropriate and
the most sure course! Then he caused an inkhorn and a paper to be
brought, and he wrote the inscription of the first tablet; after which
he drew near to the second tablet, and the third, and the fourth; and
having copied what was inscribed on them, he descended from the
mountain; and the world had been pictured before his eyes.

And when he came back to the troops, they passed the day devising means
of entering the city; and the Emeer Moosà said to his Wezeer, Tálib the
son of Sahl, and to those of his chief officers who were around him, How
shall we contrive to enter the city, that we may see its wonders?
Perhaps we shall find in it something by which we may ingratiate
ourselves with the Prince of the Faithful.--Tálib the son of Sahl
replied, May God continue the prosperity of the Emeer! Let us make a
ladder, and mount upon it, and perhaps we shall gain access to the gate
from within.--And the Emeer said, This is what occurred to my mind, and
excellent is the advice. Then he called to the carpenters and
blacksmiths, and ordered them to make straight some pieces of wood, and
to construct a ladder covered with plates of iron. And they did so, and
made it strong. They employed themselves in constructing it a whole
month, and many men were occupied in making it. And they set it up and
fixed it against the wall, and it proved to be equal to the wall in
height, as though it had been made for it before that day. So the Emeer
Moosà wondered at it, and said, God bless you! It seemeth, from the
excellence of your work, as though ye had adapted it by measurement to
the wall.--He then said to the people, Which of you will ascend this
ladder, and mount upon the wall, and walk along it, and contrive means
of descending into the city, that he may see how the case is, and then
inform us of the mode of opening the gate? And one of them answered, I
will ascend it, O Emeer, and descend and open the gate. The Emeer
therefore replied, Mount. God bless thee!--Accordingly, the man ascended
the ladder until he reached the top of it; when he stood, and fixed his
eyes towards the city, clapped his hands, and cried out with his loudest
voice, saying, Thou art beautiful! Then he cast himself down into the
city, and his flesh became mashed with his bones. So the Emeer Moosà
said, This is the action of the rational. How then will the insane act?
If we do thus with all our companions, there will not remain of them
one; and we shall be unable to accomplish our affair, and the affair of
the Prince of the Faithful. Depart ye; for we have no concern with this
city.--But one of them said, Perhaps another than this may be more
steady than he. And a second ascended, and a third, and a fourth, and a
fifth; and they ceased not to ascend by that ladder to the top of the
wall, one after another, until twelve men of them had gone, acting as
acted the first. Therefore the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad said, There is none
for this affair but myself, and the experienced is not like the
inexperienced. But the Emeer Moosà said to him, Thou shalt not do that,
nor will I allow thee to ascend to the top of this wall; for shouldst
thou die, thou wouldst be the cause of the death of us all, and there
would not remain of us one; since thou art the guide of the party. The
sheykh however replied, Perhaps the object will be accomplished by my
means, through the will of God, whose name be exalted! And thereupon all
the people agreed to his ascending.

Then the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad arose, and encouraged himself, and having
said, In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful!--he ascended
the ladder, repeating the praises of God (whose name be exalted!) and
reciting the Verses of Safety, until he reached the top of the wall;
when he clapped his hands, and fixed his eyes. The people therefore all
called out to him, and said, O sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad, do it not, and cast
not thyself down! And they said, Verily to God we belong, and verily
unto him we return! If the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad fall, we all
perish!--Then the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad laughed immoderately, and sat a
long time repeating the praises of God, (whose name be exalted!) and
reciting the Verses of Safety; after which he rose with energy, and
called out with his loudest voice, O Emeer, no harm shall befall you;
for God (to whom be ascribed might and glory!) hath averted from me the
effect of the artifice and fraudulence of the Devil, through the
blessing resulting from the utterance of the words, In the name of God,
the Compassionate, the Merciful.--So the Emeer said to him, What hast
thou seen, O sheykh? He answered, When I reached the top of the wall, I
beheld ten damsels, like moons, who made a sign with their hands, as
though they would say, Come to us. And it seemed to me that beneath me
was a sea (or great river) of water; whereupon I desired to cast myself
down, as our companions did: but I beheld them dead; so I withheld
myself from them, and recited some words of the Book of God, (whose name
be exalted!) whereupon God averted from me the influence of those
damsels' artifice, and they departed from me; therefore I cast not
myself down, and God repelled from me the effect of their artifice and
enchantment. There is no doubt that this is an enchantment and an
artifice which the people of this city contrived in order to repel from
it every one who should desire to look down upon it, and wish to obtain
access to it; and these our companions are laid dead.

He then walked along the wall till he came to the two towers of brass,
when he saw that they had two gates of gold, without locks upon them, or
any sign of the means of opening them. Therefore the sheykh paused as
long as God willed, and looking attentively, he saw in the middle of one
of the gates a figure of a horseman of brass, having one hand extended,
as though he were pointing with it, and on it was an inscription, which
the sheykh read, and lo, it contained these words:--Turn the pin that is
in the middle of the front of the horseman's body twelve times, and then
the gate will open. So he examined the horseman, and in the middle of
the front of his body was a pin, strong, firm, well fixed; and he turned
it twelve times; whereupon the gate opened immediately, with a noise
like thunder; and the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad entered. He was a learned
man, acquainted with all languages and characters. And he walked on
until he entered a long passage, whence he descended some steps, and he
found a place with handsome wooden benches, on which were people dead,
and over their heads were elegant shields, and keen swords, and strung
bows, and notched arrows. And behind the [next] gate were a bar of iron,
and barricades of wood, and locks of delicate fabric, and strong
apparatus. Upon this, the sheykh said within himself, Perhaps the keys
are with these people. Then he looked, and lo, there was a sheykh who
appeared to be the oldest of them, and he was upon a high wooden bench
among the dead men. So the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad said, May not the keys
of the city be with this sheykh? Perhaps he was the gate-keeper of the
city, and these were under his authority. He therefore drew near to him,
and lifted up his garments, and lo, the keys were hung to his waist. At
the sight of them, the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad rejoiced exceedingly; his
reason almost fled from him in consequence of his joy: and he took the
keys, approached the gate, opened the locks, and pulled the gate and the
barricades and other apparatus which opened, and the gate also opened,
with a noise like thunder, by reason of its greatness and terribleness,
and the enormousness of its apparatus. Upon this, the sheykh exclaimed,
God is most great!--and the people made the same exclamation with him,
rejoicing at the event. The Emeer Moosà also rejoiced at the safety of
the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad, and at the opening of the gate of the city;
the people thanked the sheykh for that which he had done, and all the
troops hastened to enter the gate. But the Emeer Moosà cried out to
them, saying to them, O people, if all of us enter, we shall not be
secure from some accident that may happen. Half shall enter, and half
shall remain behind.

The Emeer Moosà then entered the gate, and with him half of the people,
who bore their weapons of war. And the party saw their companions lying
dead: so they buried them. They saw also the gate-keepers and servants
and chamberlains and lieutenants lying upon beds of silk, all of them
dead. And they entered the market of the city, and beheld a great
market, with lofty buildings, none of which projected beyond another:
the shops were open, and the scales hung up, and the utensils of brass
ranged in order, and the kháns were full of all kinds of goods. And they
saw the merchants dead in their shops: their skins were dried, and their
bones were carious, and they had become examples to him who would be
admonished. They saw likewise four markets of particular shops filled
with wealth. And they left this place, and passed on to the silk-market,
in which were silks and brocades interwoven with red gold and white
silver upon various colours, and the owners were dead, lying upon skins,
and appearing almost as though they would speak. Leaving these, they
went on to the market of jewels and pearls and jacinths; and they left
it, and passed on to the market of the money-changers, whom they found
dead, with varieties of silks beneath them, and their shops were filled
with gold and silver. These they left, and they proceeded to the market
of the perfumers; and lo, their shops were filled with varieties of
perfumes, and bags of musk, and ambergris, and aloes-wood, and nedd, and
camphor, and other things; and the owners were all dead, not having with
them any food. And when they went forth from the market of the
perfumers, they found near unto it a palace, decorated, and strongly
constructed; and they entered it, and found banners unfurled, and drawn
swords, and strung bows, and shields hung up by chains of gold and
silver, and helmets gilded with red gold. And in the passages of that
palace were benches of ivory, ornamented with plates of brilliant gold,
and with silk, on which were men whose skins had dried upon the bones:
the ignorant would imagine them to be sleeping; but, from the want of
food, they had died, and tasted mortality. Upon this, the Emeer Moosà
paused, extolling the perfection of God (whose name be exalted!) and his
holiness, and contemplating the beauty of that palace.

     [They find the palace a marvel of splendor, but as awfully
     silent and mausoleum-like as the rest of the city; and soon
     reach a magnificent hall in which lies the dead body of
     "Jedmur, the Daughter of the King of the Amalekites,"
     magnificently laid in state, and magically preserved and
     protected. Tálib unwisely and covetously attempts to rob the
     corpse of jewels; and is instantly beheaded by its enchanted
     guards. The Emeer Moosà and the sage 'Abd-Es-Samad, however,
     leave the place in safety, return to Upper Egypt and Syria by
     way of the Country of the Blacks, succeed in securing twelve
     of the wonderful bottles containing Jinn,--and the tale
     concludes with the Emeer Moosà's resignation of his throne
     that he may die in Jerusalem, so profoundly has he been
     affected by the adventure.]


Nights 15, 16, 17, and 18: Translation of Professor John Payne


There reigned once in the City of Peace [Bagdad], before the Khalifate
of Abdulmelik ben Merwan, a king called Omar ben Ennuman, who was of the
mighty giants, and had subdued the kings of Persia and the emperors of
the East, for none could warm himself at his fire nor cope with him in
battle; and when he was angry there came sparks out of his nostrils. He
had gotten him dominion over all countries, and God had subjected unto
him all creatures; his commands were obeyed in all the great cities, and
his armies penetrated the most distant lands: the East and West came
under his rule, with the regions between them, Hind and Sind and China
and Hejaz and Yemen and the islands of India and China, Syria and
Mesopotamia and the lands of the blacks and the islands of the ocean,
and all the famous rivers of the earth, Jaxartes and Bactrus and Nile
and Euphrates. He sent his ambassadors to the farthest parts of the
earth to fetch him true report, and they returned with tidings of
justice and peace, bringing him assurance of loyalty and obedience, and
invocations of blessings on his head; for he was a right noble king, and
there came to him gifts and tribute from all parts of the world. He had
a son called Sherkan, who was one of the prodigies of the age and the
likest of all men to his father, who loved him with an exceeding love
and had appointed him to be king after him. The prince grew up till he
reached man's estate, and was twenty years old, and God subjected all
men to him, for he was gifted with great might and prowess in battle,
humbling the champions and destroying all who made head against him. So,
before long, this Sherkan became famous in all quarters of the world,
and his father rejoiced in him; and his might waxed till he passed all
bounds, and magnified himself, taking by storm the citadels and
strong places.

     [The Prince being sent to assist King Afridoun, of the
     Greeks, against an enemy, is intrusted with an army of ten
     thousand soldiers, and leaves Bagdad in military state.]

Then they loaded the beasts and beat the drums and blew the clarions and
unfurled the banners and the standards, whilst Sherkan mounted, with the
Vizier Dendan by his side, and the standards waving over them; and the
army set out and fared on with the [Greek] ambassadors in the van till
the day departed and the night came, when they halted and encamped for
the night. On the morrow, as soon as God brought in the day, they took
horse and continued their march, nor did they cease to press onward,
guided by the ambassadors, for the space of twenty days. On the
twenty-first day, at nightfall, they came to a wide and fertile valley
whose sides were thickly wooded and covered with grass, and there
Sherkan called a three-days' halt. So they dismounted and pitched their
tents, dispersing right and left in the valley, whilst the Vizier Dendan
and the ambassadors alighted in the midst.

As for Sherkan, when he had seen the tents pitched and the troops
dispersed on either side, and had commanded his officers and attendants
to camp beside the Vizier Dendan, he gave reins to his horse, being
minded to explore the valley, and himself to mount guard over the army,
having regard to his father's injunctions and to the fact that they had
reached the frontier of the Land of Roum and were now in the enemy's
country. So he rode on alone, along the valley, till a fourth part of
the night was past, when he grew weary and sleep overcame him so that he
could no longer spur his horse. Now he was used to sleep on horseback;
so when drowsiness got the better of him, he fell asleep, and the horse
paced on with him half the night and entered a forest: but Sherkan awoke
not till the steed smote the earth with his hoof. Then he started from
sleep and found himself among trees: and the moon arose and lighted the
two horizons. He was troubled at finding himself alone in this place,
and spoke the words which whoso says shall never be confounded--that is
to say, "There is no power and no virtue but in GOD, the most High, the
Supreme!" But as he rode on, in fear of the wild beasts, behold the
trees thinned out, and the moon shone out upon a meadow as it were one
of the meads of paradise, and he heard therein the noise of talk and
pleasant laughter, such as ravishes the wit of men. So King Sherkan
dismounted, and tying his horse to a tree, fared on a little further,
till he espied a stream of running water, and heard a woman talking and
saying in Arabic, "By the virtue of the Messiah, this is not handsome of
you! But whoso speaks the word I will throw her down and bind her with
her girdle!" He followed in the direction of the voice, and saw gazelles
frisking and wild cattle pasturing, and birds in their various voices
expressing joy and gladness; and the earth was embroidered with all
manner flowers and green herbs, even as says of it the poet, in the
following verses:--

     Earth has no fairer sight to show than this its
     blossom-time, With all the gently running streams
          that wander o'er its face,
     It is indeed the handiwork of God Omnipotent, The
     Lord of every noble gift, and Giver of all grace!

Midmost the meadow stood a monastery, and within the inclosure a citadel
that rose high into the air in the light of the moon. The stream passed
through the midst of the monastery; and therenigh sat ten damsels like
moons, high-bosomed maids clad in dresses and ornaments that dazzled the
eyes, as says of them the poet:--

     The meadow glitters with the troops Of lovely ones
          that wander there;
     Its grace and beauty doubled are By these that are
          so passing fair;
     Virgins, that with their swimming gait, The hearts of
          all that see ensnare,
     Along whose necks, like trails of grapes, Stream down
          the tresses of their hair;
     Proudly they walk, with eyes that dart The shafts and
          arrows of despair,
     And all the champions of the world Are slain by
          their seductive air.

Sherkan looked at the ten girls, and saw in their midst a lady like the
moon at its full, with ringleted and shining forehead, great black eyes
and curling brow-locks, perfect in person and attributes, as says
the poet:--

     Her beauty beamed on me with glances wonder-bright: The
       slender Syrian spears are not so straight and slight:
     She laid her veil aside, and, lo, her cheeks rose-red! All manner
       of loveliness was in their sweetest sight
     The locks that o'er her brow fell down, were like the night,
       From out of which there shines a morning of delight.

Then Sherkan heard her say to the girls, "Come on, that I may wrestle
with you, ere the moon set and the dawn come." So they came up to her,
one after another, and she overthrew them, one by one, and bound their
hands behind them, with their girdles. When she had thrown them all,
there turned to her an old woman who was before her, and said, as if she
were wroth with her, "O shameless! dost thou glory in overthrowing these
girls? Behold, I am an old woman, yet have I thrown them forty times! So
what hast thou to boast of? But if thou have strength to wrestle with
me, stand up that I may grip thee, and put thy head between thy feet."
The young lady smiled at her words, although her heart was full of anger
against her, and said, "O my lady Dhat ed Dewahi, wilt indeed wrestle
with me--or dost thou jest with me?" "I mean to wrestle with thee in
very deed," replied she. "Stand up to me then," said the damsel, "if
thou have strength to do so!" When the old woman heard this she was sore
enraged, and her hair stood on end like that of a hedgehog. Then she
sprang up, whilst the damsel confronted her ... and they took hold of
one another, whilst Sherkan raised his eyes to heaven and prayed to God
that the damsel might conquer the old hag. Presently ... the old woman
strove to free herself, and in the struggle wriggled out of the girl's
hands and fell on her back ... and behold the young lady ... throwing
over her a veil of fine silk, helped her to dress herself, making
excuses to her and saying, "O my lady Dhat ed Dewahi, I did not mean to
throw thee so roughly, but thou wriggledst out of my hands; so praised
be God for safety." She returned her no answer, but rose in her
confusion and walked away out of sight, leaving the young lady standing
alone, by the other girls thrown down and bound.

Then said Sherkan, "To every fortune there is a cause. Sleep fell not on
me, nor did the steed bear me hither but for my good fortune; for of a
surety this damsel and what is with her shall be my prize." So he turned
back and mounted, and drew his scimitar; then he gave his horse the spur
and he started off with him like an arrow from a bow, whilst he
brandished his naked blade and cried out, "God is most great!" When the
damsel saw him she sprang to her feet, and running to the bank of the
river, which was there six cubits wide, made a spring and landed on the
other side, where she turned, and standing cried out in a loud voice,
"Who art thou, sirrah, that breakest in on our pasture as if thou wert
charging an army? Whence comest thou and whither art thou bound? Speak
the truth and it shall profit thee, and do not lie, for lying is of the
losel's fashion. Doubtless thou hast strayed this night from thy road,
that thou hast happened on this place. So tell me what thou seekest: if
thou wouldst have us set thee in the right road, we will do so; or if
thou seek help we will help thee."

When Sherkan heard her words he replied, "I am a stranger of the
Muslims, who am come out by myself in quest of booty, and I have found
no fairer purchase this moonlit night than these ten damsels; so I will
take them and rejoin my comrades with them." Quoth she, "I would have
thee to know that thou hast not yet come at the booty; and as for these
ten damsels, by Allah, they are no purchase for thee! Indeed the fairest
purchase thou canst look for is to win free of this place: for thou art
in a mead, where, if we gave one cry, there would be with us anon four
thousand knights. Did I not tell thee that lying is shameful?" And he
said, "The fortunate man is he to whom God sufficeth, and who hath no
need of other than him." "By the virtue of the Messiah," replied she,
"did I not fear to have thy death at my hand, I would give a cry that
would fill the meadow on thee, with horse and foot! but I have pity on
the stranger; so, if thou seek booty, I require of thee that thou
dismount from thy horse, and swear to me by thy faith that thou wilt
not approach me with aught of arms, and we will wrestle--I and thou. If
thou throw me, lay me on thy horse and take all of us to thy booty; and
if I throw thee, thou shalt be at my commandment. Swear this to me; for
I fear thy perfidy, since experience has it that as long as perfidy is
in men's natures, to trust in every one is weakness. But if thou wilt
swear I will come over to thee." Quoth Sherkan, "Impose on me whatever
oath thou deemest binding, and I will swear not to draw near thee until
thou hast made thy preparations, and sayest 'Come wrestle with me.' If
thou throw me I have wealth wherewith to ransom myself, and if I throw
thee I shall get fine purchase." Then said she, "Swear to me by Him who
hath lodged the soul in the body and given laws to mankind that thou
wilt not hurt me with aught of violence save in the way of
wrestling--else mayest thou die out of the pale of Islam." "By Allah,"
exclaimed Sherkan, "if a Cadi should swear me, though he were Cadi of
the Cadis, he would not impose on me the like of this oath!" Then he
took the oath she required, and tied his horse to a tree, sunken in the
sea of reverie, and saying in himself, "Glory to Him who fashioned her!"
Then he girt himself, and made ready for wrestling, and said to her,
"Cross the stream to me." Quoth she, "It is not for me to come to thee;
if thou wilt, do thou cross over to me." "I cannot do that," replied he;
and she said, "O boy! I will come to thee." So she gathered her skirts,
and making a spring landed on the other side of the river by him;
whereupon he drew near to her, wondering at her beauty and grace, and
saw a form that the hand of Omnipotence had turned with the leaves of
Jinn, and which had been fostered by divine solicitude, a form on which
the zephyrs of fair fortune had blown, and over whose creation favorable
planets had presided. Then she called out to him saying, "O Muslim, come
and wrestle before the daybreak!" and tucked up her sleeves, showing a
fore-arm like fresh curd; the whole place was lighted up by its
whiteness and Sherkan was dazzled by it. Then he bent forward and
clapped his hands, and she did the like, and they took hold and gripped
each other. He laid his hands on her slender waist ... and fell a
trembling like the Persian reed in the hurricane. So she lifted him up,
and throwing him to the ground sat down on his breast. Then she said to
him, "O Muslim, it is lawful among you to kill Christians: what sayest
thou to my killing thee?" "O my lady," replied he, "as for killing me,
it is unlawful; for our Prophet (whom God bless and preserve!) hath
forbidden the slaying of women and children and old men and monks."
"Since this was revealed unto your prophet," rejoined she, "it behooves
us to be even with him therein; so rise: I give thee thy life, for
beneficence is not lost upon men." Then she got up, and he rose and
brushed the earth from his head, and she said to him, "Be not abashed;
but indeed one who enters the land of the Greeks in quest of booty and
to succor kings against kings, how comes it that there is no strength in
him to defend himself against a woman?" "It was not lack of strength in
me," replied he, "nor was it thy strength that overthrew me, but thy
beauty; so if thou wilt, grant me another bout, it will be of thy
favor." She laughed and said, "I grant thee this: but these damsels have
been long bound, and their arms and shoulders are weary, and it were
fitting I should loose them, since this next bout may peradventure be a
long one." Then she went up to the girls, and unbinding them said to
them in the Greek tongue, "Go and put yourselves in safety, till I have
brought to naught this Muslim." So they went away, whilst Sherkan looked
at them, and they gazed at him and the young lady. Then he and she drew
near again and set to.... But [again by admiration of her beauty] his
strength failed him, and she feeling this, lifted him in her hands
swifter than the blinding lightning and threw him to the ground. He fell
on his back, and she said to him, "Rise: I give thee thy life a second
time. I spared thee before for the sake of thy prophet, for that he
forbade the killing of women, and I do so this second time because of
thy weakness and tender age, and strangerhood: but I charge thee, if
there be in the army sent by King Omar ben Ennuman a stronger than thou,
send him hither and tell him of me." "By Allah, O my lady," replied
Sherkan (and indeed he was greatly incensed against her), "it was not by
thy strength that thou overthrewest me, but by [thy beauty], so that nor
wit nor foresight was left in me. But now, if thou have a mind to try
another fall with me, with my wits about me, I have a right to this one
bout more by the rules of the game, for my presence of mind has now
returned to me." "Hast thou not had enough of wrestling, O conquered
one?" rejoined she. "However, come, if thou wilt: but know that this
bout must be the last." Then they took hold of each other, and he set to
in earnest and warded himself against being thrown down: so they
wrestled awhile and the damsel found in him strength such as she had not
before observed, and said to him, "O Muslim, thou art on thy guard!"
"Yes," replied he, "thou knowest that there remaineth but this bout, and
after each of us will go his own way." She laughed and he laughed too:
then she seized the opportunity to bore in upon him unawares, and
gripping him by the thigh, threw him to the ground, so that he fell on
his back. She laughed at him and said, "Thou art surely an eater of
bran: for thou art like a Bedouin bonnet that falls off at a touch, or a
child's toy that a puff of air overturns. Out on thee, thou poor
creature! Go back to the army of the Muslims and send us other than
thyself, for thou lackest thews; and cry as among the Arabs and Persians
and Turks and Medes, 'Whoso has might in him let him come to us!'" Then
she made a spring and landed on the other side of the stream and said to
Sherkan laughing, "It goes to my heart to part with thee! get thee to
thy friends, O my lord, before the morning, lest the knights come upon
thee and take thee on the points of their lances. Thou hast not strength
enough to defend thee against women; so how couldst thou make head
against men and cavaliers!" And she turned to go back to the monastery.
Sherkan was confounded, and called out to her, saying "O my lady! Wilt
thou go away, and leave the wretched stranger, the broken-hearted slave
of love?" So she turned to him laughing, and said, "What wouldst thou? I
grant thy prayer." "Have I set foot in thy country and tasted the
sweetness of thy favors," replied Sherkan, "and shall I return without
eating of thy victual and tasting of thy hospitality? Indeed, I am
become one of thy servitors." Quoth she, "None but the base refuses
hospitality: on my head and eyes be it! Do me the favor to mount and
ride along the stream, abreast of me, for thou art my guest." At this
Sherkan rejoiced, and hastening back to his horse, mounted and rode
along the river-bank, keeping abreast of her, till he came to a
drawbridge that hung by pulleys and chains of steel, made fast with
hooks and padlocks. Here stood the ten damsels awaiting the lady, who
spoke to one of them in the Greek tongue and said to her, "Go to him;
take his horse's rein and bring him over into the monastery."... They
went on till they reached a vaulted gate, arched over with marble. This
she opened, and entered with Sherkan into a long vestibule, vaulted with
ten arches, from each of which hung a lamp of crystal, shining like the
rays of the sun. The damsels met her at the end of the vestibule,
bearing perfumed flambeaux and having on their heads kerchiefs
embroidered with all manner of jewels, and went on before her, till they
came to the inward of the monastery, where Sherkan saw couches set up
all around, facing one another and overhung with curtains spangled with
gold. The floor was paved with all kinds of variegated marbles, and in
the midst was a basin of water with four and twenty spouts of gold
around it from which issued water like liquid silver; whilst at the
upper end stood a throne covered with silks of royal purple. Then said
the damsel, "O my lord, mount this throne." So he seated himself on it,
and she withdrew: and when she had been absent awhile, he asked the
servants of her, and they said, "She hath gone to her sleeping-chamber;
but we will serve thee as thou shalt order." So they set before him rare
meats, and he ate till he was satisfied, when they brought him a basin
of gold and an ewer of silver and he washed his hands. Then his mind
reverted to his troops, and he was troubled, knowing not what had
befallen them in his absence and thinking how he had forgotten his
father's injunctions, so that he abode, oppressed with anxiety and
repenting of what he had done, till the dawn broke and the day appeared,
when he lamented and sighed and became drowned in the sea of melancholy,
repeating the following verses:--

     "I lack not of prudence, and yet in this case, I've been fooled;
          so what shift shall avail unto me?
     If any could ease me of love and its stress, Of my might and
          my virtue I'd set myself free.
     But alas! my heart's lost in maze of desire, And no helper save
          God in my strait can I see.

Hardly had he finished when up came more than twenty damsels like moons,
encompassing the young lady, who appeared among them as the full moon
among stars. She was clad in royal brocade, and girt with a woven girdle
set with various kinds of jewels that straitly clasped her waist.... On
her head she wore a network of pearls, gemmed with various kinds of
jewels, and she moved with a coquettish, swimming gait, swaying
wonder-gracefully, whilst the damsels held up her skirts.... She fixed
her eyes on him, and considered him awhile, till she was assured of him,
when she came up to him and said, "Indeed the place is honored and
illumined with thy presence, O Sherkan! How didst thou pass the night,
O hero, after we went away and left thee? Verily, lying is a defect and
a reproach in kings; especially in great kings: and thou art Sherkan,
son of King Omar ben Ennuman; so henceforth tell me naught but truth,
and strive not to keep the secret of thy condition, for falsehood
engenders hatred and enmity. The arrow of destiny hath fallen upon thee,
and it behooves thee to show resignation and submission." When Sherkan
heard what she said, he saw nothing for it but to tell her the truth: so
he said, "I am indeed Sherkan, son of Omar ben Ennuman; whom fortune
hath afflicted and cast into this place: so now do whatsoever
thou wilt."


Portions of Nights 536 to 542, presenting the Introduction and the first
of the seven 'Voyages': Translation of Captain Sir Richard Burton.

There lived in the city of Bagdad, during the reign of the Commander of
the Faithful, Harun al-Rashid, a man named Sindbad the Hammal [Porter],
one in poor case, who bore burdens on his head for hire. It happened to
him one day of great heat that whilst he was carrying a heavy load, he
became exceeding weary and sweated profusely; the heat and the weight
alike oppressing him. Presently, as he was passing the gate of a
merchant's house, before which the ground was swept and watered, and
where the air was temperate, he sighted a broad bench beside the door;
so he set his load thereon, to take rest and smell the air.--

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted


She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Hammal
set his load upon the bench to take rest and smell the air, there came
out upon him from the court-door a pleasant breeze and a delicious
fragrance. He sat down on the edge of the bench, and at once heard from
within the melodious sound of lutes and other stringed instruments, and
mirth-exciting voices singing and reciting, together with the song of
birds warbling and glorifying Almighty Allah in various tunes and
tongues; turtles, mockingbirds, merles, nightingales, cushats, and
stone-curlews: whereat he marveled in himself and was moved to mighty
joy and solace. Then he went up to the gate and saw within a great
flower-garden wherein were pages and black slaves, and such a train of
servants and attendants and so forth as is found only with Kings and
Sultans; and his nostrils were greeted with the savory odors of all
manner meats rich and delicate, and delicious and generous wines. So he
raised his eyes heavenwards and said, "Glory to Thee, O Lord, O Creator
and Provider, who providest whomso Thou wilt without count or stint! O
mine Holy One, I cry Thee pardon for all sins and turn to Thee repenting
of all offenses! O Lord, there is no gainsaying Thee in Thine ordinance
and Thy dominion, neither wilt Thou be questioned of that Thou dost, for
Thou indeed over all things art Almighty! Extolled be Thy perfection:
whom Thou wilt Thou makest poor and whom Thou wilt Thou makest rich!
Whom Thou wilt Thou exaltest and whom Thou wilt Thou abasest, and there
is no god but Thou! How mighty is Thy majesty and how enduring Thy
dominion and how excellent Thy government! Verily, Thou favorest whom
Thou wilt of Thy servants, whereby the owner of this place abideth in
all joyance of life and delighteth himself with pleasant scents and
delicious meats and exquisite wines of all kinds. For indeed Thou
appointest unto Thy creatures that which Thou wilt and that which Thou
hast foreordained unto them; wherefore are some weary and others are at
rest, and some enjoy fair fortune and affluence whilst others suffer the
extreme of travail and misery, even as I do." And he fell to reciting:

     How many by my labors, that evermore endure, All goods of
         life enjoy and in cooly shade recline?
     Each morn that dawns I wake in travail and in woe, And
         strange is my condition and my burden gars me pine:
     Many others are in luck and from miseries are free, And Fortune
         never loads them with loads the like o' mine:
     They live their happy days in all solace and delight; Eat, drink,
         and dwell in honor 'mid the noble and the digne:
     All living things were made of a little drop of sperm, Thine
         origin is mine and my provenance is thine;
     Yet the difference and distance 'twixt the twain of us are far As
         the difference of savor 'twixt vinegar and wine:
     But at Thee, O God All-wise! I venture not to rail Whose ordinance
         is just and whose justice cannot fail.

When Sindbad the Porter had made an end of reciting his verses, he bore
up his burden and was about to fare on, when there came forth to him
from the gate a little foot-page, fair of face and shapely of shape and
dainty of dress, who caught him by the hand, saying, "Come in and speak
with my lord, for he calleth for thee." The Porter would have excused
himself to the page, but the lad would take no refusal; so he left his
load with the doorkeeper in the vestibule and followed the boy into the
house, which he found to be a goodly mansion, radiant and full of
majesty, till he brought him to a grand sitting-room wherein he saw a
company of nobles and great lords, seated at tables garnished with all
manner of flowers and sweet-scented herbs, besides great plenty of
dainty viands and fruits dried and fresh and confections and wines of
the choicest vintages. There also were instruments of music and mirth,
and lovely slave-girls playing and singing. All the company was ranged
according to rank, and in the highest place sat a man of worshipful and
noble aspect, whose beard-sides hoariness had stricken; and he was
stately of stature and fair of favor, agreeable of aspect and full of
gravity and dignity and majesty. So Sindbad the Porter was confounded at
that which he beheld, and said in himself, "By Allah, this must be
either a piece of Paradise or some king's palace!" Then he saluted the
company with much respect, praying for their prosperity; and kissing
ground before them, stood with his head bowed down in humble attitude.--

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted



My father was a merchant, one of the notables of my native place, a
moneyed man and ample of means, who died whilst I was yet a child,
leaving me much wealth in money and lands, and farmhouses. When I grew
up I laid hands on the whole and ate of the best and drank freely and
wore rich clothes and lived lavishly, companioning and consorting with
youths of my own age, and considering that this course of life would
continue for ever and ken no change. Thus did I for a long time, but at
last I awoke from my heedlessness, and returning to my senses, I found
my wealth had become unwealth and my condition ill-conditioned, and all
I once hent had left my hand. And recovering my reason I was stricken
with dismay and confusion, and bethought me of a saying of our lord
Solomon, son of David, (upon whom be Peace!) which I had heard aforetime
from my father, "Three things are better than other three: the day of
death is better than the day of birth, a live dog is better than a dead
lion, and the grave is better than want." Then I got together my remains
of estates and property and sold all, even my clothes, for three
thousand dirhams, with which I resolved to travel to foreign parts,
remembering the saying of the poet:--

     By means of toil man shall scale the height; Who to fame
         aspires mustn't sleep o' night:
     Who seeketh pearl in the deep must dive, Winning weal and
         wealth by his main and might:
     And who seeketh Fame without toil and strife Th' impossible
         seeketh and wasteth life.

So taking heart I bought me goods, merchandise, and all needed for a
voyage, and, impatient to be at sea, I embarked, with a company of
merchants, on board a ship bound for Bassorah. There we again embarked
and sailed many days and nights, and we passed from isle to isle and sea
to sea and shore to shore, buying and selling and bartering everywhere
the ship touched, and continued our course till we came to an island as
it were a garth of the garden of Paradise. Here the captain cast anchor,
and making fast to the shore, put out the landing planks. So all on
board landed and made furnaces, and lighting fires therein, busied
themselves in various ways, some cooking and some washing, whilst other
some walked about the island for solace, and the crew fell to eating and
drinking and playing and sporting. I was one of the walkers; but as we
were thus engaged, behold the master, who was standing on the gunwale,
cried out to us at the top of his voice, saying, "Ho there! passengers,
run for your lives and hasten back to the ship and leave your gear and
save yourselves from destruction, Allah preserve you! For this island
whereon ye stand is no true island, but a great fish stationary
a-middlemost of the sea, whereon the sand hath settled and trees have
sprung up of old time, so that it is become like unto an island; but
when ye lighted fires on it, it felt the heat and moved; and in a moment
it will sink with you into the sea and ye will all be drowned. So leave
your gear and seek your safety ere ye die."--

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted


She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
ship-master cried to the passengers, "Leave your gear and seek safety
ere ye die," all who heard him left gear and goods, clothes washed and
unwashed, fire-pots and brass cooking-pots, and fled back to the ship
for their lives, and some reached it while others (among whom was I) did
not, for suddenly the island shook and sank into the abysses of the
deep, with all that were thereon, and the dashing sea surged over it
with clashing waves. I sank with the others down, down into the deep,
but Almighty Allah preserved me from drowning and threw in my way a
great wooden tub of those that had served the ship's company for
tubbing. I gripped it for the sweetness of life, and bestriding it like
one riding, paddled with my feet like oars, whilst the waves tossed me
as in sport right and left. Meanwhile, the captain made sail and
departed with those who had reached the ship, regardless of the drowning
and the drowned; and I ceased not following the vessel with my eyes,
till she was hid from sight and I made sure of death. Darkness closed in
upon me while in this plight, and the winds and waves bore me on all
that night and the next day, till the tub brought to with me under the
lee of a lofty island, with trees overhanging the tide. I caught hold of
a branch and by its aid clambered up on to the land, after coming nigh
upon death; but when I reached the shore, I found my legs cramped and
numbed, and my feet bore traces of the nibbling of fish upon their
soles; withal I had felt nothing for excess of anguish and fatigue. I
threw myself down on the island-ground, like a dead man, and drowned in
desolation swooned away, nor did I return to my senses till next
morning, when the sun rose and revived me. But I found my feet swollen,
so made shift to move by shuffling on my breech and crawling on my
knees, for in that island were found store of fruit and springs of sweet
water. I ate of the fruits, which strengthened me; and thus I abode days
and nights, till my life seemed to return and my spirits began to revive
and I was better able to move about. So after due consideration I fell
to exploring the island and diverting myself with gazing upon all things
that Allah Almighty had created there; and rested under the trees, from
one of which I cut me a staff to lean upon. One day as I walked along
the marge, I caught sight of some object in the distance, and thought
it a wild beast or one of the monster creatures of the sea; but as I
drew near it, looking hard the while, I saw that it was a noble mare,
tethered on the beach. Presently I went up to her, but she cried out
against me with a great cry, so that I trembled for fear and turned to
go away, when there came forth a man from under the earth and followed
me, crying out and saying, "Who and whence art thou, and what caused
thee to come hither?" "O my lord," answered I, "I am in very sooth a
waif, a stranger, and was left to drown with sundry others by the ship
we voyaged in; but Allah graciously sent me a wooden tub, so I saved
myself thereon, and it floated with me till the waves cast me up on this
island." When he heard this he took my hand, and saying "Come with me,"
carried me into a great Sardáb, or underground chamber, which was
spacious as a saloon. He made me sit down at its upper end; then he
brought me somewhat of food, and, being anhungered, I ate till I was
satisfied and refreshed. And when he had put me at mine ease he
questioned me of myself, and I told him all that had befallen me from
first to last. And as he wondered at my adventure, I said, "By Allah, O
my lord, excuse me; I have told thee the truth of my case and the
accident which betided me. And now I desire that thou tell me who thou
art, and why thou abidest here under the earth, and why thou hast
tethered yonder mare on the brink of the sea." Answered he, "Know that I
am one of the several who are stationed in different parts of this
island, and we are of the grooms of King Mihrján, and under our hand are
all his horses.... And Inshallah! I will bear thee to King Mihrján--"

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted


She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Syce said
to Sindbad the Seaman, "I will bear thee to King Mihrján and show thee
our country. And know that hadst thou not happened on us, thou hadst
perished miserably and none had known of thee; but I will be the means
of the saving of thy life and of thy return to thine own land." I called
down blessings on him and thanked him for his kindness and courtesy....
After this, we sat awhile, till the rest of the grooms came up, each
leading a mare, and seeing me with their fellow Syce questioned me of my
case, and I repeated my story to them. Thereupon they drew near me, and
spreading the table, ate and invited me to eat; so I ate with them,
after which they took horse, and mounting me on one of the mares, set
out with me and fared on without ceasing, till we came to the capital
city of King Mihrján, and going in to him acquainted him with my story.
Then he sent for me, and when they set me before him and salams had been
exchanged, he gave me a cordial welcome and wishing me long life bade me
tell him my tale. So I related to him all that I had seen and all that
had befallen me from first to last, whereat he marveled and said to me,
"By Allah, O my son, thou hast indeed been miraculously preserved! Were
not the term of thy life a long one, thou hadst not escaped from these
straits; but praised be Allah for safety!" Then he spoke cheerily to me
and entreated me with kindness and consideration; moreover, he made me
his agent for the port and registrar of all ships that entered the
harbor. I attended him regularly, to receive his commandments, and he
favored me and did me all manner of kindness and invested me with costly
and splendid robes. Indeed, I was high in credit with him, as an
intercessor for the folk and an intermediary between them and him, when
they wanted aught of him. I abode thus a great while, and as often as I
passed through the city to the port, I questioned the merchants and
travelers and sailors of the city of Baghdad; so haply I might hear of
an occasion to return to my native land, but could find none who knew it
or knew any who resorted thither. At this I was chagrined, for I was
weary of long strangerhood; and my disappointment endured for a time
till one day, going in to King Mihrján, I found with him a company of
Indians. I saluted them and they returned my salam; and politely
welcomed me and asked me of my country--

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted


She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Sindbad the
Seaman said:--When they asked me of my country I questioned them of
theirs, and they told me that they were of various castes, some being
called Shakiriyah, who are the noblest of their castes and neither
oppress nor offer violence to any, and other Brahmans, a folk who
abstain from wine, but live in delight and solace and merriment, and own
camels and horses and cattle. Moreover, they told me that the people of
India are divided into two-and-seventy castes, and I marveled at this
with exceeding marvel. Amongst other things that I saw in King Mihrján's
dominions was an island called Kásil, wherein all night is heard the
beating of drums and tabrets; but we were told by the neighboring
islanders and by travelers that the inhabitants are people of diligence
and judgment. In this sea I saw also a fish two hundred cubits long, and
the fishermen fear it; so they strike together pieces of wood and put it
to flight. I also saw another fish, with a head like that of an owl,
besides many other wonders and rarities, which it would be tedious to
recount. I occupied myself thus in visiting the islands, till one day,
as I stood in the port, with a staff in my hand, according to my custom,
behold, a great ship, wherein were many merchants, came sailing for the
harbor. When it reached the small inner port where ships anchor under
the city, the master furled his sails and making fast to the shore, put
out the landing-planks, whereupon the crew fell to breaking bulk and
landing cargo whilst I stood by, taking written note of them. They were
long in bringing the goods ashore, so I asked the master, "Is there
aught left in thy ship?" and he answered, "O my lord, there are divers
bales of merchandise in the hold, whose owner was drowned from amongst
us at one of the islands on our course; so his goods remained in our
charge by way of trust, and we propose to sell them and note their
price, that we may convey it to his people in the city of Baghdad, the
Home of Peace." "What was the merchant's name?" quoth I, and quoth he,
"Sindbad the Seaman"; whereupon I straitly considered him and knowing
him, cried out to him with a great cry, saying, "O captain, I am that
Sindbad the Seaman who traveled with other merchants; and when the fish
heaved and thou calledst to us, some saved themselves and others sank, I
being one of them. But Allah Almighty threw in my way a great tub of
wood, of those the crew had used to wash withal, and the winds and waves
carried me to this island, where by Allah's grace I fell in with King
Mihrján's grooms and they brought me hither to the King their master.
When I told him my story he entreated me with favor and made me his
harbor-master, and I have prospered in his service and found acceptance
with him. These bales, therefore, are mine, the goods which God hath
given me--"

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted


She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Sindbad
the Seaman said to the captain, "These bales are mine, the goods which
Allah hath given me," the other exclaimed, "There is no Majesty and
there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! Verily, there
is neither conscience nor good faith left among men!" Said I, "O Rais,
what mean these words, seeing that I have told thee my case?" And he
answered, "Because thou heardest me say that I had with me goods whose
owner was drowned, thou thinkest to take them without right; but this is
forbidden by law to thee, for we saw him drown before our eyes, together
with many other passengers, nor was one of them saved. So how canst thou
pretend that thou art the owner of the goods?" "O captain," said I,
"listen to my story and give heed to my words, and my truth will be
manifest to thee; for lying and leasing are the letter-marks of the
hypocrites." Then I recounted to him all that had befallen me since I
sailed from Baghdad with him to the time when we came to the fish-island
where we were nearly drowned; and I reminded him of certain matters
which had passed between us; whereupon both he and the merchants were
certified of the truth of my story and recognized me and gave me joy of
my deliverance, saying, "By Allah, we thought not that thou hadst
escaped drowning! But the Lord hath granted thee new life." Then they
delivered my bales to me, and I found my name written thereon, nor was
aught thereof lacking. So I opened them, and making up a present for
King Mihrján of the finest and costliest of the contents, caused the
sailors to carry it up to the palace, where I went in to the King and
laid my present at his feet acquainting him with what had happened,
especially concerning the ship and my goods; whereat he wondered with
exceeding wonder and the truth of all that I had told him was made
manifest to him. His affection for me redoubled after that, and he
showed me exceeding honor and bestowed on me a great present in return
for mine. Then I sold my bales and what other matters I owned, making a
great profit on them, and bought me other goods and gear of the growth
and fashion of the island-city. When the merchants were about to start
on their homeward voyage, I embarked on board the ship all that I
possessed, and going in to the King, thanked him for all his favors and
friendship, and craved his leave to return to my own land and friends.
He farewelled me and bestowed upon me great store of the country-stuffs
and produce; and I took leave of him and embarked. Then we set sail and
fared on nights and days, by the permission of Allah Almighty; and
Fortune served us and Fate favored us, so that we arrived in safety at
Bassorah-city where I landed rejoiced at my safe return to my natal
soil. After a short stay, I set out for Baghdad, the House of Peace,
with store of goods and commodities of great price. Reaching the city in
due time, I went straight to my own quarter and entered my house, where
all my friends and kinsfolk came to greet me. Then I bought me eunuchs
and concubines, servants and negro slaves, till I had a large
establishment, and I bought me houses, and lands and gardens, till I was
richer and in better case than before, and returned to enjoy the society
of my friends and familiars more assiduously than ever, forgetting all I
had suffered of fatigue and hardship and strangerhood and every peril of
travel; and I applied myself to all manner joys and solaces and
delights, eating the daintiest viands and drinking the deliciousest
wines; and my wealth allowed this state of things to endure. This, then,
is the story of my first voyage, and to-morrow, Inshallah! I will tell
you the tale of the second of my seven voyages. Saith he who telleth the
tale: Then Sindbad the Seaman made Sindbad the Landsman sup with him and
bade give him an hundred gold pieces, saying, "Thou hast cheered us with
thy company this day." The Porter thanked him, and taking the gift, went
his way, pondering that which he had heard and marveling mightily at
what things betide mankind.


Translation of Captain Sir Richard F. Burton

Now during this time Shahrazad had borne the King three boy children;
so, when she had made an end of the story of Ma'aruf, she rose to her
feet and kissing ground before him, said, "O King of the time and unique
one of the age and the tide, I am thine handmaid, and these thousand
nights and a night have I entertained thee with stories of folk gone
before and admonitory instances of the men of yore. May I then make bold
to crave a boon of thy highness?" He replied, "Ask, O Shahrazad, and it
shall be granted to thee." Whereupon she cried out to the nurses and the
eunuchs, saying, "Bring me my children." So they brought them to her in
haste, and they were three boy children, one walking, one crawling, and
one sucking. She took them, and setting them before the King, again
kissed ground and said, "O King of the Age, these are thy children and I
crave that thou release me from the doom of death, as a dole to these
infants; for, an thou kill me, they will become motherless and will find
none among women to rear them as they should be reared." When the King
heard this, he wept and straining the boys to his bosom, said, "By
Allah, O Shahrazad, I pardoned thee before the coming of these children,
for that I found thee chaste, pure, ingenuous, and pious! Allah bless
thee and thy father and thy mother and thy root and thy branch! I take
the Almighty to witness against me that I exempt thee from aught that
can harm thee."

So she kissed his hands and feet and rejoiced with exceeding joy,
saying, "The Lord make thy life long and increase thee in dignity and
majesty!" presently adding, "Thou marveledst at which befell thee on the
part of women; yet there betided the Kings of the Chosroës before thee
greater mishaps and more grievous than that which hath befallen thee,
and indeed I have set forth unto thee that which happened to Caliphs and
Kings and others with their women, but the relation is longsome, and
hearkening groweth tedious, and in this is all-sufficient warning for
the man of wits and admonishment for the wise." Then she ceased to
speak, and when King Shahryar heard her speech and profited by that
which she had said, he summoned up his reasoning powers and cleansed his
heart and caused his understanding to revert, and turned to Allah
Almighty and said to himself, "Since there befell the Kings of the
Chosroës more than that which hath befallen me, never whilst I live
shall I cease to blame myself for the past. As for this Shahrazad, her
like is not found in the lands; so praise be to Him Who appointed her a
means for delivering His creatures from oppression and slaughter!" Then
he arose from his séance and kissed her head, whereat she rejoiced, she
and her sister Dunyazad, with exceeding joy.

When the morning morrowed the King went forth, and sitting down on the
throne of the Kingship, summoned the Lords of his land; whereupon the
Chamberlains and Nabobs and Captains of the host went in to him and
kissed ground before him. He distinguished the Wazir, Shahrazad's sire,
with special favor and bestowed on him a costly and splendid robe of
honor, and entreated him with the utmost kindness, and said to him,
"Allah protect thee for that thou gavest me to wife thy noble daughter,
who hath been the means of my repentance from slaying the daughters of
folk. Indeed, I have found her pure and pious, chaste and ingenuous, and
Allah hath vouchsafed me by her three boy children; wherefore praised be
He for His passing favor." Then he bestowed robes of honor upon his
Wazirs and Emirs and Chief Officers and he set forth to them briefly
that which had betided him with Shahrazad, and how he had turned from
his former ways and repented him of what he had done, and proposed to
take the Wazir's daughter Shahrazad to wife, and let draw up the
marriage-contract with her. When those who were present heard this, they
kissed ground before him and blessed him and his betrothed Shahrazad,
and the Wazir thanked her.

Then Shahryar made an end of his sitting in all weal, whereupon the folk
dispersed to their dwelling-places, and the news was bruited abroad that
the King proposed to marry the Wazir's daughter, Shahrazad. Then he
proceeded to make ready the wedding gear, and presently he sent after
his brother, King Shah Zaman, who came, and King Shahryar went forth to
meet him with the troops. Furthermore, they decorated the city after the
goodliest fashion and diffused scents from censers and burnt aloes-wood
and other perfumes in all the markets and thoroughfares and rubbed
themselves with saffron, what while the drums beat and the flutes and
pipes sounded and mimes and mountebanks played and plied their arts, and
the King lavished on them gifts and largesse, and in very deed it was a
notable day. When they came to the palace, King Shahryar commanded to
spread the table with beasts roasted whole, and sweetmeats, and all
manner of viands, and bade the crier cry to the folk that they should
come up to the Diwan and eat and drink, and that this should be a means
of reconciliation between him and them. So high and low, great and
small, came up unto him, and they abode on that wise, eating and
drinking, seven days with their nights.

Then the King shut himself up with his brother, and related to him that
which had betided him with the Wazir's daughter Shahrazad during the
past three years, and told him what he had heard from her of proverbs
and parables, chronicles and pleasantries, quips and jests, stories and
anecdotes, dialogues and histories, and elegies and other verses;
whereat King Shah Zaman marveled with the utmost marvel and said, "Fain
would I take her younger sister to wife, so we may be two
brothers-german to two sisters-german, and they on like wise be sisters
to us; for that the calamity which befell me was the cause of our
discovering that which befell thee, and all this time of three years
past I have taken no delight in woman; but now I desire to marry thy
wife's sister Dunyazad."

When King Shahryar heard his brother's words, he rejoiced with joy
exceeding, and arising forthright, went in to his wife Shahrazad and
acquainted her with that which his brother purposed, namely, that he
sought her sister Dunyazad in wedlock; whereupon she answered, "O King
of the Age, we seek of him one condition, to wit, that he take up his
abode with us, for that I cannot brook to be parted from my sister an
hour, because we were brought up together, and may not endure separation
each from another. If he accept this pact, she is his handmaid." King
Shahryar returned to his brother and acquainted him with that which
Shahrazad had said; and he replied, "Indeed, this is what was in my
mind, for that I desire nevermore to be parted from thee one hour. As
for the kingdom, Allah the Most High shall send to it whomso He
chooseth, for that I have no longer a desire for the kingship."

When King Shahryar heard his brother's words, he rejoiced exceedingly
and said, "Verily, this is what I wished, O my brother. So
Alhamdolillah--Praised be Allah!--who hath brought about union between
us." Then he sent after the Kazis and Olema, Captains and Notables, and
they married the two brothers to the two sisters. The contracts were
written out, and the two Kings bestowed robes of honor of silk and satin
on those who were present, whilst the city was decorated and the
rejoicings were renewed. The King commanded each Emir and Wazir and
Chamberlain and Nabob to decorate his palace, and the folk of the city
were gladdened by the presage of happiness and contentment. King
Shahryar also bade slaughter sheep, and set up kitchens and made
bride-feasts and fed all comers, high and low; and he gave alms to the
poor and needy and extended his bounty to great and small.

Then the eunuchs went forth that they might perfume the Hammam for the
brides; so they scented it with rosewater and willow-flower water and
pods of musk, and fumigated it with Kákilí eaglewood and ambergris. Then
Shahrazad entered, she and her sister Dunyazad, and they cleansed their
heads and clipped their hair. When they came forth of the Hammam-bath,
they donned raiment and ornaments, such as men were wont prepare for the
Kings of the Chosroës; and among Shahrazad's apparel was a dress purfled
with red gold and wrought with counterfeit presentments of birds and
beasts. And the two sisters encircled their necks with necklaces of
jewels of price, in the like whereof Iskander rejoiced not, for therein
were great jewels such as amazed the wit and dazzled the eye; and the
imagination was bewildered at their charms, for indeed each of them was
brighter than the sun and the moon. Before them they lighted brilliant
flambeaux of wax in candelabra of gold, but their faces outshone the
flambeaux, for that they had eyes sharper than unsheathed swords and the
lashes of their eyelids bewitched all hearts. Their cheeks were rosy
red, and their necks and shapes gracefully swayed, and their eyes
wantoned like the gazelle's; and the slave-girls came to meet them with
instruments of music.

Then the two Kings entered the Hammam-bath, and when they came forth
they sat down on a couch set with pearls and gems, whereupon the two
sisters came up to them and stood between their hands, as they were
moons, bending and leaning from side to side in their beauty and
loveliness. Presently they brought forward Shahrazad and displayed her,
for the first dress, in a red suit; whereupon King Shahryar rose to look
upon her, and the wits of all present, men and women, were bewitched for
that she was even as saith of her one of her describers:--

     A sun on wand in knoll of sand she showed,
          Clad in her cramoisy-hued chemisette:
     Of her lips' honey-dew she gave me drink
          And with her rosy cheeks quencht fire she set.

Then they attired Dunyazad in a dress of blue brocade, and she became as
she were the full moon when it shineth forth. So they displayed her in
this, for the first dress, before King Shah Zaman, who rejoiced in her
and well-nigh swooned away for love-longing and amorous desire; yea, he
was distraught with passion for her, whenas he saw her, because she was
as saith of her one of her describers in these couplets:--

     She comes appareled in an azure vest
          Ultramarine as skies are deckt and dight:
     I view'd th' unparall'd sight, which showed my eyes
          A Summer-moon upon a Winter-night.

Then they returned to Shahrazad and displayed her in the second dress, a
suit of surpassing goodliness, and veiled her face with her hair like a
chin-veil. Moreover, they let down her side-locks, and she was even as
saith of her one of her describers in these couplets:--

     O hail to him whose locks his cheeks o'ershade,
          Who slew my life by cruel hard despight:
     Said I, "Hast veiled the Morn in Night?" He said,
          "Nay, I but veil the Moon in hue of Night."

Then they displayed Dunyazad in a second and a third and a fourth dress,
and she paced forward like the rising sun, and swayed to and fro in the
insolence of her beauty; and she was even as saith the poet of her in
these couplets:--

     The sun of beauty she to all appears
          And, lovely coy, she mocks all loveliness:
     And when he fronts her favor and her smile
          A-morn, the sun of day in clouds must dress.

Then they displayed Shahrazad in the third dress and the fourth and the
fifth, and she became as she were a Bán-branch snell of a thirsting
gazelle, lovely of face and perfect in attributes of grace, even as
saith of her one in these couplets:--

     She comes like fullest moon on happy night,
          Taper of waist with shape of magic might;
     She hath an eye whose glances quell mankind,
          And ruby on her cheeks reflects his light;
     Enveils her hips the blackness of her hair;
          Beware of curls that bite with viper-bite!
     Her sides are silken-soft, what while the heart
          Mere rock behind that surface 'scapes our sight;
     From the fringed curtains of her cyne she shoots
          Shafts that at furthest range on mark alight.

Then they returned to Dunyazad and displayed her in the fifth dress and
in the sixth, which was green, when she surpassed with her loveliness
the fair of the four quarters of the world, and outvied, with the
brightness of her countenance, the full moon at rising tide; for she was
even as saith of her the poet in these couplets:--

     A damsel 'twas the tirer's art had decked with snare and sleight,
          And robed with rays as though the sun from her had borrowed
     She came before us wondrous clad in chemisette of green,
          As veilèd by his leafy screen Pomegranate hides from sight;
     And when he said, "How callest thou the fashion of thy dress?"
          She answered us in pleasant way, with double meaning dight,
     "We call this garment _crève-coeur;_ and rightly is it hight,
          For many a heart wi' this we brake and harried many a sprite."

Then they displayed Shahrazad in the sixth and seventh dresses and clad
her in youth's clothing, whereupon she came forward swaying from side to
side, and coquettishly moving, and indeed she ravished wits and hearts
and ensorcelled all eyes with her glances. She shook her sides and
swayed her haunches, then put her hair on sword-hilt and went up to King
Shahryar, who embraced her as hospitable host embraceth guest, and
threatened her in her ear with the taking of the sword; and she was even
as saith of her the poet in these words:--

     Were not the Murk of gender male,
           Than feminines surpassing fair,
     Tire-women they had grudged the bride,
           Who made her beard and whiskers wear!

Thus also they did with her sister Dunyazad; and when they had made an
end of the display, the King bestowed robes of honor on all who were
present, and sent the brides to their own apartments. Then Shahrazad
went in to King Shahryar and Dunyazad to King Shah Zaman, and each of
them solaced himself with the company of his beloved consort, and the
hearts of the folk were comforted. When morning morrowed, the Wazir came
in to the two Kings and kissed ground before them; wherefore they
thanked him and were large of bounty to him. Presently they went forth
and sat down upon couches of kingship, whilst all the Wazirs and Emirs
and Grandees and Lords of the land presented themselves and kissed
ground. King Shahryar ordered them dresses of honor and largesse, and
they prayed for the permanence and prosperity of the King and his
brother. Then the two Sovrans appointed their sire-in-law the Wazir to
be Viceroy in Samarcand, and assigned him five of the Chief Emirs to
accompany him, charging them attend him and do him service. The Minister
kissed ground and prayed that they might be vouchsafed length of life:
then he went in to his daughters, whilst the Eunuchs and Ushers walked
before him, and saluted them and farewelled them. They kissed his hands
and gave him joy of the kingship and bestowed on him immense treasures;
after which he took leave of them, and setting out, fared days and
nights, till he came near Samarcand, where the townspeople met him at a
distance of three marches and rejoiced in him with exceeding joy. So he
entered the city, and they decorated the houses and it was a notable
day. He sat down on the throne of his kingship, and the Wazirs did him
homage and the Grandees and Emirs of Samarcand, and all prayed that he
might be vouchsafed justice and victory and length of continuance. So he
bestowed on them robes of honor and entreated them with distinction, and
they made him Sultan over them. As soon as his father-in-law had
departed for Samarcand, King Shahryar summoned the Grandees of his realm
and made them a stupendous banquet of all manner of delicious meats and
exquisite sweetmeats. He also bestowed on them robes of honor and
guerdoned them, and divided the kingdoms between himself and his brother
in their presence, whereat the folk rejoiced. Then the two Kings abode,
each ruling a day in turn, and they were ever in harmony each with
other, while on similar wise their wives continued in the love of Allah
Almighty and in thanksgiving to Him; and the peoples and the provinces
were at peace, and the preachers prayed for them from the pulpits, and
their report was bruited abroad and the travelers bore tidings of them
to all lands. In due time King Shahryar summoned chronicles and
copyists, and bade them write all that had betided him with his wife,
first and last; so they wrote this and named it 'The Stories of the
Thousand Nights and A Night.' The book came to thirty volumes, and these
the King laid up in his treasure. And the two brothers abode with their
wives in all pleasaunce and solace of life and its delights, for that
indeed Allah the Most High had changed their annoy into joy; and on this
wise they continued till there took them the Destroyer of delights and
the Severer of societies, the Desolator of dwelling-places, and Garnerer
of grave-yards, and they were translated to the ruth of Almighty Allah;
their houses fell waste and their palaces lay in ruins, and the Kings
inherited their riches. Then there reigned after them a wise ruler, who
was just, keen-witted, and accomplished, and loved tales and legends,
especially those which chronicle the doings of Sovrans and Sultans, and
he found in the treasury these marvelous stories and wondrous histories,
contained in the thirty volumes aforesaid. So he read in them a first
book and a second and a third and so on to the last of them, and each
book astounded and delighted him more than that which preceded it, till
he came to the end of them. Then he admired what so he had read therein
of description and discourse and rare traits and anecdotes and moral
instances and reminiscences, and bade the folk copy them and dispread
them over all lands and climes; wherefore their report was bruited
abroad and the people named them 'The marvels and wonders of the
Thousand Nights and A Night.' This is all that hath come down to us of
the origin of this book, and Allah is All-knowing. So Glory be to Him
Whom the shifts of Time waste not away, nor doth aught of chance or
change affect His sway! Whom one case diverteth not from other case, and
Who is sole in the attributes of perfect grace. And prayer and the Peace
be upon the Lord's Pontiff and Chosen One among His creatures, our Lord
MOHAMMED the Prince of mankind, through whom we supplicate Him for a
goodly and a godly end.



Of no civilization is the complexion of its literary remains so
characteristic of its varying fortunes as is that of the Arabic. The
precarious conditions of desert life and of the tent, the more certain
existence in settled habitations, the grandeur of empire acquired in a
short period of enthusiastic rapture, the softening influence of luxury
and unwonted riches, are so faithfully portrayed in the literature of
the Arabs as to give us a picture of the spiritual life of the people
which no mere massing of facts can ever give. Well aware of this
themselves, the Arabs at an early date commenced the collection and
preservation of their old literary monuments with a care and a studious
concern which must excite within us a feeling of wonder. For the
material side of life must have made a strong appeal to these people
when they came forth from their desert homes. Pride in their own doings,
pride in their own past, must have spurred them on; yet an ardent
feeling for the beautiful in speech is evident from the beginning of
their history. The first knowledge that we have of the tribes scattered
up and down the deserts and oases of the Arabian peninsula comes to us
in the verses of their poets. The early Teuton bards, the rhapsodists of
Greece, were not listened to with more rapt attention than was the
simple Bedouin, who, seated on his mat or at the door of his tent, gave
vent to his feelings of joy or sorrow in such manner as nature had
gifted him. As are the ballads for Scottish history, so are the verses
of these untutored bards the record of the life in which they played no
mean part. Nor could the splendors of court life at Damascus, Bagdad, or
Cordova make their rulers insensible to the charms of poetry,--that
"beautiful poetry with which Allah has adorned the Muslim." A verse
happily said could always charm, a satire well pointed could always
incite; and the true Arab of to-day will listen to those so adorned with
the same rapt attention as did his fathers of long ago.

This gift of the desert--otherwise so sparing of its favors--has not
failed to leave its impression upon the whole Arabic literature. Though
it has produced some prose writers of value, writing, as an art to charm
and to please, has always sought the measured cadence of poetry or the
unmeasured symmetry of rhymed prose. Its first lispings are in the
"trembling" (rájaz) metre,--iambics, rhyming in the same syllable
throughout; impromptu verses, in which the poet expressed the feelings
of the moment: a measure which, the Arabs say, matches the trembling
trot of the she-camel. It is simple in its character; coming so near to
rhymed prose that Khalíl (born 718), the great grammarian, would not
willingly admit that such lines could really be called poetry. Some of
these verses go back to the fourth and fifth centuries of our era. But a
growing sense of the poet's art was incompatible with so simple a
measure; and a hundred years before the appearance of the Prophet, many
of the canonical sixteen metres were already in vogue. Even the later
complete poems bear the stamp of their origin, in the loose connection
with which the different parts stand to each other. The "Kasídah" (poem)
is built upon the principle that each verse must be complete in
itself,--there being no stanzas,--and separable from the context; which
has made interpolations and omissions in the older poems a matter
of ease.

The classical period of Arabic poetry, which reaches from the beginning
of the sixth century to the beginning of the eighth, is dominated by
this form of the Kasídah. Tradition refers its origin to one al-Muhalhel
ibn Rabí'a of the tribe of Taghlib, about one hundred and fifty years
before Muhammad; though, as is usual, this honor is not uncontested. The
Kasídah is composed of distichs, the first two of which only are to
rhyme; though every line must end in the same syllable. It must have at
least seven or ten verses, and may reach up to one hundred or over. In
nearly every case it deals with a tribe or a single person,--the poet
himself or a friend,--and may be either a panegyric, a satire, an elegy,
or a eulogy. That which it is the aim of the poet to bring out comes
last; the greater part of the poem being of the nature of a _captatio
benevolentia_. Here he can show his full power of expression. He usually
commences with the description of a deserted camping-ground, where he
sees the traces of his beloved. He then adds the erotic part, and
describes at length his deeds of valor in the chase or in war; in order,
then, to lead over to the real object he has in view. Because of this
disposition of the material, which is used by the greater poets of this
time, the general form of the Kasídah became in a measure stereotyped.
No poem was considered perfect unless molded in this form.

Arabic poetry is thus entirely lyrical. There was too little, among
these tribes, of the common national life which forms the basis for the
Epos. The Semitic genius is too subjective, and has never gotten beyond
the first rude attempts at dramatic composition. Even in its lyrics,
Arabic poetry is still more subjective than the Hebrew of the Bible. It
falls generally into the form of an allocution, even where it is
descriptive. It is the poet who speaks, and his personality pervades the
whole poem. He describes nature as he finds it, with little of the
imaginative, "in dim grand outlines of a picture which must be filled
up by the reader, guided only by a few glorious touches powerfully
standing out." A native quickness of apprehension and intense feeling
nurtured this poetic sentiment among the Arabs. The continuous enmity
among the various tribes produced a sort of knight-errantry which gave
material to the poet; and the richness of his language put a tongue in
his mouth which could voice forth the finest shades of description or
sentiment. Al-Damári has wisely said: "Wisdom has alighted upon three
things,--the brain of the Franks, the hands of the Chinese, and the
tongues of the Arabs."

The horizon which bounded the Arab poet's view was not far drawn out. He
describes the scenes of his desert life: the sand dunes; the camel,
antelope, wild ass, and gazelle; his bow and arrow and his sword; his
loved one torn from him by the sudden striking of the tents and
departure of her tribe. The virtues which he sings are those in which he
glories, "love of freedom, independence in thought and action,
truthfulness, largeness of heart, generosity, and hospitality." His
descriptions breathe the freshness of his outdoor life and bring us
close to nature: his whole tone rings out a solemn note, which is even
in his lighter moments grave and serious,--as existence itself was for
those sons of the desert, who had no settled habitation, and who, more
than any one, depended upon the bounty of Allah. Although these Kasídahs
passed rapidly from mouth to mouth, little would have been preserved for
us had there not been a class of men who, led on some by desire, some by
necessity, made it their business to write down the compositions, and to
keep fresh in their memory the very pronunciation of each word. Every
poet had such a Ráwiah. Of one Hammád it is said that he could recite
one hundred Kasídahs rhyming on each letter of the alphabet, each
Kasídah having at least one hundred verses. Abu Tammám (805), the author
of the 'Hamásah,' is reported to have known by heart fourteen thousand
pieces of the metre rájaz. It was not, however, until the end of the
first century of the Híjrah that systematic collections of this older
literature were commenced.

It was this very Hammád (died 777) who put together seven of the
choicest poems of the early Arabs. He called them 'Mu 'allakât,'--"the
hung up" (in a place of honor, in the estimation of the people). The
authors of these seven poems were: Imr-al-Kais, Tárafa, Zuhéir, Labîd
(570), 'Antara, 'Amr, and al-Hárith. The common verdict of their
countrymen has praised the choice made by Hammád. The seven remained the
great models, to which later poets aspired: in description of love,
those of Imr-al-Kais and 'Antara; in that of the camel and the horse,
Labîd; of battle, 'Amr; in the praise of arms, Hárith; in wise maxims,
Zuhéir. To these must be added al-Nabighah, 'Alkamah, Urwa ibn al-Ward,
Hássan ibn Thábit, al-A'sha, Aus ibn Hájar, and as-Shánfarah, whose
poem has been called "the most magnificent of old Arabic poems." In
addition to the single poems found in the 'Mu 'allakât' and elsewhere,
nearly all of these composed whole series of poems, which were at a
later time put in the form of collections and called 'Diwans.' Some of
these poets have left us as many as four hundred verses. Such
collections were made by grammarians and antiquarians of a later age. In
addition to the collections made around the name of a single poet,
others were made, fashioned upon a different principle: The
'Mufáddaliyát' (the most excellent poems), put together by al-Mufáddal
(761); the 'Diwan' of the poets of the tribe of Hudhéil; the 'Hamásah'
(Bravery; so called from the subject of the first of the ten books into
which the collection is divided) of Abu Tammám. The best anthology of
these poems is 'The Great Book of Songs,' put together by Abu al-Fáraj
al-Ispa-háni (died 967).

With these poets Arabic literature reached its highest development. They
are the true expression of the free Arabic spirit. Most of them lived
before or during the time of the appearance of Muhammad. His coming
produced a great change in the life of the simple Bedouins. Though they
could not be called heathen, their religion expressed itself in the
simple feeling of dependence upon higher powers, without attempting to
bring this faith into a close connection with their daily life. Muhammad
introduced a system into which he tried to mold all things. He wished to
unite the scattered tribes to one only purpose. He was thus cutting away
that untrammeled spirit and that free life which had been the making of
Arabic poetry. He knew this well. He knew also the power the poets had
over the people. His own 'Qur'an' (Koran) was but a poor substitute for
the elegant verses of his opponents. "Imr-al-Kais," he said, "is the
finest of all poets, and their leader into everlasting fire." On another
occasion he is reported to have called out, "Verily, a belly full of
matter is better than a belly full of poetry." Even when citing verses,
he quoted them in such a manner as to destroy the metre. Abu Bekr very
properly remarked, "Truly God said in the 'Qur'an,' 'We have not taught
him poetry, and it suits him not.'" In thus decrying the poets of
"barbarism," and in setting up the 'Qur'an' as the greatest production
of Arabic genius, Muhammad was turning the national poetry to its
decline. Happily his immediate successors were unable or unwilling to
follow him strictly. Ali himself, his son-in-law, is said to have been a
poet; nor did the Umáyyid Caliphs of Damascus, "very heathens in their
carnal part," bring the new spirit to its full bloom, as did the
Abbassides of Bagdad.

And yet the old spirit was gradually losing ground. The consolidation of
the empire brought greater security; the riches of Persia and Syria
produced new types of men. The centre of Arab life was now in the city,
with all its trammels, its forced politeness, its herding together. The
simplicity which characterized the early caliphs was going; in its place
was come a court,--court life, court manners, court poets. The love of
poetry was still there; but the poet of the tent had become the poet of
the house and the palace. Like those troubadours who had become
jongleurs, they lived upon the crumbs which fell from the table of
princes. Such crumbs were often not to be despised. Many a time and oft
the bard tuned his lyre merely for the price of his services. We know
that he was richly rewarded. Harún gave a dress worth four hundred
thousand pieces of gold to Já'far ibn Yahya; at his death, Ibn 'Ubeid
al-Buchtarí (865) left one hundred complete suits of dress, two hundred
shirts, and five hundred turbans--all of which had been given him for
his poems. The freshness of olden times was fading little by little; the
earnestness of the Bedouin poet was making way for a lightness of heart.
In this intermediate period, few were born so happily, and yet so imbued
with the new spirit, as was 'Umar ibn 'Rabí'a (644), "the man of
pleasure as well as the man of literature." Of rich parentage, gifted
with a love of song which moved him to speak in verses, he was able to
keep himself far from both prince and palace. He was of the family of
Kureísh, in whose Muhammad all the glories of Arabia had centred, with
one exception,--the gift of poetry. And now "this Don Juan of Mecca,
this Ovid of Arabia," was to wipe away that stain. He was the Arabian
Minnesinger, whom Friedrich Rückert called "the greatest love-poet the
Arabs have produced." A man of the city, the desert had no attractions
for him. But he sang of love as he made love,--with utter disregard of
holy place or high station, in an erotic strain strange to the stern
Umáyyids. No wonder they warned their children against reading his
compositions. "The greatest sin committed against Allah are the poems of
'Umar ibn Rabí'a," they said.

With the rise of the Abbassides (750), that "God-favored dynasty,"
Arabic literature entered upon its second great development; a
development which may be distinguished from that of the Umáyyids (which
was Arabian) as, in very truth, Muhammadan. With Bagdad as the capital,
it was rather the non-Arabic Persians who held aloft the torch than the
Arabs descended from Kuréish. It was a bold move, this attempt to weld
the old Persian civilization with the new Muhammadan. Yet so great was
the power of the new faith that it succeeded. The Barmecide major-domo
ably seconded his Abbasside master; the glory of both rests upon the
interest they took in art, literature, and science. The Arab came in
contact with a new world. Under Mansúr (754), Harun al-Rashid (786), and
Ma'mún (813), the wisdom of the Greeks in philosophy and science, the
charms of Persia and India in wit and satire, were opened up to
enlightened eyes. Upon all of these, whatever their nationality, Islam
had imposed the Arab tongue, pride in the faith and in its early
history. 'Qur'an' exegesis, philosophy, law, history, and science were
cultivated under the very eyes and at the bidding of the Palace. And, at
least for several centuries, Europe was indebted to the culture of
Bagdad for what it knew of mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy.

The Arab muse profited with the rest of this revival. History and
philosophy, as a study, demanded a close acquaintance with the products
of early Arab genius. The great philologian al-Asmái (740-831) collected
the songs and tales of the heroic age; and a little later, with other
than philological ends in view, Abu Tammám and al-Búchturí (816-913)
made the first anthologies of the old Arabic literatures ('Hamásah').
Poetry was already cultivated: and amid the hundreds of wits, poets, and
singers who thronged the entrance to the court, there are many who claim
real poetic genius. Among them are al-Ahtal (died 713), a Christian;
'Umar ibn Rabí'a (died 728), Jarír al-Farázdak (died 728), and Muslim
ibn al-Walíd (died 828). But it is rather the Persian spirit which
rules,--the spirit of the Shahnámeh and Firdaúsi,--"charming elegance,
servile court flattery, and graceful wit." In none are the
characteristics so manifest as in Abu Núwas (762-819), the Poet Laureate
of Harun, the Imr-al-Kais of his time. His themes are wine and love.
Everything else he casts to the wind; and like his modern counterpart,
Heine, he drives the wit of his satire deep into the holiest feelings of
his people. "I would that all which Religion and Law forbids were
permitted me; and if I had only two years to live, that God would change
me into a dog at the Temple in Mecca, so that I might bite every pilgrim
in the leg," he is reported to have said. When he himself did once make
the required pilgrimage, he did so in order to carry his loves up to the
very walls of the sacred house. "Jovial, adventure-loving,
devil-may-care," irreligious in all he did, yet neither the Khalif nor
the whole Muhammadan world were incensed. In spite of all, they petted
him and pronounced his wine-songs the finest ever written; full of
thought and replete with pictures, rich in language and true to every
touch of nature. "There are no poems on wine equal to my own, and to my
amatory compositions all others must yield," he himself has said. He was
poor and had to live by his talents. But wherever he went he was richly
rewarded. He was content only to be able to live in shameless revelry
and to sing. As he lived, so he died,--in a half-drunken group, cut to
pieces by those who thought themselves offended by his lampoons.

At the other end of the Muslim world, the star of the Umáyyids, which
had set at Damascus, rose again at Cordova. The union of two
civilizations--Indo-Germanic and Semitic--was as advantageous in the
West as in the East. The influence of the spirit of learning which
reigned at Bagdad reached over to Spain, and the two dynasties vied with
each other in the patronage of all that was beautiful in literature and
learned in science. Poetry was cultivated and poets cherished with a
like regard: the Spanish innate love of the Muse joined hands with that
of the Arabic. It was the same kind of poetry in Umáyyid Spain as in
Abbasside Bagdad: poetry of the city and of the palace. But another
element was added here,--the Western love for the softer beauties of
nature, and for their expression in finely worked out mosaics and in
graceful descriptions. It is this that brings the Spanish-Arabic poetry
nearer to us than the more splendid and glittering verses of the
Abbassides, or the cruder and less polished lines of the first
Muhammadans. The amount of poetry thus composed in Arab Spain may be
gauged by the fact that an anthology made during the first half of the
tenth century, by Ibn Fáraj, contained twenty thousand verses. Cordova
under 'Abd-al-Rahmán III. and Hákim II. was the counterpart of Bagdad
under Harun. "The most learned prince that ever lived," Hákim was so
renowned a patron of literature that learned men wandered to him from
all over the Arab Empire. He collected a library of four hundred
thousand volumes, which had been gathered together by his agents in
Egypt, Syria, and Persia: the catalogue of which filled forty-four
volumes. In Cordova he founded a university and twenty-seven free
schools. What wonder that all the sciences--Tradition, Theology,
Jurisprudence, and especially History and Geography--flourished during
his reign. Of the poets of this period there may be mentioned: Sa'íd ibn
Júdi--the pattern of the Knight of those days, the poet loved of women;
Yáhyah ibn Hakam, "the gazelle"; Ahmad ibn 'Abd Rabbíh, the author of a
commonplace book; Ibn Abdún of Badjiz, Ibn Hafájah of Xucar, Ibn Sa'íd
of Granada. Kings added a new jewel to their crown, and took an honored
place among the bards; as 'Abd al-Rahmán I., and Mu'tamid (died 1095),
the last King of Seville, whose unfortunate life he himself has pictured
in most beautiful elegies. Although the short revival under the
Almohades (1184-1198) produced such men as Ibn Roshd, the commentator on
Aristotle, and Ibn Toféil, who wrote the first 'Robinson Crusoe' story,
the sun was already setting. When Ferdinand burned the books which had
been so laboriously collected, the dying flame of Arab culture in
Spain went out.

During the third period--from Ma'mún (813), under whom the Turkish
body-guards began to wield their baneful influence, until the break-up
of the Abbasside Empire in 1258--there are many names, but few real
poets, to be mentioned. The Arab spirit had spent itself, and the Mogul
cloud was on the horizon. There were 'Abd-allah ibn al-Mu'tazz, died
908; Abu Firás, died 967; al-Tughrai, died 1120; al-Busíri, died
1279,--author of the 'Búrda,' poem in praise of Muhammad: but
al-Mutanábbi, died 965, alone deserves special mention. The
"Prophet-pretender"--for such his name signifies--has been called by Von
Hammer "the greatest Arabian poet"; and there is no doubt that his
'Diwán,' with its two hundred and eighty-nine poems, was and is widely
read in the East. But it is only a depraved taste that can prefer such
an epigene to the fresh desert-music of Imr-al-Kais. Panegyrics, songs
of war and of bloodshed, are mostly the themes that he dilates upon. He
was in the service of Saif al-Dáulah of Syria, and sang his victories
over the Byzantine Kaiser. He is the true type of the prince's poet.
Withal, the taste for poetic composition grew, though it produced a
smaller number of great poets. But it also usurped for itself fields
which belong to entirely different literary forms. Grammar,
lexicography, philosophy, and theology were expounded in verse; but the
verse was formal, stiff, and unnatural. Poetic composition became a
_tour de force_.

This is nowhere better seen than in that species of composition which
appeared for the first time in the eleventh century, and which so
pleased and charmed a degenerate age as to make of the 'Makamat' the
most favorite reading. Ahmad Abu Fadl al-Hamadhání, "the wonder of all
time" (died 1007), composed the first of such "sessions." Of his four
hundred only a few have come down to our time. Abu Muhammad al-Hariri
(1030-1121), of Bâsra, is certainly the one who made this species of
literature popular; he has been closely imitated in Hebrew by Charízi
(1218), and in Syriac by Ebed Yéshu (1290). "Makámah" means the place
where one stands, where assemblies are held; then, the discourses
delivered, or conversations held in such an assembly. The word is used
here especially to denote a series of "discourses and conversations
composed in a highly finished and ornamental style, and solely for the
purpose of exhibiting various kinds of eloquence, and exemplifying the
rules of grammar, rhetoric, and poetry." Hariri himself speaks of--

     "These 'Makamat,' which contain serious language and lightsome,
           And combine refinement with dignity of style,
           And brilliancies with jewels of eloquence,
           And beauties of literature with its rarities,
     Besides quotations from the 'Qur'an,' wherewith I adorned them,
     And choice metaphors, and Arab proverbs that I interspersed,
         And literary elegancies, and grammatical riddles,
         And decisions upon ambiguous legal questions,
       And original improvisations, and highly wrought orations,
       And plaintive discourses, as well as jocose witticisms."

The design is thus purely literary. The fifty "sessions" of Hariri,
which are written in rhymed prose interspersed with poetry, contain
oratorical, poetical, moral, encomiastic, and satirical discourses,
which only the merest thread holds together. Each Makámah is a unit, and
has no necessary connection with that which follows. The thread which so
loosely binds them together is the delineation of the character of Abu
Zeid, the hero, in his own words. He is one of those wandering minstrels
and happy improvisers whom the favor of princes had turned into
poetizing beggars. In each Makámah is related some ruse, by means of
which Abu Zeid, because of his wonderful gift of speech, either
persuades or forces those whom he meets to pay for his sustenance, and
furnish the means for his debauches. Not the least of those thus
ensnared is his great admirer, Háreth ibn Hammám, the narrator of the
whole, who is none other than Hariri. Wearied at last with his life of
travel, debauch, and deception, Abu Zeid retires to his native city and
becomes an ascetic, thus to atone in a measure for his past sins. The
whole might be called, not improperly, a tale, a novel. But the
intention of the poet is to show forth the richness and variety of the
Arabic language; and his own power over this great mass brings the
descriptive--one might almost say the lexicographic--side too much to
the front. A poem that can be read either backward or forward, or which
contains all the words in the language beginning with a certain letter,
may be a wonderful mosaic, but is nothing more. The merit of Hariri lies
just in this: that working in such cramped quarters, with such intent
and design continually guiding his pen, he has often really done more.
He has produced rhymed prose and verses which are certainly elegant in
diction and elevated in tone.

Such tales as these, told as an exercise of linguistic gymnastics, must
not blind us to the presence of real tales, told for their own sake.
Arabic literature has been very prolific in these. They lightened the
graver subjects discussed in the tent,--philosophy, religion, and
grammar,--and they furnished entertainment for the more boisterous
assemblies in the coffee-houses and around the bowl. For the Arab is an
inveterate story-teller; and in nearly all the prose that he writes,
this character of the "teller" shimmers clearly through the work of the
"writer." He is an elegant narrator. Not only does he intersperse verses
and lines more frequently than our own taste would license: by nature,
he easily falls into the half-hearted poetry of rhymed prose, for which
the rich assonances of his language predispose. His own learning was
further cultivated by his early contact with Persian literature; through
which the fable and the wisdom of India spoken from the mouths of dumb
animals reached him. In this more frivolous form of inculcating wisdom,
the Prophet scented danger to his strait-laced demands: "men who bring
sportive legends, to lead astray from God's path without knowledge and
to make a jest of it; for such is shameful woe," is written in the
thirty-first Surah. In vain; for in hours of relaxation, such works as
the 'Fables of Bidpai' (translated from the Persian in 750 by 'Abd Allah
ibn Mukáffah), the 'Ten Viziers,' the 'Seven Wise Masters,' etc., proved
to be food too palatable. Nor were the Arabs wanting in their own
peculiar 'Romances,' influenced only in some portions of the setting by
Persian ideas. Such were the 'Story of Saif ibn dhi Yázan,' the 'Tale of
al-Zir,' the 'Romance of Dálhmah,' and especially the 'Romance of Antar'
and the 'Thousand Nights and A Night.' The last two romances are
excellent commentaries on Arab life, at its dawn and at its fullness,
among the roving chiefs of the desert and the homes of revelry in
Bagdad. As the rough-hewn poetry of Imr-al-Kais and Zuhéir is a clearer
exponent of the real Arab mind, roving at its own suggestion, than the
more perfect and softer lines of a Mutanábbi, so is the 'Romance of
Antar' the full expression of real Arab hero-worship. And even in the
cities of the Orient to-day, the loungers in their cups can never weary
of following the exploits of this black son of the desert, who in his
person unites the great virtues of his people, magnanimity and bravery,
with the gift of poetic speech. Its tone is elevated; its coarseness has
as its origin the outspokenness of unvarnished man; it does not peep
through the thin veneer of licentious suggestiveness. It is never
trivial, even in its long and wearisome descriptions, in its
ever-recurring outbursts of love. Its language suits its thought: choice
and educated, and not descending--as in the 'Nights'--to the common
expressions of ordinary speech. In this it resembles the 'Makamat' of
Hariri, though much less artificial and more enjoyable. It is the Arabic
romance of chivalry, and may not have been without influence on the
spread of the romance of mediæval Europe. For though its central figure
is a hero of pre-Islamic times, it was put together by the learned
philologian, al-'Asmái, in the days of Harun the Just, at the time when
Charlemagne was ruling in Europe.

There exist in Arabic literature very few romances of the length of
'Antar.' Though the Arab delights to hear and to recount tales, his
tales are generally short and pithy. It is in this shorter form that he
delights to inculcate principles of morality and norms of character. He
is most adroit at repartee and at pungent replies. He has a way of
stating principles which delights while it instructs. The anecdote is at
home in the East: many a favor is gained, many a punishment averted, by
a quick answer and a felicitously turned expression. Such anecdotes
exist as popular traditions in very large numbers; and he receives much
consideration whose mind is well stocked with them. Collections of
anecdotes have been put to writing from time to time. Those dealing with
the early history of the caliphate are among the best prose that the
Arabs have produced. For pure prose was never greatly cultivated. The
literature dealing with their own history, or with the geography and
culture of the nations with which they came in contact, is very large,
and as a record of facts is most important. Ibn Hishám (died 767),
Wákidi (died 822), Tabari (838-923), Masudi (died 957), Ibn Athír (died
1233), Ibn Khaldún (died 1406), Makrisi (died 1442), Suyúti (died 1505),
and Makkári (died 1631), are only a few of those who have given us large
and comprehensive histories. Al-Birúni (died 1038), writer,
mathematician, and traveler, has left us an account of the India of his
day which has earned for him the title "Herodotus of India," though for
careful observation and faithful presentation he stands far above the
writer with whose name he is adorned. But nearly all of these historical
writers are mere chronologists, dry and wearisome to the general reader.
It is only in the Preface, or 'Exordium,' often the most elaborate part
of the whole book viewed from a rhetorical standpoint, that they attempt
to rise above mere incidents and strive after literary form. Besides the
regard in which anecdotes are held, it is considered a mark of education
to insert in one's speech as often as possible a familiar saying, a
proverb, a _bon mot_. These are largely used in the moral addresses
(Khútbah) made in the mosque or elsewhere, addresses which take on also
the form of rhymed prose. A famous collection of such sayings is
attributed to 'Ali, the fourth successor of Muhammad. In these the whole
power of the Arab for subtle distinctions in matters of wordly wisdom,
and the truly religious feeling of the East, are clearly manifested.

The propensity of the Arab mind for the tale and the anecdote has had a
wider influence in shaping the religious and legal development, of
Muhammadanism than would appear at first sight. The 'Qur'an' might well
suffice as a directive code for a small body of men whose daily life was
simple, and whose organization was of the crudest kind. But even
Muhammad in his own later days was called on to supplement the written
word by the spoken, to interpret such parts of his "book" as were
unintelligible, to reconcile conflicting statements, and to fit the
older legislation to changed circumstances. As the religious head of the
community, his dictum became law; and these _logia_ of the Prophet were
handed around and handed down as the unwritten law by which his
lieutenants were to be guided, in matters not only religious, but also
legal. For "law" to them was part and parcel of "religion." This
"hadith" grew apace, until, in the third century of the Híjrah, it was
put to writing. Nothing bears weight which has not the stamp of
Muhammad's authority, as reported by his near surroundings and his
friends. In such a mass of tradition, great care is taken to separate
the chaff from the wheat. The chain of tradition (Isnád) must be given
for each tradition, for each anecdote. But the "friends" of the Prophet
are said to have numbered seven thousand five hundred, and it has not
been easy to keep out fraud and deception. The subjects treated are most
varied, sometimes even trivial, but dealing usually with recondite
questions of law and morals. Three great collections of the 'Hadíth'
have been made: by al-Buchári (869), Múslim (874), and al-Tirmídhi
(892). The first two only are considered canonical. From these are
derived the three great systems of jurisprudence which to this day hold
good in the Muhammadan world.

The best presentation of the characteristics of Arabic poetry is by W.
Ahlwardt, 'Ueber Poesie und Poetik der Araber' (Gotha, 1856); of Arabic
metres, by G.W. Freytag, 'Darstellung der Arabischen Verkunst' (Bonn,
1830). Translations of Arabic poetry have been published by J.D.
Carlyle, 'Specimens of Arabic Poetry' (Cambridge, 1796); W.A. Clouston,
'Arabic Poetry' (Glasgow, 1881); C.J. Lyall, 'Translations of Ancient
Arabic Poetry' (London, 1885). The history of Arabic literature is given
in Th. Nöldeke's 'Beiträge zur Kenntniss der Poesie der Alten Araber'
(Hanover, 1864), and F.F. Arbuthnot's 'Arabic Authors' (London, 1890).

[Author's signature] Richard Gottheil


From the most celebrated of the 'Mu 'allakât,' that of Imr-al-Kais, 'The
Wandering King': Translation of C.J. Lyall.

     O friend, see the lightning there! it flickered and now is gone,
       as though flashed a pair of hands in the pillar of crowned cloud.
     Now, was it its blaze, or the lamps of a hermit that dwells alone,
       and pours o'er the twisted wicks the oil from his slender cruse?
     We sat there, my fellows and I, 'twixt Dárij and al-Udhaib,
       and gazed as the distance gloomed, and waited its oncoming.
     The right of its mighty rain advanced over Katan's ridge;
       the left of its trailing skirt swept Yadhbul and as-Sitar:
     Then over Kutaifah's steep the flood of its onset drave,
       and headlong before its storm the tall trees were borne to ground;
     And the drift of its waters passed o'er the crags of al-Kanân,
       and drave forth the white-legged deer from the refuge they
          sought therein.
     And Taimá--it left not there the stem of a palm aloft,
       nor ever a tower, save ours, firm built on the living rock.
     And when first its misty shroud bore down upon Mount Thabîr,
       he stood like an ancient man in a gray-streaked mantle wrapt.
     The clouds cast their burdens down on the broad plain of al-Ghabit,
       as a trader from al-Yaman unfolds from the bales his store;
     And the topmost crest, on the morrow, of al-Mujaimir's cairn,
       was heaped with the flood-borne wrack, like wool on a distaff wound.

       *       *       *       *       *


A lament for the desertion, through a war, of his former home and the
haunts of his tribe; Translation of C. J. Lyall.


     Are they of Umm Aufà's tents--these black lines that speak no word
       in the stony plain of al-Mutathellam and al-Darraj?
     Yea, and the place where his camp stood in ar-Rakmatan is now
       like the tracery drawn afresh by the veins of the inner wrist.
     The wild kine roam there large-eyed, and the deer pass to and fro,
       and their younglings rise up to suck from the spots where they
           all lie round.
     I stood there and gazed; since I saw it last twenty years had flown,
       and much I pondered thereon: hard was it to know again--
     The black stones in order laid in the place where the pot was set,
       and the trench like a cistern's root with its sides unbroken still.
     And when I knew it, at last, for his resting-place, I cried,
       "Good greeting to thee, O house! Fair peace in the morn to thee!"
     Look forth, O friend! canst thou see aught of ladies, camel-borne,
       that journey along the upland there, above Jurthum well?
     Their litters are hung with precious stuffs, and their veils thereon
       cast loosely, their borders rose, as though they were dyed in blood.
     Sideways they sat as their beasts clomb the ridge of as-Sûbân;
       in them were the sweetness and grace of one nourished in wealth
           and ease.
     They went on their way at dawn--they started before sunrise;
       straight did they make for the vale of ar-Rass, as hand for mouth.
     Dainty and playful their mood to one who should try its worth,
       and faces fair to an eye skilled to trace out loveliness.
     And the tassels of scarlet wool, in the spots where they gat them
       glowed red, like to '_ishrik_ seeds, fresh-fallen, unbroken, bright.
     And then they reached the wells where the deep-blue water lies,
       they cast down their staves, and set them to pitch the tents for
     On their right hand rose al-Kanân, and the rugged skirts thereof--
       (and in al-Kanân how many are foes and friends of mine!)
     At eve they left as-Sûbân; then they crossed the ridge again,
       borne on the fair-fashioned litters, all new and builded broad.

     [Certain cantos, to the sixth one, reproach the author of the
     treachery and quarrel that led to the war and migration. Then
     follows a series of maxims as to human life and conduct.]


     Aweary am I of life's toil and travail: he who like me
       has seen pass of years fourscore, well may he be sick of life!
     I know what To-day unfolds, what before it was Yesterday;
       but blind do I stand before the knowledge To-morrow brings.
     I have seen the Dooms trample men as a blind beast at random treads:
       whom they smote, he died; whom they missed, he lived on to
           strengthless eld.
     Who gathers not friends by help, in many cases of need
       is torn by the blind beast's teeth, or trodden beneath its foot.
     And he who his honor shields by the doing of a kindly deed
       grows richer; who shuts not the mouth of reviling, it lights on him.
     And he who is lord of wealth and niggardly with his hoard,
       alone is he left by his kin; naught have they for him but blame.
     Who keeps faith, no blame he earns, and that man whose heart is led
       to goodness unmixed with guile gains freedom and peace of soul.
     Who trembles before the Dooms, yea, him shall they surely seize,
       albeit he set a ladder to climb the sky.
     Who spends on unworthy men his kindness with lavish hand;
       no praise doth he earn, but blame, and repentance the seed thereof.
     Who will not yield to the spears, when their feet turn to him in
       shall yield to the points thereof, and the long flashing blades of
     Who holds not his foe away from his cistern with sword and spear,
       it is broken and spoiled; who uses not roughness, him shall men
     Who seeks far away from kin for housing, takes foe for friend;
       who honors himself not well, no honor gains he from men.
     Who makes of his soul a beast of burden to bear men's loads,
       nor shields it one day from shame, yea, sorrow shall be his lot.
     Whatso be the shaping of mind that a man is born withal,
       though he think it lies hid from men, it shall surely one day be
     How many a man seemed goodly to thee while he held his peace,
       whereof thou didst learn the more or less when he turned to speech.
     The tongue is a man's one-half, the other, the heart within;
       besides these two naught is left but a semblance of flesh and blood.
     If a man be old and a fool, his folly is past all cure;
       but a young man may yet grow wise and cast off his foolishness.


     We asked, and ye gave; we asked again, and ye gave again:
       but the end of much asking must be that no giving shall follow it.


A rebuke to a mischief-maker: Translation of C. J. Lyall

     The craft of thy busy tongue has sundered from home and kin
       the cousins of both thy houses, 'Amr, 'Auf, and Mâlik's son.
     For thou to thy dearest art a wind of the bitter north,
       that sweeps from the Syrian hills, and wrinkles our cheeks and
     But balmy art thou and mild to strangers, a gracious breeze
       that brings from the gulf shore showers and fills with its rain our
     And this, of a truth, I know--no fancy it is of mine:
       who holds mean his kith and kin, the meanest of men is he!
     And surely a foolish tongue, when rules not its idle prate
       discretion, but shows men where thou dwellest with none to guard.


A lament for the afflictions of his tribe, the 'Âmir. From the 'Diwan':
Translation of C.J. Lyall.

     Yea, the righteous shall keep the way of the righteous,
       and to God turn the steps of all that abideth;
     And to God ye return, too; with Him, only,
       rest the issues of things--and all that they gather.
     All that is in the Book of Knowledge is reckoned,
       and before Him revealed lies all that is hidden:
     Both the day when His gifts of goodness on those whom
       He exalts are as palms full freighted with sweetness,
     (Young, burdened with fruit, their heads bowed with clusters,
       swelled to bursting, the tallest e'en as the lesser,)
     And the day when avails the sin-spotted only
       prayer for pardon and grace to lead him to mercy,
     And the good deed he wrought to witness before him,
       and the pity of Him who is Compassion:
     Yea, a place in his shade, the best to abide in,
       and a heart still and steadfast, right weening, honest.
     Is there aught good in life? Yea, I have seen it,
       even I, if the seeing bring aught of profit.
     Long has Life been to me; and this is its burthen:
       lone against time abide Ti'âr and Yaramram,
     And Kulâf and Badî' the mighty, and Dalfa',
       yea, and Timâr, that towers aloft over Kubbah[1];
     And the Stars, marching all night in procession,
       drooping westwards, as each hies forth to his setting:
     Sure and steadfast their course: the underworld draws them
       gently downwards, as maidens encircling the Pillar;
     And we know not, whenas their lustre is vanished,
       whether long be the ropes that bind them, or little.
     Lone is 'Âmir, and naught is left of her goodness,
       in the meadows of al-A'râf, but her dwellings--
     Ruined shadows of tents and penfolds and shelters,
       bough from bough rent, and spoiled by wind and by weather.
     Gone is 'Âmir, her ancients gone, all the wisest:
       none remain but a folk whose war-mares are fillies,
     Yet they slay them in every breach in our rampart--
       yea, and they that bestride them, true-hearted helpers,
     They contemn not their kin when change comes upon them,
       Nor do we scorn the ties of blood and of succor.
     --Now on 'Âmir be peace, and praises, and blessing,
       wherever be on earth her way--or her halting!

[Footnote 1: The five names foregoing are those of mountains.]

          A FAIR LADY

From the 'Mu 'allakât of Antara': Translation of E.H. Palmer

     'Twas then her beauties first enslaved my heart--
     Those glittering pearls and ruby lips, whose kiss
     Was sweeter far than honey to the taste.
     As when the merchant opes a precious box
     Of perfume, such an odor from her breath
     Comes toward me, harbinger of her approach;
     Or like an untouched meadow, where the rain
     Hath fallen freshly on the fragrant herbs
     That carpet all its pure untrodden soil:
     A meadow where the fragrant rain-drops fall
     Like coins of silver in the quiet pools,
     And irrigate it with perpetual streams;
     A meadow where the sportive insects hum,
     Like listless topers singing o'er their cups,
     And ply their forelegs, like a man who tries
     With maimèd hand to use the flint and steel.



From the original poem of Duraid, son of as-Simmah, of Jusharn:
Translation of C.J. Lyall.

     I warned them both, 'Ârid, and the men who went 'Ârid's way--
       the house of the Black Mother: yea, ye are all my witnesses,
     I said to them: "Think--even now, two thousand are on your track,
       all laden with sword and spear, their captains in Persian mail!"
     But when they would hearken not, I followed their road, though I
       knew well they were fools, and that I walked not in Wisdom's way.
     For am not I but one of the Ghazîyah? and if they err
       I err with my house; and if the Ghazîyah go right, so I.
     I read them my rede, one day, at Mun'araj al-Liwa:
       the morrow, at noon, they saw my counsel as I had seen.
     A shout rose, and voices cried, "The horsemen have slain a knight!"
       I said, "Is it 'Abdallâh, the man whom you say is slain?"
     I sprang to his side: the spears had riddled his body through
       as a weaver on outstretched web deftly plies the sharp-toothed comb.
     I stood as a camel stands with fear in her heart, and seeks
       the stuffed skin with eager mouth, and thinks--is her youngling
     I plied spear above him till the riders had left their prey,
       and over myself black blood flowed in a dusky tide.
     I fought as a man who gives his life for his brother's life,
       who knows that his time is short, that Death's doom above him hangs.
     But know ye, if 'Abdallâh be dead, and his place a void,
       no weakling unsure of hand, and no holder-back was he!
     Alert, keen, his loins well girt, his leg to the middle bare,
       unblemished and clean of limb, a climber to all things high;
     No wailer before ill-luck; one mindful in all he did
       to think how his work to-day would live in to-morrow's tale,
     Content to bear hunger's pain though meat lay beneath his hand--
       to labor in ragged shirt that those whom he served might rest.
     If Dearth laid her hand on him, and Famine devoured his store,
       he gave but the gladlier what little to him they spared.
     He dealt as a youth with Youth, until, when his head grew hoar,
       and age gathered o'er his brow, to lightness he said, "Begone!"
     Yea, somewhat it soothes my soul that never I said to him
       "thou liest," nor grudged him aught of mine that he sought of me!


A picture of womanhood, from the 'Mufaddaliyât': Translation of C.J.

     Alas, Umm 'Amr set her face to depart and went:
       gone is she, and when she sped, she left with us no farewell.
     Her purpose was quickly shaped--no warning gave she to friends,
       though there she had dwelt, hard-by, her camels all day with ours.
     Yea, thus in our eyes she dwelt, from morning to noon and eve--
       she brought to an end her tale, and fleeted and left us lone.
     So gone is Umaimah, gone! and leaves here a heart in pain:
       my life was to yearn for her; and now its delight is fled.
     She won me, whenas, shamefaced--no maid to let fall her veil,
       no wanton to glance behind--she walked forth with steady tread;
     Her eyes seek the ground, as though they looked for a thing lost
       she turns not to left or right--her answer is brief and low.
     She rises before day dawns to carry her supper forth
       to wives who have need--dear alms, when such gifts are few enow!
     Afar from the voice of blame, her tent stands for all to see,
       when many a woman's tent is pitched in the place of scorn.
     No gossip to bring him shame from her does her husband dread--
       when mention is made of women, pure and unstained is she.
     The day done, at eve glad comes he home to his eyes' delight:
       he needs not to ask of her, "Say, where didst thou pass the day?"--
     And slender is she where meet, and full where it so beseems,
       and tall and straight, a fairy shape, if such on earth there be.
     And nightlong as we sat there, methought that the tent was roofed
       above with basil-sprays, all fragrant in dewy eve--
     Sweet basil, from Halyah dale, its branches abloom and fresh,
       that fills all the place with balm--no starveling of desert sands.


From 'Umar ibn Rabí'a's 'Love Poems': Translation of W. Gifford Palgrave

     Ah, for the throes of a heart sorely wounded!
     Ah, for the eyes that have smit me with madness!
     Gently she moved in the calmness of beauty,
     Moved as the bough to the light breeze of morning.
     Dazzled my eyes as they gazed, till before me
     All was a mist and confusion of figures.
     Ne'er had I sought her, ne'er had she sought me;
     Fated the love, and the hour, and the meeting.
     There I beheld her as she and her damsels
     Paced 'twixt the temple and outer inclosure;
     Damsels the fairest, the loveliest, gentlest,
     Passing like slow-wandering heifers at evening;
     Ever surrounding with comely observance
     Her whom they honor, the peerless of women.
     "Omar is near: let us mar his devotions,
     Cross on his path that he needs must observe us;
     Give him a signal, my sister, demurely."
     "Signals I gave, but he marked not or heeded,"
     Answered the damsel, and hasted to meet me.
     Ah, for that night by the vale of the sandhills!
     Ah, for the dawn when in silence we parted!
     He whom the morn may awake to her kisses
     Drinks from the cup of the blessed in heaven.


From 'Umar ibn Rabí'a's 'Love Poems': Translation of W. Gifford Palgrave

     In the valley of Mohassib I beheld her where she stood:
     Caution bade me turn aside, but love forbade and fixed me there.
     Was it sunlight? or the windows of a gleaming mosque at eve,
     Lighted up for festal worship? or was all my fancy's dream?
     Ah, those earrings! ah, that necklace! Naufel's daughter sure the
     Or of Hashim's princely lineage, and the Servant of the Sun!
     But a moment flashed the splendor, as the o'er-hasty handmaids drew
     Round her with a jealous hand the jealous curtains of the tent.
     Speech nor greeting passed between us; but she saw me, and I saw
     Face the loveliest of all faces, hands the fairest of all hands.
     Daughter of a better earth, and nurtured by a brighter sky;
     Would I ne'er had seen thy beauty! Hope is fled, but love remains.


A eulogy of the valor and culture of the men of Ghassân, written in time
of the poet's political exile from them: Translation of C. J. Lyall.

     Leave me alone, O Umaimah--alone with my sleepless pain--
       alone with the livelong night and the wearily lingering stars;
     It draws on its length of gloom; methinks it will never end,
       nor ever the Star-herd lead his flock to their folds of rest;--
     Alone with a breast whose griefs, that roamed far afield by day,
       the darkness has brought all home: in legions they throng around.
     A favor I have with 'Amr, a favor his father bore
       toward me of old; a grace that carried no scorpion sting.
     I swear (and my word is true--an oath that hath no reserve,
       and naught in my heart is hid save fair thought of him, my friend)--
     If these twain his fathers were, who lie in their graves; the one
       al-Jillik, the others al-Saidâ, by Hârib's side,
     And Hârith, of Jafnah's line, the lord of his folk of old--
       yea, surely his might shall reach the home of his enemy!
     In him hope is sure of help when men say--"The host is sped,
       the horsemen of Ghassân's line unblemished, no hireling herd,
     His cousins, all near of kin, their chief 'Amr, 'Âmir's son--
       a people are they whose might in battle shall never fail!"
     When goes forth the host to war, above them in circles wheel
       battalions of eagles, pointing the path to battalions more;
     Their friendship is old and tried, fast comrades, in foray bred
       to look unafraid on blood, as hounds to the chase well trained.
     Behold them, how they sit there, behind where their armies meet,
       watching with eyes askance, like elders in gray furs wrapt,
     Intent; for they know full well that those whom they follow, when
       the clash of the hosts shall come, will bear off the victory.
     Ay, well is that custom known, a usage that time has proved
       when lances are laid in rest on withers of steeds arow--
     Of steeds in the spear-play skilled, with lips for the fight drawn
       their bodies with wounds all scarred, some bleeding and some
     And down leap the riders where the battle is strait and stern,
       and spring in the face of Death like stallions amid the herd;
     Between them they give and take deep draughts of the wine of doom
       as their hands ply the white swords, thin and keen in the
     In shards fall the morions burst by the fury of blow on blow,
       and down to the eyebrows, cleft, fly shattered the skulls beneath.
     In them no defect is found, save only that in their swords
       are notches, a many, gained from smiting of host on host:
     An heirloom of old, those blades, from the fight of Halîmah's day,
       and many the mellay fierce that since has their temper proved;
     Therewith do they cleave in twain the hauberk of double woof,
       and kindle the rock beneath to fire, ere the stroke is done.
     A nature is theirs--God gives the like to no other men--
       a wisdom that never sleeps, a bounty that never fails.
     Their home is God's own land, His chosen of old; their faith
       is steadfast. Their hope is set on naught but the world to come.
     Their sandals are soft and fine, and girded with chastity,
       they welcome with garlands sweet the dawn of the Feast of Palms.
     There greets them when they come home full many a handmaid fine,
       and ready, on trestles, hang the mantles of scarlet silk.
     Yea, softly they wrap their limbs, well-knowing of wealth and ease,
       in rich raiment, white-sleeved, green at the shoulder--in royal
     They look not on Weal as men who know not that Woe comes, too:
       they look not on evil days as though they would never mend.

     _Lo, this was my gift to Ghassân, what time I sought
     My people; and all my paths were darkened, and strait my ways_.


The poem characterizes the separation of a wife and mother--a slave--from
her family: Translation of C.J. Lyall.

     They said last night--To-morrow at first of dawning,
       or maybe at eventide, must Laila go!--
     My heart at the word lay helpless, as lies a Kat[=a]
       in net night-long, and struggles with fast-bound wing.
     Two nestlings she left alone, in a nest far distant,
       a nest which the winds smite, tossing it to and fro.
     They hear but the whistling breeze, and stretch necks to greet her;
       but she they await--the end of her days is come!
     So lies she, and neither gains in the night her longing,
       nor brings her the morning any release from pain.


By al-Find, of the Zimman Tribe: Translation of C.J. Lyall

     Forgiveness had we for Hind's sons:
       We said, "The men our brothers are;
     The days may bring that yet again
       They be the folk that once they were."

     But when the Ill stood clear and plain,
       And naked Wrong was bold to brave,
     And naught was left but bitter Hate--
       We paid them in the coin they gave.

     We strode as stalks a lion forth
       At dawn, a lion wrathful-eyed;
     Blows rained we, dealing shame on shame,
       And humbling pomp and quelling pride.

     Too kind a man may be with fools,
       And nerve them but to flout him more;
     And Mischief oft may bring thee peace,
       When Mildness works not Folly's cure.


From Ibrahîm, Son of Kunaif of Nabhan: Translation of C.J. Lyall

     Be patient: for free-born men to bear is the fairest thing,
     And refuge against Time's wrong or help from his hurt is none;
     And if it availed man aught to bow him to fluttering Fear,
     Or if he could ward off hurt by humbling himself to Ill,
     To bear with a valiant front the full brunt of every stroke
     And onset of Fate were still the fairest and best of things.
     But how much the more, when none outruns by a span his Doom,
     And refuge from God's decree nor was nor will ever be,
     And sooth, if the changing Days have wrought us--their wonted way--
     A lot mixed of weal and woe, yet one thing they could not do:
     They have not made soft or weak the stock of our sturdy spear;
     They have not abased our hearts to doing of deeds of shame.
     We offer to bear their weight, a handful of noble souls:
     Though laden beyond all weight of man, they uplift the load.
     So shield we with Patience fair our souls from the stroke of Shame;
     Our honors are whole and sound, though others be lean enow.

          ABU SAKHR

On a lost love. From the 'Hamásah': Translation of C.J. Lyall

     By him who brings weeping and laughter
          who deals Death and Life as He wills--
     she left me to envy the wild deer
          that graze twain and twain without fear!
     Oh, love of her, heighten my heart's pain,
          and strengthen the pang every night;
     oh, comfort that days bring, forgetting
         --the last of all days be thy tryst!
     I marveled how swiftly the time sped
         between us, the moment we met;
     but when that brief moment was ended
         how wearily dragged he his feet!


By Abu l-'Ata of Sind. From the 'Hamásah': Translation of C.J. Lyall

     Of thee did I dream, while spears between us were quivering--
     and sooth, of our blood full deep had drunken the tawny shafts!
     I know not--by Heaven I swear, and here is the word I say!--
     this pang, is it love-sickness, or wrought by a spell from thee?
     If it be a spell, then grant me grace of thy love-longing--
     if other the sickness be, then none is the guilt of thine!

          A FORAY

By Ja'far ibn 'Ulbah. From the 'Hamásah': Translation of C.J. Lyall

     That even when, under Sábhal's twin peaks, upon us drave
     the horsemen, troop upon troop, and the foeman pressed us sore--
     They said to us, "Two things lie before you; now must ye choose
     the points of the spears couched at ye; or if ye will not, chains!"
     We answered them, "Yea this thing may fall to _you_ after the fight,
     when men shall be left on ground, and none shall arise again;
     But we know not, if we quail before the assault of Death,
     how much may be left of life--the goal is too dim to see."
     We rode to the strait of battle; there cleared us a space, around
     the white swords in our right hands which the smiths had furbished
     On them fell the edge of my blade, on that day of Sabhal date;
     And mine was the share thereof, wherever my fingers closed.


By Katari, ibn al-Fujâ'ah, ibn Ma'zin. From the 'Hamásah': Translation of
C.J. Lyall.

     I said to her, when she fled in amaze and breathless
       before the array of battle, "Why dost thou tremble?
     Yea, if but a day of Life thou shouldst beg with weeping,
       beyond what thy Doom appoints, thou wouldst not gain it!
     Be still, then; and face the onset of Death, high-hearted,
       for none upon earth shall win to abide forever.
     No raiment of praise the cloak of old age and weakness;
       none such for the coward who bows like a reed in the tempest.
     The pathway of death is set for all men to travel.
       the crier of Death proclaims through the earth his empire.
     Who dies not when young and sound, dies old and weary--
       cut off in his length of days from all love and kindness;
     And what for a man is left of delight of living,--
       past use--flung away--a worthless and worn-out chattel?"


By al-Fadl, ibn al-Abbas, ibn Utbah. From the 'Hamásah': Translation of
C.J. Lyall.

     Sons of our uncle, peace! Cousins of ours, be still!
       drag not to light from its grave the strife that we buried there.
     Hope not for honor from us, while ye heap upon us shame,
       or think that we shall forbear from vexing when ye vex us.
     Sons of our uncle, peace! lay not our rancor raw;
       walk now gently awhile, as once ye were wont to go.
     Ay, God knows that we, we love you not, in sooth!
       and that we blame ye not that ye have no love for us.
     Each of us has his ground for the loathing his fellow moves:
       a grace it is from the Lord that we hate ye--ye us!


A poem by Hittân ibn al-Mu'allà of Tayyi. From the 'Hamásah': Translation
of C.J. Lyall.

     Fortune has brought me down--her wonted way--
       from stature high and great, to low estate;
     Fortune has rent away my plenteous store;
       of all my wealth, honor alone is left.
     Fortune has turned my joy to tears--how oft
       did Fortune make me laugh with what she gave!
     But for these girls, the _katá's_ downy brood,
       unkindly thrust from door to door as hard--
     Far would I roam, and wide, to seek my bread,
       in earth, that has no lack of breadth and length.
     Nay, but our children in our midst, what else
       but our hearts are they, walking on the ground?
     If but the breeze blow harsh on one of them,
       mine eye says "no" to slumber, all night long!


Poem by Sa'd, son of Malik, of the Kais Tribe: Translation of C. J. Lyall

     How evil a thing is war, that bows men to shameful rest!
     War burns away in her blaze all glory and boasting of men:
     Naught stands but the valiant heart to face pain--the hard-hoofed
     The ring-mail set close and firm, the nail-crowned helms and the
     And onset, again after rout, when men shrink from the serried array--
     Then, then, fall away all the vile, the hirelings! and shame is
     War girds up her skirts before them, and evil unmixed is bare.
     For their hearts were for maidens veiled, not for driving the gathered
     Yea, evil the heirs we leave, sons of Yakshar and al-Laksh!

     But let flee her fires who will, no flinching for me, son of Kais!
     O children of Kais! stand firm before her! gain peace or give!
     Who seeks flight before her fear, his Doom stands and bars the road.
     Away! Death allows no quitting of place, and brands are bare!
     What is life for us, when the uplands and valleys are ours no more?
     Ah, where are the mighty now? the spears and generous hands?


     Translation of George Sale


In the name of the most merciful GOD. Praise be unto GOD, the creator of
heaven and earth; who maketh the angels _his_ messengers, furnished with
two, and three, and four _pair_ of wings: GOD maketh what addition he
pleaseth unto _his_ creatures; for GOD _is_ almighty. The mercy which
GOD shall freely bestow on mankind, _there is_ none who can withhold;
and what he shall withhold, _there is_ none who can bestow, besides him:
and he _is_ the mighty, the wise. O men, remember the favor of GOD
towards you: is there any creator, besides GOD, who provideth food for
you from heaven and earth? _There is_ no GOD but he: how therefore are
ye turned aside _from acknowledging his unity?_ If they accuse thee of
imposture, apostles before thee have also been accused of imposture; and
unto GOD shall _all_ things return. O men, verily the promise of GOD is
true: let not therefore the present life deceive you, neither let the
deceiver deceive you concerning GOD: for Satan _is_ an enemy unto you;
wherefore hold him for an enemy: he only inviteth his confederates to
be the inhabitants of hell. For those who believe not _there is
prepared_ a severe torment: but for those who shall believe and do that
which is right, _is prepared_ mercy and a great reward. Shall he
therefore for whom his evil work hath been prepared, and who imagineth
it to be good, _be as he who is rightly disposed, and discerneth the
truth_? Verily GOD will cause to err whom he pleaseth, and will direct
whom he pleaseth. Let not thy soul therefore be spent in sighs for their
sakes, _on account of their obstinacy_; for GOD well knoweth that which
they do. _It is God_ who sendeth the winds, and raiseth a cloud: and we
drive the same unto a dead country, and thereby quicken the earth after
it hath been dead; so _shall_ the resurrection _be_. Whoever desireth
excellence; unto GOD _doth_ all excellence _belong_: unto him ascendeth
the good speech; and the righteous work will he exalt. But as for them
who devise wicked _plots_, they shall suffer a severe punishment; and
the device of those _men_ shall be rendered vain. GOD created you
_first_ of the dust, and afterwards of seed: and he hath made you man
and wife. No female conceiveth, or bringeth forth, but with his
knowledge. Nor is any thing added unto the age of him whose life is
prolonged, neither is any thing diminished from his age, but _the same
is written_ in the book _of God's decrees_. Verily this is easy with
GOD. The two seas are not to be held in comparison: this _is_ fresh
_and_ sweet, pleasant to drink; but that _is_ salt _and_ bitter: yet out
of each of them ye eat fish, and take ornaments for you to wear. Thou
seest the ships also ploughing _the waves_ thereof, that ye may seek _to
enrich yourselves by commerce_, of the abundance _of God_: peradventure
ye will be thankful. He causeth the night to succeed the day, and he
causeth the day to succeed the night; and he obligeth the sun and the
moon to perform their services: each _of them_ runneth an appointed
course. This is GOD, your LORD: his _is_ the kingdom. But the _idols_
which ye invoke besides him have not the power even over the skin of a
date-stone: if ye invoke them, they will not hear your calling; and
although they should hear, yet they would not answer you. On the day of
resurrection they shall disclaim your having associated _them with God_:
and none shall declare unto thee _the truth_, like one who is well
acquainted _therewith_. O men, ye have need of GOD; but GOD is
self-sufficient, and to be praised. If he pleaseth, he can take you
away, and produce a new creature _in your stead_: neither _will_ this
_be_ difficult with GOD. A burdened _soul_ shall not bear the burden of
another: and if a heavy-burdened _soul_ call _on another_ to bear part
of its _burden_, no part thereof shall be borne _by the person who shall
be called on_, although he be _ever so nearly_ related. Thou shalt
admonish those who fear their LORD in secret, and are constant at
prayer: and whoever cleanseth himself _from the guilt of disobedience_,
cleanseth himself to _the advantage_ of his own soul; for all shall be
assembled before GOD _at the last day_. The blind and the seeing shall
not be held equal; neither darkness and light; nor the cool shade and
the scorching wind: neither shall the living and the dead be held equal.
GOD shall cause him to hear whom he pleaseth: but thou shalt not make
those to hear who are in _their_ graves. Thou _art_ no other than a
preacher; verily we have sent thee with truth, a bearer of good tidings,
and a denouncer of threats.

_There hath been_ no nation, but a preacher hath in past times been
_conversant_ among them: if they charge thee with imposture, they who
were before them likewise charged _their apostles_ with imposture. Their
apostles came unto them with evident _miracles_, and with _divine_
writings, and with the Enlightening Book: afterwards I chastised those
who were unbelievers; and how _severe_ was my vengeance! Dost thou not
see that GOD sendeth down rain from heaven, and that we thereby produce
fruits of various colors? In the mountains also _there are_ some tracts
white and red, of various colors; and _others are_ of a deep black: and
of men, and beasts, and cattle _there are_ whose colors _are_ in like
manner various. Such only of his servants fear GOD as are endued with
understanding: verily GOD _is_ mighty _and_ ready to forgive. Verily
they who read the book of GOD, and are constant at prayer, and give alms
out of what we have bestowed on them, _both_ in secret and openly, hope
for a merchandise which shall not perish: that _God_ may fully pay them
their wages, and make them a _superabundant_ addition of his liberality;
for he _is_ ready to forgive _the faults of his servants, and_ to
requite _their endeavors_. That which we have revealed unto thee of the
book _of the Korân_ is the truth, confirming the _scriptures_ which
_were revealed_ before it: for GOD knoweth _and_ regardeth his servants.
And we have given the book _of the Korân_ in heritage unto such of our
servants as we have chosen: of them _there is one_ who injureth his own
soul; and _there is another_ of them who keepeth the middle way; and
_there is another_ of them who outstrippeth _others_ in good _works_, by
the permission of GOD. This is the great excellence. They shall be
introduced into gardens of perpetual abode; they shall be adorned
therein with bracelets of gold, and pearls, and their clothing therein
_shall be_ of silk: and they shall say, Praise be unto GOD, who hath
taken away sorrow from us! verily our LORD _is_ ready to forgive _the
sinners_, and to reward _the obedient_: who hath caused us to take up
our rest in a dwelling of _eternal_ stability, through his bounty,
wherein no labor shall touch us, neither shall any weariness affect us.
But for the unbelievers _is prepared_ the fire of hell: it shall not be
decreed them to die _a second time_; neither shall _any part_ of the
punishment thereof be made lighter unto them. Thus shall every infidel
be rewarded. And they shall cry out aloud in _hell, saying,_ LORD, take
us hence, and we will work righteousness, and not what we have
_formerly_ wrought. _But it shall be answered them_, Did we not grant
you lives of length sufficient, that whoever would be warned might be
warned therein; and did not the preacher come unto you? Taste therefore
_the pains of hell_. And the unjust shall have no protector. Verily GOD
knoweth the secrets _both_ of heaven and earth, for he knoweth the
innermost parts of the breasts _of men_. It is he who hath made you to
succeed in the earth. Whoever shall disbelieve, on him _be_ his
unbelief; and their unbelief shall only gain the unbelievers greater
indignation in the sight of their LORD; and their unbelief shall only
increase the perdition of the unbelievers. Say, what think ye of your
deities which ye invoke besides GOD? Show me what _part_ of the earth
they have created. Or had they any share in _the creation of_ the
heavens? Have we given unto _the idolaters_ any book _of revelations_,
so that they _may rely_ on any proof therefrom _to authorize their
practice?_ Nay; but the ungodly make unto one another only deceitful
promises. Verily GOD sustaineth the heavens and the earth, lest they
fail: and if they should fail, none could support the same besides him;
he is gracious _and_ merciful. _The Koreish_ swore by GOD, with a most
solemn oath, that if a preacher had come unto them, they would surely
have been more _willingly_ directed than any nation: but now a preacher
is come unto them, it hath only increased in them _their_ aversion _from
the truth, their_ arrogance in the earth, and _their_ contriving of
evil; but the contrivance of evil shall only encompass the authors
thereof. Do they expect any other than the punishment awarded against
the _unbelievers_ of former times? For thou shalt not find any change in
the ordinance of GOD; neither shalt thou find any variation in the
ordinance of GOD. Have they not gone through the earth, and seen what
hath been the end of those who were before them; although they were more
mighty in strength than they? GOD is not to be frustrated by anything
either in heaven or on earth; for he is wise _and_ powerful. If GOD
should punish men according to what they deserve, he would not leave on
the back of _the earth_ so much as a beast; but he respiteth them to a
determined time; and when their time shall come, verily GOD will regard
his servants.


In the name of the most merciful GOD. The Merciful hath taught _his
servant_ the Korân. He created man: he hath taught him distinct speech.
The sun and the moon _run their courses_ according to a certain rule:
and the vegetables which creep on the ground, and the trees submit _to
his disposition_. He also raised the heaven; and he appointed the
balance, that ye should not transgress in respect to the balance:
wherefore observe a just weight; and diminish not the balance. And the
earth hath he prepared for living creatures: therein _are various_
fruits, and palm-trees bearing sheaths of flowers; and grain having
chaff, and leaves. Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye
ungratefully deny? He created man of dried clay like an earthen vessel:
but he created the genii of fire clear from smoke. Which, therefore, of
your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? _He is_ the LORD of the
east, and the LORD of the west. Which, therefore, of your LORD'S
benefits will ye ungratefully deny? He hath let loose the two seas, that
they meet each another: between them _is placed_ a bar which they cannot
pass. Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully
deny? From them are taken forth unions and lesser pearls. Which,
therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? His also
_are_ the ships, carrying their sails aloft in the sea like mountains.
Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny?
Every _creature_ which _liveth_ on _the earth is_ subject to decay: but
the glorious and honorable countenance of thy LORD shall remain _for
ever_. Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully
deny? Unto him do all _creatures_ which _are_ in heaven and earth make
petition; every day _is_ he _employed_ in _some new_ work. Which,
therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? We will
surely attend to _judge_ you, O men and genii, _at the last day_. Which,
therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? O ye
collective body of genii and men, if ye be able to pass out of the
confines of heaven and earth, pass forth: ye shall not pass forth but by
absolute power. Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye
ungratefully deny? A flame of fire without smoke, and a smoke without
flame shall be sent down upon you; and ye shall not be able to defend
yourselves _therefrom_. Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will
ye ungratefully deny? And when the heaven shall be rent in sunder, and
shall become _red as_ a rose, _and shall melt_ like ointment: (Which,
therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny?) On that
day neither man nor genius shall be asked concerning his sin. Which,
therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? The wicked
shall be known by their marks; and they shall be taken by the forelocks,
and the feet, _and shall be cast into hell_. Which, therefore, of your
LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? This _is_ hell which the
wicked deny as a falsehood: they shall pass to and fro between the same
and hot boiling water. Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye
ungratefully deny? But for him who dreadeth the tribunal of his LORD
_are prepared_ two gardens: (Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits
will ye ungratefully deny?) In each of them _shall be_ two fountains
flowing. Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully
deny? In each of them _shall there be_ of every fruit two kinds. Which,
therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? They shall
repose on couches, the linings whereof _shall be_ of thick silk
interwoven with gold; and the fruit of the two gardens _shall be_ near
at hand _to gather_. Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye
ungratefully deny? Therein _shall receive them beauteous damsels_,
refraining their eyes _from beholding any besides their spouses_: whom
no man shall have deflowered before them, neither any Jinn: (Which,
therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny?) _Having
complexions_ like rubies and pearls. Which, therefore, of your LORD'S
benefits will ye ungratefully deny? _Shall_ the reward of good works
_be_ any other good? Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye
ungratefully deny? And besides these there _shall be_ two _other_
gardens: (Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye
ungratefully deny?) Of a dark green. Which, therefore, of your LORD'S
benefits will ye ungratefully deny? In each of them _shall be_ two
fountains pouring forth plenty of water. Which, therefore, of your
LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? In each of them _shall be_
fruits, and palm-trees, and pomegranates. Which, therefore, of your
LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? Therein _shall be_ agreeable
and beauteous _damsels_: Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will
ye ungratefully deny? Whom no man shall have deflowered before _their
destined spouses_, nor any Jinn. Which, therefore, of your LORD'S
benefits will ye ungratefully deny? _Therein shall they delight
themselves_, lying on green cushions and beautiful carpets. Which,
therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? Blessed be
the name of thy LORD, possessed of glory and honor!


In the name of the most merciful GOD. When the heaven shall be rent in
sunder, and shall obey its LORD, and shall be capable _thereof_; and
when the earth shall be stretched out, and shall cast forth that which
_is_ therein, and shall remain empty, and shall obey its LORD, and shall
be capable _thereof_: O man, verily laboring thou laborest to _meet_ thy
LORD, and thou shalt meet him. And he who shall have his book given into
his right hand shall be called to an easy account, and shall turn unto
his family with joy: but he who shall have his book given him behind his
back shall invoke destruction _to fall upon him_, and he shall be sent
into hell to be burned; because he rejoiced insolently amidst his family
_on earth_. Verily he thought he should never return _unto God_: yea
verily, but his LORD beheld him. Wherefore I swear by the redness of the
sky after sunset, and by the night, and the _animals_ which it driveth
together, and by the moon when she is in the full; ye shall surely be
transferred _successively_ from state to state. What _aileth_ them,
therefore, that they believe not _the resurrection_; and that, when the
Korân is read unto them, they worship not? Yea: the unbelievers accuse
_the same_ of imposture: but GOD well knoweth the _malice_ which they
keep hidden _in their breasts_. Wherefore denounce unto them a grievous
punishment, except those who believe and do good works: for them _is
prepared_ a never-failing reward.


From the 'Makamat' of al-Hariri of Basra: Translation of Theodore Preston

     We praise thee, O God,
       For whatever perspicuity of language thou hast taught us,
       And whatever eloquence thou hast inspired us with,
             As we praise thee
         For the bounty which thou hast diffused,
     And the mercy which thou hast spread abroad:
           And we pray thee to guard us
     From extravagant expressions and frivolous superfluities
           As we pray Thee to guard us
     From the shame of incapacity and the disgrace of hesitation:
       And we entreat thee to exempt us from temptation
     By the flattery of the admirer or connivance of the indulgent,
       As we entreat thee to exempt us from exposure
     To the slight of the detractor or aspersion of the defamer:
           And we ask thy forgiveness
     Should our frailties betray us into ambiguities,
           As we ask thy forgiveness
     Should our steps advance to the verge of improprieties:
         And we beg thee freely to bestow
         Propitious succor to lead us aright,
         And a heart turning in unison with truth,
         And a language adorned with veracity,
         And style supported by conclusiveness,
       And accuracy that may exclude incorrectness,
       And firmness of purpose that may overcome caprice,
       And sagacity whereby we may attain discrimination;
     That thou wilt aid us by thy guidance unto right conceptions,
     And enable us with thy help to express them with clearness,
       And thou wilt guard us from error in narration,
         And keep us from folly even in pleasantry,
     So that we may be safe from the censure of sarcastic tongues,
       And secure from the fatal effects of false ornament,
         And may not resort to any improper source,
       And occupy no position that would entail regret,
       Nor be assailed by any ill consequences or blame,
       Nor be constrained to apology for inconsideration.
           O God, fulfill for us this our desire,
       And put us in possession of this our earnest wish,
       And exclude us not from thy ample shade,
       Nor leave us to become the prey of the devourer:
         For we stretch to thee the hand of entreaty,
     And profess entire submission to thee, and contrition of spirit,
     And seek with humble supplication and appliances of hope
     The descent of thy vast grace and comprehensive bounty.


From the 'Makamat' of al-Hariri of Barra: Translation of Theodore Preston

     On a night whose aspect displayed both light and shade,
     And whose moon was like a magic circlet of silver,
     I was engaged in evening conversation at Koufa
     With companions who had been nourished on the milk of eloquence,
       So the charms of conversation fascinated us,
       While wakefulness still prevailed among us,
       Until the moon had at length disappeared in the West.
       But when the gloom of night had thus drawn its curtain,
       And nothing but slumber remained abroad,
       We heard from the door the low call of a benighted traveler,
       And then followed the knock of one seeking admission;
       And we answered, "Who comes here this darksome night?"
       And the stranger replied:--

          "Listen ye who here are dwelling!
            May you so be kept from ill!
          So may mischief ne'er befall you,
            Long as life your breast shall fill!
          Gloom of dismal night and dreary
            Drives a wretch to seek your door,
          Whose disheveled hoary tresses
            All with dust are sprinkled o'er;
          Who, though destitute and lonely,
            Far has roamed on hill and dale,
          Till his form became thus crooked,
            And his cheek thus deadly pale;
          Who, though faint as slender crescent,
            Ventures here for aid to sue,
          Hospitable meal and shelter
            Claiming first of all from you.
          Welcome then to food and dwelling
            One so worthy both to share,
          Sure to prove content and thankful,
            Sure to laud your friendly care."

     Fascinated then by the sweetness of his language and delivery,
     And readily inferring what this prelude betokened,
     We hasted to open the door, and received him with welcome,
     Saying to the servant, "Hie! Hie! Bring whatever is ready!"
     But the stranger said, "By Him who brought me to your abode,
     I will not taste of your hospitality, unless you pledge to me
     That you will not permit me to be an incumbrance to you,
     Nor impose on yourselves necessity of eating on my account."

       *       *       *       *       *

     Now it was just as if he had been informed of our wishes,
     Or had shot from the same bow as our sentiments;
     So we gratified him by acceding to the condition,
     And highly commended him for his accommodating disposition.
     But when the servant had produced what was ready,
     And the candle was lighted up in the midst of us,
     I regarded him attentively, and lo! it was Abu-Zeid;
     Whereupon I addressed my companions in these words:--
     "May you have joy of the guest who has repaired to you:
         For though the moon of the heavens has set,
         The full moon of poetry has arisen;
         And though the moon of the eclipse has disappeared,
         The full moon of eloquence has shone forth."
         So the wine of joy infused itself into them,
         And sleep flew away from the corners of their eyes,
     And they rejected the slumber which they had contemplated,
     And began to resume the pleasantry which they had laid aside,
     While Abu-Zeid remained intent on the business in hand.
     But as soon as he desired the removal of what was before him,
     I said to him, "Entertain us with one of thy strange anecdotes,
     Or with an account of one of thy wonderful journeys."
     And he said:--"The result of long journeys brought me to this land,
     Myself being in a state of hunger and distress,
     And my wallet light as the heart of the mother of Moses;
     So I arose, when dark night had settled on the world,
     Though with weary feet, to seek a lodging, or obtain a loaf;
     Till, being driven on by the instigation of hunger,
     And by fate, so justly called 'the parent of adventures,'
     I stood at the door of a house and improvised these words:--

         "'Inmates of this abode, all hail! all hail!
         Long may you live in plenty's verdant vale.
         Oh, grant your aid to one by toil opprest,
         Way-worn, benighted, destitute, distrest;
         Whose tortured entrails only hunger hold
         (For since he tasted food two days are told);
         A wretch who finds not where to lay his head,
         Though brooding night her weary wing hath spread,
         But roams in anxious hope a friend to meet,
         Whose bounty, like a spring of water sweet,
         May heal his woes; a friend who straight will say,
         "Come in! 'Tis time thy staff aside to lay."'

     "But there came out to me a boy in a short tunic, who said:--

         "'By Him who hospitable rites ordained,
         And first of all, and best, those rites maintained,
         I swear that friendly converse and a home
         Is all we have for those who nightly roam."

     "And I replied, 'What can I do with an empty house,
     And a host who is himself thus utterly destitute?
     But what is thy name, boy? for thy intelligence charms me.'
     He replied, 'My name is Zeid, and I was reared at Faid;
     And my mother Barrah (who is such as her name implies),
     Told me she married one of the nobles of Serong and Ghassân,
     Who deserted her stealthily, and there was an end of him.'
     Now I knew by these distinct signs that he was my child,
     But my poverty deterred me from discovering myself to him."

     Then we asked if he wished to take his son to live with him;
     And he replied, "If only my purse were heavy enough,
     It would be easy for me to undertake the charge of him."
     So we severally undertook to contribute a portion of it,
     Whereupon he returned thanks for this our bounty,
     And was so profusely lavish in his acknowledgments,
     That we thought his expression of gratitude excessive.
     And as soon as he had collected the coin into his scrip,
     He looked at me as the deceiver looks at the deceived,
     And laughed heartily, and then indited these lines:--

           "O thou who, deceived
           By a tale, hast believed
         A mirage to be truly a lake,
           Though I ne'er had expected
           My fraud undetected,
         Or doubtful my meaning to make!

           I confess that I lied
           When I said that my bride
         And my first-born were Barrah and Zeid;
           But guile is my part,
           And deception my art,
         And by these are my gains ever made.

         Such schemes I devise
         That the cunning and wise
       Never practiced the like or conceived;
         Nor Asmai nor Komait
         Any wonders relate
       Like those that my wiles have achieved.

         But if these I disdain,
         I abandon my gain,
       And by fortune at once am refused:
         Then pardon their use,
         And accept my excuse,
       Nor of guilt let my guile be accused."

     Then he took leave of me, and went away from me,
     Leaving in my heart the embers of lasting regret.


A Semi-Poetical Tale: Translation of Sir Richard Burton, in
'Supplemental Nights to the Book of The Thousand Nights and A Night'

It is said that when the Caliphate devolved on Omar bin Abd al-Aziz, (of
whom Allah accept!) the poets resorted to him, as they had been used to
resort to the Caliphs before him, and abode at his door days and days;
but he suffered them not to enter till there came to him 'Adi bin Artah,
who stood high in esteem with him. Jarir [another poet] accosted him,
and begged him to crave admission for them to the presence; so 'Adi
answered, "'Tis well," and going in to Omar, said to him, "The poets are
at thy door, and have been there days and days; yet hast thou not given
them leave to enter, albeit their sayings abide, and their arrows from
the mark never fly wide." Quoth Omar, "What have I to do with the
poets?" And quoth 'Adi, "O Commander of the Faithful, the Prophet
(_Abhak!_) was praised by a poet, and gave him largesse--and in him is
an exemplar to every Moslem." Quoth Omar, "And who praised him?" And
quoth 'Adi, "Abbás bin Mirdás praised him, and he clad him with a suit
and said, 'O Generosity! Cut off from me his tongue!'" Asked the Caliph,
"Dost thou remember what he said?" And 'Adi answered, "Yes." Rejoined
Omar, "Then repeat it;" so 'Adi repeated:--

     "I saw thee, O thou best of the human race,
          Bring out a book which brought to graceless, grace.
     Thou showedst righteous road to men astray
          From right, when darkest wrong had ta'en its place:--
     Thou with Islâm didst light the gloomiest way,
          Quenching with proof live coals of frowardness:
     I own for Prophet, my Mohammed's self,
          and men's award upon his word we base.
     Thou madest straight the path that crooked ran
          Where in old days foul growth o'ergrew its face.
     Exalt be thou in Joy's empyrean!
          And Allah's glory ever grow apace!"

"And indeed," continued 'Adi, "this Elegy on the Prophet (_Abhak!_) is
well known, and to comment on it would be tedious."

Quoth Omar, "Who [of the poets] is at the door?" And quoth 'Adi, "Among
them is Omar ibn Rabí'ah, the Korashi;" whereupon the Caliph cried, "May
Allah show him no favor, neither quicken him! Was it not he who spoke
impiously [in praising his love]?--

     'Could I in my clay-bed [the grave] with Ialma repose,
          There to me were better than Heaven or Hell!'

Had he not [continued the Caliph] been the enemy of Allah, he had wished
for her in this world; so that he might, after, repent and return to
righteous dealing. By Allah! he shall not come in to me! Who is at the
door other than he?"

Quoth 'Adi, "Jamil bin Ma'mar al-Uzri is at the door." And quoth Omar,
"'Tis he who saith in one of his love-Elegies:--

     'Would Heaven, conjoint we lived! and if I die,
          Death only grant me a grave within her grave!
     For I'd no longer deign to live my life
          If told, "Upon her head is laid the pave."'

Quoth Omar, "Away with him from me! Who is at the door?" And quoth 'Adi,
"Kutthayir 'Azzah": whereupon Omar cried, "'Tis he who saith in one of
his [impious] Odes:--

     'Some talk of faith and creed and nothing else,
          And wait for pains of Hell in prayer-seat;
     But did they hear what I from Azzah heard,
          They'd make prostration, fearful, at her feet.'

Leave the mention of _him_. Who is at the door?" Quoth 'Adi, "Al-Ahwas
al-Ansari." Cried Omar, "Allah Almighty put him away, and estrange him
from His mercy! Is it not he who said, berhyming on a Medinite's slave
girl, so that she might outlive her master:--

     Allah be judge betwixt me and her lord
          Whoever flies with her--and I pursue.'

He shall not come in to me! Who is at the door other than he?" 'Adi
replied, "Hammam bin Ghalib al-Farazdak." And Omar said, "Tis he who
glories in wickedness.... He shall not come in to me! Who is at the door
other than he?" 'Adi replied, "Al-Akhtal al-Taghlibi." And Omar said,
"He is the [godless] miscreant who saith in his singing:--

     'Ramazan I ne'er fasted in lifetime; nay
          I ate flesh in public at undurn day!
     Nor chid I the fair, save in word of love.
          Nor seek Meccah's plain in salvation-way:
     Nor stand I praying, like rest, who cry,
          "Hie salvation-wards!" at the dawn's first ray....'

By Allah! he treadeth no carpet of mine. Who is at the door other than
he?" Said 'Adi, "Jarir Ibn al-Khatafah." And Omar cried, "Tis he
who saith:--

     'But for ill-spying glances, had our eyes espied
          Eyes of the antelope, and ringlets of the Reems!
     A Huntress of the eyes, by night-time came; and I
          cried, "Turn in peace! No time for visit this, meseems."'

But if it must be, and no help, admit Jarir." So 'Adi went forth and
admitted Jarir, who entered saying:--

     'Yea, He who sent Mohammed unto men.
          A just successor of Islam assigned.
     His ruth and his justice all mankind embrace.
          To daunt the bad and stablish well-designed.
     Verily now, I look to present good,
          for man hath ever transient weal in mind.'

Quoth Omar, "O Jarir! keep the fear of Allah before thine eyes, and say
naught save the sooth." And Jarir recited these couplets:--

     'How many widows loose the hair, in far Yamamah land,
       How many an orphan there abides, feeble of voice and eye,
     Since faredst thou, who wast to them instead of father lost
       when they like nestled fledglings were, sans power to creep or fly.
     And now we hope--since broke the clouds their word and troth with us--
       Hope from the Caliph's grace to gain a rain that ne'er shall dry.'

When the Caliph heard this, he said, "By Allah, O Jarir! Omar possesseth
but an hundred dirhams. Ho boy! do thou give them to him!" Moreover, he
gifted Jarir with the ornaments of his sword; and Jarir went forth to
the other poets, who asked him, "What is behind thee?" ["What is thy
news?"] and he answered, "A man who giveth to the poor, and who denieth
the poets; and with him I am well pleased."




Dominique François Arago was born February 26th, 1786, near Perpignan,
in the Eastern Pyrenees, where his father held the position of Treasurer
of the Mint. He entered the École Polytechnique in Paris after a
brilliant examination, and held the first places throughout the course.
In 1806 he was sent to Valencia in Spain, and to the neighboring island
of Iviza, to make the astronomical observations for prolonging the arc
of the meridian from Dunkirk southward, in order to supply the basis for
the metric system.

[Illustration: D. FR. ARAGO]

Here begin his extraordinary adventures, which are told with inimitable
spirit and vigor in his 'Autobiography.' Arago's work required him to
occupy stations on the summits of the highest peaks in the mountains of
southeastern Spain. The peasants were densely ignorant and hostile to
all foreigners, so that an escort of troops was required in many of his
journeys. At some stations he made friends of the bandits of the
neighborhood, and carried on his observations under their protection, as
it were. In 1807 the tribunal of the Inquisition existed in Valencia;
and Arago was witness to the trial and punishment of a pretended
sorceress,--and this, as he says, in one of the principal towns of
Spain, the seat of a celebrated university. Yet the worst criminals
lived unmolested in the cathedrals, for the "right of asylum" was still
in force. His geodetic observations were mysteries to the
inhabitants, and his signals on the mountain top were believed to be
part of the work of a French spy. Just at this time hostilities broke
out between France and Spain, and the astronomer was obliged to flee
disguised as a Majorcan peasant, carrying his precious papers with him.
His knowledge of the Majorcan language saved him, and he reached a
Spanish prison with only a slight wound from a dagger. It is the first
recorded instance, he says, of a fugitive flying to a dungeon for
safety. In this prison, under the care of Spanish officers, Arago found
sufficient occupation in calculating observations which he had made; in
reading the accounts in the Spanish journals of his own execution at
Valencia; and in listening to rumors that it was proposed (by a Spanish
monk) to do away with the French prisoner by poisoning his food.

The Spanish officer in charge of the prisoners was induced to connive at
the escape of Arago and M. Berthémie (an aide-de-camp of Napoleon); and
on the 28th of July, 1808, they stole away from the coast of Spain in a
small boat with three sailors, and arrived at Algiers on the 3d of
August. Here the French consul procured them two false passports, which
transformed the Frenchmen into strolling merchants from Schwekat and
Leoben. They boarded an Algerian vessel and set off. Let Arago describe
the crew and cargo:--

"The vessel belonged to the Emir of Seca. The commander was a Greek
captain named Spiro Calligero. Among the passengers were five members of
the family superseded by the Bakri as kings of the Jews; two Maroccan
ostrich-feather merchants; Captain Krog from Bergen in Norway; two lions
sent by the Dey of Algiers as presents to the Emperor Napoleon; and a
great number of monkeys."

As they entered the Golfe du Lion their ship was captured by a Spanish
corsair and taken to Rosas. Worst of all, a former Spanish servant of
Arago's--Pablo--was a sailor in the corsair's crew! At Rosas the
prisoners were brought before an officer for interrogation. It was now
Arago's turn. The officer begins:--

"'Who are you?'

"'A poor traveling merchant.'

"'From whence do you come?'

"'From a country where you certainly have never been.'

"'Well--from what country?'

"I feared to answer; for the passports (steeped in vinegar to prevent
infection) were in the officer's hands, and I had entirely forgotten
whether I was from Schwekat or from Leoben. Finally I answered at a
chance, 'I am from Schwekat;' fortunately this answer agreed with
the passport.

"'You're from Schwekat about as much as I am,' said the officer: 'you're
a Spaniard, and a Spaniard from Valencia to boot, as I can tell by
your accent.'

"'Sir, you are inclined to punish me simply because I have by nature
the gift of languages. I readily learn the dialects of the various
countries where I carry on my trade. For example, I know the dialect
of Iviza.'

"'Well, I will take you at your word. Here is a soldier who comes from
Iviza. Talk to him.'

"'Very well; I will even sing the goat-song.'

"The verses of this song (if one may call them verses) are separated by
the imitated bleatings of the goat. I began at once, with an audacity
which even now astonishes me, to intone the song which all the shepherds
in Iviza sing:--

     Ah graciada Señora,
     Una canzo bouil canta,
         Bè bè bè bè.
     No sera gaiva pulida,
     Nosé si vos agradara,
         Bè bè bè bè.

"Upon which my Ivizan avouches, in tears, that I am certainly from
Iviza. The song had affected him as a Switzer is affected by the 'Ranz
des Vaches.' I then said to the officer that if he would bring to me a
person who could speak French, he would find the same embarrassment in
this case also. An emigré of the Bourbon regiment comes forward for the
new experiment, and after a few phrases affirms without hesitation that
I am surely a Frenchman. The officer begins to be impatient.

"'Have done with these trials: they prove nothing. I require you to tell
me who you are.'

"'My foremost desire is to find an answer which will satisfy you. I am
the son of the innkeeper at Mataro.'

"'I know that man: you are not his son.'

"'You are right: I told you that I should change my answers till I found
one to suit you. I am a marionette player from Lerida.'

"A huge laugh from the crowd which had listened to the interrogatory put
an end to the questioning."

Finally it was necessary for Arago to declare outright that he was
French, and to prove it by his old servant Pablo. To supply his
immediate wants he sold his watch; and by a series of misadventures this
watch subsequently fell into the hands of his family, and he was mourned
in France as dead.

After months of captivity the vessel was released, and the prisoner set
out for Marseilles. A fearful tempest drove them to the harbor of
Bougie, an African port a hundred miles east of Algiers. Thence they
made the perilous journey by land to their place of starting, and
finally reached Marseilles eleven months after their voyage began.
Eleven months to make a journey of four days!

The intelligence of the safe arrival, after so many perils, of the young
astronomer, with his packet of precious observations, soon reached
Paris. He was welcomed with effusion. Soon afterward (at the age of
twenty-three years) he was elected a member of the section of Astronomy
of the Academy of Sciences, and from this time forth he led the peaceful
life of a savant. He was the Director of the Paris Observatory for many
years; the friend of all European scientists; the ardent patron of young
men of talent; a leading physicist; a strong Republican, though the
friend of Napoleon; and finally the Perpetual Secretary of the Academy.

In the latter capacity it was part of his duty to prepare _éloges_ of
deceased Academicians. Of his collected works in fourteen volumes,
'Oeuvres de François Arago,' published in Paris, 1865, three volumes are
given to these 'Notices Biographiques.' Here may be found the
biographies of Bailly, Sir William Herschel, Laplace, Joseph Fourier,
Carnot, Malus, Fresnel, Thomas Young, and James Watt; which, translated
rather carelessly into English, have been published under the title
'Biographies of Distinguished Men,' and can be found in the larger
libraries. The collected works contain biographies also of Ampère,
Condoreet, Volta, Monge, Porson, Gay-Lussac, besides shorter sketches.
They are masterpieces of style and of clear scientific exposition, and
full of generous appreciation of others' work. They present in a lucid
and popular form the achievements of scientific men whose works have
changed the accepted opinion of the world, and they give general views
not found in the original writings themselves. Scientific men are
usually too much engrossed in advancing science to spare time for
expounding it to popular audiences. The talent for such exposition is
itself a special one. Arago possessed it to the full, and his own
original contributions to astronomy and physics enabled him to speak as
an expert, not merely as an expositor.

The extracts are from his admirable estimate of Laplace, which he
prepared in connection with the proposal, before him and other members
of a State Committee, to publish a new and authoritative edition of the
great astronomer's works. The translation is mainly that of the
'Biographies of Distinguished Men' cited above, and much of the felicity
of style is necessarily lost in translation; but the substance of solid
and lucid exposition from a master's hand remains.

Arago was a Deputy in 1830, and Minister of War in the Provisional
Government of 1848. He died full of honors, October 2d, 1853. Two of his
brothers, Jacques and Étienne, were dramatic authors of note. Another,
Jean, was a distinguished general in the service of Mexico. One of his
sons, Alfred, is favorably known as a painter; another, Emmanuel, as a
lawyer, deputy, and diplomat.

[Illustration: Signature: Edward S. Holden]


The Marquis de Laplace, peer of France, one of the forty of the French
Academy, member of the Academy of Sciences and of the Bureau of
Longitude, Associate of all the great Academies or Scientific Societies
of Europe, was born at Beaumont-en-Auge, of parents belonging to the
class of small farmers, on the 28th of March, 1749; he died on the 5th
of March, 1827. The first and second volumes of the 'Mécanique Céleste'
[Mechanism of the Heavens] were published in 1799; the third volume
appeared in 1802, the fourth in 1805; part of the fifth volume was
published in 1823, further books in 1824, and the remainder in 1825. The
'Théorie des Probabilités' was published in 1812. We shall now present
the history of the principal astronomical discoveries contained in these
immortal works.

Astronomy is the science of which the human mind may justly feel
proudest. It owes this pre-eminence to the elevated nature of its
object; to the enormous scale of its operations; to the certainty, the
utility, and the stupendousness of its results. From the very beginnings
of civilization the study of the heavenly bodies and their movements has
attracted the attention of governments and peoples. The greatest
captains, statesmen, philosophers, and orators of Greece and Rome found
it a subject of delight. Yet astronomy worthy of the name is a modern
science: it dates from the sixteenth century only. Three great, three
brilliant phases have marked its progress. In 1543 the bold and firm
hand of Copernicus overthrew the greater part of the venerable
scaffolding which had propped the illusions and the pride of many
generations. The earth ceased to be the centre, the pivot, of celestial
movements. Henceforward it ranged itself modestly among the other
planets, its relative importance as one member of the solar system
reduced almost to that of a grain of sand.

Twenty-eight years had elapsed from the day when the Canon of Thorn
expired while holding in his trembling hands the first copy of the work
which was to glorify the name of Poland, when Würtemberg witnessed the
birth of a man who was destined to achieve a revolution in science not
less fertile in consequences, and still more difficult to accomplish.
This man was Kepler. Endowed with two qualities which seem
incompatible,--a volcanic imagination, and a dogged pertinacity which
the most tedious calculations could not tire,--Kepler conjectured that
celestial movements must be connected with each other by simple laws;
or, to use his own expression, by harmonic laws. These laws he undertook
to discover. A thousand fruitless attempts--the errors of calculation
inseparable from a colossal undertaking--did not hinder his resolute
advance toward the goal his imagination descried. Twenty-two years he
devoted to it, and still he was not weary. What are twenty-two years of
labor to him who is about to become the lawgiver of worlds; whose name
is to be ineffaceably inscribed on the frontispiece of an immortal code;
who can exclaim in dithyrambic language, "The die is cast: I have
written my book; it will be read either in the present age or by
posterity, it matters not which; it may well await a reader since God
has waited six thousand years for an interpreter of his works"?

These celebrated laws, known in astronomy as Kepler's laws, are three in
number. The first law is, that the planets describe ellipses around the
sun, which is placed in their common focus; the second, that a line
joining a planet and the sun sweeps over equal areas in equal times; the
third, that the squares of the times of revolution of the planets about
the sun are proportional to the cubes of their mean distances from that
body. The first two laws were discovered by Kepler in the course of a
laborious examination of the theory of the planet Mars. A full account
of this inquiry is contained in his famous work, 'De Stella Martis' [Of
the Planet Mars], published in 1609. The discovery of the third law was
announced to the world in his treatise on Harmonics (1628).

To seek a physical cause adequate to retain the planets in their closed
orbits; to make the stability of the universe depend on mechanical
forces, and not on solid supports like the crystalline spheres imagined
by our ancestors; to extend to the heavenly bodies in their courses the
laws of earthly mechanics,--such were the problems which remained for
solution after Kepler's discoveries had been announced. Traces of these
great problems may be clearly perceived here and there among ancient and
modern writers, from Lucretius and Plutarch down to Kepler, Bouillaud,
and Borelli. It is to Newton, however, that we must award the merit of
their solution. This great man, like several of his predecessors,
imagined the celestial bodies to have a tendency to approach each other
in virtue of some attractive force, and from the laws of Kepler he
deduced the mathematical characteristics of this force. He extended it
to all the material molecules of the solar system; and developed his
brilliant discovery in a work which, even at the present day, is
regarded as the supremest product of the human intellect.

The contributions of France to these revolutions in astronomical science
consisted, in 1740, in the determination by experiment of the spheroidal
figure of the earth, and in the discovery of the local variations of
gravity upon the surface of our planet. These were two great results;
but whenever France is not first in science she has lost her place. This
rank, lost for a moment, was brilliantly regained by the labors of four
geometers. When Newton, giving to his discoveries a generality which the
laws of Kepler did not suggest, imagined that the different planets were
not only attracted by the sun, but that they also attracted each other,
he introduced into the heavens a cause of universal perturbation.
Astronomers then saw at a glance that in no part of the universe would
the Keplerian laws suffice for the exact representation of the phenomena
of motion; that the simple regular movements with which the imaginations
of the ancients were pleased to endow the heavenly bodies must
experience numerous, considerable, perpetually changing perturbations.
To discover a few of these perturbations, and to assign their nature and
in a few rare cases their numerical value, was the object which Newton
proposed to himself in writing his famous book, the 'Principia
Mathematica Philosophiæ Naturalis' [Mathematical Principles of Natural
Philosophy], Notwithstanding the incomparable sagacity of its author,
the 'Principia' contained merely a rough outline of planetary
perturbations, though not through any lack of ardor or perseverance. The
efforts of the great philosopher were always superhuman, and the
questions which he did not solve were simply incapable of solution
in his time.

Five geometers--Clairaut, Euler, D'Alembert, Lagrange, and
Laplace--shared between them the world whose existence Newton had
disclosed. They explored it in all directions, penetrated into regions
hitherto inaccessible, and pointed out phenomena hitherto undetected.
Finally--and it is this which constitutes their imperishable glory--they
brought under the domain of a single principle, a single law, everything
that seemed most occult and mysterious in the celestial movements.
Geometry had thus the hardihood to dispose of the future, while the
centuries as they unroll scrupulously ratify the decisions of science.

If Newton gave a complete solution of celestial movements where but two
bodies attract each other, he did not even attempt the infinitely more
difficult problem of three. The "problem of three bodies" (this is the
name by which it has become celebrated)--the problem of determining the
movement of a body subjected to the attractive influence of two
others--was solved for the first time by our countryman, Clairaut.
Though he enumerated the various forces which must result from the
mutual action of the planets and satellites of our system, even the
great Newton did not venture to investigate the general nature of their
effects. In the midst of the labyrinth formed by increments and
diminutions of velocity, variations in the forms of orbits, changes in
distances and inclinations, which these forces must evidently produce,
the most learned geometer would fail to discover a trustworthy guide.
Forces so numerous, so variable in direction, so different in intensity,
seemed to be incapable of maintaining a condition of equilibrium except
by a sort of miracle. Newton even suggested that the planetary system
did not contain within itself the elements of indefinite stability. He
was of opinion that a powerful hand must intervene from time to time to
repair the derangements occasioned by the mutual action of the various
bodies. Euler, better instructed than Newton in a knowledge of these
perturbations, also refused to admit that the solar system was
constituted so as to endure forever.

Never did a greater philosophical question offer itself to the inquiries
of mankind. Laplace attacked it with boldness, perseverance, and
success. The profound and long-continued researches of the illustrious
geometer completely established the perpetual variability of the
planetary ellipses. He demonstrated that the extremities of their major
axes make the circuit of the heavens; that independent of oscillation,
the planes of their orbits undergo displacements by which their
intersections with the plane of the terrestrial orbit are each year
directed toward different stars. But in the midst of this apparant
chaos, there is one element which remains constant, or is merely subject
to small and periodic changes; namely, the major axis of each orbit, and
consequently the time of revolution of each planet. This is the element
which ought to have varied most, on the principles held by Newton and
Euler. Gravitation, then, suffices to preserve the stability of the
solar system. It maintains the forms and inclinations of the orbits in
an average position, subject to slight oscillations only; variety does
not entail disorder; the universe offers an example of harmonious
relations, of a state of perfection which Newton himself doubted.

This condition of harmony depends on circumstances disclosed to Laplace
by analysis; circumstances which on the surface do not seem capable of
exercising so great an influence. If instead of planets all revolving in
the same direction, in orbits but slightly eccentric and in planes
inclined at but small angles toward each other, we should substitute
different conditions, the stability of the universe would be
jeopardized, and a frightful chaos would pretty certainly result. The
discovery of the actual conditions excluded the idea, at least so far as
the solar system was concerned, that the Newtonian attraction might be a
cause of disorder. But might not other forces, combined with the
attraction of gravitation, produce gradually increasing perturbations
such as Newton and Euler feared? Known facts seemed to justify the
apprehension. A comparison of ancient with modern observations revealed
a continual acceleration in the mean motions of the moon and of Jupiter,
and an equally striking diminution of the mean motion of Saturn. These
variations led to a very important conclusion. In accordance with their
presumed cause, to say that the velocity of a body increased from
century to century was equivalent to asserting that the body continually
approached the centre of motion; on the other hand, when the velocity
diminished, the body must be receding from the centre. Thus, by a
strange ordering of nature, our planetary system seemed destined to lose
Saturn, its most mysterious ornament; to see the planet with its ring
and seven satellites plunge gradually into those unknown regions where
the eye armed with the most powerful telescope has never penetrated.
Jupiter, on the other hand, the planet compared with which the earth is
so insignificant, appeared to be moving in the opposite direction, so
that it would ultimately be absorbed into the incandescent matter of the
sun. Finally, it seemed that the moon would one day precipitate itself
upon the earth.

There was nothing doubtful or speculative in these sinister forebodings.
The precise dates of the approaching catastrophes were alone uncertain.
It was known, however, that they were very distant. Accordingly, neither
the learned dissertations of men of science nor the animated
descriptions of certain poets produced any impression upon the public
mind. The members of our scientific societies, however, believed with
regret the approaching destruction of the planetary system. The Academy
of Sciences called the attention of geometers of all countries to these
menacing perturbations. Euler and Lagrange descended into the arena.
Never did their mathematical genius shine with a brighter lustre. Still
the question remained undecided, when from two obscure corners of the
theories of analysis, Laplace, the author of the 'Mécanique Céleste,'
brought the laws of these great phenomena clearly to light. The
variations in velocity of Jupiter, Saturn, and the moon, were proved to
flow from evident physical causes, and to belong in the category of
ordinary periodic perturbations depending solely on gravitation. These
dreaded variations in orbital dimensions resolved themselves into simple
oscillations included within narrow limits. In a word, by the powerful
instrumentality of mathematical analysis, the physical universe was
again established on a demonstrably firm foundation.

Having demonstrated the smallness of these periodic oscillations,
Laplace next succeeded in determining the absolute dimensions of the
orbits. What is the distance of the sun from the earth? No scientific
question has occupied the attention of mankind in a greater degree.
Mathematically speaking, nothing is more simple: it suffices, as in
ordinary surveying, to draw visual lines from the two extremities of a
known base line to an inaccessible object; the remainder of the process
is an elementary calculation. Unfortunately, in the case of the sun, the
distance is very great and the base lines which can be measured upon the
earth are comparatively very small. In such a case, the slightest errors
in the direction of visual lines exercise an enormous influence upon the
results. In the beginning of the last century, Halley had remarked that
certain interpositions of Venus between the earth and the sun--or to use
the common term, the transits of the planet across the sun's disk--would
furnish at each observing station an indirect means of fixing the
position of the visual ray much superior in accuracy to the most perfect
direct measures. Such was the object of the many scientific expeditions
undertaken in 1761 and 1769, years in which the transits of Venus
occurred. A comparison of observations made in the Southern Hemisphere
with those of Europe gave for the distance of the sun the result which
has since figured in all treatises on astronomy and navigation. No
government hesitated to furnish scientific academies with the means,
however expensive, of establishing their observers in the most distant
regions. We have already remarked that this determination seemed
imperiously to demand an extensive base, for small bases would have been
totally inadequate. Well, Laplace has solved the problem without a base
of any kind whatever; he has deduced the distance of the sun from
observations of the moon made in one and the same place.

The sun is, with respect to our satellite the moon, the cause of
perturbations which evidently depend on the distance of the immense
luminous globe from the earth. Who does not see that these perturbations
must diminish if the distance increases, and increase if the distance
diminishes, so that the distance determines the amount of the
perturbations? Observation assigns the numerical value of these
perturbations; theory, on the other hand, unfolds the general
mathematical relation which connects them with the solar distance and
with other known elements. The determination of the mean radius of the
terrestrial orbit--of the distance of the sun--then becomes one of the
most simple operations of algebra. Such is the happy combination by the
aid of which Laplace has solved the great, the celebrated problem of
parallax. It is thus that the illustrious geometer found for the mean
distance of the sun from the earth, expressed in radii of the
terrestrial orbit, a value differing but slightly from that which was
the fruit of so many troublesome and expensive voyages.

The movements of the moon proved a fertile mine of research to our great
geometer. His penetrating intellect discovered in them unknown
treasures. With an ability and a perseverance equally worthy of
admiration, he separated these treasures from the coverings which had
hitherto concealed them from vulgar eyes. For example, the earth governs
the movements of the moon. The earth is flattened; in other words, its
figure is spheroidal. A spheroidal body does not attract as does a
sphere. There should then exist in the movement--I had almost said in
the countenance--of the moon a sort of impress of the spheroidal figure
of the earth. Such was the idea as it originally occurred to Laplace. By
means of a minutely careful investigation, he discovered in its motion
two well-defined perturbations, each depending on the spheroidal figure
of the earth. When these were submitted to calculation, each led to the
same value of the ellipticity. It must be recollected that the
ellipticity thus derived from the motions of the moon is not the one
corresponding to such or such a country, to the ellipticity observed in
France, in England, in Italy, in Lapland, in North America, in India, or
in the region of the Cape of Good Hope; for, the earth's crust having
undergone considerable upheavals at different times and places, the
primitive regularity of its curvature has been sensibly disturbed
thereby. The moon (and it is this which renders the result of such
inestimable value) ought to assign, and has in reality assigned, the
general ellipticity of the earth; in other words, it has indicated a
sort of average value of the various determinations obtained at enormous
expense, and with infinite labor, as the result of long voyages
undertaken by astronomers of all the countries of Europe.

Certain remarks of Laplace himself bring into strong relief the
profound, the unexpected, the almost paradoxical character of the
methods I have attempted to sketch. What are the elements it has been
found necessary to confront with each other in order to arrive at
results expressed with such extreme precision? On the one hand,
mathematical formulae deduced from the principle of universal
gravitation; on the other, certain irregularities observed in the
returns of the moon to the meridian. An observing geometer, who from his
infancy had never quitted his study, and who had never viewed the
heavens except through a narrow aperture directed north and south,--to
whom nothing had ever been revealed respecting the bodies revolving
above his head, except that they attract each other according to the
Newtonian law of gravitation,--would still perceive that his narrow
abode was situated upon the surface of a spheroidal body, whose
equatorial axis was greater than its polar by a three hundred and sixth
part. In his isolated, fixed position he could still deduce his true
distance from the sun!

Laplace's improvement of the lunar tables not only promoted maritime
intercourse between distant countries, but preserved the lives of
mariners. Thanks to an unparalleled sagacity, to a limitless
perseverance, to an ever youthful and communicable ardor, Laplace solved
the celebrated problem of the longitude with a precision even greater
than the utmost needs of the art of navigation demanded. The ship, the
sport of the winds and tempests, no longer fears to lose its way in the
immensity of the ocean. In every place and at every time the pilot reads
in the starry heavens his distance from the meridian of Paris. The
extreme perfection of these tables of the moon places Laplace in the
ranks of the world's benefactors.

In the beginning of the year 1611, Galileo supposed that he found in the
eclipses of Jupiter's satellites a simple and rigorous solution of the
famous problem of the longitude, and attempts to introduce the new
method on board the numerous vessels of Spain and Holland at once began.
They failed because the necessary observations required powerful
telescopes, which could not be employed on a tossing ship. Even the
expectations of the serviceability of Galileo's methods for land
calculations proved premature. The movements of the satellites of
Jupiter are far less simple than the immortal Italian supposed them to
be. The labors of three more generations of astronomers and
mathematicians were needed to determine them, and the mathematical
genius of Laplace was needed to complete their labors. At the present
day the nautical ephemerides contain, several years in advance, the
indications of the times of the eclipses and reappearances of Jupiter's
satellites. Calculation is as precise as direct observation.

Influenced by an exaggerated deference, modesty, timidity, France in the
eighteenth century surrendered to England the exclusive privilege of
constructing her astronomical instruments. Thus, when Herschel was
prosecuting his beautiful observations on the other side of the Channel,
we had not even the means of verifying them. Fortunately for the
scientific honor of our country, mathematical analysis also is a
powerful instrument. The great Laplace, from the retirement of his
study, foresaw, and accurately predicted in advance, what the excellent
astronomer of Windsor would soon behold with the largest telescopes
existing. When, in 1610, Galileo directed toward Saturn a lens of very
low power which he had just constructed with his own hands, although he
perceived that the planet was not a globe, he could not ascertain its
real form. The expression "tri-corporate," by which the illustrious
Florentine designated the appearance of the planet, even implied a
totally erroneous idea of its structure. At the present day every one
knows that Saturn consists of a globe about nine hundred times greater
than the earth, and of a ring. This ring does not touch the ball of the
planet, being everywhere removed from it to a distance of twenty
thousand (English) miles. Observation indicates the breadth of the ring
to be fifty-four thousand miles. The thickness certainly does not
exceed two hundred and fifty miles. With the exception of a black streak
which divides the ring throughout its whole contour into two parts of
unequal breadth and of different brightness, this strange colossal
bridge without foundations had never offered to the most experienced or
skillful observers either spot or protuberance adapted for deciding
whether it was immovable or endowed with a motion of rotation. Laplace
considered it to be very improbable, if the ring was stationary, that
its constituent parts should be capable of resisting by mere cohesion
the continual attraction of the planet. A movement of rotation occurred
to his mind as constituting the principle of stability, and he deduced
the necessary velocity from this consideration. The velocity thus found
was exactly equal to that which Herschel subsequently derived from a
series of extremely delicate observations. The two parts of the ring,
being at different distances from the planet, could not fail to be given
different movements of precession by the action of the sun. Hence it
would seem that the planes of both rings ought in general to be inclined
toward each other, whereas they appear from observation always to
coincide. It was necessary then that some physical cause capable of
neutralizing the action of the sun should exist. In a memoir published
in February, 1789, Laplace found that this cause depended on the
ellipticity of Saturn produced by a rapid movement of rotation of the
planet, a movement whose discovery Herschel announced in November of the
same year.

If we descend from the heavens to the earth, the discoveries of Laplace
will appear not less worthy of his genius. He reduced the phenomena of
the tides, which an ancient philosopher termed in despair "the tomb of
human curiosity," to an analytical theory in which the physical
conditions of the question figure for the first time. Consequently, to
the immense advantage of coast navigation, calculators now venture to
predict in detail the time and height of the tides several years in
advance. Between the phenomena of the ebb and flow, and the attractive
forces of the sun and moon upon the fluid sheet which covers three
fourths of the globe, an intimate and necessary connection exists; a
connection from which Laplace deduced the value of the mass of our
satellite the moon. Yet so late as the year 1631 the illustrious
Galileo, as appears from his 'Dialogues,' was so far from perceiving the
mathematical relations from which Laplace deduced results so beautiful,
so unequivocal, and so useful, that he taxed with frivolousness the
vague idea which Kepler entertained of attributing to the moon's
attraction a certain share in the production of the diurnal and
periodical movements of the waters of the ocean.

Laplace did not confine his genius to the extension and improvement of
the mathematical theory of the tide. He considered the phenomenon from
an entirely new point of view, and it was he who first treated of the
stability of the ocean. He has established its equilibrium, but upon the
express condition (which, however, has been amply proved to exist) that
the mean density of the fluid mass is less than the mean density of the
earth. Everything else remaining the same, if we substituted an ocean of
quicksilver for the actual ocean, this stability would disappear. The
fluid would frequently overflow its boundaries, to ravage continents
even to the height of the snowy peaks which lose themselves in
the clouds.

No one was more sagacious than Laplace in discovering intimate relations
between phenomena apparently unrelated, or more skillful in deducing
important conclusions from such unexpected affinities. For example,
toward the close of his days, with the aid of certain lunar
observations, with a stroke of his pen he overthrew the cosmogonic
theories of Buffon and Bailly, which were so long in favor. According to
these theories, the earth was hastening to a state of congelation which
was close at hand. Laplace, never contented with vague statements,
sought to determine in numbers the rate of the rapid cooling of our
globe which Buffon had so eloquently but so gratuitously announced.
Nothing could be more simple, better connected, or more conclusive than
the chain of deductions of the celebrated geometer. A body diminishes in
volume when it cools. According to the most elementary principles of
mechanics, a rotating body which contracts in dimensions must inevitably
turn upon its axis with greater and greater rapidity. The length of the
day has been determined in all ages by the time of the earth's rotation;
if the earth is cooling, the length of the day must be continually
shortening. Now, there exists a means of ascertaining whether the length
of the day has undergone any variation; this consists in examining, for
each century, the arc of the celestial sphere described by the moon
during the interval of time which the astronomers of the existing epoch
call a day; in other words, the time required by the earth to effect a
complete rotation on its axis, the velocity of the moon being in fact
independent of the time of the earth's rotation. Let us now, following
Laplace, take from the standard tables the smallest values, if you
choose, of the expansions or contractions which solid bodies experience
from changes of temperature; let us search the annals of Grecian,
Arabian, and modern astronomy for the purpose of finding in them the
angular velocity of the moon: and the great geometer will prove, by
incontrovertible evidence founded upon these data, that during a period
of two thousand years the mean temperature of the earth has not varied
to the extent of the hundredth part of a degree of the centigrade
thermometer. Eloquence cannot resist such a process of reasoning, or
withstand the force of such figures. Mathematics has ever been the
implacable foe of scientific romances. The constant object of Laplace
was the explanation of the great phenomena of nature according to
inflexible principles of mathematical analysis. No philosopher, no
mathematician, could have guarded himself more cautiously against a
propensity to hasty speculation. No person dreaded more the scientific
errors which cajole the imagination when it passes the boundary of fact,
calculation, and analogy.

Once, and once only, did Laplace launch forward, like Kepler, like
Descartes, like Leibnitz, like Buffon, into the region of conjectures.
But then his conception was nothing less than a complete cosmogony. All
the planets revolve around the sun, from west to east, and in planes
only slightly inclined to each other. The satellites revolve around
their respective primaries in the same direction. Both planets and
satellites, having a rotary motion, turn also upon their axes from west
to east. Finally, the rotation of the sun also is directed from west to
east. Here, then, is an assemblage of forty-three movements, all
operating alike. By the calculus of probabilities, the odds are four
thousand millions to one that this coincidence in direction is not the
effect of accident.

It was Buffon, I think, who first attempted to explain this singular
feature of our solar system. "Wishing, in the explanation of phenomena,
to avoid recourse to causes which are not to be found in nature," the
celebrated academician sought for a physical cause for what is common to
the movements of so many bodies differing as they do in magnitude, in
form, and in their distances from the centre of attraction. He imagined
that he had discovered such a physical cause by making this triple
supposition: a comet fell obliquely upon the sun; it pushed before it a
torrent of fluid matter; this substance, transported to a greater or
less distance from the sun according to its density, formed by
condensation all the known planets. The bold hypothesis is subject to
insurmountable difficulties. I proceed to indicate, in a few words, the
cosmogonic system which Laplace substituted for it.

According to Laplace, the sun was, at a remote epoch, the central
nucleus of an immense nebula, which possessed a very high temperature,
and extended far beyond the region in which Uranus now revolves. No
planet was then in existence. The solar nebula was endowed with a
general movement of rotation in the direction west to east. As it cooled
it could not fail to experience a gradual condensation, and in
consequence to rotate with greater and greater rapidity. If the nebulous
matter extended originally in the plane of its equator, as far as the
limit where the centrifugal force exactly counterbalanced the attraction
of the nucleus, the molecules situate at this limit ought, during the
process of condensation, to separate from the rest of the atmospheric
matter and to form an equatorial zone, a ring, revolving separately and
with its primitive velocity. We may conceive that analogous separations
were effected in the remoter strata of the nebula at different epochs
and at different distances from the nucleus, and that they gave rise to
a succession of distinct rings, all lying in nearly the same plane, and
all endowed with different velocities.

This being once admitted, it is easy to see that the permanent stability
of the rings would have required a regularity of structure throughout
their whole contour, which is very improbable. Each of them,
accordingly, broke in its turn into several masses, which were obviously
endowed with a movement of rotation coinciding in direction with the
common movement of revolution, and which, in consequence of their
fluidity, assumed spheroidal forms. In order, next, that one of those
spheroids may absorb all the others belonging to the same ring, it is
sufficient to suppose it to have a mass greater than that of any other
spheroid of its group.

Each of the planets, while in this vaporous condition to which we have
just alluded, would manifestly have a central nucleus, gradually
increasing in magnitude and mass, and an atmosphere offering, at its
successive limits, phenomena entirely similar to those which the solar
atmosphere, properly so called, had exhibited. We are here
contemplating the birth of satellites and the birth of the ring
of Saturn.

The Nebular Hypothesis, of which I have just given an imperfect sketch,
has for its object to show how a nebula endowed with a general movement
of rotation must eventually transform itself into a very luminous
central nucleus (a sun), and into a series of distinct spheroidal
planets, situate at considerable distances from one another, all
revolving around the central sun, in the direction of the original
movement of the nebula; how these planets ought also to have movements
of rotation in similar directions; how, finally, the satellites, when
any such are formed, must revolve upon their axes and around their
respective primaries, in the direction of rotation of the planets and of
their movement of revolution around the sun.

In all that precedes, attention has been concentrated upon the
'Mécanique Céleste.' The 'Système du Monde' and the 'Théorie Analytique
des Probabilités' also deserve description.

The Exposition of the System of the World is the 'Mécanique Céleste'
divested of that great apparatus of analytical formulae which must be
attentively perused by every astronomer who, to use an expression of
Plato, wishes to know the numbers which govern the physical universe. It
is from this work that persons ignorant of mathematics may obtain
competent knowledge of the methods to which physical astronomy owes its
astonishing progress. Written with a noble simplicity of style, an
exquisite exactness of expression, and a scrupulous accuracy, it is
universally conceded to stand among the noblest monuments of French
literature.... The labors of all ages to persuade truth from the heavens
are there justly, clearly, and profoundly analyzed. Genius presides as
the impartial judge of genius. Throughout his work Laplace remained at
the height of his great mission. It will be read with respect so long as
the torch of science illuminates the world.

The calculus of probabilities, when confined within just limits,
concerns the mathematician, the experimenter, and the statesman. From
the time when Pascal and Fermat established its first principles, it has
rendered most important daily services. This it is which, after
suggesting the best form for statistical tables of population and
mortality, teaches us to deduce from those numbers, so often
misinterpreted, the most precise and useful conclusions. This it is
which alone regulates with equity insurance premiums, pension funds,
annuities, discounts, etc. This it is that has gradually suppressed
lotteries, and other shameful snares cunningly laid for avarice and
ignorance. Laplace has treated these questions with his accustomed
superiority: the 'Analytical Theory of Probabilities' is worthy of the
author of the 'Mécanique Céleste.'

A philosopher whose name is associated with immortal discoveries said to
his too conservative audience, "Bear in mind, gentlemen, that in
questions of science the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble
reasoning of a single individual." Two centuries have passed over these
words of Galileo without lessening their value or impugning their truth.
For this reason, it has been thought better rather to glance briefly at
the work of Laplace than to repeat the eulogies of his admirers.



Arbuthnot's place in literature depends as much on his association with
the wits of his day as on his own satirical and humorous productions.
Many of these have been published in the collections of Swift, Gay,
Pope, and others, and cannot be identified. The task of verifying them
is rendered more difficult by the fact that his son repudiated a
collection claiming to be his 'Miscellaneous Works,' published in 1750.

[Illustration: JOHN ARBUTHNOT]

John Arbuthnot was born in the manse near Arbuthnot Castle,
Kincardineshire, Scotland, April 29th, 1667. He was the son of a Scotch
Episcopal clergyman, who was soon to be dispossessed of his parish by
the Presbyterians in the Revolution of 1688. His children, who shared
his Jacobite sentiments, were forced to leave Scotland; and John, after
finishing his university course at Aberdeen, and taking his medical
degree at St. Andrews, went to London and taught mathematics. He soon
attracted attention by a keen and satirical 'Examination of Dr.
Woodward's Account of the Deluge,' published in 1697. By a fortunate
chance he was called to attend the Prince Consort (Prince George of
Denmark), and in 1705 was made Physician Extraordinary to Queen Anne. If
we may believe Swift, the agreeable Scotchman at once became her
favorite attendant. His position at court was strengthened by his
friendships with the great Tory statesmen.

Arbuthnot's best remembered work is 'The History of John Bull'; not
because many people read or will ever read the book itself, but because
it fixed a typical name and a typical character ineffaceably in the
popular fancy and memory. He is credited with having been the first to
use this famous sobriquet for the English nation; he was certainly the
first to make it universal, and the first to make that burly, choleric,
gross-feeding, hard-drinking, blunt-spoken, rather stupid and decidedly
gullible, but honest and straightforward character one of the stock
types of the world. The book appeared as four separate pamphlets: the
first being entitled 'Law is a Bottomless Pit, Exemplified in the Case
of Lord Strutt, John Bull, Nicholas Frog, and Lewis Baboon, Who Spent
All They Had in a Law Suit'; the second, 'John Bull in His Senses'; the
third, 'John Bull Still in His Senses'; and the fourth, 'Lewis Baboon
Turned Honest, and John Bull Politician.' Published in 1712, these were
at once attributed to Swift. But Pope says, "Dr. Arbuthnot was the sole
writer of 'John Bull'"; and Swift gives us still more conclusive
evidence by writing, "I hope you read 'John Bull.' It was a Scotch
gentleman, a friend of mine, that writ it; but they put it on to me." In
his humorous preface Dr. Arbuthnot says:--

     "When I was first called to the office of historiographer to
     John Bull, he expressed himself to this purpose:--'Sir
     Humphrey Polesworth, I know you are a plain dealer; it is for
     that reason I have chosen you for this important trust; speak
     the truth, and spare not.' That I might fulfill those, his
     honorable intentions, I obtained leave to repair to and
     attend him in his most secret retirements; and I put the
     journals of all transactions into a strong box to be opened
     at a fitting occasion, after the manner of the
     historiographers of some Eastern monarchs.... And now, that
     posterity may not be ignorant in what age so excellent a
     history was written (which would otherwise, no doubt, be the
     subject of its inquiries), I think it proper to inform the
     learned of future times that it was compiled when Louis XIV.
     was King of France, and Philip, his grandson, of Spain; when
     England and Holland, in conjunction with the Emperor and the
     allies, entered into a war against these two princes, which
     lasted ten years, under the management of the Duke of
     Marlborough, and was put to a conclusion by the treaty of
     Utrecht under the ministry of the Earl of Oxford, in the year

The characters disguised are: "John Bull," the English; "Nicholas Frog,"
the Dutch; "Lewis Baboon," the French king; "Lord Strutt," the late King
of Spain; "Philip Baboon," the Duke of Anjou; "Esquire South," the King
of Spain; "Humphrey Hocus," the Duke of Marlborough; and "Sir Roger
Bold," the Earl of Oxford. The lawsuit was the War of the Spanish
Succession; John Bull's first wife was the late ministry; and his
second wife the Tory ministry. To explain the allegory further, John
Bull's mother was the Church of England; his sister Peg, the Scotch
nation; and her lover Jack, Presbyterianism.

That so witty a work, so strong in typical freehand character drawing of
permanent validity and remembrance, should be unread and its author
forgotten except by scholars, is too curious a fact not to have a deep
cause in its own character. The cause is not hard to find: it is one of
the books which try to turn the world's current backward, and which the
world dislikes as offending its ideals of progress. Stripped of its
broad humor, its object, rubbed in with no great delicacy of touch, was
to uphold the most extreme and reactionary Toryism of the time, and to
jeer at political liberalism from the ground up. Its theoretic loyalty
is the non-resistant Jacobitism of the Nonjurors, which it is so hard
for us now to distinguish from abject slavishness; though like the
principles of the casuists, one must not confound theory with practice.
It seems the loyalty of a mujik or a Fiji dressed in cultivated modern
clothes, not that of a conceivable cultivated modern community as a
whole; but it would be very Philistine to pour wholesale contempt on a
creed held by so many large minds and souls. It was of course produced
by the experience of what the reverse tenets had brought on,--a long
civil war, years of military despotism, and immense social and moral
disorganization. In 'John Bull,' the fidelity of a subject to a king is
made exactly correspondent, both in theory and practice, with the
fidelity of a wife to her husband and her marriage vows; and an
elaborate parallel is worked out to show that advocating the right of
resistance to a bad king is precisely the same, on grounds of either
logic or Scripture, as advocating the right of adultery toward a bad
husband. This is not even good fooling; and, its local use past and no
longer buoyed by personal liking for the author, the book sinks back
into the limbo of partisan polemics with many worse ones and perhaps
some better ones, dragging its real excellences down with it.

In 1714 the famous Scriblerus Club was organized, having for its members
Pope, Swift, Arbuthnot, Gay, Congreve, Lord Oxford, and Bishop
Atterbury. They agreed to write a series of papers ridiculing, in the
words of Pope, "all the false tastes in learning, under the character of
a man of capacity enough, but that had dipped into every art and
science, but injudiciously in each." The chronicle of this club was
found in 'The Memoirs of the Extraordinary Life, Works, and Discoveries
of Martinus Scriblerus,' which is thought to have been written entirely
by Arbuthnot, and which describes the education of a learned pedant's
son. Its humor may be appreciated by means of the citation given below.
The first book of 'Scriblerus' appeared six years after Arbuthnot's
death, when it was included in the second volume of Alexander Pope's
works (1741). Pope said that from the 'Memoirs of Scriblerus' Swift took
his idea of 'Gulliver'; and the Dean himself writes to Arbuthnot, July
3d, 1714:--

     "To talk of 'Martin' in any hands but Yours is a Folly. You
     every day give better hints than all of us together could do
     in a twelvemonth. And to say the truth, Pope, who first
     thought of the Hint, has no Genius at all to it, in my mind;
     Gay is too young; Parnell has some ideas of it, but is idle;
     I could put together, and lard, and strike out well enough,
     but all that relates to the Sciences must be from you."

Swift's opinion that Arbuthnot "has more wit than we all have, and his
humanity is equal to his wit," seems to have been the universal dictum;
and Pope honored him by publishing a dialogue in the 'Prologue to the
Satires,' known first as 'The Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot,' which contains
many affectionate personal allusions. Aitken says, in his biography:--

     "Arbuthnot's attachment to Swift and Pope was of the most
     intimate nature, and those who knew them best maintained that
     he was their equal at least in gifts. He understood Swift's
     cynicism, and their correspondence shows the unequaled
     sympathy that existed between the two. Gay, Congreve,
     Berkeley, Parnell, were among Arbuthnot's constant friends,
     and all of them were indebted to him for kindnesses freely
     rendered. He was on terms of intimacy with Bolingbroke and
     Oxford, Chesterfield, Peterborough, and Pulteney; and among
     the ladies with whom he mixed were Lady Mary Wortley Montagu,
     Lady Betty Germain, Mrs. Howard, Lady Masham, and Mrs. Martha
     Blount. He was, too, the trusted friend and physician of
     Queen Anne. Most of the eminent men of science of the time,
     including some who were opposed to him in politics, were in
     frequent intercourse with him; and it is pleasant to know
     that at least one of the greatest of the wits who were most
     closely allied to the Whig party--Addison--had friendly
     relations with him."

From the letters of Lord Chesterfield we learn that

     "His imagination was almost inexhaustible, and whatever
     subject he treated, or was consulted upon, he immediately
     overflowed with all that it could possibly produce. It was at
     anybody's service, for as soon as he was exonerated he did
     not care what became of it; insomuch that his sons, when
     young, have frequently made kites of his scattered papers of
     hints, which would have furnished good matter for folios. Not
     being in the least jealous of his fame as an author, he would
     neither take the time nor the trouble of separating the best
     from the worst; he worked out the whole mine, which
     afterward, in the hands of skillful refiners, produced a rich
     vein of ore. As his imagination was always at work, he was
     frequently absent and inattentive in company, which made him
     both say and do a thousand inoffensive absurdities; but
     which, far from being provoking, as they commonly are,
     supplied new matter for conversation, and occasioned wit both
     in himself and others."

Speaking to Boswell of the writers of Queen Anne's time, Dr. Johnson
said, "I think Dr. Arbuthnot the first man among them. He was the most
universal genius, being an excellent physician, a man of deep learning,
and a man of much humor." He did not, however, think much of the
'Scriblerus' papers, and said they were forgotten because "no man would
be the wiser, better, or merrier for remembering them"; which is hard
measure for the wit and divertingness of some of the travesties. Cowper,
reviewing Johnson's 'Lives of the Poets,' declared that "one might
search these eight volumes with a candle to find a man, and not find
one, unless perhaps Arbuthnot were he." Thackeray, too, called him "one
of the wisest, wittiest, most accomplished, gentlest of mankind."

Thus fortunate in his sunny spirit, in his genius for friendship, in his
professional eminence, and in his literary capacity, Dr. Arbuthnot saw
his life flow smoothly to its close. He died in London on February 27th,
1735, at the age of sixty eight, still working and playing with youthful
ardor, and still surrounded with all the good things of life.


From 'The History of John Bull,' Part I.

For the better understanding the following history, the reader ought to
know that Bull, in the main, was an honest, plain-dealing fellow,
choleric, bold, and of a very unconstant temper; he dreaded not old
Lewis either at backsword, single falchion, or cudgel play; but then he
was very apt to quarrel with his best friends, especially if they
pretended to govern him. If you flattered him, you might lead him like a
child. John's temper depended very much upon the air; his spirits rose
and fell with the weather-glass. John was quick and understood his
business very well; but no man alive was more careless in looking into
his accounts, or more cheated by partners, apprentices, and servants.
This was occasioned by his being a boon companion, loving his bottle and
his diversion; for, to say truth, no man kept a better house than John,
nor spent his money more generously. By plain and fair dealing John had
acquired some plums, and might have kept them, had it not been for his
unhappy lawsuit.

Nic. Frog was a cunning, sly fellow, quite the reverse of John in many
particulars; covetous, frugal, minded domestic affairs, would pinch his
belly to save his pocket, never lost a farthing by careless servants or
bad debtors. He did not care much for any sort of diversion, except
tricks of High German artists and legerdemain. No man exceeded Nic. in
these; yet it must be owned that Nic. was a fair dealer, and in that way
acquired immense riches.

Hocus was an old, cunning attorney; and though this was the first
considerable suit that ever he was engaged in, he showed himself
superior in address to most of his profession. He kept always good
clerks, he loved money, was smooth-tongued, gave good words, and seldom
lost his temper. He was not worse than an infidel, for he provided
plentifully for his family, but he loved himself better than them all.
The neighbors reported that he was henpecked, which was impossible, by
such a mild-spirited woman as his wife was.

       *       *       *       *       *


From the 'History of John Bull,' Part I.

John Bull, otherwise a good-natured man, was very hard-hearted to his
sister Peg, chiefly from an aversion he had conceived in his infancy.
While he flourished, kept a warm house, and drove a plentiful trade,
poor Peg was forced to go hawking and peddling about the streets selling
knives, scissors, and shoe-buckles; now and then carried a basket of
fish to the market; sewed, spun, and knit for a livelihood till her
fingers' ends were sore: and when she could not get bread for her
family, she was forced to hire them out at journey-work to her
neighbors. Yet in these, her poor circumstances, she still preserved the
air and mien of a gentlewoman--a certain decent pride that extorted
respect from the haughtiest of her neighbors. When she came in to any
full assembly, she would not yield the _pas_ to the best of them. If one
asked her, "Are you not related to John Bull?" "Yes," says she, "he has
the honor to be my brother." So Peg's affairs went till all the
relations cried out shame upon John for his barbarous usage of his own
flesh and blood; that it was an easy matter for him to put her in a
creditable way of living, not only without hurt, but with advantage to
himself, seeing she was an industrious person, and might be serviceable
to him in his way of business. "Hang her, jade," quoth John, "I can't
endure her as long as she keeps that rascal Jack's company." They told
him the way to reclaim her was to take her into his house; that by
conversation the childish humors of their younger days might be
worn out.

These arguments were enforced by a certain incident. It happened that
John was at that time about making his will and entailing his estate,
the very same in which Nic. Frog is named executor. Now, his sister
Peg's name being in the entail, he could not make a thorough settlement
without her consent. There was indeed a malicious story went about, as
if John's last wife had fallen in love with Jack as he was eating
custard on horseback; that she persuaded John to take his sister into
the house the better to drive on the intrigue with Jack, concluding he
would follow his mistress Peg. All I can infer from this story is that
when one has got a bad character in the world, people will report and
believe anything of them, true or false. But to return to my story.

When Peg received John's message she huffed and stormed:--"My brother
John," quoth she, "is grown wondrous kind-hearted all of a sudden, but I
meikle doubt whether it be not mair for their own conveniency than for
my good; he draws up his writs and his deeds, forsooth, and I must set
my hand to them, unsight, unseen. I like the young man he has settled
upon well enough, but I think I ought to have a valuable consideration
for my consent. He wants my poor little farm because it makes a nook in
his park wall. You may e'en tell him he has mair than he makes good use
of; he gangs up and down drinking, roaring, and quarreling, through all
the country markets, making foolish bargains in his cups, which he
repents when he is sober; like a thriftless wretch, spending the goods
and gear that his forefathers won with the sweat of their brows; light
come, light go; he cares not a farthing. But why should I stand surety
for his contracts? The little I have is free, and I can call it my
own--hame's hame, let it be never so hamely. I ken well enough, he could
never abide me, and when he has his ends he'll e'en use me as he did
before. I'm sure I shall be treated like a poor drudge--I shall be set
to tend the bairns, darn the hose, and mend the linen. Then there's no
living with that old carline, his mother; she rails at Jack, and Jack's
an honester man than any of her kin: I shall be plagued with her spells
and her Paternosters, and silly Old World ceremonies; I mun never pare
my nails on a Friday, nor begin a journey on Childermas Day; and I mun
stand becking and binging as I gang out and into the hall. Tell him he
may e'en gang his get; I'll have nothing to do with him; I'll stay like
the poor country mouse, in my awn habitation."

So Peg talked; but for all that, by the interposition of good friends,
and by many a bonny thing that was sent, and many more that were
promised Peg, the matter was concluded, and Peg taken into the house
upon certain articles [the Act of Toleration is referred to]; one of
which was that she might have the freedom of Jack's conversation, and
might take him for better or for worse if she pleased; provided always
he did not come into the house at unseasonable hours and disturb the
rest of the old woman, John's mother.


From 'Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus'

Mrs. Scriblerus considered it was now time to instruct him in the
fundamentals of religion, and to that end took no small pains in
teaching him his catechism. But Cornelius looked upon this as a tedious
way of instruction, and therefore employed his head to find out more
pleasing methods, the better to induce him to be fond of learning. He
would frequently carry him to the puppet-show of the creation of the
world, where the child, with exceeding delight, gained a notion of the
history of the Bible. His first rudiments in profane history were
acquired by seeing of raree-shows, where he was brought acquainted with
all the princes of Europe. In short, the old gentleman so contrived it
to make everything contribute to the improvement of his knowledge, even
to his very dress. He invented for him a geographical suit of clothes,
which might give him some hints of that science, and likewise some
knowledge of the commerce of different nations. He had a French hat with
an African feather, Holland shirts, Flanders lace, English clothes lined
with Indian silk, his gloves were Italian, and his shoes were Spanish:
he was made to observe this, and daily catechized thereupon, which his
father was wont to call "traveling at home." He never gave him a fig or
an orange but he obliged him to give an account from what country it
came. In natural history he was much assisted by his curiosity in
sign-posts; insomuch that he hath often confessed he owed to them the
knowledge of many creatures which he never found since in any author,
such as white lions, golden dragons, etc. He once thought the same of
green men, but had since found them mentioned by Kercherus, and verified
in the history of William of Newburg.

His disposition to the mathematics was discovered very early, by his
drawing parallel lines on his bread and butter, and intersecting them at
equal angles, so as to form the whole superficies into squares. But in
the midst of all these improvements a stop was put to his learning the
alphabet, nor would he let him proceed to the letter D, till he could
truly and distinctly pronounce C in the ancient manner, at which the
child unhappily boggled for near three months. He was also obliged to
delay his learning to write, having turned away the writing-master
because he knew nothing of Fabius's waxen tables.

Cornelius having read and seriously weighed the methods by which the
famous Montaigne was educated, and resolving in some degree to exceed
them, resolved he should speak and learn nothing but the learned
languages, and especially the Greek; in which he constantly eat and
drank, according to Homer. But what most conduced to his easy attainment
of this language was his love of gingerbread: which his father
observing, caused to be stamped with the letters of the Greek alphabet;
and the child the very first day eat as far as Iota. By his particular
application to this language above the rest, he attained so great a
proficiency therein, that Gronovius ingenuously confesses he durst not
confer with this child in Greek at eight years old; and at fourteen he
composed a tragedy in the same language, as the younger Pliny had done
before him.

He learned the Oriental languages of Erpenius, who resided some time
with his father for that purpose. He had so early a relish for the
Eastern way of writing, that even at this time he composed (in imitation
of it) 'A Thousand and One Arabian Tales,' and also the 'Persian Tales,'
which have been since translated into several languages, and lately into
our own with particular elegance by Mr. Ambrose Philips. In this work of
his childhood he was not a little assisted by the historical traditions
of his nurse.


The legend of the Argonauts relates to the story of a band of heroes who
sailed from Thessaly to Æa, the region of the Sun-god on the remotest
shore of the Black Sea, in quest of a Golden Fleece. The ship Argo bore
the heroes, under the command of Jason, to whom the task had been
assigned by his uncle Pelias. Pelias was the usurper of his nephew's
throne; and for Jason, on his coming to man's estate, he devised the
perilous adventure of fetching the golden fleece of the Speaking Ram
which many years before had carried Phrixus to Æa, or Colchis. Fifty of
the most distinguished Grecian heroes came to Jason's aid, while Argus,
the son of Phrixus, under the guidance of Athena, built the ship,
inserting in the prow, for prophetic advice and furtherance, a piece of
the famous talking oak of Dodona. Tiphys was the steersman, and Orpheus
joined the crew to enliven the weariness of their sea-life with
his harp.

The heroes came first to Lemnos, where the women had risen in revolt and
slain fathers, brothers, and husbands. Here the voyagers lingered almost
a year; but at last, having taken leave, they came to the southern coast
of Propontis, where the Doliones dwelt under King Cyzicus. Their kind
entertainment among this people was marred by ill-fate; for having
weighed anchor in the night, they were driven back by a storm, and being
mistaken for foes, were fiercely attacked. Cyzicus himself fell by the
hand of Jason. They next touched at the country of the Bebrycians, where
the hero Pollux overcame the king in a boxing-match and bound him to a
tree; and thence to Salmydessus, to consult the soothsayer Phineus. In
gratitude for their freeing him from the Harpies, who, as often as his
table was set, descended out of the clouds upon his food and defiled it,
the prophet directed them safe to Colchis. The heroes rowing with might,
thus passed the Symplegades, two cliffs which opened and shut with such
swift violence that a bird could scarce fly through the passage. The
rocks were held apart with the help of Athena, and from that day they
became fixed and harmless. Further on, they came in sight of Mount
Caucasus, saw the eagle which preyed on the vitals of Prometheus, and
heard the sufferer's woeful cries. So their journey was accomplished,
and they arrived at Æa, and the palace of King Æetes.

When the king heard the errand of the heroes he was moved against them,
and refused to give up the fleece except on terms which he thought
Jason durst not comply with. Two bulls, snorting fire, with feet of
brass, Jason was required to yoke, and with them plow a field and sow
the land with dragon's teeth. Here the heavenly powers came to the
hero's aid, and Hera and Athena prayed Aphrodite to send the shaft of
Cupid upon Medea, the youthful daughter of the king. Thus it came about
that Medea conceived a great passion for the young hero, and with the
magic which she knew she made for him a salve. The salve rendered his
body invulnerable. He yoked the bulls, and ploughed the field, and sowed
the dragon's teeth. A crop of armed men sprang from the sowing, but
Jason, prepared for this marvel by Medea, threw among them a stone which
she had given him, whereupon they fell upon and slew one another.

But Æetes still refused to fetch the fleece, plotting secretly to burn
the Argo and kill the heroic Argonauts. Medea came to their succor, and
by her black art lulled to sleep the dragon which guarded the fleece.
They seized the pelt, boarded the Argo, and sailed away, taking Medea
with them. When her father followed in pursuit, in the madness of her
love for Jason she slew her brother whom she had with her, and strewed
the fragments of his body upon the wave. The king stopped to recover
them and give them burial, and thus the Argonauts escaped. But the anger
of the gods at this horrible murder led the voyagers in expiation a
wearisome way homeward. For they sailed through the waters of the
Adriatic, the Nile, the circumfluous stream of the earth, passed Scylla
and Charybdis and the Island of the Sun, to Crete and Ægina and many
lands, before the Argo rode once more in Thessalian waters.

The legend is one of the oldest and most familiar tales of Greece.
Whether it is all poetic myth, or had a certain foundation in fact, it
is impossible now to say. The date, the geography, the heroes, are
mythical; and as in the Homeric poems, the supernatural and seeming
historical are so blended that the union is indissoluble by any analysis
yet found. The theme has touched the imagination of poets from the time
of Apollonius Rhodius, who wrote the 'Argonautica' and went to
Alexandria B.C. 194 to take care of the great library there, to William
Morris, who published his 'Life and Death of Jason' in 1867. Mr.
Morris's version of the contest of Orpheus with the Sirens is given to
illustrate the reality of the old legends to the Greeks themselves.
Jason's later life, his putting away of Medea, his marriage with Glauce,
and the revenge of the deserted princess, furnish the story of the
greatest of the plays of Euripides.


          From 'The Life and Death of Jason'

     _The Sirens_:
          Oh, happy seafarers are ye,
            And surely all your ills are past,
          And toil upon the land and sea,
            Since ye are brought to us at last.

          To you the fashion of the world,
            Wide lands laid waste, fair cities burned,
          And plagues, and kings from kingdoms hurled,
            Are naught, since hither ye have turned.

          For as upon this beach we stand,
            And o'er our heads the sea-fowl flit,
          Our eyes behold a glorious land,
            And soon shall ye be kings of it.

          A little more, a little more,
            O carriers of the Golden Fleece,
          A little labor with the oar,
           Before we reach the land of Greece.

          E'en now perchance faint rumors reach
            Men's ears of this our victory,
          And draw them down unto the beach
            To gaze across the empty sea.

          But since the longed-for day is nigh,
            And scarce a god could stay us now,
          Why do ye hang your heads and sigh,
            And still go slower and more slow?

     _The Sirens_:
          Ah, had ye chanced to reach the home
            Your fond desires were set upon,
          Into what troubles had ye come!
            What barren victory had ye won!

          But now, but now, when ye have lain
            Asleep with us a little while
          Beneath the washing of the main,
            How calm shall be your waking smile!

          For ye shall smile to think of life
            That knows no troublous change or fear,
          No unavailing bitter strife,
            That ere its time brings trouble near.

          Is there some murmur in your ears,
            That all that we have done is naught,
          And nothing ends our cares and fears,
            Till the last fear on us is brought?

     _The Sirens_:
          Alas! and will ye stop your ears,
            In vain desire to do aught,
          And wish to live 'mid cares and fears,
            Until the last fear makes you naught?

          Is not the May-time now on earth,
            When close against the city wall
          The folk are singing in their mirth,
            While on their heads the May flowers fall?

     _The Sirens_:
          Yes, May is come, and its sweet breath
            Shall well-nigh make you weep to-day,
          And pensive with swift-coming death
            Shall ye be satiate of the May.

          Shall not July bring fresh delight,
            As underneath green trees ye sit,
          And o'er some damsel's body white,
            The noon-tide shadows change and flit?

     _The Sirens_:
          No new delight July shall bring,
            But ancient fear and fresh desire;
          And spite of every lovely thing,
            Of July surely shall ye tire.

          And now when August comes on thee,
            And 'mid the golden sea of corn
          The merry reapers thou mayst see,
            Wilt thou still think the earth forlorn?

     _The Sirens:_
          Set flowers on thy short-lived head,
            And in thine heart forgetfulness
          Of man's hard toil, and scanty bread,
            And weary of those days no less.

          Or wilt thou climb the sunny hill,
            In the October afternoon,
          To watch the purple earth's blood fill
            The gray vat to the maiden's tune?

     _The Sirens_:
          When thou beginnest to grow old,
            Bring back remembrance of thy bliss
          With that the shining cup doth hold,
            And weary helplessly of this.

          Or pleasureless shall we pass by
            The long cold night and leaden day,
          That song and tale and minstrelsy
            Shall make as merry as the May?

     _The Sirens:_
          List then, to-night, to some old tale
            Until the tears o'erflow thine eyes;
          But what shall all these things avail,
            When sad to-morrow comes and dies?

          And when the world is born again,
            And with some fair love, side by side,
          Thou wanderest 'twixt the sun and rain,
            In that fresh love-begetting tide;

          Then, when the world is born again,
            And the sweet year before thee lies,
          Shall thy heart think of coming pain,
            Or vex itself with memories?

     _The Sirens:_
          Ah! then the world is born again
            With burning love unsatisfied,
          And new desires fond and vain,
            And weary days from tide to tide.

          Ah! when the world is born again,
             A little day is soon gone by,
          When thou, unmoved by sun or rain,
             Within a cold straight house shall lie.

     Therewith they ceased awhile, as languidly
     The head of Argo fell off toward the sea,
     And through the water she began to go;
     For from the land a fitful wind did blow,
     That, dallying with the many-colored sail,
     Would sometimes swell it out and sometimes fail,
     As nigh the east side of the bay they drew;
     Then o'er the waves again the music flew.

     _The Sirens:_
          Think not of pleasure short and vain,
          Wherewith, 'mid days of toil and pain,
          With sick and sinking hearts ye strive
          To cheat yourselves that ye may live
          With cold death ever close at hand.
          Think rather of a peaceful land,
          The changeless land where ye may be
          Roofed over by the changeful sea.

          And is the fair town nothing then,
          The coming of the wandering men
          With that long talked-of thing and strange.
          And news of how the kingdoms change,
          The pointed hands, and wondering
          At doers of a desperate thing?
          Push on, for surely this shall be
          Across a narrow strip of sea.

     _The Sirens:_
          Alas! poor souls and timorous,
          Will ye draw nigh to gaze at us
          And see if we are fair indeed?
          For such as we shall be your meed,
          There, where our hearts would have you go.
          And where can the earth-dwellers show
          In any land such loveliness
          As that wherewith your eyes we bless,
          O wanderers of the Minyæ,
          Worn toilers over land and sea?

          Fair as the lightning 'thwart the sky,
          As sun-dyed snow upon the high
          Untrodden heaps of threatening stone
          The eagle looks upon alone,
          Oh, fair as the doomed victim's wreath,
          Oh, fair as deadly sleep and death,
          What will ye with them, earthly men,
          To mate your threescore years and ten?
          Toil rather, suffer and be free,
          Betwixt the green earth and the sea.

     _The Sirens:_
          If ye be bold with us to go,
          Things such as happy dreams may show
          Shall your once heavy lids behold
          About our palaces of gold;
          Where waters 'neath the waters run,
          And from o'erhead a harmless sun
          Gleams through the woods of chrysolite.
          There gardens fairer to the sight
          Than those of the Phæacian king
          Shall ye behold; and, wondering,
          Gaze on the sea-born fruit and flowers,
          And thornless and unchanging bowers,
          Whereof the May-time knoweth naught.

          So to the pillared house being brought,
          Poor souls, ye shall not be alone,
          For o'er the floors of pale blue stone
          All day such feet as ours shall pass,
          And 'twixt the glimmering walls of glass,
          Such bodies garlanded with gold,
          So faint, so fair, shall ye behold,
          And clean forget the treachery
          Of changing earth and tumbling sea.

          Oh the sweet valley of deep grass,
          Where through the summer stream doth pass,
          In chain of shadow, and still pool,
          From misty morn to evening cool;
          Where the black ivy creeps and twines
          O'er the dark-armed, red-trunkèd pines.
          Whence clattering the pigeon flits,
          Or brooding o'er her thin eggs sits,
          And every hollow of the hills
          With echoing song the mavis fills.
          There by the stream, all unafraid,
          Shall stand the happy shepherd maid,
          Alone in first of sunlit hours;
          Behind her, on the dewy flowers,
          Her homespun woolen raiment lies,
          And her white limbs and sweet gray eyes
          Shine from the calm green pool and deep,
          While round about the swallows sweep,
          Not silent; and would God that we,
          Like them, were landed from the sea.

     _The Sirens:_
          Shall we not rise with you at night,
          Up through the shimmering green twilight,
          That maketh there our changeless day,
          Then going through the moonlight gray,
          Shall we not sit upon these sands,
          To think upon the troublous lands
          Long left behind, where once ye were,
          When every day brought change and fear!
          There, with white arms about you twined,
          And shuddering somewhat at the wind
          That ye rejoiced erewhile to meet,
          Be happy, while old stories sweet,
          Half understood, float round your ears,
          And fill your eyes with happy tears.
          Ah! while we sing unto you there,
          As now we sing, with yellow hair
          Blown round about these pearly limbs,
          While underneath the gray sky swims
          The light shell-sailor of the waves,
          And to our song, from sea-filled caves
          Booms out an echoing harmony,
          Shall ye not love the peaceful sea?

          Nigh the vine-covered hillocks green,
          In days agone, have I not seen
          The brown-clad maidens amorous,
          Below the long rose-trellised house,
          Dance to the querulous pipe and shrill,
          When the gray shadow of the hill
          Was lengthening at the end of day?
          Not shadowy or pale were they,
          But limbed like those who 'twixt the trees
          Follow the swift of goddesses.
          Sunburnt they are somewhat, indeed,
          To where the rough brown woolen weed
          Is drawn across their bosoms sweet,
          Or cast from off their dancing feet;
          But yet the stars, the moonlight gray,
          The water wan, the dawn of day,
          Can see their bodies fair and white
          As hers, who once, for man's delight,
          Before the world grew hard and old,
          Came o'er the bitter sea and cold;
          And surely those that met me there
          Her handmaidens and subjects were;
          And shame-faced, half-repressed desire
          Had lit their glorious eyes with fire,
          That maddens eager hearts of men.
          Oh, would that I were with them when
          The risen moon is gathering light,
          And yellow from the homestead white
          The windows gleam; but verily
          This waits us o'er a little sea.

     _The Sirens:_
          Come to the land where none grows old,
          And none is rash or over-bold
          Nor any noise there is or war,
          Or rumor from wild lands afar,
          Or plagues, or birth and death of kings;
          No vain desire of unknown things
          Shall vex you there, no hope or fear
          Of that which never draweth near;
          But in that lovely land and still
          Ye may remember what ye will,
          And what ye will, forget for aye.
          So while the kingdoms pass away,
          Ye sea-beat hardened toilers erst,
          Unresting, for vain fame athirst,
          Shall be at peace for evermore,
          With hearts fulfilled of Godlike lore,
          And calm, unwavering Godlike love,
          No lapse of time can turn or move.
          There, ages after your fair fleece
          Is clean forgotten, yea, and Greece
          Is no more counted glorious,
          Alone with us, alone with us,
          Alone with us, dwell happily,
          Beneath our trembling roof of sea.

          Ah! do ye weary of the strife,
          And long to change this eager life
          For shadowy and dull hopelessness,
          Thinking indeed to gain no less
          Than this, to die, and not to die,
          To be as if ye ne'er had been,
          Yet keep your memory fresh and green,
          To have no thought of good or ill,
          Yet keep some thrilling pleasure still?
          Oh, idle dream! Ah, verily
          If it shall happen unto me
          That I have thought of anything,
          When o'er my bones the sea-fowl sing,
          And I lie dead, how shall I pine
          For those fresh joys that once were mine,
          On this green fount of joy and mirth,
          The ever young and glorious earth;
          Then, helpless, shall I call to mind
          Thoughts of the flower-scented wind,
          The dew, the gentle rain at night,
          The wonder-working snow and white,
          The song of birds, the water's fall,
          The sun that maketh bliss of all;
          Yea, this our toil and victory,
          The tyrannous and conquered sea.

     _The Sirens_:
          Ah, will ye go, and whither then
            Will ye go from us, soon to die,
          To fill your threescore years and ten
            With many an unnamed misery?

          And this the wretchedest of all,
            That when upon your lonely eyes
          The last faint heaviness shall fall,
            Ye shall bethink you of our cries.
          Come back, nor, grown old, seek in vain
            To hear us sing across the sea;
          Come back, come back, come back again,
            Come back, O fearful Minyæ!

          Ah, once again, ah, once again,
            The black prow plunges through the sea;
          Nor yet shall all your toil be vain,
            Nor ye forget, O Minyæ!




Among the smaller principalities of Italy during the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries, none was more brilliant than the court of Ferrara,
and none more intimately connected with the literature of the times.
Here, on September 8th, 1474, was born Ludovico Ariosto, the great poet
of the Renaissance. Here, like Boiardo before him and Tasso after him,
he lived and wrote; and it was to the family of Este that he dedicated
that poem in which are seen, as in a mirror, the gay life, the
intellectual brilliancy, and the sensuous love for beauty which mark the
age. At seventeen he began the study of the law, which he soon abandoned
for the charms of letters. Most of his life was passed in the service
first of Cardinal d'Este, and afterward of the Duke of Ferrara. But the
courtier never overcame the poet, who is said to have begun the famous
'Orlando Furioso' at the age of thirty, and never to have ceased the
effort to improve it.

The literary activity of Ariosto showed itself in the composition of
comedies and satires, as well as in that of his immortal epic. The
comedies were written for the court theatre of Ferrara, to which he
seems to have had some such relation as that of Goethe to the theatre at
Weimar. The later comedies are much better than the early ones, which
are but little more than translations from Plautus and Terence. In
general, however, the efforts of Ariosto in this direction are far less
important than the 'Orlando' or the 'Satires.' At the first appearance
of his plays they were enormously successful, and the poet was hailed as
a great dramatic genius. But these comedies are interesting to-day
chiefly from the fact that Ariosto was one of the very first of the
writers of modern comedy, and was the leader of that movement in Italy
and France which prepared the way for Molière.

Of more importance than the comedies, and second only in interest to the
'Orlando' are the 'Satires' seven in number, the first written in 1517
and the last in 1531, thus representing the maturer life of the poet.
Nearly everything we know of Ariosto's character is taken from this
source. He reveals himself in them as a man who excites neither our
highest admiration nor our contempt. He was not born to be a statesman,
nor a courtier, nor a man of affairs; and his life as ambassador of
Cardinal Ippolito, and as captain of Garafagno, was not at all to his
liking. His one longing through all the busy years of his life was for a
quiet home, where he could live in liberty and enjoy the comforts of
cultured leisure. A love of independence was a marked trait of his
character, and it must often have galled him to play the part he did at
the court of Ferrara. As a satirist he was no Juvenal or Persius. He was
not stirred to profound indignation by the evils about him, of which
there were enough in that brilliant but corrupt age. He discussed in
easy, familiar style, the foibles of his fellow-men, and especially the
events of his own life and the traits of his own character.

The same views of life, the same tolerant temper, which are seen in the
'Satires,' form an important part of the 'Orlando Furioso,' where they
take the form of little dissertations, introduced at the beginning of a
canto, or scattered through the body of the poem. These reflections are
full of practical sense and wisdom, and remind us of the familiar
conversation with the reader which forms so great a charm in
Thackeray's novels.

In the Italian Renaissance there is a curious mingling of classical and
romantic influences, and the generation which gave itself up
passionately to the study of Greek and Latin still read with delight the
stories of the Paladins of Charlemagne and the Knights of the Round
Table. What Sir Thomas Malory had done in English prose, Boiardo did in
Latin poetry. When Ariosto entered the service of Cardinal Ippolito,
every one was reading the 'Orlando Innamorato,' and the young poet soon
fell under the charm of these stories; so that when the inward impulse
which all great poets feel toward the work of creation came to him, he
took the material already at hand and continued the story of 'Orlando.'
With a certain skill and inventiveness, Boiardo had mingled together the
epic cycles of Arthur and Charlemagne. He had shown the Saracen host
under King Agramante driving the army of Charlemagne before them, until
the Christians had finally been shut up within the walls of Paris. It
was at this critical moment in his poem that Boiardo died. Ariosto
took up the story where he had left it, and carried it on until the
final defeat of Agramante, and his death at the hands of Orlando in the
desert island.

[Illustration: LODOVICO ARIOSTO.]

But we must not think that the 'Orlando Furioso' has one definite plot.
At first reading we are confused by the multiplicity of incident, by the
constant change of scene, and by the breaking off of one story to make
place for another. In a single canto the scene changes from France to
Africa, and by means of winged horses tremendous distances are traveled
over in a day. On closer examination we find that this confusion is only
apparent. The poet himself is never confused, but with sure hand he
manipulates the many-colored threads which are wrought into the fabric
of the poem. The war between the Saracens and the Christians is a sort
of background or stage; a rallying point for the characters. In reality
it attracts but slightly our attention or interest. Again, Orlando's
love for Angelica, and his madness,--although the latter gave the title
to the book, and both afford some of the finest episodes,--have no
organic connection with the whole. The real subject, if any there be, is
the loves of Ruggiero and Bradamante. These are the supposed ancestors
of the house of Este, and it is with their final union, after many
vicissitudes, that the poem ends.

But the real purpose of Ariosto was to amuse the reader by countless
stories of romantic adventure. It was not as a great creative genius, as
the inventor of new characters, as the earnest and philosophical
reformer, that he appears to mankind, but as the supreme artist. Ariosto
represents in its highest development that love for form, that
perfection of style, which is characteristic of the Latin races as
distinguished from the Teutonic. It is this that makes the 'Orlando
Furioso' the great epic of the Renaissance, and that caused Galileo to
bestow upon the poet the epithet "divine."

For nearly thirty years Ariosto changed and polished these lines, so
that the edition of 1532 is quite different from that of 1516. The
stanzas in which the poem is written are smooth and musical, the
language is so chosen as always to express the exact shade of thought,
the interest never flags. What seems the arbitrary breaking off of a
story before its close is really the art of the poet; for he knows, were
each episode to be told by itself, we should have only a string of
_novelle_, and not the picture he desired to paint,--that of the world
of chivalry, with its knights-errant in search of adventures, its
damsels in distress, its beautiful gardens and lordly palaces, its
hermits and magicians, its hippogriffs and dragons, and all the
paraphernalia of magic art.

Ariosto's treatment of chivalry is peculiar to himself. Spenser in the
sixteenth century, and Lord Tennyson in our own day, pictured its
virtues and noble aspirations. In his immortal 'Don Quixote,' Cervantes
held its extravagances up to ridicule. In Ariosto's day no one believed
any longer in the heroes or the ideals of chivalry, nor did the poet
himself; hence there is an air of unreality about the poem. The figures
that pass before us, although they have certain characteristics of their
own, are not real beings, but those that dwell in a land of fancy. As
the poet tells these stories of a bygone age, a smile of irony plays
upon his face; he cannot take them seriously; and while he never goes so
far as to turn into ridicule the ideals of chivalry, yet, in such
episodes as the prodigious exploits of Rodomonte within the walls of
Paris, and the voyage of Astolfo to the moon, he does approach
dangerously near to the burlesque.

We are not inspired by large and noble thoughts in reading the 'Orlando
Furioso.' We are not deeply stirred by pity or terror. No lofty
principles are inculcated. Even the pathetic scenes, such as the death
of Zerbino and Isabella, stir no real emotion in us, but we experience a
sense of the artistic effect of a poetic death.

It is not often, in these days of the making of many books of which
there is no end, that one has time to read a poem which is longer than
the 'Iliad' and the 'Odyssey' together. But there is a compelling charm
about the 'Orlando,' and he who sits down to read it with serious
purpose will soon find himself under the spell of an attraction which
comes from unflagging interest and from perfection of style and
construction. No translation can convey an adequate sense of this beauty
of color and form; but the versions of William Stewart Rose, here cited,
suggest the energy, invention, and intensity of the epic.

In 1532 Ariosto published his final edition of the poem, now enlarged to
forty-six cantos, and retouched from beginning to end. He died not long
afterward, in 1533, and was buried in the church of San Benedetto, where
a magnificent monument marks his resting-place.

[Illustration: Signature L. OSCAR KUHNS]


From 'Orlando Furioso,' Cantos 18 and 19

     Two Moors among the Paynim army were,
       From stock obscure in Ptolomita grown;
     Of whom the story, an example rare
       Of constant love, is worthy to be known.
     Medore and Cloridane were named the pair;
       Who, whether Fortune pleased to smile or frown,
     Served Dardinello with fidelity,
     And late with him to France had crost the sea.

     Of nimble frame and strong was Cloridane,
       Throughout his life a follower of the chase.
     A cheek of white, suffused with crimson grain,
       Medoro had, in youth, a pleasing grace;
     Nor bound on that emprize, 'mid all the train,
       Was there a fairer or more jocund face.
     Crisp hair he had of gold, and jet-black eyes;
     And seemed an angel lighted from the skies.

     These two were posted on a rampart's height,
       With more to guard the encampment from surprise,
     When 'mid the equal intervals, at night,
       Medoro gazed on heaven with sleepy eyes.
     In all his talk, the stripling, woeful wight,
       Here cannot choose, but of his lord devise,
     The royal Dardinel; and evermore
     Him left unhonored on the field, deplore.

     Then, turning to his mate, cries, "Cloridane,
       I cannot tell thee what a cause of woe
     It is to me, my lord upon the plain
       Should lie, unworthy food for wolf or crow!
     Thinking how still to me he was humane,
       Meseems, if in his honor I forego
     This life of mine, for favors so immense
     I shall but make a feeble recompense.

     "That he may not lack sepulture, will I
       Go forth, and seek him out among the slain;
     And haply God may will that none shall spy
       Where Charles's camp lies hushed. Do thou remain;
     That, if my death be written in the sky,
       Thou may'st the deed be able to explain.
     So that if Fortune foil so far a feat,
     The world, through Fame, my loving heart may weet."

     Amazed was Cloridane a child should show
       Such heart, such love, and such fair loyalty;
     And fain would make the youth his thought forego,
       Whom he held passing dear: but fruitlessly
     Would move his steadfast purpose; for such woe
       Will neither comforted nor altered be.
     Medoro is disposed to meet his doom,
     Or to inclose his master in the tomb.

     Seeing that naught would bend him, naught would move,
       "I too will go," was Cloridane's reply:
     "In such a glorious act myself will prove;
       As well such famous death I covet, I.
     What other thing is left me, here above,
       Deprived of thee, Medoro mine? To die
     With thee in arms is better, on the plain,
     Than afterwards of grief, shouldst thou be slain."

     And thus resolved, disposing in their place
       Their guard's relief, depart the youthful pair,
     Leave fosse and palisade, and in small space
       Are among ours, who watch with little care;
     Who, for they little fear the Paynim race,
       Slumber with fires extinguished everywhere.
     'Mid carriages and arms they lie supine,
     Up to the eyes immersed in sleep and wine.

     A moment Cloridano stopt, and cried,
       "Not to be lost are opportunities.
     This troop, by whom my master's blood was shed,
       Medoro, ought not I to sacrifice?
     Do thou, lest any one this way be led,
       Watch everywhere about, with ears and eyes;
     For a wide way, amid the hostile horde,
     I offer here to make thee with my sword."

     So said he, and his talk cut quickly short,
       Coming where learned Alpheus slumbered nigh;
     Who had the year before sought Charles's court,
       In med'cine, magic, and astrology
     Well versed: but now in art found small support,
       Or rather found that it was all a lie.
     He had foreseen that he his long-drawn life
     Should finish on the bosom of his wife.

     And now the Saracen with wary view
       Had pierced his weasand with the pointed sword.
     Four others he near that Diviner slew,
       Nor gave the wretches time to say a word.
     Sir Turpin in his story tells not who,
       And Time has of their names effaced record.
     Palidon of Moncalier next he speeds;
     One who securely sleeps between two steeds.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Rearing th' insidious blade, the pair are near
       The place where round King Charles's pavilion
     Are tented warlike paladin and peer,
       Guarding the side that each is camped upon,
     When in good time the Paynims backward steer,
       And sheathe their swords, the impious slaughter done;
     Deeming impossible, in such a number,
     But they must light on one who does not slumber.

     And though they might escape well charged with prey,
       To save themselves they think sufficient gain.
     Thither by what he deems the safest way
       (Medoro following him) went Cloridane
     Where in the field, 'mid bow and falchion lay,
       And shield and spear, in pool of purple stain,
     Wealthy and poor, the king and vassal's corse,
     And overthrown the rider and his horse.

       *       *       *       *       *

     The silvery splendor glistened yet more clear,
       There where renowned Almontes's son lay dead.
     Faithful Medoro mourned his master dear,
       Who well agnized the quartering white and red,
     With visage bathed in many a bitter tear
       (For he a rill from either eyelid shed),
     And piteous act and moan, that might have whist
     The winds, his melancholy plaint to list;

     But with a voice supprest--not that he aught
       Regards if any one the noise should hear,
     Because he of his life takes any thought,
       Of which loathed burden he would fain be clear;
     But lest his being heard should bring to naught
       The pious purpose which has brought them here--
     The youths the king upon their shoulders stowed;
     And so between themselves divide the load.

     Hurrying their steps, they hastened, as they might,
       Under the cherished burden they conveyed;
     And now approaching was the lord of light,
       To sweep from heaven the stars, from earth the shade,
     When good Zerbino, he whose valiant sprite
       Was ne'er in time of need by sleep down-weighed,
     From chasing Moors all night, his homeward way
     Was taking to the camp at dawn of day.

     He has with him some horsemen in his train,
       That from afar the two companions spy.
     Expecting thus some spoil or prize to gain,
       They, every one, toward that quarter hie.
     "Brother, behoves us," cried young Cloridane,
       "To cast away the load we bear, and fly;
     For 'twere a foolish thought (might well be said)
     To lose _two_ living men, to save _one_ dead;"

     And dropt the burden, weening his Medore
       Had done the same by it, upon his side;
     But that poor boy, who loved his master more,
       His shoulders to the weight alone applied:
     Cloridane hurrying with all haste before,
       Deeming him close behind him or beside;
     Who, did he know his danger, him to save
     A thousand deaths, instead of one, would brave.

       *       *       *       *       *

     The closest path, amid the forest gray,
       To save himself, pursued the youth forlorn;
     But all his schemes were marred by the delay
       Of that sore weight upon his shoulders borne.
     The place he knew not, and mistook the way,
       And hid himself again in sheltering thorn.
     Secure and distant was his mate, that through
     The greenwood shade with lighter shoulders flew.

     So far was Cloridane advanced before,
       He heard the boy no longer in the wind;
     But when he marked the absence of Medore,
       It seemed as if his heart was left behind.
     "Ah! how was I so negligent," (the Moor
       Exclaimed) "so far beside myself, and blind,
     That, I, Medoro, should without thee fare,
     Nor know when I deserted thee or where?"

     So saying, in the wood he disappears,
       Plunging into the maze with hurried pace;
     And thither, whence he lately issued, steers,
       And, desperate, of death returns in trace.
     Cries and the tread of steeds this while he hears,
       And word and threat of foeman, as in chase;
     Lastly Medoro by his voice is known,
     Disarmed, on foot, 'mid many horse, alone.

     A hundred horsemen who the youth surround,
       Zerbino leads, and bids his followers seize
     The stripling; like a top the boy turns round
       And keeps him as he can: among the trees,
     Behind oak, elm, beech, ash, he takes his ground,
       Nor from the cherished load his shoulders frees.
     Wearied, at length, the burden he bestowed
     Upon the grass, and stalked about his load.

     As in her rocky cavern the she-bear,
       With whom close warfare Alpine hunters wage,
     Uncertain hangs about her shaggy care,
       And growls in mingled sound of love and rage,
     To unsheath her claws, and blood her tushes bare,
       Would natural hate and wrath the beast engage;
     Love softens her, and bids from strife retire,
     And for her offspring watch, amid her ire.

     Cloridane, who to aid him knows not how,
       And with Medoro willingly would die,
     But who would not for death this being forego,
       Until more foes than one should lifeless lie,
     Ambushed, his sharpest arrow to his bow
       Fits, and directs it with so true an eye,
     The feathered weapon bores a Scotchman's brain,
     And lays the warrior dead upon the plain.

     Together, all the others of the band
       Turned thither, whence was shot the murderous reed;
     Meanwhile he launched another from his stand,
       That a new foe might by the weapon bleed,
     Whom (while he made of _this_ and _that_ demand,
       And loudly questioned who had done the deed)
     The arrow reached--transfixed the wretch's throat
     And cut his question short in middle note.

     Zerbino, captain of those horse, no more
       Can at the piteous sight his wrath refrain;
     In furious heat he springs, upon Medore,
       Exclaiming, "Thou of this shalt bear the pain."
     One hand he in his locks of golden ore
       Enwreaths, and drags him to himself amain;
     But as his eyes that beauteous face survey,
     Takes pity on the boy, and does not slay.

     To him the stripling turns, with suppliant cry,
       And, "By thy God, sir knight," exclaims, "I pray,
     Be not so passing cruel, nor deny
       That I in earth my honored king may lay:
     No other grace I supplicate, nor I
       This for the love of life, believe me, say.
     So much, no longer, space of life I crave,
     As may suffice to give my lord a grave.

     "And if you needs must feed the beast and bird,
       Like Theban Creon, let their worst be done
     Upon these limbs; so that by me interred
       In earth be those of good Almontes's son."
     Medoro thus his suit, with grace, preferred,
       And words to move a mountain; and so won
     Upon Zerbino's mood, to kindness turned,
     With love and pity he all over burned.

     This while, a churlish horseman of the band,
       Who little deference for his lord confest,
     His lance uplifting, wounded overhand
       The unhappy suppliant in his dainty breast.
     Zerbino, who the cruel action scanned,
       Was deeply stirred, the rather that, opprest,
     And livid with the blow the churl had sped,
     Medoro fell as he was wholly dead.

      *       *       *       *       *

     The Scots pursue their chief, who pricks before,
       Through the deep wood, inspired by high disdain,
     When he has left the one and the other Moor,
       _This_ dead, _that_ scarce alive, upon the plain.
     There for a mighty space lay young Medore,
       Spouting his life-blood from so large a vein
     He would have perished, but that thither made
     A stranger, as it chanced, who lent him aid.


     From 'Orlando Furioso,' Canto 19

     By chance arrived a damsel at the place,
       Who was (though mean and rustic was her wear)
     Of royal presence and of beauteous face,
       And lofty manners, sagely debonnair.
     Her have I left unsung so long a space,
       That you will hardly recognize the fair
     Angelica: in her (if known not) scan
     The lofty daughter of Catay's great khan.

     Angelica, when she had won again
       The ring Brunello had from her conveyed,
     So waxed in stubborn pride and haught disdain,
       She seemed to scorn this ample world, and strayed
     Alone, and held as cheap each living swain,
       Although amid the best by fame arrayed;
     Nor brooked she to remember a gallant
     In Count Orlando or King Sacripant:

     And above every other deed repented,
       That good Rinaldo she had loved of yore;
     And that to look so low she had consented,
       (As by such choice dishonored) grieved her sore.
     Love, hearing this, such arrogance resented,
       And would the damsel's pride endure no more.
     Where young Medoro lay he took his stand,
     And waited her, with bow and shaft in hand.

     When fair Angelica the stripling spies,
       Nigh hurt to death in that disastrous fray,
     Who for his king, that there unsheltered lies,
       More sad than for his own misfortune lay,
     She feels new pity in her bosom rise,
       Which makes its entry in unwonted way.
     Touched was her naughty heart, once hard and curst,
     And more when he his piteous tale rehearsed.

     And calling back to memory her art,
       For she in Ind had learned chirurgery,
     (Since it appears such studies in that part
       Worthy of praise and fame are held to be,
     And, as an heirloom, sires to sons impart,
       With little aid of books, the mystery,)
     Disposed herself to work with simples' juice,
     Till she in him should healthier life produce.

     And recollects an herb had caught her sight
       In passing thither, on a pleasant plain:
     What (whether dittany or pancy hight)
       I know not; fraught with virtue to restrain
     The crimson blood forth-welling, and of might
       To sheathe each perilous and piercing pain.
     She found it near, and having pulled the weed,
     Returned to seek Medoro on the mead.

     Returning, she upon a swain did light,
       Who was on horseback passing through the wood.
     Strayed from the lowing herd, the rustic wight
       A heifer missing for two days pursued.
     Him she with her conducted, where the might
       Of the faint youth was ebbing with his blood:
     Which had the ground about so deeply dyed
     Life was nigh wasted with the gushing tide.

     Angelica alights upon the ground,
       And he, her rustic comrade, at her best.
     She hastened 'twixt two stones the herb to pound,
       Then took it, and the healing juice exprest:
     With this did she foment the stripling's wound,
       And even to the hips, his waist and breast;
     And (with such virtue was the salve endued)
     It stanched his life-blood, and his strength renewed.

     And into him infused such force again,
       That he could mount the horse the swain conveyed;
     But good Medoro would not leave the plain
       Till he in earth had seen his master laid.
     He, with the monarch, buried Cloridane,
       And after followed whither pleased the maid.
     Who was to stay with him, by pity led,
     Beneath the courteous shepherd's humble shed.

     Nor would the damsel quit the lowly pile
       (So she esteemed the youth) till he was sound;
     Such pity first she felt, when him erewhile
       She saw outstretched and bleeding on the ground.
     Touched by his mien and manners next, a file
       She felt corrode her heart with secret wound;
     She felt corrode her heart, and with desire,
     By little and by little warmed, took fire.

     The shepherd dwelt between two mountains hoar,
       In goodly cabin, in the greenwood shade,
     With wife and children; in short time before,
       The brand-new shed had builded in the glade.
     Here of his grisly wound the youthful Moor
       Was briefly healed by the Catayan maid;
     But who in briefer space, a sorer smart
     Than young Medoro's, suffered at her heart.

[She pines for love of him, and at length makes her love known. They
solemnize their marriage, and remain a month there with great happiness.]

     Amid such pleasures, where, with tree o'ergrown,
       Ran stream, or bubbling fountain's wave did spin,
     On bark or rock, if yielding were the stone,
       The knife was straight at work, or ready pin.
     And there, without, in thousand places lone,
       And in as many places graved, within,
     Medoro and Angelica were traced,
     In divers ciphers quaintly interlaced.

     When she believed they had prolonged their stay
       More than enow, the damsel made design
     In India to revisit her Catay,
       And with its crown Medoro's head entwine.
     She had upon her wrist an armlet, gay
       With costly gems, in witness and in sign
     Of love to her by Count Orlando borne,
     And which the damsel for long time had worn.

     No love which to the paladin she bears,
       But that it costly is and wrought with care,
     This to Angelica so much endears,
       That never more esteemed was matter rare;
     This she was suffered, in the isle of tears,
       I know not by what privilege, to wear,
     When, naked, to the whale exposed for food
     By that inhospitable race and rude.

     She, not possessing wherewithal to pay
       The kindly couple's hospitality,--
     Served by them in their cabin, from the day
       She there was lodged, with such fidelity,--
     Unfastened from her arm the bracelet gay,
       And bade them keep it for her memory.
     Departing hence, the lovers climb the side
     Of hills, which fertile France from Spain divide.


     From 'Orlando Furioso,' Canto 23

     The course in pathless woods, which without rein
       The Tartar's charger had pursued astray,
     Made Roland for two days, with fruitless pain,
       Follow him, without tidings of his way.
     Orlando reached a rill of crystal vein,
       On either bank of which a meadow lay;
     Which, stained with native hues and rich, he sees,
     And dotted o'er with fair and many trees.

     The mid-day fervor made the shelter sweet
       To hardy herd as well as naked swain:
     So that Orlando well beneath the heat
       Some deal might wince, opprest with plate and chain.
     He entered for repose the cool retreat,
       And found it the abode of grief and pain;
     And place of sojourn more accursed and fell
     On that unhappy day, than tongue can tell.

     Turning him round, he there on many a tree
       Beheld engraved, upon the woody shore,
     What as the writing of his deity
       He knew, as soon as he had marked the lore.
     This was a place of those described by me,
       Whither oft-times, attended by Medore,
     From the near shepherd's cot had wont to stray
     The beauteous lady, sovereign of Catay.

     In a hundred knots, amid these green abodes,
       In a hundred parts, their ciphered names are dight;
     Whose many letters are so many goads,
       Which Love has in his bleeding heart-core pight.
     He would discredit in a thousand modes,
       That which he credits in his own despite;
     And would perforce persuade himself, _that_ rind
     Other Angelica than his had signed.

     "And yet I know these characters," he cried,
       "Of which I have so many read and seen;
     By her may this Medoro be belied,
       And me, she, figured in the name, may mean."
     Feeding on such like phantasies, beside
       The real truth, did sad Orlando lean
     Upon the empty hope, though ill contented,
     Which he by self-illusions had fomented.

     But stirred and aye rekindled it, the more
       That he to quench the ill suspicion wrought,
     Like the incautious bird, by fowler's lore,
       Hampered in net or lime; which, in the thought
     To free its tangled pinions and to soar,
       By struggling is but more securely caught.
     Orlando passes thither, where a mountain
     O'erhangs in guise of arch the crystal fountain.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Here from his horse the sorrowing county lit,
       And at the entrance of the grot surveyed
     A cloud of words, which seemed but newly writ,
       And which the young Medoro's hand had made.
     On the great pleasure he had known in it,
       This sentence he in verses had arrayed;
     Which to his tongue, I deem, might make pretense
     To polished phrase; and such in ours the sense:--

     "Gay plants, green herbage, rill of limpid vein,
       And, grateful with cool shade, thou gloomy cave,
     Where oft, by many wooed with fruitless pain,
       Beauteous Angelica, the child of grave
     King Galaphron, within my arms has lain;
       For the convenient harborage you gave,
     I, poor Medoro, can but in my lays,
     As recompense, forever sing your praise.

     "And any loving lord devoutly pray,
       Damsel and cavalier, and every one,
     Whom choice or fortune hither shall convey,
       Stranger or native,--to this crystal run,
     Shade, caverned rock, and grass, and plants, to say,
       'Benignant be to you the fostering sun
     And moon, and may the choir of nymphs provide,
     That never swain his flock may hither guide.'"

     In Arabic was writ the blessing said,
       Known to Orlando like the Latin tongue,
     Who, versed in many languages, best read
       Was in this speech; which oftentimes from wrong
     And injury and shame had saved his head,
       What time he roved the Saracens among.
     But let him boast not of its former boot,
     O'erbalanced by the present bitter fruit.

     Three times, and four, and six, the lines impressed
       Upon the stone that wretch perused, in vain
     Seeking another sense than was expressed,
       And ever saw the thing more clear and plain;
     And all the while, within his troubled breast,
       He felt an icy hand his heart-core strain.
     With mind and eyes close fastened on the block,
     At length he stood, not differing from the rock.

     Then well-nigh lost all feeling; so a prey
       Wholly was he to that o'ermastering woe.
     This is a pang, believe the experienced say
       Of him who speaks, which does all griefs outgo.
     His pride had from his forehead passed away,
       His chin had fallen upon his breast below;
     Nor found he, so grief-barred each natural vent,
     Moisture for tears, or utterance for lament.

     Stifled within, the impetuous sorrow stays,
       Which would too quickly issue; so to abide
     Water is seen, imprisoned in the vase,
       Whose neck is narrow and whose swell is wide;
     What time, when one turns up the inverted base,
       Toward the mouth, so hastes the hurrying tide,
     And in the strait encounters such a stop,
     It scarcely works a passage, drop by drop.

     He somewhat to himself returned, and thought
       How possibly the thing might be untrue:
     That some one (so he hoped, desired, and sought
       To think) his lady would with shame pursue;
     Or with such weight of jealousy had wrought
       To whelm _his_ reason, as should him undo;
     And that he, whosoe'er the thing had planned,
     Had counterfeited passing well her hand.

     With such vain hope he sought himself to cheat,
       And manned some deal his spirits and awoke;
     Then prest the faithful Brigliadoro's seat,
       As on the sun's retreat his sister broke.
     Not far the warrior had pursued his beat,
       Ere eddying from a roof he saw the smoke;
     Heard noise of dog and kine, a farm espied,
     And thitherward in quest of lodging hied.

     Languid, he lit, and left his Brigliador
       To a discreet attendant; one undrest
     His limbs, one doffed the golden spurs he wore,
       And one bore off, to clean, his iron vest.
     This was the homestead where the young Medore
       Lay wounded, and was here supremely blest.
     Orlando here, with other food unfed,
     Having supt full of sorrow, sought his bed.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Little availed the count his self-deceit;
       For there was one who spake of it unsought:
     The shepherd-swain, who to allay the heat
       With which he saw his guest so troubled, thought
     The tale which he was wonted to repeat--
       Of the two lovers--to each listener taught;
     A history which many loved to hear,
     He now, without reserve, 'gan tell the peer.

     "How at Angelica's persuasive prayer,
       He to his farm had carried young Medore,
     Grievously wounded with an arrow; where
       In little space she healed the angry sore.
     But while she exercised this pious care,
       Love in her heart the lady wounded more,
     And kindled from small spark so fierce a fire,
     She burnt all over, restless with desire;

     "Nor thinking she of mightiest king was born,
       Who ruled in the East, nor of her heritage,
     Forced by too puissant love, had thought no scorn
       To be the consort of a poor foot-page."
     His story done, to them in proof was borne
       The gem, which, in reward for harborage,
     To her extended in that kind abode,
     Angelica, at parting, had bestowed.

         *       *       *       *       *

     In him, forthwith, such deadly hatred breed
       That bed, that house, that swain, he will not stay
     Till the morn break, or till the dawn succeed,
       Whose twilight goes before approaching day.
     In haste, Orlando takes his arms and steed,
       And to the deepest greenwood wends his way.
     And when assured that he is there alone,
     Gives utterance to his grief in shriek and groan.

     Never from tears, never from sorrowing,
       He paused; nor found he peace by night or day;
     He fled from town, in forest harboring,
       And in the open air on hard earth lay.
     He marveled at himself, how such a spring
       Of water from his eyes could stream away,
     And breath was for so many sobs supplied;
     And thus oft-times, amid his mourning, cried:--

       *       *       *       *       *

     "I am not--am not what I seem to sight:
       What Roland was, is dead and under ground,
     Slain by that most ungrateful lady's spite,
       Whose faithlessness inflicted such a wound.
     Divided from the flesh, I am his sprite,
       Which in this hell, tormented, walks its round,
     To be, but in its shadow left above,
     A warning to all such as trust in love."

     All night about the forest roved the count,
       And, at the break of daily light, was brought
     By his unhappy fortune to the fount,
       Where his inscription young Medoro wrought.
     To see his wrongs inscribed upon that mount
       Inflamed his fury so, in him was naught
     But turned to hatred, frenzy, rage, and spite;
     Nor paused he more, but bared his falchion bright,

     Cleft through the writing; and the solid block,
       Into the sky, in tiny fragments sped.
     Woe worth each sapling and that caverned rock
       Where Medore and Angelica were read!
     So scathed, that they to shepherd or to flock
       Thenceforth shall never furnish shade or bed.
     And that sweet fountain, late so clear and pure,
     From such tempestous wrath was ill secure.

       *       *       *       *       *

     So fierce his rage, so fierce his fury grew,
       That all obscured remained the warrior's sprite;
     Nor, for forgetfulness, his sword he drew,
       Or wondrous deeds, I trow, had wrought the knight;
     But neither this, nor bill, nor axe to hew,
       Was needed by Orlando's peerless might.
     He of his prowess gave high proofs and full,
     Who a tall pine uprooted at a pull.

     He many others, with as little let
      As fennel, wall-wort-stem, or dill uptore;
     And ilex, knotted oak, and fir upset,
      And beech and mountain ash, and elm-tree hoar.
     He did what fowler, ere he spreads his net,
      Does, to prepare the champaign for his lore,
     By stubble, rush, and nettle stalk; and broke,
     Like these, old sturdy trees and stems of oak.

     The shepherd swains, who hear the tumult nigh,
      Leaving their flocks beneath the greenwood tree,
     Some here, some there, across the forest hie,
      And hurry thither, all, the cause to see.
     But I have reached such point, my history,
      If I o'erpass this bound, may irksome be.
     And I my story will delay to end
     Rather than by my tediousness offend.


(B.C. 448-380?)


The birth-year of Aristophanes is placed about 448 B.C., on the ground
that he is said to have been almost a boy when his first comedy was
presented in 427. His last play, the 'Plutus,' was produced in 388, and
there is no evidence that he long survived this date. Little is known of
his life beyond the allusions, in the Parabases of the 'Acharnians,'
'Knights,' and 'Wasps,' to his prosecution by Cleon, to his own or his
father's estate at Aegina, and to his premature baldness. He left three
sons who also wrote comedies.

Aristophanes is the sole extant representative of the so-called Old
Comedy of Athens; a form of dramatic art which developed obscurely under
the shadow of Attic Tragedy in the first half of the fifth century B.C.,
out of the rustic revelry of the Phallic procession and Comus song of
Dionysus, perhaps with some outside suggestions from the Megarian farce
and its Sicilian offshoot, the mythological court comedy of Epicharmus.
The chief note of this older comedy for the ancient critics was its
unbridled license of direct personal satire and invective. Eupolis,
Cratinus, and Aristophanes, says Horace, assailed with the utmost
freedom any one who deserved to be branded with infamy. This old
political Comedy was succeeded in the calmer times that followed the
Peloponnesian War by the so-called Middle Comedy (390-320) of Alexis,
Antiphanes, Strattis, and some minor men; which insensibly passed into
the New Comedy (320-250) of Menander and Philemon, known to us in the
reproductions of Terence. And this new comedy, which portrayed types of
private life instead of satirizing noted persons by name, and which, as
Aristotle says, produced laughter by innuendo rather than by scurrility,
was preferred to the "terrible graces" of her elder sister by the gentle
and refined Plutarch, or the critic who has usurped his name in the
'Comparison of Aristophanes and Menander.' The old Attic Comedy has been
variously compared to Charivari, Punch, the comic opera of Offenbach,
and a Parisian 'revue de fin d'année.' There is no good modern analogue.
It is not our comedy of manners, plot, and situation; nor yet is it mere
buffoonery. It is a peculiar mixture of broad political, social, and
literary satire, and polemical discussion of large ideas, with the
burlesque and licentious extravagances that were deemed the most
acceptable service at the festival of the laughter-loving,
tongue-loosening god of the vine.

[Illustration: ARISTOPHANES]

The typical plan of an Aristophanic comedy is very simple. The
protagonist undertakes in all apparent seriousness to give a local
habitation and a body to some ingenious fancy, airy speculation, or bold
metaphor: as for example, the procuring of a private peace for a citizen
who is weary of the privations of war; or the establishment of a city in
Cloud-Cuckoo-Land where the birds shall regulate things better than the
featherless biped, man; or the restoration of the eyesight of the
proverbially blind god of Wealth. The attention of the audience is at
once enlisted for the semblance of a plot by which the scheme is put
into execution. The design once effected, the remainder of the play is
given over to a series of loosely connected scenes, ascending to a
climax of absurdity, in which the consequences of the original happy
thought are followed out with a Swiftian verisimilitude of piquant
detail and a Rabelaisian license of uproarious mirth. It rests with the
audience to take the whole as pure extravaganza, or as a _reductio ad
absurdum_ or playful defense of the conception underlying the original
idea. In the intervals between the scenes, the chorus sing rollicking
topical songs or bits of exquisite lyric, or in the name of the poet
directly exhort and admonish the audience in the so-called Parabasis.

Of Aristophanes's first two plays, the 'Banqueters of Hercules' (427),
and the 'Babylonians' (426), only fragments remain. The impolitic
representation in the latter of the Athenian allies as branded
Babylonian slaves was the ground of Cleon's attack in the courts upon
Aristophanes, or Callistratus in whose name the play was produced.

The extant plays are the following:--

     'The Acharnians,' B.C. 425, shortly after the Athenian defeat
     at Delium. The worthy countryman, Dicæopolis, weary of being
     cooped up within the Long Walls, and disgusted with the
     shameless jobbery of the politicians, sends to Sparta for
     samples of peace (the Greek word means also libations) of
     different vintages. The Thirty Years' brand smells of nectar
     and ambrosia. He accepts it, concludes a private treaty for
     himself and friends, and proceeds to celebrate the rural
     Dionysia with wife and child, soothing, by an eloquent plea
     pronounced in tattered tragic vestments borrowed from
     Euripides, the anger of the chorus of choleric Acharnian
     charcoal burners, exasperated at the repeated devastation of
     their deme by the Spartans. He then opens a market, to which
     a jolly Boeotian brings the long-lost, thrice-desired Copaic
     eel; while a starveling Megarian, to the huge delight of the
     Athenian groundlings, sells his little daughters, disguised
     as pigs, for a peck of salt. Finally Dicæopolis goes forth to
     a wedding banquet, from which he returns very mellow in the
     company of two flute girls; while Lamachus, the head of the
     war party, issues forth to do battle with the Boeotians in
     the snow, and comes back with a bloody coxcomb. This play was
     successfully given in Greek by the students of the University
     of Pennsylvania in the spring of 1886, and interestingly
     discussed in the Nation of May 6th by Professor Gildersleeve.

'The Knights,' B.C. 424: named from the chorus of young Athenian
cavaliers who abet the sausage-seller, Agoracritus, egged on by the
discontented family servants (the generals), Nicias and Demosthenes, to
outbid with shameless flattery the rascally Paphlagonian steward, Cleon,
and supplant him in the favor of their testy bean-fed old master, Demos
(or People). At the close, Demos recovers his wits and his youth, and is
revealed sitting enthroned in his glory in the good old Marathonian
Athens of the Violet Crown. The prolongation of the billingsgate in the
contest between Cleon and the sausage-seller grows wearisome to modern
taste; but the portrait of the Demagogue is for all time.

'The Clouds,' B.C. 423: an attack on Socrates, unfairly taken as an
embodiment of the deleterious and unsettling "new learning," both in the
form of Sophistical rhetoric and "meteorological" speculation. Worthy
Strepsiades, eager to find a new way to pay the debts in which the
extravagance of his horse-racing son Pheidippides has involved him,
seeks to enter the youth as a student in the Thinking-shop or Reflectory
of Socrates, that he may learn to make the worse appear the better
reason, and so baffle his creditors before a jury. The young man, after
much demur and the ludicrous failure of his father, who at first
matriculates in his stead, consents. He listens to the pleas of the just
and unjust argument in behalf of the old and new education, and becomes
himself such a proficient that he demonstrates, in flawless reasoning,
that Euripides is a better poet than Aeschylus, and that a boy is
justified in beating his father for affirming the contrary. Strepsiades
thereupon, cured of his folly, undertakes a subtle investigation into
the timbers of the roof of the Reflectory, with a view to smoking out
the corrupters of youth. Many of the songs sung by or to the clouds, the
patron deities of Socrates's misty lore, are extremely beautiful.
Socrates is made to allude to these attacks of comedy by Plato in the
'Apology,' and, on his last day in prison, in the 'Phædo.' In the
'Symposium' or 'Banquet' of Plato, Aristophanes bursts in upon a company
of friends with whom Socrates is feasting, and drinks with them till
morning; while Socrates forces him and the tragic poet Agathon, both of
them very sleepy, to admit that the true dramatic artist will excel in
both tragedy and comedy.

'The Wasps,' B.C. 422: a _jeu d'esprit_ turning on the Athenian passion
for litigation. Young Bdelucleon (hate-Cleon) can keep his old father
Philocleon (love-Cleon) out of the courts only by instituting a private
court in his own house. The first culprit, the house-dog, is tried for
stealing a Sicilian cheese, and acquitted by Philocleon's mistaking the
urn of acquittal for that of condemnation. The old man is inconsolable
at the first escape of a victim from his clutches; but finally,
renouncing his folly, takes lessons from his exquisite of a son in the
manners and deportment of a fine gentleman. He then attends a dinner
party, where he betters his instructions with comic exaggeration and
returns home in high feather, singing tipsy catches and assaulting the
watch on his way. The chorus of Wasps, the visible embodiment of a
metaphor found also in Plato's 'Republic,' symbolizes the sting used by
the Athenian jurymen to make the rich disgorge a portion of their
gathered honey. The 'Plaideurs' of Racine is an imitation of this play;
and the _motif_ of the committal of the dog is borrowed by Ben Jonson in
the 'Staple of News.'

'The Peace,' B.C. 421: in support of the Peace of Nicias, ratified soon
afterward (Grote's 'History of Greece,' Vol. vi., page 492). Trygæus, an
honest vine-dresser yearning for his farm, in parody of the Bellerophon
of Euripides, ascends to heaven on a dung-beetle. He there hauls Peace
from the bottom of the well into which she had been cast by Ares, and
brings her home in triumph to Greece, when she inaugurates a reign of
plenty and uproarious jollity, and celebrates the nuptials of Trygæus
and her handmaid Opora (Harvest-home).

'The Birds,' B.C. 414. Peisthetærus (Plausible) and Euelpides (Hopeful),
whose names and deeds are perhaps a satire on the unbounded ambition
that brought ruin on Athens at Syracuse, journey to Birdland and
persuade King Hoopoe to induce the birds to build Nephelococcygia or
Cloud-Cuckoo-Burgh in the air between the gods and men, starve out the
gods with a "Melian famine," and rule the world themselves. The gods,
their supplies of incense cut off, are forced to treat, and Peisthetærus
receives in marriage Basileia (Sovereignty), the daughter of Zeus. The
_mise en scène_, with the gorgeous plumage of the bird-chorus, must have
been very impressive, and many of the choric songs are exceedingly
beautiful. There is an interesting account by Professor Jebb in the
Fortnightly Review (Vol. xli.) of a performance of 'The Birds' at
Cambridge in 1884.

Two plays, B.C. 411: (1) at the Lenæa, 'The Lysistrata,' in which the
women of Athens and Sparta by a secession from bed and board compel
their husbands to end the war; (2) The 'Thesmophoriazusæ' or Women's
Festival of Demeter, a licentious but irresistibly funny assault upon
Euripides. The tragedian, learning that the women in council assembled
are debating on the punishment due to his misogyny, implores the
effeminate poet Agathon to intercede for him. That failing, he
dispatches his kinsman Mnesilochus, disguised with singed beard and
woman's robes, a sight to shake the midriff of despair with laughter, to
plead his cause. The advocate's excess of zeal betrays him; he is
arrested: and the remainder of the play is occupied by the ludicrous
devices, borrowed or parodied from well-known Euripidean tragedies, by
which the poet endeavors to rescue his intercessor.

'The Frogs,' B.C. 405, in the brief respite of hope between the victory
of Arginusæ and the final overthrow of Athens at Ægospotami. Aeschylus,
Sophocles, and Euripides are dead. The minor bards are a puny folk, and
Dionysus is resolved to descend to Hades in quest of a truly creative
poet, one capable of a figure like "my star god's glow-worm," or "His
honor rooted in dishonor stood." After many surprising adventures by the
way, and in the outer precincts of the underworld, accompanied by his
Sancho Panza, Xanthias, he arrives at the court of Pluto just in time to
be chosen arbitrator of the great contest between Aeschylus and
Euripides for the tragic throne in Hades. The comparisons and parodies
of the styles of Aeschylus and Euripides that follow, constitute, in
spite of their comic exaggeration, one of the most entertaining and
discriminating chapters of literary criticism extant, and give us an
exalted idea of the intelligence of the audience that appreciated them.
Dionysus decides for Æschylus, and leads him back in triumph to the
upper world.

The 'Ecclesiazusæ' or 'Ladies in Parliament,' B.C. 393: apparently a
satire on the communistic theories which must have been current in the
discussions of the schools before they found definite expression in
Plato's 'Republic.' The ladies of Athens rise betimes, purloin their
husbands' hats and canes, pack the Assembly, and pass a measure to
intrust the reins of government to women. An extravagant and licentious
communism is the result.

The 'Plutus,' B.C. 388: a second and much altered edition of a play
represented for the first time in 408. With the 'Ecclesiazusæ' it marks
the transition to the Middle Comedy, there being no parabasis, and
little of the exuberant _verve_ of the older pieces. The blind god of
Wealth recovers his eyesight by sleeping in the temple of Æsculapius,
and proceeds to distribute the gifts of fortune more equitably.

The assignment of the dates and restoration of the plots of the
thirty-two lost plays, of which a few not very interesting fragments
remain, belong to the domain of conjectural erudition.

Aristophanes has been regarded by some critics as a grave moral censor,
veiling his high purpose behind the grinning mask of comedy; by others
as a buffoon of genius, whose only object was to raise a laugh. Both
sides of the question are ingeniously and copiously argued in Browning's
'Aristophanes' Apology'; and there is a judicious summing up of the case
of Aristophanes _vs_. Euripides in Professor Jebb's lectures on Greek
poetry. The soberer view seems to be that while predominantly a comic
artist, obeying the instincts of his genius, he did frequently make his
comedy the vehicle of an earnest conservative polemic against the new
spirit of the age in Literature, Philosophy, and Politics. He pursued
Euripides with relentless ridicule because his dramatic motives lent
themselves to parody, and his lines were on the lips of every
theatre-goer; but also because he believed that Euripides had spoiled
the old, stately, heroic art of Aeschylus and Sophocles by incongruous
infusions of realism and sentimentalism, and had debased the "large
utterance of the early gods" by an unhallowed mixture of colloquialism,
dialectic, and chicane.

Aristophanes travestied the teachings of Socrates because his ungainly
figure, and the oddity (_atopia_) attributed to him even by Plato, made
him an excellent butt; yet also because he felt strongly that it was
better for the young Athenian to spend his days in the Palæstra, or
"where the elm-tree whispers to the plane," than in filing a
contentious tongue on barren logomachies. That Socrates in fact
discussed only ethical problems, and disclaimed all sympathy with
speculations about things above our heads, made no difference: he was
the best human embodiment of a hateful educational error. And similarly
the assault upon Cleon, the "pun-pelleting of demagogues from Pnux," was
partly due to the young aristocrat's instinctive aversion to the coarse
popular leader, and to the broad mark which the latter presented to the
shafts of satire, but equally, perhaps, to a genuine patriotic revolt at
the degradation of Athenian politics in the hands of the successors
of Pericles.

But Aristophanes's ideas interest us less than his art and humor. We
have seen the nature of his plots. In such a topsy-turvy world there is
little opportunity for nice delineation of character. His personages are
mainly symbols or caricatures. Yet they are vividly if broadly sketched,
and genuine touches of human nature lend verisimilitude to their most
improbable actions. One or two traditional comic types appear for the
first time, apparently, on his stage: the alternately cringing and
familiar slave or valet of comedy, in his Xanthias and Karion; and in
Dicæopolis, Strepsiades, Demos, Trygæus, and Dionysus, the sensual,
jovial, shrewd, yet naïve and credulous middle-aged _bourgeois
gentilhomme_ or 'Sganarelle,' who is not ashamed to avow his
poltroonery, and yet can, on occasion, maintain his rights with sturdy

But the chief attraction of Aristophanes is the abounding comic force
and _verve_ of his style. It resembles an impetuous torrent, whose swift
rush purifies in its flow the grossness and obscenity inseparable from
the origin of comedy, and buoys up and sweeps along on the current of
fancy and improvisation the chaff and dross of vulgar jests, puns,
scurrilous personalities, and cheap "gags," allowing no time for
chilling reflections or criticism. Jests which are singly feeble combine
to induce a mood of extravagant hilarity when huddled upon us with such
"impossible conveyance." This _vivida vis animi_ can hardly be
reproduced in a translation, and disappears altogether in an attempt at
an abstract enumeration of the poet's inexhaustible devices for comic
effect. He himself repeatedly boasts of the fertility of his invention,
and claims to have discarded the coarse farce of his predecessors for
something more worthy of the refined intelligence of his clever
audience. Yet it must be acknowledged that much even of his wit is the
mere filth-throwing of a naughty boy; or at best the underbred
jocularity of the "funny column," the topical song, or the minstrel
show. There are puns on the names of notable personages; a grotesque,
fantastic, punning fauna, flora, and geography of Greece; a constant
succession of surprises effected by the sudden substitution of low or
incongruous terms in proverbs, quotations, and legal or religious
formulas; scenes in dialect, scenes of excellent fooling in the vein of
Uncle Toby and the Clown, girds at the audience, personalities that for
us have lost their point,--about Cleonymus the caster-away of shields,
or Euripides's herb-selling mother,--and everywhere unstinted service to
the great gods Priapus and Cloacina.

A finer instrument of comic effect is the parody. The countless parodies
of the lyric and dramatic literature of Greece are perhaps the most
remarkable testimony extant to the intelligence of an Athenian audience.
Did they infallibly catch the allusion when Dicæopolis welcomed back to
the Athenian fish-market the long-lost Copaic eel in high
Æschylean strain,--

     "Of fifty nymphs Copaic alderliefest queen,"

and then, his voice breaking with the intolerable pathos of Admetus's
farewell to the dying Alcestis, added,

                    "Yea, even in death
     Thou'lt bide with me, embalmed and beet-bestewed"?

Did they recognize the blasphemous Pindaric pun in "Helle's holy
straits," for a tight place, and appreciate all the niceties of diction,
metre, and dramatic art discriminated in the comparison between
Aeschylus and Euripides in the 'Frogs'? At any rate, no Athenian could
miss the fun of Dicæopolis (like Hector's baby) "scared at the dazzling
plume and nodding crest" of the swashbuckler Lamachus, of Philocleon,
clinging to his ass's belly like Odysseus escaping under the ram from
the Cyclops's cave; of the baby in the Thesmophoriazusæ seized as a
Euripidean hostage, and turning out a wine bottle in swaddling-clothes;
of light-foot Iris in the rôle of a saucy, frightened soubrette; of the
heaven-defying Æschylean Prometheus hiding under an umbrella from the
thunderbolts of Zeus. And they must have felt instinctively what only a
laborious erudition reveals to us, the sudden subtle modulations of the
colloquial comic verse into mock-heroic travesty of high tragedy
or lyric.

Euripides, the chief victim of Aristophanes's genius for parody, was so
burlesqued that his best known lines became by-words, and his most
ardent admirers, the very Balaustions and Euthukleses, must have grinned
when they heard them, like a pair of augurs. If we conceive five or six
Shakespearean comedies filled from end to end with ancient Pistols
hallooing to "pampered jades of Asia," and Dr. Caiuses chanting of "a
thousand vagrom posies," we may form some idea of Aristophanes's
handling of the notorious lines--

     "The tongue has sworn, the mind remains unsworn."
     "Thou lovest life, thy sire loves it too."
     "Who knows if life and death be truly one?"

But the charm of Aristophanes does not lie in any of these things
singly, but in the combination of ingenious and paradoxical fancy with
an inexhaustible flow of apt language by which they are held up and
borne out. His personages are ready to make believe anything. Nothing
surprises them long. They enter into the spirit of each new conceit, and
can always discover fresh analogies to bear it out. The very plots of
his plays are realized metaphors or embodied conceits. And the same
concrete vividness of imagination is displayed in single scenes and
episodes. The Better and the Worse Reason plead the causes of the old
and new education in person. Cleon and Brasidas are the pestles with
which War proposes to bray Greece in a mortar; the triremes of Athens in
council assembled declare that they will rot in the docks sooner than
yield their virginity to musty, fusty Hyperbolus. The fair cities of
Greece stand about waiting for the recovery of Peace from her Well, with
dreadful black eyes, poor things; Armisticia and Harvest-Home tread the
stage in the flesh, and Nincompoop and Defraudation are among the gods.

The special metaphor or conceit of each play attracts appropriate words
and images, and creates a distinct atmosphere of its own. In the
'Knights' the air fairly reeks with the smell of leather and the
tanyard. The 'Birds' transport us to a world of trillings and pipings,
and beaks and feathers. There is a buzzing and a humming and a stinging
throughout the 'Wasps.' The 'Clouds' drip with mist, and are dim with
aërial vaporous effects.

Aristophanes was the original inventor of Bob Acres's style of oath--the
so-called referential or sentimental swearing. Dicæopolis invokes
Ecbatana when Shamartabas struts upon the stage. Socrates in the
'Clouds' swears by the everlasting vapors. King Hoopoe's favorite oath
is "Odds nets and birdlime." And the vein of humor that lies in
over-ingenious, elaborate, and sustained metaphor was first worked in
these comedies. All these excellences are summed up in the incomparable
wealth and flexibility of his vocabulary. He has a Shakespearean mastery
of the technicalities of every art and mystery, an appalling command of
billingsgate and of the language of the cuisine, and would tire Falstaff
and Prince Hal with base comparisons. And not content with the existing
resources of the Greek vocabulary, he coins grotesque or beautiful
compounds,--exquisite epithets like "Botruodöré" (bestower of the
vine), "heliomanes" (drunk-with-sunlight), "myriad-flagoned
phrases," untranslatable "port-manteaus" like "plouthugieia"
(health-and-wealthfulness), and Gargantuan agglomerations of syllables
like the portentous _olla podrida_ at the end of the 'Ecclesiazusæ.'

The great comic writer, as the example of Molière proves, need not be a
poet. But the mere overflow of careless poetic power which is
manifested by Aristophanes would have sufficed to set up any ordinary
tragedian or lyrist. In plastic mastery of language only two Greek
writers can vie with him, Plato and Homer. In the easy grace and native
harmony of his verse he outsings all the tragedians, even that Aeschylus
whom he praised as the man who had written the most exquisite songs of
any poet of the time. In his blank verse he easily strikes every note,
from that of the urbane, unaffected, colloquial Attic, to parody of high
or subtle tragic diction hardly distinguishable from its model. He can
adapt his metres to the expression of every shade of feeling. He has
short, snapping, fiery trochees, like sparks from their own holm oak, to
represent the choler of the Acharnians; eager, joyous glyconics to
bundle up a sycophant and hustle him off the stage, or for the young
knights of Athens celebrating Phormio's sea fights, and chanting,
horse-taming Poseidon, Pallas, guardian of the State, and Victory,
companion of the dance; the quickstep march of the trochaic tetrameter
to tell how the Attic wasps, true children of the soil, charged the
Persians at Marathon; and above all--the chosen vehicle of his wildest
conceits, his most audacious fancies, and his strongest appeals to the
better judgment of the citizens--the anapæstic tetrameter, that
"resonant and triumphant" metre of which even Mr. Swinburne's anapæsts
can reproduce only a faint and far-off echo.

But he has more than the opulent diction and the singing voice of the
poet. He has the key to fairy-land, a feeling for nature which we
thought romantic and modern, and in his lyrics the native wood-notes
wild of his own 'Mousa lochmaia' (the muse of the coppice). The chorus
of the Mystæ in the 'Frogs,' the rustic idyl of the 'Peace,' the songs
of the girls in the 'Lysistrata,' the call of the nightingale, the hymns
of the 'Clouds,' the speech of the "Just Reason," and the grand chorus
of birds, reveal Aristophanes as not only the first comic writer of
Greece, but as one of the very greatest of her poets.

Among the many editions of Aristophanes, those most useful to the
student and the general reader are doubtless the text edited by Bergk (2
vols., 1867), and the translations of the five most famous plays by John
Hookham Frere, to be found in his complete works.

[Illustration: Signature: PAUL SHOREY]


     From 'The Acharnians': Frere's Translation


     Be not surprised, most excellent spectators,
     If I that am a beggar have presumed
     To claim an audience upon public matters,
     Even in a comedy; for comedy
     Is conversant in all the rules of justice,
     And can distinguish betwixt right and wrong.

     The words I speak are bold, but just and true.
     Cleon at least cannot accuse me now,
     That I defame the city before strangers,
     For this is the Lenæan festival,
     And here we meet, all by ourselves alone;
     No deputies are arrived as yet with tribute,
     No strangers or allies: but here we sit
     A chosen sample, clean as sifted corn,
     With our own denizens as a kind of chaff.

     First, I detest the Spartans most extremely;
     And wish that Neptune, the Tænarian deity,
     Would bury them in their houses with his earthquakes.
     For I've had losses--losses, let me tell ye,
     Like other people; vines cut down and injured.
     But among friends (for only friends are here),
     Why should we blame the Spartans for all this?
     For people of ours, some people of our own,--
     Some people from among us here, I mean:
     But not the People (pray, remember that);
     I never said the People, but a pack
     Of paltry people, mere pretended citizens,
     Base counterfeits,--went laying informations,
     And making a confiscation of the jerkins
     Imported here from Megara; pigs, moreover,
     Pumpkins, and pecks of salt, and ropes of onions,
     Were voted to be merchandise from Megara,
     Denounced, and seized, and sold upon the spot.

     Well, these might pass, as petty local matters.
     But now, behold, some doughty drunken youths
     Kidnap, and carry away from Megara,
     The courtesan, Simætha. Those of Megara,
     In hot retaliation, seize a brace
     Of equal strumpets, hurried forth perforce
     From Dame Aspasia's house of recreation.
     So this was the beginning of the war,
     All over Greece, owing to these three strumpets.
     For Pericles, like an Olympian Jove,
     With all his thunder and his thunderbolts,
     Began to storm and lighten dreadfully,
     Alarming all the neighborhood of Greece;
     And made decrees, drawn up like drinking songs,
     In which it was enacted and concluded
     That the Megarians should remain excluded
     From every place where commerce was transacted,
     With all their ware--like "old Care" in the ballad:
     And this decree, by land and sea, was valid.

     Then the Megarians, being all half starved,
     Desired the Spartans to desire of us
     Just to repeal those laws: the laws I mentioned,
     Occasioned by the stealing of those strumpets.
     And so they begged and prayed us several times;
     And we refused: and so they went to war.

               THE POET'S APOLOGY

     From 'The Acharnians': Frere's Translation.

         Our poet has never as yet
         Esteemed it proper or fit
         To detain you with a long
         Encomiastic song
         On his own superior wit;
         But being abused and accused,
         And attacked of late
         As a foe of the State,
     He makes an appeal in his proper defense,
     To your voluble humor and temper and sense,
         With the following plea:
         Namely, that he
       Never attempted or ever meant
           To scandalize
           In any wise
       Your mighty imperial government.
         Moreover he says,
         That in various ways
     He presumes to have merited honor and praise;
     Exhorting you still to stick to your rights,
     And no more to be fooled with rhetorical flights;
         Such as of late each envoy tries
         On the behalf of your allies,
       That come to plead their cause before ye,
       With fulsome phrase, and a foolish story
       Of "violet crowns" and "Athenian glory,"
       With "sumptuous Athens" at every word:
       "Sumptuous Athens" is always heard;
       "Sumptuous" ever, a suitable phrase
       For a dish of meat or a beast at graze.
           He therefore affirms
           In confident terms,
       That his active courage and earnest zeal
       Have usefully served your common weal:
           He has openly shown
           The style and tone
       Of your democracy ruling abroad,
       He has placed its practices on record;
       The tyrannical arts, the knavish tricks,
       That poison all your politics.
       Therefore shall we see, this year,
       The allies with tribute arriving here,
       Eager and anxious all to behold
       Their steady protector, the bard so bold;
       The bard, they say, that has dared to speak,
       To attack the strong, to defend the weak.
       His fame in foreign climes is heard,
       And a singular instance lately occurred.
       It occurred in the case of the Persian king,
       Sifting and cross-examining
       The Spartan envoys. He demanded
       Which of the rival States commanded
       The Grecian seas? He asked them next
       (Wishing to see them more perplexed)
       Which of the two contending powers
       Was chiefly abused by this bard of ours?
       For he said, "Such a bold, so profound an adviser
       By dint of abuse would render them wiser,
       More active and able; and briefly that they
       Must finally prosper and carry the day."
       Now mark the Lacedæmonian guile!
       Demanding an insignificant isle!
       "Ægina," they say, "for a pledge of peace,
       As a means to make all jealousy cease."
       Meanwhile their privy design and plan
       Is solely to gain this marvelous man--
       Knowing his influence on your fate--
       By obtaining a hold on his estate
       Situate in the isle aforesaid.
       Therefore there needs to be no more said.
     You know their intention, and know that you know it:
     You'll keep to your island, and stick to the poet.
           And he for his part
           Will practice his art
           With a patriot heart,
           With the honest views
           That he now pursues,
         And fair buffoonery and abuse:
       Not rashly bespattering, or basely beflattering,
       Not pimping, or puffing, or acting the ruffian;
           Not sneaking or fawning;
           But openly scorning
           All menace and warning,
           All bribes and suborning:
     He will do his endeavor on your behalf;
     He will teach you to think, he will teach you to laugh.
         So Cleon again and again may try;
         I value him not, nor fear him, I!
         His rage and rhetoric I defy.
         His impudence, his politics,
         His dirty designs, his rascally tricks,
         No stain of abuse on me shall fix.
         Justice and right, in his despite,
       Shall aid and attend me, and do me right:
       With these to friend, I ne'er will bend,
           Nor descend
           To a humble tone
           (Like his own),
           As a sneaking loon,
         A knavish, slavish, poor poltroon.


     From 'The Knights': Frere's Translation.

     If A veteran author had wished to engage
     Our assistance to-day, for a speech from the stage,
     We scarce should have granted so bold a request:
     But this author of ours, as the bravest and best,
     Deserves an indulgence denied to the rest,
     For the courage and vigor, the scorn and the hate,
     With which he encounters the pests of the State;
     A thoroughbred seaman, intrepid and warm,
     Steering outright, in the face of the storm.

     But now for the gentle reproaches he bore
     On the part of his friends, for refraining before
     To embrace the profession, embarking for life
     In theatrical storms and poetical strife.

     He begs us to state that for reasons of weight
     He has lingered so long and determined so late.
     For he deemed the achievements of comedy hard,
     The boldest attempt of a desperate bard!
     The Muse he perceived was capricious and coy;
     Though many were courting her, few could enjoy.
     And he saw without reason, from season to season,
       Your humor would shift, and turn poets adrift,
     Requiting old friends with unkindness and treason,
       Discarded in scorn as exhausted and worn.

     Seeing Magnes's fate, who was reckoned of late
       For the conduct of comedy captain and head;
     That so oft on the stage, in the flower of his age,
       Had defeated the Chorus his rivals had led;
     With his sounds of all sort, that were uttered in sport,
       With whims and vagaries unheard of before,
     With feathers and wings, and a thousand gay things,
       That in frolicsome fancies his Choruses wore--
     When his humor was spent, did your temper relent,
       To requite the delight that he gave you before?
     We beheld him displaced, and expelled and disgraced,
       When his hair and his wit were grown aged and hoar.

     Then he saw, for a sample, the dismal example
     Of noble Cratinus so splendid and ample,
     Full of spirit and blood, and enlarged like a flood;
     Whose copious current tore down with its torrent,
     Oaks, ashes, and yew, with the ground where they grew,
     And his rivals to boot, wrenched up by the root;
     And his personal foes, who presumed to oppose,
     All drowned and abolished, dispersed and demolished,
     And drifted headlong, with a deluge of song.

     And his airs and his tunes, and his songs and lampoons,
     Were recited and sung by the old and the young:
     At our feasts and carousals, what poet but he?
     And "The fair Amphibribe" and "The Sycophant Tree,"
     "Masters and masons and builders of verse!"
     Those were the tunes that all tongues could rehearse;
     But since in decay you have cast him away,
       Stript of his stops and his musical strings,
     Battered and shattered, a broken old instrument,
       Shoved out of sight among rubbishy things.
     His garlands are faded, and what he deems worst,
     His tongue and his palate are parching with thirst.

     And now you may meet him alone in the street,
         Wearied and worn, tattered and torn,
     All decayed and forlorn, in his person and dress,
     Whom his former success should exempt from distress,
     With subsistence at large at the general charge,
     And a seat with the great at the table of State,
     There to feast every day and preside at the play
     In splendid apparel, triumphant and gay.

     Seeing Crates, the next, always teased and perplexed,
     With your tyrannous temper tormented and vexed;
     That with taste and good sense, without waste or expense,
     From his snug little hoard, provided your board
     With a delicate treat, economic and neat.
     Thus hitting or missing, with crowns or with hissing,
         Year after year he pursued his career,
     For better or worse, till he finished his course.

     These precedents held him in long hesitation;
     He replied to his friends, with a just observation,
     "That a seaman in regular order is bred
     To the oar, to the helm, and to look out ahead;
     With diligent practice has fixed in his mind
     The signs of the weather, and changes of wind.
     And when every point of the service is known,
     Undertakes the command of a ship of his own."

         For reasons like these,
         If your judgment agrees
         That he did not embark
         Like an ignorant spark,
         Or a troublesome lout,
     To puzzle and bother, and blunder about,
         Give him a shout,
         At his first setting out!
         And all pull away
         With a hearty huzza
         For success to the play!
         Send him away,
         Smiling and gay,
         Shining and florid,
         With his bald forehead!

               THE CLOUD CHORUS

     From 'The Clouds': Andrew Lang's Translation

               SOCRATES SPEAKS

     Hither, come hither, ye Clouds renowned, and unveil yourselves
       Come, though ye dwell on the sacred crests of Olympian snow,
     Or whether ye dance with the Nereid Choir in the gardens clear,
       Or whether your golden urns are dipped in Nile's overflow,
             Or whether you dwell by Mæotis mere
             Or the snows of Mimas, arise! appear!
       And hearken to us, and accept our gifts ere ye rise and go.

               THE CLOUDS SING

         Immortal Clouds from the echoing shore
           Of the father of streams from the sounding sea,
         Dewy and fleet, let us rise and soar;
           Dewy and gleaming and fleet are we!
         Let us look on the tree-clad mountain-crest,
           On the sacred earth where the fruits rejoice,
         On the waters that murmur east and west,
           On the tumbling sea with his moaning voice.
         For unwearied glitters the Eye of the Air,
             And the bright rays gleam;
         Then cast we our shadows of mist, and fare
         In our deathless shapes to glance everywhere
         From the height of the heaven, on the land and air,
             And the Ocean Stream.
         Let us on, ye Maidens that bring the Rain,
           Let us gaze on Pallas's citadel,
         In the country of Cecrops fair and dear,
           The mystic land of the holy cell,
           Where the Rites unspoken securely dwell,
         And the gifts of the gods that know not stain,
           And a people of mortals that know not fear.
         For the temples tall and the statues fair,
         And the feasts of the gods are holiest there;
         The feasts of Immortals, the chaplets of flowers,
           And the Bromian mirth at the coming of spring,
         And the musical voices that fill the hours,
           And the dancing feet of the maids that sing!


     From 'The Birds': Swinburne's Translation

     Come on then, ye dwellers by nature in darkness, and like to the
           leaves' generations,
     That are little of might, that are molded of mire, unenduring
           and shadowlike nations,
     Poor plumeless ephemerals, comfortless mortals, as visions of
           shadows fast fleeing,
     Lift up your mind unto us that are deathless, and dateless the date
           of our being;
     Us, children of heaven, us, ageless for aye, us, all of whose thoughts
           are eternal:
     That ye may from henceforth, having heard of us all things aright
           as to matters supernal,
     Of the being of birds, and beginning of gods, and of streams, and
           the dark beyond reaching,
     Trustfully knowing aright, in my name bid Prodicus pack with his
     It was Chaos and Night at the first, and the blackness of darkness,
           and Hell's broad border,
     Earth was not, nor air, neither heaven; when in depths of the womb
           of the dark without order
     First thing, first-born of the black-plumed Night, was a wind-egg
           hatched in her bosom,
     Whence timely with seasons revolving again sweet Love burst out as
           a blossom,
     Gold wings glittering forth of his back, like whirlwinds gustily
     He, after his wedlock with Chaos, whose wings are of darkness, in
           Hell broad-burning,
     For his nestlings begat him the race of us first, and upraised us to
           light new-lighted.
     And before this was not the race of the gods, until all things by Love
           were united:
     And of kind united in kind with communion of nature the sky and
           the sea are
     Brought forth, and the earth, and the race of the gods everlasting and
           blest. So that we are
     Far away the most ancient of all things blest. And that we are of
           Love's generation
     There are manifest manifold signs. We have wings, and with us have
           the Loves habitation;
     And manifold fair young folk that forswore love once, ere the bloom
           of them ended,
     Have the men that pursued and desired them subdued by the help of
           us only befriended,
     With such baits as a quail, a flamingo, a goose, or a cock's comb
           staring and splendid.
     All best good things that befall men come from us birds, as is plain
           to all reason:
     For first we proclaim and make known to them spring, and the
           winter and autumn in season;
     Bid sow, when the crane starts clanging for Afric in shrill-voiced
           emigrant number,
     And calls to the pilot to hang up his rudder again for the season and
     And then weave a cloak for Orestes the thief, lest he strip men of
           theirs if it freezes.
     And again thereafter the kite reappearing announces a change in
           the breezes.
     And that here is the season for shearing your sheep of their spring
           wool. Then does the swallow
     Give you notice to sell your great-coat, and provide something light
           for the heat that's to follow.
     Thus are we as Ammon or Delphi unto you. Dodona, nay, Phoebus
     For, as first ye come all to get auguries of birds, even such is in
           all things your carriage,
     Be the matter a matter of trade, or of earning your bread, or of any
           one's marriage.
     And all things ye lay to the charge of a bird that belong to
           discerning prediction:
     Winged fame is a bird, as you reckon; you sneeze, and the sign's as
           a bird for conviction;
     All tokens are "birds" with you--sounds, too, and lackeys and donkeys.
           Then must it not follow
     That we are to you all as the manifest godhead that speaks in
           prophetic Apollo?


     From 'The Peace': Frere's Translation

     How sweet it is to see the new-sown cornfield fresh and even,
     With blades just springing from the soil that only ask a shower
           from heaven.
     Then, while kindly rains are falling, indolently to rejoice,
     Till some worthy neighbor calling, cheers you with his hearty voice.
     Well, with weather such as this, let us hear, Trygæus tell us
     What should you and I be doing? You're the king of us good fellows.
     Since it pleases heaven to prosper your endeavors, friend, and mine,
     Let us have a merry meeting, with some friendly talk and wine.
     In the vineyard there's your lout, hoeing in the slop and mud--
     Send the wench and call him out, this weather he can do no good.
     Dame, take down two pints of meal, and do some fritters in your way;
     Boil some grain and stir it in, and let us have those figs, I say.
     Send a servant to my house,--any one that you can spare,--
     Let him fetch a beestings pudding, two gherkins, and the pies of hare:
     There should be four of them in all, if the cat has left them right;
     We heard her racketing and tearing round the larder all last night,
     Boy, bring three of them to us,--take the other to my father:
     Cut some myrtle for our garlands, sprigs in flower or blossoms rather.
     Give a shout upon the way to Charinades our neighbor,
     To join our drinking bout to-day, since heaven is pleased to bless our

                    THE HARVEST

     From 'The Peace': Translation in the Quarterly Review

     Oh, 'tis sweet, when fields are ringing
     With the merry cricket's singing,
     Oft to mark with curious eye
     If the vine-tree's time be nigh:
     Here is now the fruit whose birth
     Cost a throe to Mother Earth.
     Sweet it is, too, to be telling,
     How the luscious figs are swelling;
     Then to riot without measure
     In the rich, nectareous treasure,
     While our grateful voices chime,--
     Happy season! blessed time.


     From 'The Birds ': Frere's Translation

          Awake! awake!
               Sleep no more, my gentle mate!
               With your tiny tawny bill,
          Wake the tuneful echo shrill,
               On vale or hill;
          Or in her airy rocky seat,
          Let her listen and repeat
          The tender ditty that you tell,
               The sad lament,
               The dire event,
          To luckless Itys that befell.
               Thence the strain
               Shall rise again,
               And soar amain,
          Up to the lofty palace gate
     Where mighty Apollo sits in state
     In Jove's abode, with his ivory lyre,
     Hymning aloud to the heavenly choir,
     While all the gods shall join with thee
     In a celestial symphony.


     From 'The Birds ': Frere's Translation

[_Enter Messenger, quite out of breath, and speaking in short

_Messenger_--Where is he? Where? Where is he? Where? Where
is he?--The president Peisthetairus?

_Peisthetairus [coolly_]--Here am I.

_Mess. [in a gasp of breath_]--Your fortification's finished.

_Peis_.--Well! that's well.

_Mess_.--A most amazing, astonishing work it is!
              So that Theagenes and Proxenides
              Might flourish and gasconade and prance away
              Quite at their ease, both of them four-in-hand,
              Driving abreast upon the breadth of wall,
              Each in his own new chariot.

_Peis_.--You surprise me.

_Mess_.--And the height (for I made the measurement myself)
              Is exactly a hundred fathoms.

_Peis_.--Heaven and earth!
              How could it be? such a mass! who could have built it?

_Mess_.--The Birds; no creature else, no foreigners,
              Egyptian bricklayers, workmen or masons.
              But they themselves, alone, by their own efforts,--
              (Even to my surprise, as an eye-witness)
              The Birds, I say, completed everything:
              There came a body of thirty thousand cranes,
              (I won't be positive, there might be more)
              With stones from Africa in their craws and gizzards,
              Which the stone-curlews and stone-chatterers
              Worked into shape and finished. The sand-martens
              And mud-larks, too, were busy in their department,
              Mixing the mortar, while the water-birds,
              As fast as it was wanted, brought the water
              To temper and work it.

_Peis. [in a fidget_]--But who served the masons
              Who did you get to carry it?

_Mess_.--To carry it?
              Of course, the carrion crows and carrying pigeons.

_Peis. [in a fuss, which he endeavors to conceal_]--
              Yes! yes! but after all, to load your hods,
              How did you manage that?

_Mess_.--Oh, capitally,
              I promise you. There were the geese, all barefoot
              Trampling the mortar, and when all was ready
              They handed it into the hods, so cleverly,
              With their flat feet!

_Peis. [a bad joke, as a vent for irritation_]--
              They footed it, you mean--
              Come; it was handily done though, I confess.

_Mess_.--Indeed, I assure you, it was a sight to see them;
              And trains of ducks there were, clambering the ladders
              With their duck legs, like bricklayers' 'prentices,
              All dapper and handy, with their little trowels.

_Peis_.--In fact, then, it's no use engaging foreigners;
              Mere folly and waste, we've all within ourselves.
              Ah, well now, come! But about the woodwork? Heh!
              Who were the carpenters? Answer me that!

_Mess_.--The woodpeckers, of course: and there they were,
              Laboring upon the gates, driving and banging,
              With their hard hatchet-beaks, and such a din,
              Such a clatter, as they made, hammering and hacking,
              In a perpetual peal, pelting away
              Like shipwrights, hard at work in the arsenal.
              And now their work is finished, gates and all,
              Staples and bolts, and bars and everything;
              The sentries at their posts; patrols appointed;
              The watchman in the barbican; the beacons
              Ready prepared for lighting; all their signals
              Arranged--but I'll step out, just for a moment,
              To wash my hands. You'll settle all the rest.

                    CHORUS OF WOMEN

     From the 'Thesmophoriazusæ': Collins's Translation

     They're always abusing the women,
          As a terrible plague to men:
        They say we're the root of all evil,
      And repeat it again and again;
     Of war, and quarrels, and bloodshed,
       All mischief, be what it may!
     And pray, then, why do you marry us,
       If we're all the plagues you say?
     And why do you take such care of us,
       And keep us so safe at home,
     And are never easy a moment
       If ever we chance to roam?
     When you ought to be thanking heaven
       That your Plague is out of the way,
     You all keep fussing and fretting--
       "Where is _my_ Plague to-day?"
     If a Plague peeps out of the window,
       Up go the eyes of men;
     If she hides, then they all keep staring
       Until she looks out again.


     From 'The Frogs': Frere's Translation

                 CHORUS [_shouting and singing_']

                 Iacchus! Iacchus! Ho!

                 Iacchus! Iacchus! Ho!

_Xanthias_--There, master, there they are, the initiated
                 All sporting about as he told us we should find 'em.
                 They're singing in praise of Bacchus like Diagoras.

_Bacchus_--Indeed, and so they are; but we'll keep quiet
                Till we make them out a little more distinctly.

             CHORUS _[song]_

             Mighty Bacchus! Holy Power!
             Hither at the wonted hour
                   Come away,
                   Come away,
             With the wanton holiday,
             Where the revel uproar leads
             To the mystic holy meads,
             Where the frolic votaries fly,
             With a tipsy shout and cry;
             Flourishing the Thyrsus high,
             Flinging forth, alert and airy,
             To the sacred old vagary,
             The tumultuous dance and song,
             Sacred from the vulgar throng;
             Mystic orgies that are known
             To the votaries alone--
             To the mystic chorus solely--
             Secret unrevealed--and holy.
_Xan_.--O glorious virgin, daughter of the Goddess!
             What a scent of roasted griskin reached my senses!

_Bac_.--Keep quiet--and watch for a chance of a piece of the haslets.

CHORUS _[song]_

             Raise the fiery torches high!
             Bacchus is approaching nigh,
             Like the planet of the morn
             Breaking with the hoary dawn
               On the dark solemnity--
             There they flash upon the sight;
             All the plain is blazing bright,
             Flushed and overflown with light:
             Age has cast his years away,
             And the cares of many a day,
             Sporting to the lively lay--
             Mighty Bacchus! march and lead
             (Torch in hand toward the mead)
             Thy devoted humble Chorus;
             Mighty Bacchus--move before us!
             Keep silence--keep peace--and let all the profane
             From our holy solemnity duly refrain;
             Whose souls, unenlightened by taste, are obscure;
             Whose poetical notions are dark and impure;
                      Whose theatrical conscience
                      Is sullied by nonsense;
             Who never were trained by the mighty Cratinus
             In mystical orgies, poetic and vinous;
             Who delight in buffooning and jests out of season;
             Who promote the designs of oppression and treason;
             Who foster sedition and strife and debate;
             All traitors, in short, to the Stage and the State:
             Who surrender a fort, or in private export
             To places and harbors of hostile resort
             Clandestine consignments of cables and pitch,--
             In the way that Thorycion grew to be rich
             From a scoundrelly dirty collector of tribute:
             All such we reject and severely prohibit;
             All statesmen retrenching the fees and the salaries
             Of theatrical bards, in revenge for the railleries
             And jests and lampoons of this holy solemnity,
             Profanely pursuing their personal enmity,
             For having been flouted and scoffed and scorned--
             All such are admonished and heartily warned;
                      We warn them once,
                      We warn them twice,
             We warn and admonish--we warn them thrice,
                      To conform to the law,
                      To retire and withdraw;
              While the Chorus again with the formal saw,
                 (Fixt and assign'd to the festive day)
                 Move to the measure and march away.


             March! march! lead forth,
               Lead forth manfully,
                  March in order all;
             Bustling, hustling, justling,
                  As it may befall;
             Flocking, shouting, laughing,
             Mocking, flouting, quaffing,
                     One and all;
               All have had a belly-full
             Of breakfast brave and plentiful;
               With your voices and your bodies
                 Serve the goddess,
                      And raise
                   Songs of praise;
               She shall save the country still,
             And save it against the traitor's will;
                   So she says.


             Now let us raise in a different strain
             The praise of the goddess, the giver of grain;
                           Imploring her favor
                           With other behavior,
             In measures more sober, submissive, and graver.


              Ceres, holy patroness,
           Condescend to mark and bless,
              With benevolent regard,
           Both the Chorus and the Bard;
           Grant them for the present day
           Many things to sing and say,
           Follies intermixed with sense;
           Folly, but without offense.
           Grant them with the present play
           To bear the prize of verse away.


           Now call again, and with a different measure,
               The power of mirth and pleasure;
           The florid, active Bacchus, bright and gay,
           To journey forth and join us on the way.


     O Bacchus, attend! the customary patron of every lively lay;
                   Go forth without delay
                   Thy wonted annual way,
               To meet the ceremonious holy matron:
                   Her grave procession gracing,
                   Thine airy footsteps tracing
               With unlaborious, light, celestial motion;
               And here at thy devotion
               Behold thy faithful choir
                  In pitiful attire:
               All overworn and ragged,
               This jerkin old and jagged,
               These buskins torn and burst,
                  Though sufferers in the fray,
               May serve us at the worst
                  To sport throughout the day;
               And then within the shades
               I spy some lovely maids
             With whom we romped and reveled,
               Dismantled and disheveled,
               With their bosoms open,--
             With whom we might be coping.
        _Xan_.--Well, I was always hearty,
                  Disposed to mirth and ease:
               I'm ready to join the party.
        _Bac_.--And I will if you please.


                    From 'The Frogs'

          Halcyons ye by the flowing sea
          Waves that warble twitteringly,
          Circling over the tumbling blue,
          Dipping your down in its briny dew,
          Spi-i-iders in corners dim
          Spi-spi-spinning your fairy film,
          Shuttles echoing round the room
          Silver notes of the whistling loom,
          Where the light-footed dolphin skips
          Down the wake of the dark-prowed ships,
          Over the course of the racing steed
          Where the clustering tendrils breed
          Grapes to drown dull care in delight,
     Oh! mother make me a child again just for to-night!
     I don't exactly see how that last line is to scan,
     But that's a consideration I leave to our musical man.


          From 'The Frogs'

     [The point of the following selection lies in the monotony of
     both narrative style and metre in Euripides's prologues, and
     especially his regular cæsura after the fifth syllable of a
     line. The burlesque tag used by Aristophanes to demonstrate
     this effect could not be applied in the same way to any of
     the fourteen extant plays of Sophocles and Æschylus.]

_Æschylus_--And by Jove, I'll not stop to cut up your verses
                 word by word, but if the gods are propitious I'll spoil
                 all your prologues with a little flask of smelling-salts.

_Euripides_--With a flask of smelling-salts?

_Æsch_.--With a single one. For you build your verses so that
              anything will fit into the metre,--a leathern sack,
              or eider-down, or smelling-salts. I'll show you.

_Eur_.--So, you'll show me, will you?

_Æsch_.--I will that.


_Eur_. [_declaiming_]--
             Ægyptus, as broad-bruited fame reports,
             With fifty children voyaging the main
             To Argos came, and

_Æsch_.--lost his smelling-salts.

_Dion_.--What the mischief have the smelling-salts got to do with
              it? Recite another prologue to him and let me see.

             Dionysus, thyrsus-armed and faun-skin-clad,
             Amid the torchlights on Parnassus's slope
             Dancing and prancing

_Æsch_.--lost his smelling-salts.

_Dion_.--Caught out again by the smelling-salts.

_Eur_.--No matter. Here's a prologue that he can't fit 'em to.

             No lot of mortal man is wholly blest:
             The high-born youth hath lacked the means of life,
             The lowly lout hath

_Æsch_.--lost his smelling-salts.


_Eur_.--Well, what?

_Dion_.--Best take in sail.
              These smelling-salts, methinks, will blow a gale.

_Eur_.--What do I care? I'll fix him next time.

_Dion_.--Well, recite another, and steer clear of the smelling-salts.

             Cadmus departing from the town of Tyre,
             Son of Agenor

_Æsch_.--lost his smelling-salts.

_Dion_.--My dear fellow, buy those smelling-salts, or there won't
              be a rag left of all your prologues.

_Eur_.--What? I buy 'em of him?

_Dion_.--If you'll be advised by me.

_Eur_.--Not a bit of it. I've lots of prologues where he can't
             work 'em in.

             Pelops the Tantalid to Pisa coming
             With speedy coursers

_Æsch_.--lost his smelling-salts.

_Dion_.--There they are again, you see. Do let him have 'em,
              my good Æschylus. You can replace 'em for a

_Eur_.--Never. I've not run out yet.

                     Oeneus from broad fields

_Æsch_.--lost his smelling-salts.

_Eur_.--Let me say the whole verse, won't you?

             Oeneus from broad fields reaped a mighty crop
             And offering first-fruits

_Æsch_.--lost his smelling-salts.

_Dion_.--While sacrificing? Who filched them?

_Eur_.--Oh, never mind him. Let him try it on this verse:--

             Zeus, as the word of sooth declared of old--

_Dion_.--It's no use, he'll say Zeus lost his smelling-salts. For
              those smelling-salts fit your prologues like a kid
              glove. But go on and turn your attention to his


(B.C. 384-322)


The "Stagirite," called by Eusebius "Nature's private secretary," and by
Dante "the master of those that know,"--the greatest thinker of the
ancient world, and the most influential of all time,--was born of Greek
parents at Stagira, in the mountains of Macedonia, in B.C. 384. Of his
mother, Phæstis, almost nothing is known. His father, Nicomachus,
belonged to a medical family, and acted as private physician to Amyntas,
grandfather of Alexander the Great; whence it is probable that
Aristotle's boyhood was passed at or near the Macedonian court. Losing
both his parents while a mere boy, he was taken charge of by a relative,
Proxenus Atarneus, and sent, at the age of seventeen, to Athens to
study. Here he entered the school of Plato, where he remained twenty
years, as pupil and as teacher. During this time he made the
acquaintance of the leading contemporary thinkers, read omnivorously,
amassed an amount of knowledge that seems almost fabulous, schooled
himself in systematic thought, and (being well off) collected a library,
perhaps the first considerable private library in the world. Having
toward the end felt obliged to assume an independent attitude in
thought, he was not at the death of Plato (347) appointed his successor
in the Academy, as might have been expected. Not wishing at that time to
set up a rival school, he retired to the court of a former fellow-pupil,
Hermias, then king of Assos and Atarneus, whom he greatly respected, and
whose adopted daughter, Pythias, he later married. Here he remained,
pursuing his studies, for three years; and left only when his patron was
treacherously murdered by the Persians.

Having retired to Mitylene, he soon afterward received an invitation
from Philip of Macedonia to undertake the education of his son
Alexander, then thirteen years old. Aristotle willingly obeyed this
summons; and retiring with his royal pupil to Mieza, a town southwest of
Pella, imparted his instruction in the Nymphæum, which he had arranged
in imitation of Plato's garden school. Alexander remained with him three
years, and was then called by his father to assume important State
duties. Whether Aristotle's instruction continued after that is
uncertain; but the two men remained fast friends, and there can be no
doubt that much of the nobility, self-control, largeness of purpose, and
enthusiasm for culture, which characterized Alexander's subsequent
career, were due to the teaching of the philosopher. What Aristotle was
in the world of thought, Alexander became in the world of action.

[Illustration: ARISTOTLE.]

Aristotle remained in Macedonia ten years, giving instruction to young
Macedonians and continuing his own studies. He then returned to Athens,
and opened a school in the _peripatos_, or promenade, of the Lyceum, the
gymnasium of the foreign residents, a school which from its location was
called the Peripatetic. Here he developed a manifold activity. He
pursued all kinds of studies, logical, rhetorical, physical,
metaphysical, ethical, political, and aesthetic, gave public (exoteric)
and private (esoteric) instruction, and composed the bulk of the
treatises which have made his name famous. These treatises were composed
slowly, in connection with his lectures, and subjected to frequent
revision. He likewise endeavored to lead an ideal social life with his
friends and pupils, whom he gathered under a common roof to share meals
and elevated converse in common.

Thus affairs went on for twelve fruitful years, and might have gone on
longer, but for the sudden death of Alexander, his friend and patron.
Then the hatred of the Athenians to the conqueror showed itself in
hostility to his old master, and sought for means to put him out of the
way. How hard it was to find a pretext for so doing is shown by the fact
that they had to fix upon the poem which he had written on the death of
his friend Hermias many years before, and base upon it--as having the
form of the paean, sacred to Apollo--a charge of impiety. Aristotle,
recognizing the utter flimsiness of the charge, and being unwilling, as
he said, to allow the Athenians to sin a second time against philosophy,
retired beyond their reach to his villa at Chalcis in Euboea, where he
died of stomach disease the year after (322). In the later years of his
life, the friendship between him and his illustrious pupil had, owing to
certain outward circumstances, become somewhat cooled; but there never
was any serious breach. His body was carried to Stagira, which he had
induced Philip to restore after it had been destroyed, and whose
inhabitants therefore looked upon him as the founder of the city. As
such he received the religious honors accorded to heroes: an altar was
erected to him, at which an annual festival was celebrated in the month
named after him.

We may sum up the character of Aristotle by saying that he was one of
the sanest and most rounded men that ever lived. As a philosopher, he
stands in the front rank. "No time," says Hegel, "has a man to place by
his side." Nor was his moral character inferior to his intellect. No one
can read his 'Ethics,' or his will (the text of which is extant),
without feeling the nobleness, simplicity, purity, and modernness of
his nature. In his family relations, especially, he seems to have stood
far above his contemporaries. The depth of his aesthetic perception is
attested by his poems and his 'Poetics.'

The unsatisfactory and fragmentary condition in which Aristotle's works
have come down to us makes it difficult to judge of his style. Many of
them seem mere collections of notes and jottings for lectures, without
any attempt at style. The rest are distinguished by brevity, terseness,
and scientific precision. No other man ever enriched philosophic
language with so many original expressions. We know, from the testimony
of most competent judges, such as Cicero, that his popular writings,
dialogues, etc., were written in an elegant style, casting even that of
Plato into the shade; and this is borne fully out by some extant

Greek philosophy culminates in Aristotle. Setting out with a naïve
acceptance of the world as being what it seemed, and trying to reduce
this Being to some material principle, such as water, air, etc., it was
gradually driven, by force of logic, to distinguish Being from Seeming,
and to see that while the latter was dependent on the thinking subject,
the former could not be anything material. This result was reached by
both the materialistic and spiritualistic schools, and was only carried
one step further by the Sophists, who maintained that even the being of
things depended on the thinker. This necessarily led to skepticism,
individualism, and disruption of the old social and religious order.

Then arose Socrates, greatest of the Sophists, who, seeing that the
outer world had been shown to depend on the inner, adopted as his motto,
"Know Thyself," and devoted himself to the study of mind. By his
dialectic method he showed that skepticism and individualism, so far as
anarchic, can be overcome by carrying out thought to its implications;
when it proves to be the same for all, and to bring with it an authority
binding on all, and replacing that of the old external gods. Thus
Socrates discovered the principle of human liberty, a principle
necessarily hostile to the ancient State, which absorbed the man in the
citizen. Socrates was accordingly put to death as an atheist; and then
Plato, with good intentions but prejudiced insight, set to work to
restore the old tyranny of the State. This he did by placing truth, or
reality (which Socrates had found in complete thought, internal to the
mind), outside of both thought and nature, and making it consist of a
group of eternal schemes, or forms, of which natural things are merely
transient phantoms, and which can be reached by only a few aristocratic
souls, born to rule the rest. On the basis of this distortion he
constructed his Republic, in which complete despotism is exercised by
the philosophers through the military; man is reduced to a machine, his
affections and will being disregarded; community of women and of
property is the law; and science is scouted.

Aristotle's philosophy may be said to be a protest against this view,
and an attempt to show that reality is embodied in nature, which depends
on a supreme intelligence, and may be realized in other intelligences,
or thought-centres, such as the human mind. In other words, according to
Aristotle, truth is actual in the world and potential in all minds,
which may by experience put on its forms. Thus the individualism of the
Sophists and the despotism of Plato are overcome, while an important
place is made for experience, or science.

Aristotle, accepting the world of common-sense, tried to rationalize it;
that is, to realize it in himself. First among the Greeks he believed it
to be unique, uncreated, and eternal, and gave his reasons. Recognizing
that the phenomenal world exists in change, he investigated the
principle and method of this. Change he conceives as a transition from
potentiality to actuality, and as always due to something actualized,
communicating its form to something potential. Looking at the "world" as
a whole, and picturing it as limited, globular, and constructed like an
onion, with the earth in the centre, and round about it nine concentric
spheres carrying the planets and stars, he concludes that there must be
at one end something purely actual and therefore unchanging,--that is,
pure form or energy; and at the other, something purely potential and
therefore changing,--that is, pure matter or latency. The pure actuality
is at the circumference, pure matter at the centre. Matter, however,
never exists without some form. Thus, nature is an eternal circular
process between the actual and the potential. The supreme Intelligence,
God, being pure energy, changelessly thinks himself, and through the
love inspired by his perfection moves the outmost sphere; which would
move all the rest were it not for inferior intelligences, fifty-six in
number, who, by giving them different directions, diversify the divine
action and produce the variety of the world. The celestial world is
composed of eternal matter, or aether, whose only change is circular
motion; the sublunary world is composed of changing matter, in four
different but mutually transmutable forms--fire, air, water,
earth--movable in two opposite directions, in straight lines, under the
ever-varying influence of the celestial spheres.

Thus the world is an organism, making no progress as a whole, but
continually changing in its various parts. In it all real things are
individuals, not universals, as Plato thought. And forms pass from
individual to individual only. Peleus, not humanity, is the parent of
Achilles; the learned man only can teach the ignorant. In the
world-process there are several distinct stages, to each of which
Aristotle devotes a special work, or series of works. Beginning with the
"four elements" and their changes, he works up through the mineral,
vegetable, and animal worlds, to man, and thence through the spheral
intelligences to the supreme, divine intelligence, on which the Whole
depends. Man stands on the dividing line between the temporal and the
eternal; belonging with his animal part to the former, with his
intelligence (which "enters from without") to the latter. He is an
intelligence, of the same nature as the sphere-movers, but individuated
by mutable matter in the form of a body, matter being in all cases the
principle of individuation. As intelligence, he becomes free; takes the
guidance of his life into his own hand; and, first through ethics,
politics, and aesthetics, the forms of his sensible or practical
activity, and second through logic, science, and philosophy, the forms
of his intellectual activity, he rises to divine heights and "plays the
immortal." His supreme activity is contemplation. This, the eternal
energy of God, is possible for man only at rare intervals.

Aristotle, by placing his eternal forms in sensible things as their
meaning, made science possible and necessary. Not only is he the father
of scientific method, inductive and deductive, but his actual
contributions to science place him in the front rank of scientists. His
Zoölogy, Psychology, Logic, Metaphysics, Ethics, Politics, and
Aesthetics, are still highly esteemed and extensively studied. At the
same time, by failing to overcome the dualism and supernaturalism of
Plato, by adopting the popular notions about spheres and sphere-movers,
by separating intelligence from sense, by conceiving matter as
independent and the principle of individuation, and by making science
relate only to the universal, he paved the way for astrology, alchemy,
magic, and all the forms of superstition, retarding the advance of
several sciences, as for example astronomy and chemistry, for many
hundred years.

After Aristotle's death, his school was continued by a succession of
studious and learned men, but did not for many centuries deeply affect
contemporary life. At last, in the fifth century A.D., his thought found
its way into the Christian schools, giving birth to rationalism and
historical criticism. At various times its adherents were condemned as
heretics and banished, mostly to Syria. Here, at Edessa and Nisibis,
they established schools of learning which for several centuries were
the most famous in the world. The entire works of Aristotle were turned
into Syriac; among them several spurious ones of Neo-Platonic origin,
notably the famous 'Liber de Causis' and the 'Theology of Aristotle.'
Thus a Neo-Platonic Aristotle came to rule Eastern learning. On the rise
of Islâm, this Aristotle was borrowed by the Muslims, and became ruler
of their schools at Bagdad, Basra, and other places,--schools which
produced many remarkable men. On the decay of these, he passed in the
twelfth century into the schools of Spain, and here ruled supreme until
Arab philosophy was suppressed, shortly before 1200. From the Arabs he
passed into the Christian Church about this date; and though at first
resisted, was finally accepted, and became "the philosopher" of the
schools, and the inspirer of Dante. The Reformers, though decrying him,
were forced to have recourse to him; but his credit was not
re-established until the present century, when, thanks to Hegel,
Trendelenburg, Brandis, and the Berlin Academy, his true value was
recognized and his permanent influence insured.

The extant works of Aristotle, covering the whole field of science, may
be classified as follows:--

A. _Logical or Formal_, dealing with the form rather than the matter of
science:--'Categories,' treating of Being and its determination, which,
being regarded ontologically, bring the work into the metaphysical
sphere; 'On Interpretation,' dealing with the proposition; 'Former
Analytics,' theory of the syllogism; 'Later Analytics,' theory of proof;
'Topics,' probable proofs; 'Sophistical proofs,' fallacies. These works
were later united by the Stoics under the title 'Organon,' or Instrument
(of science).

B. _Scientific or Philosophical_, dealing with the matter of science.
These may be subdivided into three classes: (_a_) Theoretical, (_b_)
Practical, (_c_) Creative.

(_a_) The _Theoretical_ has further subdivisions: (_a_) Metaphysical,
(_b_) Physical, (_c_) Mathematical.--(_a_) The Metaphysical works
include the incomplete collection under the name 'Metaphysics,'--(_b_)
The Physical works include 'Physics,' 'On the Heavens,' 'On Generation
and Decay,' 'On the Soul,' with eight supplementary tracts on actions of
the soul as combined with the body; viz., 'On Sense and Sensibles,' 'On
Memory and Reminiscence,' 'On Sleep and Waking,' 'On Dreams,' 'On
Divination from Dreams,' 'On Length and Shortness of Life,' 'On Life and
Death,' 'On Respiration,' 'Meteorologics,' 'Histories of Animals'
(Zoögraphy). 'On the Parts of Animals,' 'On the Generation of Animals,'
'On the Motion of Animals,' 'Problems' (largely spurious). 'On the
Cosmos,' 'Physiognomies,' 'On Wonderful Auditions,' 'On Colors.'--The
Mathematical works include 'On Indivisible Lines,' 'Mechanics.'

(_b_) The _Practical_ works are 'Nicomachean Ethics,' 'Endemean Ethics,'
'Great Ethics' ('Magna Moralia'), really different forms of the same
work; 'Politics,' 'Constitutions' (originally one hundred and
fifty-eight in number; now represented only by the recently discovered
'Constitution of Athens'), 'On Virtues and Vices,' 'Rhetoric to
Alexander,' 'Oeconomics.'

(_c_) Of _Creative_ works we have only the fragmentary 'Poetics.' To
these may be added a few poems, one of which is given here.

Besides the extant works of Aristotle, we have titles, fragments, and
some knowledge of the contents of a large number more. Among these are
the whole of the "exoteric" works, including nineteen Dialogues. A list
of his works, as arranged in the Alexandrian Library (apparently), is
given by Diogenes Laërtius in his 'Life of Aristotle' (printed in the
Berlin and Paris editions of 'Aristotle'); a list in which it is not
easy to identify the whole of the extant works. The 'Fragments' appear
in both the editions just named. Some of the works named above are
almost certainly spurious; _e.g._, the 'Rhetoric to Alexander,' the
'Oeconomics,' etc.

The chief editions of Aristotle's works, exclusive of the 'Constitution
of Athens,' are that of the Berlin Academy (Im. Bekker), containing
text, scholia, Latin translation, and Index in Greek (5 vols., square
4to); and the Paris or Didot (Dübner, Bussemaker, Heitz), containing
text, Latin translation, and very complete Index in Latin (5 vols.,
4to). Of the chief works the best editions are:--'Organon,' Waitz;
'Metaphysics,' Schwegler, Bonitz; 'Physics,' Prantl; 'Meteorologies,'
Ideler; 'On the Generation of Animals,' Aubert and Wimmer; 'Psychology,'
Trendelenburg, Torstrik, Wallace (with English translation);
'Nicomachean Ethics,' Grant, Ramsauer, Susemihl; 'Politics,' Stahr,
Susemihl; 'Constitution of Athens,' Kenyon, Sandys; 'Poetics,' Susemihl,
Vahlen, Butcher (with English translation). There are few good English
translations of Aristotle's works; but among these may be mentioned
Peter's 'Nicomachean Ethics,' Jowett's and Welldon's 'Politics,' and
Poste's 'Constitution of Athens.' There is a fair French translation of
the principal works by Barthélemy St.-Hilaire. The Berlin Academy is now
(1896) publishing the ancient Greek commentaries on Aristotle in
thirty-five quarto volumes. The best work on Aristotle is that by E.
Zeller, in Vol. iii. of his 'Philosophie der Griechen.' The English
works by Lewes and Grote are inferior. For Bibliography, the student may
consult Ueberweg, 'Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophic,' Vol. i.,
pages 196 _seq_.

[Illustration: Signature: THOMAS DAVIDSON]


From 'On the Soul,' Book iii., Chapter 6

Concerning that part of the soul, however, by which the soul knows (and
is prudentially wise) whether it is separable or not separable,
according to magnitude, but according to reason, it must be considered
what difference it possesses, and how intellectual perception is
produced. If, therefore, to perceive intellectually is the same thing as
to perceive sensibly, it will either be to suffer something from the
intelligible, or something else of this kind. It is necessary, however,
that it should be impassive, but capable of receiving form; and in
capacity a thing of this kind, but not this; and also, that as the
sensitive power is to sensibles, so should intellect be to
intelligibles. It is necessary, therefore, since it understands all
things, that it should be unmingled, as Anaxagoras says, that it may
predominate: but this is that it may know; for that which is foreign at
the same time presenting itself to the view, impedes and obstructs.

Hence, neither is there any other nature of it than this, that it is
possible. That, therefore, which is called the intellect of soul (I mean
the intellect by which the soul energizes dianoetically and
hypoleptically), is nothing in energy of beings before it intellectually
perceives them. Hence, neither is it reasonable that it should be
mingled with body; for thus it would become a thing with certain
quality, would be hot or cold, and would have a certain organ in the
same manner as the sensitive power. Now, however, there is no organ of
it. In a proper manner, therefore, do they speak, who say that the soul
is the place of forms; except that this is not true of the whole soul,
but of that which is intellective; nor is it forms in entelecheia, but
in capacity. But that the impassivity of the sensitive and intellective
power is not similar, is evident in the sensoria and in sense. For sense
cannot perceive from a vehement sensible object (as for instance, sounds
from very loud sounds; nor from strong odors and colors can it either
see or smell): but intellect, when it understands anything very
intelligible, does not less understand inferior concerns, but even
understands them in a greater degree; for the sensitive power is not
without body, but intellect is separate from body.

When however it becomes particulars, in such a manner as he is said to
possess scientific knowledge who scientifically knows in energy (and
this happens when it is able to energize through itself), then also it
is similarly in a certain respect in capacity, yet not after the same
manner as before it learnt or discovered; and it is then itself able to
understand itself. By the sensitive power, therefore, it distinguishes
the hot and the cold, and those things of which flesh is a certain
reason; but by another power, either separate, or as an inflected line
subsists with reference to itself when it is extended, it distinguishes
the essence of flesh. Further still, in those things which consist in
ablation, the straight is as the flat nose; for it subsists with the

Some one, however, may question, if intellect is simple and impassive
and has nothing in common with anything, as Anaxagoras says, how it can
perceive intellectually, if to perceive intellectually is to suffer
something; for so far as something is common to both, the one appears to
act, but the other to suffer. Again, it may also be doubted whether
intellect is itself intelligible. For either intellect will also be
present with other things, if it is not intelligible according to
another thing, but the intelligible is one certain thing in species; or
it will have something mingled, which will make it to be intelligible in
the same manner as other things. Or shall we say that to suffer subsists
according to something common? On which account, it was before observed
that intellect is in capacity, in a certain respect, intelligibles, but
is no one of them in entelecheia, before it understands or perceives
intellectually. But it is necessary to conceive of it as of a table in
which nothing is written in entelecheia; which happens to be the case in
intellect. But in those things which have matter, each of the
intelligibles is in capacity only. Hence, intellect will not be present
with them; for the intellect of such things is capacity without matter.
But with intellect the intelligible will be present.

       *       *       *       *       *

Since, however, in every nature there is something which is matter to
each genus (and this because it is all those in capacity), and something
which is the cause and affective, because it produces all things (in
such a manner as art is affected with respect to matter), it is
necessary that these differences should also be inherent in the soul.
And the one is an intellect of this kind because it becomes all things;
but the other because it produces all things as a certain habit, such
for instance as light. For in a certain respect, light also causes
colors which are in capacity to be colors in energy. And this intellect
is separate, unmingled, and impassive, since it is in its essence
energy; for the efficient is always more honorable than the patient, and
the principle than matter. Science, also, in energy is the same as the
thing [which is scientifically known]. But science which is in capacity
is prior in time in the one [to science in energy]; though, in short,
neither [is capacity prior to energy] in time. It does not, however,
perceive intellectually at one time and at another time not, but
separate intellect is alone this very thing which it is; and this alone
is immortal and eternal. We do not, however, remember because this is
impassive; but the passive intellect is corruptible, and without this
the separate intellect understands nothing.


From the 'Poetics,' Chapter 9

But it is evident from what has been said that it is not the province of
a poet to relate things which have happened, but such as might have
happened, and such things as are possible according to probability, or
which would necessarily have happened. For a historian and a poet do not
differ from each other because the one writes in verse and the other in
prose; for the history of Herodotus might be written in verse, and yet
it would be no less a history with metre than without metre. But they
differ in this, that the one speaks of things which have happened, and
the other of such as might have happened. Hence, poetry is more
philosophic, and more deserving of attention, than history. For poetry
speaks more of universals, but history of particulars. But universal
consists, indeed, in relating or performing certain things which happen
to a man of a certain description, either probably or necessarily [to
which the aim of poetry is directed in giving names]; but particular
consists in narrating what [for example] Alcibiades did, or what he
suffered. In comedy, therefore, this is now become evident. For comic
poets having composed a fable through things of a probable nature, they
thus give whatever names they please to their characters, and do not,
like iambic poets, write poems about particular persons. But in tragedy
they cling to real names. The cause, however, of this is, that the
possible is credible. Things therefore which have not yet been done, we
do not yet believe to be possible: but it is evident that things which
have been done are possible, for they would not have been done if they
were impossible.

Not indeed but that in some tragedies there are one or two known names,
and the rest are feigned; but in others there is no known name, as for
instance in 'The Flower of Agatho.' For in this tragedy the things and
the names are alike feigned, and yet it delights no less. Hence, one
must not seek to adhere entirely to traditional fables, which are the
subjects of tragedy. For it is ridiculous to make this the object of
search, because even known subjects are known but to a few, though at
the same time they delight all men. From these things, therefore, it is
evident that a poet ought rather to be the author of fables than of
metres, inasmuch as he is a poet from imitation, and he imitates
actions. Hence, though it should happen that he relates things which
have happened, he is no less a poet. For nothing hinders but that some
actions which have happened are such as might both probably and possibly
have happened, and by [the narration of] such he is a poet.

But of simple plots and actions, the episodic are the worst. But I call
the plot episodic, in which it is neither probable nor necessary that
the episodes follow each other. Such plots, however, are composed by bad
poets, indeed, through their own want of ability; but by good poets, on
account of the players. For, introducing [dramatic] contests, and
extending the plot beyond its capabilities, they are frequently
compelled to distort the connection of the parts. But tragedy is not
only an imitation of a perfect action, but also of actions which are
terrible and piteous, and actions principally become such (and in a
greater degree when they happen contrary to opinion) on account of each
other. For thus they will possess more of the marvelous than if they
happened from chance and fortune; since also of things which are from
fortune, those appear to be most admirable which seem to happen as it
were by design. Thus the statue of Mityus at Argos killed him who was
the cause of the death of Mityus by falling as he was surveying it. For
such events as these seem not to take place casually. Hence it is
necessary that fables of this kind should be more beautiful.


Quoted in Cicero's 'Nature of the Gods'

If there were men whose habitations had been always under ground, in
great and commodious houses, adorned with statues and pictures,
furnished with everything which they who are reputed happy abound with:
and if, without stirring from thence, they should be informed of a
certain divine power and majesty, and after some time the earth should
open and they should quit their dark abode to come to us, where they
should immediately behold the earth, the seas, the heavens; should
consider the vast extent of the clouds and force of the winds; should
see the sun and observe his grandeur and beauty, and perceive that day
is occasioned by the diffusion of his light through the sky; and when
night has obscured the earth they should contemplate the heavens,
bespangled and adorned with stars, the surprising variety of the moon in
her increase and wane, the rising and setting of all the stars and the
inviolable regularity of their courses,--when, says he, "they should see
these things, they would undoubtedly conclude that there are gods, and
that these are their mighty works."


From 'The Metaphysics,' Book xi., Chapter I

The subject of theory (or speculative science) is _essence_. In it are
investigated the principles and causes of essences. The truth is, if the
All be regarded as a whole, essence is its first (or highest) part.
Also, if we consider the natural order of the categories, essence stands
at the head of the list; then comes quality; then quantity. It is true
that the other categories, such as qualities and movements, are not in
any absolute sense at all, and the same is true of [negatives, such as]
not-white or not-straight. Nevertheless, we use such expressions as
"Not-white is."

Moreover, no one of the other categories is separable [or independent].
This is attested by the procedure of the older philosophers; for it was
the principles, elements, and causes of essence that were the objects of
their investigations. The thinkers of the present day, to be sure, are
rather inclined to consider universals as essence. For genera are
universals, and these they hold to be principles and essences, mainly
because their mode of investigation is a logical one. The older
philosophers, on the other hand, considered particular things to be
essences; _e.g.,_ fire and earth, not body in general.

There are three essences. Two of these are sensible, one being eternal
and the other transient. The latter is obvious to all, in the form of
plants and animals; with regard to the former, there is room for
discussion, as to whether its elements are one or many. The third,
differing from the other two, is immutable and is maintained by certain
persons to be separable. Some make two divisions of it, whereas others
class together, as of one nature, ideas and mathematical entities; and
others again admit only the latter. The first two essences belong to
physical science, for they are subject to change; the last belongs to
another science, if there is no principle common to all.


From 'The Politics,' Book 8

No one, therefore, can doubt that the legislator ought principally to
attend to the education of youth. For in cities where this is neglected,
the politics are injured. For every State ought to be governed according
to its nature; since the appropriate manners of each polity usually
preserve the polity, and establish it from the beginning. Thus,
appropriate democratic manners preserve and establish a democracy, and
oligarchic an oligarchy. Always, however, the best manners are the cause
of the best polity. Further still, in all professions and arts, there
are some things which ought previously to be learnt, and to which it is
requisite to be previously accustomed, in order to the performance of
their several works,; so that it is evident that it is also necessary in
the practice of virtue.

Since, however, there is one purpose to every city, it is evident that
the education must necessarily be one and the same in all cities; and
that the attention paid to this should be common. At the same time,
also, no one ought to think that any person takes care of the education
of his children separately, and privately teaches them that particular
discipline which appears to him to be proper. But it is necessary that
the studies of the public should be common. At the same time, also, no
one ought to think that any citizen belongs to him in particular, but
that all the citizens belong to the city; for each individual is a part
of the city. The care and attention, however, which are paid to each of
the parts, naturally look to the care and attention of the whole. And
for this, some one may praise the Lacedaemonians; for they pay very
great attention to their children, and this in common. It is evident,
therefore, that laws should be established concerning education, and
that it should be made common.

               HYMN TO VIRTUE

     Virtue, to men thou bringest care and toil;
     Yet art thou life's best, fairest spoil!
     O virgin goddess, for thy beauty's sake
       To die is delicate in this our Greece,
         Or to endure of pain the stern strong ache.
             Such fruit for our soul's ease
       Of joys undying, dearer far than gold
       Or home or soft-eyed sleep, dost thou unfold!
           It was for thee the seed of Zeus,
       Stout Herakles, and Leda's twins, did choose
     Strength-draining deeds, to spread abroad thy name:
             Smit with the love of thee
          Aias and Achilleus went smilingly
     Down to Death's portal, crowned with deathless fame.
             Now, since thou art so fair,
             Leaving the lightsome air.
         Atarneus' hero hath died gloriously.
     Wherefore immortal praise shall be his guerdon:
     His goodness and his deeds are made the burden
                    Of songs divine
            Sung by Memory's daughters nine,
          Hymning of hospitable Zeus the might
       And friendship firm as fate in fate's despite.

                    Translation of J. A. Symonds.



Jón Arnason was born in 1819, at Hof. Akàgaströnd, in Iceland, where his
father, Arm Illugason, was clergyman. After completing the course at the
Bessastad Latin School, at that time the most famous school in Iceland,
he took his first position as librarian of the so-called Stiptbókasafn
Islands (since 1881 called the National Library), which office he held
till 1887, when he asked to be relieved from his official duties. During
this period he had been also the first librarian of the Reykjavik branch
of the Icelandic Literary Society; a teacher and the custodian of the
library at the Latin School, which in the mean time had been moved from
Bessastad to Reykjavik; secretary of the bishop, Helgi Thordersen, and
custodian of the growing collection of Icelandic antiquities which has
formed the nucleus of a national museum. He had found time, besides,
during these years, for considerable literary work; and apart from
several valuable bibliographies had, alone and in collaboration, made
important contributions to his native literature. He died at
Reykjavik in 1888.

His principal literary work, and that by which alone he is known outside
of Iceland, is the collection of folk-tales that appeared in Iceland in
1862-64, in two volumes, with the title 'Islenzkar Thoosögur og
Æfintyri' (Icelandic Popular Legends and Tales). A small preliminary
collection, called 'Islenzk Æfintyri' (Icelandic Tales), made in
collaboration with Magnus Grimsson, had been published in 1852.
Subsequently, Jón Arnason went to work single-handed to make an
exhaustive collection of the folk-tales of the country, which by
traveling and correspondence he drew from every nook and corner of
Iceland. No effort was spared to make the collection complete, and many
years were spent in this undertaking. The results were in every way
valuable. No more important collection of folk-tales exists in the
literature of any nation, and the work has become both a classic at home
and a most suggestive link in the comparative study of folk-lore
elsewhere. Arnason thus performed for his native land what the Grimms
did for Germany, and what Asbjörnsen and Moe did for Norway. He has
frequently been called the "Grimm of Iceland." The stories of the
collection have since found their way all over the world, many of them
having been translated into English, German, French, and Danish.

In his transcription of the tales, Arnason has followed, even more
conscientiously, the plan of the Grimms in adhering to the local or
individual form in which the story had come to him in writing or by
oral transmission. We get in this way a perfect picture of the national
spirit, and a better knowledge of life and environment in Iceland than
from any other source. In these stories there is much to say of elves
and trolls, of ghosts and "fetches," of outlaws and the devil. Magic
plays an important part, and there is the usual lore of beasts and
plants. Many of them are but variants of folk-tales that belong to the
race. Others, however, are as plainly local evolutions, which in their
whole conception are as weird and mysterious as the environment that has
produced them.

All the stories are from 'Icelandic Legends': Translation of Powell
and Magnusson.


Long ago a farmer lived at Vogar, who was a mighty fisherman; and of all
the farms about, not one was so well situated with regard to the
fisheries as his.

One day, according to custom, he had gone out fishing; and having cast
down his line from the boat and waited awhile, found it very hard to
pull up again, as if there were something very heavy at the end of it.
Imagine his astonishment when he found that what he had caught was a
great fish, with a man's head and body! When he saw that this creature
was alive, he addressed it and said, "Who and whence are you?"

"A merman from the bottom of the sea," was the reply.

The farmer then asked him what he had been doing when the hook caught
his flesh.

The other replied, "I was turning the cowl of my mother's chimney-pot,
to suit it to the wind. So let me go again, will you?"

"Not for the present," said the fisherman. "You shall serve me awhile
first." So without more words he dragged him into the boat and rowed to
shore with him.

When they got to the boat-house, the fisherman's dog came to him and
greeted him joyfully, barking and fawning on him, and wagging his tail.
But his master's temper being none of the best, he struck the poor
animal; whereupon the merman laughed for the first time.

Having fastened the boat, he went toward his house, dragging his prize
with him over the fields, and stumbling over a hillock which lay in his
way, cursed it heartily; whereupon the merman laughed for the
second time.

When the fisherman arrived at the farm, his wife came out to receive
him, and embraced him affectionately, and he received her salutations
with pleasure; whereupon the merman laughed for the third time.

Then said the farmer to the merman, "You have laughed three times, and I
am curious to know why you have laughed. Tell me, therefore."

"Never will I tell you," replied the merman, "unless you promise to take
me to the same place in the sea wherefrom you caught me, and there to
let me go free again." So the farmer made him the promise.

"Well," said the merman, "I laughed the first time because you struck
your dog, whose joy at meeting you was real and sincere. The second
time, because you cursed the mound over which you stumbled, which is
full of golden ducats. And the third time, because you received with
pleasure your wife's empty and flattering embrace, who is faithless to
you, and a hypocrite. And now be an honest man, and take me out to the
sea whence you brought me."

The farmer replied, "Two things that you have told me I have no means of
proving; namely, the faithfulness of my dog and the faithlessness of my
wife. But the third I will try the truth of; and if the hillock contain
gold, then I will believe the rest."

Accordingly he went to the hillock, and having dug it up, found therein
a great treasure of golden ducats, as the merman had told him. After
this the farmer took the merman down to the boat, and to that place in
the sea whence he had brought him. Before he put him in, the latter
said to him:

"Farmer, you have been an honest man, and I will reward you for
restoring me to my mother, if only you have skill enough to take
possession of property that I shall throw in your way. Be happy
and prosper."

Then the farmer put the merman into the sea, and he sank out of sight.

It happened that not long after seven sea-gray cows were seen on the
beach, close to the farmer's land. These cows appeared to be very
unruly, and ran away directly the farmer approached them. So he took a
stick and ran after them, possessed with the fancy that if he could
burst the bladder which he saw on the nose of each of them, they would
belong to him. He contrived to hit the bladder on the nose of one cow,
which then became so tame that he could easily catch it, while the
others leaped into the sea and disappeared.

The farmer was convinced that this was the gift of the merman. And a
very useful gift it was, for better cow was never seen nor milked in all
the land, and she was the mother of the race of gray cows so much
esteemed now.

And the farmer prospered exceedingly, but never caught any more mermen.
As for his wife, nothing further is told about her, so we can
repeat nothing.


It is told that long ago a peasant living at Götur in Myrdalur went out
fishing round the island of Dyrhólar. In returning from the sea, he had
to cross a morass. It happened once that on his way home after
nightfall, he came to a place where a man had lost his horse in the bog,
and was unable to recover it without help. The fisherman, to whom this
man was a stranger, aided him in freeing his horse from the peat.

When the animal stood again safe and sound upon the dry earth, the
stranger said to the fisherman, "I am your neighbor, for I live in
Hvammsgil, and am returning from the sea, like you. But I am so poor
that I cannot pay you for this service as you ought to be paid. I will
promise you, however, this much: that you shall never go to sea without
catching fish, nor ever, if you will take my advice, return with empty
hands. But you must never put to sea without having first seen me pass
your house, as if going toward the shore. Obey me in this matter, and I
promise you that you shall never launch your boat in vain."

The fisherman thanked him for this advice; and sure enough it was that
for three years afterward, never putting to sea till he had first seen
his neighbor pass his door, he always launched his boat safely, and
always came home full-handed.

But at the end of the three years it fell out that one day in the early
morning, the fisherman, looking out from his house, saw the wind and
weather favorable, and all other fishers hurrying down to the sea to
make the best of so good a time. But though he waited hour after hour
in the hope of seeing his neighbor pass, the man of Hvammsgil never
came. At last, losing his patience, he started out without having seen
him go by. When he came down to the shore, he found that all the boats
were launched and far away.

Before night the wind rose and became a storm, and every boat that had
that day put to sea was wrecked, and every fisher drowned; the peasant
of Götur alone escaping, for he had been unable to go out fishing. The
next night he had a strange dream, in which his neighbor from Hvammsgil
came to him and said, "Although you did not yesterday follow my advice,
I yet so far felt kindly toward you that I hindered you from going out
to sea, and saved you thus from drowning; but look no more forth to see
me pass, for we have met for the last time." And never again did the
peasant see his neighbor pass his door.


A certain day-laborer once started from his home in the south to earn
wages for hay-cutting in the north country. In the mountains he was
suddenly overtaken by a thick mist and sleet-storm, and lost his way.
Fearing to go on further, he pitched his tent in a convenient spot, and
taking out his provisions, began to eat.

While he was engaged upon his meal, a brown dog came into the tent, so
ill-favored, dirty, wet, and fierce-eyed, that the poor man felt quite
afraid of it, and gave it as much bread and meat as it could devour.
This the dog swallowed greedily, and ran off again into the mist. At
first the man wondered much to see a dog in such a wild place, where he
never expected to meet with a living creature; but after a while he
thought no more about the matter, and having finished his supper, fell
asleep, with his saddle for a pillow.

At midnight he dreamed that he saw a tall and aged woman enter his tent,
who spoke thus to him:--"I am beholden to you, good man, for your
kindness to my daughter, but am unable to reward you as you deserve.
Here is a scythe which I place beneath your pillow; it is the only gift
I can make you, but despise it not. It will surely prove useful to you,
as it can cut down all that lies before it. Only beware of putting it
into the fire to temper it. Sharpen it, however, as you will, but in
that way never." So saying, she was seen no more.

When the man awoke and looked forth, he found the mist all gone and the
sun high in heaven; so getting all his things together and striking his
tent, he laid them upon the pack-horses, saddling last of all his own
horse. But on lifting his saddle from the ground, he found beneath it a
small scythe blade, which seemed well worn and was rusty. On seeing
this, he at once recalled to mind his dream, and taking the scythe with
him, set out once more on his way. He soon found again the road which he
had lost, and made all speed to reach the well-peopled district to which
he was bound.

When he arrived at the north country, he went from house to house, but
did not find any employment, for every farmer had laborers enough, and
one week of hay-harvest was already past. He heard it said, however,
that one old woman in the district, generally thought by her neighbors
to be skilled in magic and very rich, always began her hay-cutting a
week later than anybody else, and though she seldom employed a laborer,
always contrived to finish it by the end of the season. When by any
chance--and it was a rare one--she did engage a workman, she was never
known to pay him for his work.

Now the peasant from the south was advised to ask this old woman for
employment, having been warned of her strange habits.

He accordingly went to her house, and offered himself to her as a day
laborer. She accepted his offer, and told him that he might, if he
chose, work a week for her, but must expect no payment.

"Except," she said, "you can cut more grass in the whole week than I can
rake in on the last day of it."

To these terms he gladly agreed, and began mowing. And a very good
scythe he found that to be which the woman had given him in his dream;
for it cut well, and never wanted sharpening, though he worked with it
for five days unceasingly. He was well content, too, with his place, for
the old woman was kind enough to him.

One day, entering the forge next to her house, he saw a vast number of
scythe-handles and rakes, and a big heap of blades, and wondered beyond
measure what the old lady could want with all these. It was the fifth
day--the Friday--and when he was asleep that night, the same elf-woman
whom he had seen upon the mountains came again to him and said:--

"Large as are the meadows you have mown, your employer will easily be
able to rake in all that hay to-morrow, and if she does so, will, as you
know, drive you away without paying you. When therefore you see yourself
worsted, go into the forge, take as many scythe-handles as you think
proper, fit their blades to them, and carry them out into that part of
the land where the hay is yet uncut. There you must lay them on the
ground, and you shall see how things go."

This said, she disappeared, and in the morning the laborer, getting up,
set to work as usual at his mowing.

At six o'clock the old witch came out, bringing five rakes with her, and
said to the man, "A goodly piece of ground you have mowed, indeed!"

And so saying, she spread the rakes upon the hay. Then the man saw, to
his astonishment, that though the one she held in her hand raked in
great quantities of hay, the other four raked in no less each, all of
their own accord, and with no hand to wield them.

At noon, seeing that the old woman would soon get the best of him, he
went into the forge and took out several scythe-handles, to which he
fixed their blades, and bringing them out into the field, laid them down
upon the grass which was yet standing. Then all the scythes set to work
of their own accord, and cut down the grass so quickly that the rakes
could not keep pace with them. And so they went on all the rest of the
day, and the old woman was unable to rake in all the hay which lay in
the fields. After dark she told him to gather up his scythes and take
them into the house again, while she collected her rakes, saying
to him:--

"You are wiser than I took you to be, and you know more than myself; so
much the better for you, for you may stay as long with me as you like."

He spent the whole summer in her employment, and they agreed very well
together, mowing with mighty little trouble a vast amount of hay. In the
autumn she sent him away, well laden with money, to his own home in the
south. The next summer, and more than one summer following, he spent in
her employ, always being paid as his heart could desire, at the end of
the season.

After some years he took a farm of his own in the south country, and
was always looked upon by all his neighbors as an honest man, a good
fisherman, and an able workman in whatever he might put his hand to. He
always cut his own hay, never using any scythe but that which the
elf-woman had given him upon the mountains; nor did any of his neighbors
ever finish their mowing before him.

One summer it chanced that while he was fishing, one of his neighbors
came to his house and asked his wife to lend him her husband's scythe,
as he had lost his own. The farmer's wife looked for one, but could only
find the one upon which her husband set such store. This, however, a
little loth, she lent to the man, begging him at the same time never to
temper it in the fire; for that, she said, her good man never did. So
the neighbor promised, and taking it with him, bound it to a handle and
began to work with it. But, sweep as he would, and strain as he would
(and sweep and strain he did right lustily), not a single blade of grass
fell. Wroth at this, the man tried to sharpen it, but with no avail.
Then he took it into his forge, intending to temper it, for, thought he,
what harm could that possibly do? but as soon as the flames touched it,
the steel melted like wax, and nothing was left but a little heap of
ashes. Seeing this, he went in haste to the farmer's house, where he had
borrowed it, and told the woman what had happened; she was at her wits'
end with fright and shame when she heard it, for she knew well enough
how her husband set store by this scythe, and how angry he would be
at its loss.

And angry indeed he was, when he came home, and he beat his wife well
for her folly in lending what was not hers to lend. But his wrath was
soon over, and he never again, as he never had before, laid the stick
about his wife's shoulders.


In a large house, where all the chief rooms were paneled, there lived
once upon a time a farmer, whose ill-fate it was that every servant of
his that was left alone to guard the house on Christmas Eve, while the
rest of the family went to church, was found dead when the family
returned home. As soon as the report of this was spread abroad, the
farmer had the greatest difficulty in procuring servants who would
consent to watch alone in the house on that night; until at last, one
day a man, a strong fellow, offered him his services, to sit up alone
and guard the house. The farmer told him what fate awaited him for his
rashness; but the man despised such a fear, and persisted in his

On Christmas Eve, when the farmer and all his family, except the new
man-servant, were preparing for church, the farmer said to him, "Come
with us to church; I cannot leave you here to die."

But the other replied, "I intend to stay here, for it would be unwise in
you to leave your house unprotected; and besides, the cattle and sheep
must have their food at the proper time."

"Never mind the beasts," answered the farmer. "Do not be so rash as to
remain in the house this night; for whenever we have returned from
church on this night, we have always found every living thing in the
house dead, with all its bones broken."

But the man was not to be persuaded, as he considered all these fears
beneath his notice; so the farmer and the rest of the servants went away
and left him behind, alone in the house.

As soon as he was by himself he began to consider how to guard against
anything that might occur; for a dread had stolen over him, in spite of
his courage, that something strange was about to take place. At last he
thought that the best thing to do was, first of all to light up the
family room; and then to find some place in which to hide himself. As
soon as he had lighted all the candles, he moved two planks out of the
wainscot at the end of the room, and creeping into the space between it
and the wall, restored the planks to their places, so that he could see
plainly into the room and yet avoid being himself discovered.

He had scarcely finished concealing himself, when two fierce and
strange-looking men entered the room and began looking about.

One of them said, "I smell a human being."

"No," replied the other, "there is no human being here."

Then they took a candle and continued their search, until they found the
man's dog asleep under one of the beds. They took it up, and having
dashed it on the ground till every bone in its body was broken, hurled
it from them. When the man-servant saw this, he congratulated himself on
not having fallen into their hands.

Suddenly the room was filled with people, who were laden with tables
and all kinds of table furniture, silver, cloths, and all, which they
spread out, and having done so, sat down to a rich supper, which they
had also brought with them. They feasted noisily, and spent the
remainder of the night in drinking and dancing. Two of them were
appointed to keep guard, in order to give the company due warning of the
approach either of anybody or of the day. Three times they went out,
always returning with the news that they saw neither the approach of any
human being, nor yet of the break of day.

But when the man-servant suspected the night to be pretty far spent, he
jumped from his place of concealment into the room, and clashing the two
planks together with as much noise as he could make, shouted like a
madman, "The day! the day! the day!"

On these words the whole company rose scared from their seats, and
rushed headlong out, leaving behind them not only their tables, and all
the silver dishes, but even the very clothes they had taken off for ease
in dancing. In the hurry of flight many were wounded and trodden under
foot, while the rest ran into the darkness, the man-servant after them,
clapping the planks together and shrieking, "The day! the day! the day!"
until they came to a large lake, into which the whole party plunged
headlong and disappeared.

From this the man knew them to be water-elves.

Then he returned home, gathered the corpses of the elves who had been
killed in the flight, killed the wounded ones, and, making a great heap
of them all, burned them. When he had finished this task, he cleaned up
the house and took possession of all the treasures the elves had left
behind them.

On the farmer's return, his servant told him all that had occurred, and
showed him the spoils. The farmer praised him for a brave fellow, and
congratulated him on having escaped with his life. The man gave him half
the treasures of the elves, and ever afterward prospered exceedingly.

This was the last visit the water-elves ever paid to _that_ house.


It is supposed that among the hills there are certain cross-roads, from
the centre of which you can see four churches, one at the end of
each road.

If you sit at the crossing of these roads on Christmas Eve (or as others
say, on New Year's Eve), elves come from every direction and cluster
round you, and ask you, with all sorts of blandishments and fair
promises, to go with them; but you must continue silent. Then they bring
to you rarities and delicacies of every description, gold, silver, and
precious stones, meats and wines, of which they beg you to accept; but
you must neither move a limb nor accept a single thing they offer you.
If you get so far as this without speaking, elf-women come to you in the
likeness of your mother, your sister, or any other relation, and beg you
to come with them, using every art and entreaty; but beware you neither
move nor speak. And if you can continue to keep silent and motionless
all the night, until you see the first streak of dawn, then start up and
cry aloud, "Praise be to God! His daylight filleth the heavens!"

As soon as you have said this, the elves will leave you, and with you
all the wealth they have used to entice you, which will now be yours.

But should you either answer, or accept of their offers, you will from
that moment become mad.

On the night of one Christmas Eve, a man named Fusi was out on the
cross-roads, and managed to resist all the entreaties and proffers of
the elves, until one of them offered him a large lump of mutton-suet,
and begged him to take a bite of it. Fusi, who had up to this time
gallantly resisted all such offers as gold and silver and diamonds and
such filthy lucre, could hold out no longer, and crying, "Seldom have I
refused a bite of mutton-suet," he went mad.



Sprung from the sturdy peasant stock of the north, to which patriotism
is a chief virtue, Ernst Moritz Arndt first saw the light at Schoritz,
Island of Rügen (then a dependency of Sweden), December 29th, 1769. His
father, once a serf, had achieved a humble independence, and he destined
his clever son for the ministry, the one vocation open to him which
meant honor and advancement. The young man studied theology at
Greifswald and Jena, but later turned his attention exclusively to
history and literature. His early life is delightfully described in his
'Stories and Recollections of Childhood.' His youth was molded by the
influence of Goethe, Klopstock, Bürger, and Voss. After completing his
university studies he traveled extensively in Austria, Hungary, and
Northern Italy. His account of these journeys, published in 1802, shows
his keen observation of men and affairs.

[Illustration: ERNST ARNDT]

He began his long service to his country by his 'History of Serfdom in
Pomerania and Sweden,' which contributed largely to the general
abolition of the ancient abuse. He became professor of history in the
University of Greifswald in 1806, and about that time began to publish
the first series of the 'Spirit of the Times.' These were stirring
appeals to rouse the Germans against the oppressions of Napoleon. In
consequence he was obliged to flee to Sweden. After three years he
returned under an assumed name, and again took up his work at
Greifswald. In 1812, after the occupation of Pomerania by the French,
his fierce denunciations again forced him to flee, this time to Russia,
the only refuge open to him. There he joined Baron von Stein, who
eagerly made use of him in his schemes for the liberation of Germany. At
this time his finest poems were written: those kindling war songs that
appealed so strongly to German patriotism, when "songs were sermons and
sermons were songs." The most famous of these, 'What is the German's
Fatherland?' 'The Song of the Field-marshal,' and 'The God Who Made
Earth's Iron Hoard,' still live as national lyrics.

Arndt was also constantly occupied in writing pamphlets of the most
stirring nature, as their titles show:--'The Rhine, Germany's River,
but Never Germany's Boundary'; 'The Soldier's Catechism'; and 'The
Militia and the General Levy.' After the disasters of the French in
Russia, he returned to Germany, unceasingly devoted to his task of
rousing the people. Though by birth a Swede, he had become at heart a
Prussian, seeing in Prussia alone the possibility of German unity.

In 1817 he married Schleiermacher's sister, and the following year was
appointed professor of history in the newly established University of
Bonn. Shortly afterward suspended, on account of his liberal views, he
was forced to spend twenty years in retirement. His leisure gave
opportunity for literary work, however, and he availed himself of it by
producing several historical treatises and his interesting
'Reminiscences of My Public Life.' One of the first acts of Frederick
William IV., after his accession, was to restore Arndt to his
professorship at Bonn. He took a lively interest in the events of 1848,
and belonged to the deputation that offered the imperial crown to the
King of Prussia. He continued in the hope and the advocacy of German
unity, though he did not live to see it realized. The ninetieth birthday
of "Father Arndt," as he was fondly called by his countrymen, was
celebrated with general rejoicing throughout Germany. He died shortly
afterward, on January 29th, 1860.

Arndt's importance as a poet is due to the stirring scenes of his
earlier life and the political needs of Germany. He was no genius. He
was not even a deep scholar. His only great work is his war-songs and
patriotic ballads. Germany honors his manly character and patriotic zeal
in that stormy period of Liberation which led through many apparent
defeats to the united Empire of to-day.

The best German biographies are that of Schenkel (1869), W. Baur (1882),
and Langenberg (1869); the latter in 1878 edited 'Arndt's Letters to a
Friend.' J.R. Seeley's 'Life and Adventures of E.M. Arndt' (1879) is
founded on the latter's 'Reminiscences of My Public Life.


     What is the German's fatherland?
         Is it Prussia, or the Swabian's land?
         Is it where the grape glows on the Rhine?
     Where sea-gulls skim the Baltic's brine?
         Oh no! more grand
       Must be the German's fatherland!

     What is the German's fatherland?
     Bavaria, or the Styrian's land?
     Is it where the Master's cattle graze?
     Is it the Mark where forges blaze?
         Oh no! more grand
       Must be the German's fatherland!

     What is the German's fatherland?
     Westphalia? Pomerania's strand?
     Where the sand drifts along the shore?
     Or where the Danube's surges roar?
         Oh no! more grand
       Must be the German's fatherland!

     What is the German's fatherland?
     Now name for me that mighty land!
     Is it Switzerland? or Tyrols, tell;--
     The land and people pleased me well!
         Oh no! more grand
       Must be the German's fatherland!

     What is the German's fatherland?
     Now name for me that mighty land!
     Ah! Austria surely it must be,
     So rich in fame and victory.
         Oh no! more grand
       Must be the German's fatherland!

     What is the German's fatherland?
     Tell me the name of that great land!
     Is it the land which princely hate
     Tore from the Emperor and the State?
         Oh no! more grand
       Must be the German's fatherland!

     What is the German's fatherland?
     Now name at last that mighty land!
     "Where'er resounds the German tongue,
     Where'er its hymns to God are sung!"
         That is the land,
       Brave German, that thy fatherland!

     That is the German's fatherland!
     Where binds like oak the clasped hand,
     Where truth shines clearly from the eyes,
     And in the heart affection lies.
         Be this the land,
       Brave German, this thy fatherland!

     That is the German's fatherland!
     Where scorn shall foreign triflers brand,
     Where all are foes whose deeds offend,
     Where every noble soul's a friend:
           Be this the land,
     All Germany shall be the land!

     All Germany that land shall be:
     Watch o'er it, God, and grant that we,
     With German hearts, in deed and thought,
     May love it truly as we ought.
           Be this the land,
     All Germany shall be the land!


     What's the blast from the trumpets? Hussars, to the fray!
     The field-marshal[2] rides in the rolling mellay:
     So gay on, his mettlesome war-horse he goes,
     So fierce waves his glittering sword at his foes.
     And here are the Germans: juchheirassassa!
     The Germans are joyful: they're shouting hurrah!

     [Footnote 2: Blücher]

     Oh, see as he comes how his piercing eyes gleam!
     Oh, see how behind him his snowy locks stream!
     So fresh blooms his age, like a well-ripened wine,
     He may well as the battle-field's autocrat shine.
     And here are the Germans: juchheirassassa!
     The Germans are joyful: they're shouting hurrah!

     It was he, when his country in ruin was laid,
     Who sternly to heaven uplifted his blade,
     And swore on the brand, with a heart burning high,
     To show Frenchmen the trade that the Prussians could ply.
     And here are the Germans: juchheirassassa!
     The Germans are joyful: they're shouting hurrah!

     That oath he has kept. When the battle-cry rang,
     Hey! how the gray youth to the saddle upsprang!
     He made a sweep-dance for the French in the room,
     And swept the land clean with a steel-ended broom.
     And here are the Germans: juchheirassassa!
     The Germans are joyful: they're shouting hurrah!

     At Lützen, in the meadow, he kept up such a strife,
     That many thousand Frenchmen there yielded up their life;
     That thousands ran headlong for very life's sake,
     And thousands are sleeping who never will wake.
     And here are the Germans: juchheirassassa!
     The Germans are joyful: they're shouting hurrah!

     On the water, at Katzbach, his oath was in trim:
     He taught in a moment the Frenchmen to swim.
     Farewell, Frenchmen; fly to the Baltic to save!
     You mob without breeches, catch whales for your grave.
     And here are the Germans: juchheirassassa!
     The Germans are joyful: they're shouting hurrah!

     At Wartburg, on the Elbe, how he cleared him a path!
     Neither fortress nor town barred the French from his wrath;
     Like hares o'er the field they all scuttled away,
     While behind them the hero rang out his Huzza!
     And here are the Germans: juchheirassassa!
     The Germans are joyful: they're shouting hurrah!

     At Leipzig--O glorious fight on the plain!--
     French luck and French might strove against him in vain;
     There beaten and stiff lay the foe in their blood,
     And there dear old Blücher a field-marshal stood.
     And here are the Germans: juchheirassassa!
     The Germans are joyful: they're shouting hurrah!

     Then sound, blaring trumpets! Hussars, charge once more!
     Ride, field-marshal, ride like the wind in the roar!
     To the Rhine, over Rhine, in your triumph advance!
     Brave sword of our country, right on into France!
     And here are the Germans: juchheirassassa!
     The Germans are joyful; they're shouting hurrah!


     God, who gave iron, purposed ne'er
         That man should be a slave:
     Therefore the sabre, sword, and spear
         In his right hand He gave.
     Therefore He gave him fiery mood,
         Fierce speech, and free-born breath,
     That he might fearlessly the feud
         Maintain through life and death.

     Therefore will we what God did say,
         With honest truth, maintain,
     And ne'er a fellow-creature slay,
         A tyrant's pay to gain!
     But he shall fall by stroke of brand
         Who fights for sin and shame,
     And not inherit German land
         With men of German name.

     O Germany, bright fatherland!
         O German love, so true!
     Thou sacred land, thou beauteous land,
         We swear to thee anew!
     Outlawed, each knave and coward shall
         The crow and raven feed;
     But we will to the battle all--
         Revenge shall be our meed.

     Flash forth, flash forth, whatever can,
         To bright and flaming life!
     Now all ye Germans, man for man,
         Forth to the holy strife!
     Your hands lift upward to the sky--
         Your heart shall upward soar--
     And man for man, let each one cry,
         Our slavery is o'er!

     Let sound, let sound, whatever can,
         Trumpet and fife and drum,
     This day our sabres, man for man,
         To stain with blood we come;
     With hangman's and with Frenchmen's blood,
         O glorious day of ire,
     That to all Germans soundeth good--
         Day of our great desire!

     Let wave, let wave, whatever can,
         Standard and banner wave!
     Here will we purpose, man for man,
         To grace a hero's grave.
     Advance, ye brave ranks, hardily--
         Your banners wave on high;
     We'll gain us freedom's victory,
         Or freedom's death we'll die!



The favorite and now venerable English poet, Edwin Arnold, showed his
skill in smooth and lucid verse early in life. In 1852, when twenty
years of age, he won the Newdigate Prize at Oxford for a poem, 'The
Feast of Belshazzar.' Two years later, after graduation with honors, he
was named second master of Edward the Sixth's School at Birmingham; and,
a few years subsequent, principal of the Government Sanskrit College at
Poona, in India. In 1856 he published 'Griselda, a Tragedy'; and after
his return to London in 1861, translations from the Greek of Herodotus
and the Sanskrit of the Indian classic 'Hitopadeça,' the latter under
the name of 'The Book of Good Counsels.' There followed from his pen
'Education in India'; 'A History of the Administration in India under
the Late Marquis of Dalhousie' (1862-64); and 'The Poets of Greece,' a
collection of fine passages (1869). In addition to his other labors he
has been one of the editors-in-chief of the London Daily Telegraph.

Saturated with the Orient, familiar with every aspect of its
civilization, moral and religious life, history and feeling, Sir Edwin's
literary work has attested his knowledge in a large number of smaller
poetical productions, and a group of religious epics of long and
impressive extent. Chiefest among them ranks that on the life and
teachings of Buddha, 'The Light of Asia; or, The Great Renunciation'
(1879). It has passed through more than eighty editions in this country,
and almost as many in England. In recognition of this work Mr. Arnold
was decorated by the King of Siam with the Order of the White Elephant.
Two years after its appearance he published 'Mahâbhârata,' 'Indian
Idylls,' and in 1883, 'Pearls of the Faith; or, Islam's Rosary Being the
Ninety-nine Beautiful Names of Allah, with Comments in Verse from
Various Oriental Sources.' In 1886 the Sultan conferred on him the
Imperial Order of Osmanli, and in 1888 he was created Knight Commander
of the Indian Empire by Queen Victoria. 'Sa'di in the Garden; or, The
Book of Love' (1888), a poem turning on a part of the 'Bôstâni' of the
Persian poet Sa'di, brought Sir Edwin the Order of the Lion and Sun from
the Shah of Persia. In 1888 he published also 'Poems National and
Non-Oriental.' Since then he has written 'The Light of the World';
'Potiphar's Wife, and Other Poems' (1892); 'The Iliad and Odyssey of
Asia,' and in prose, 'India Revisited' (1891); 'Seas and Lands';
'Japonica,' which treats of life and things Japanese; and 'Adzuma, the
Japanese Wife: a Play in Four Acts' (1893). During his travels in Japan
the Emperor decorated him with the Order of the Rising Sun. In 1893 Sir
Edwin was chosen President of the Birmingham and Midland Institute. His
latest volume, 'The Tenth Muse and Other Poems,' appeared in 1895.

'The Light of Asia,' the most successful of his works, attracted instant
attention on its appearance, as a novelty of rich Indian local color. In
substance it is a graceful and dramatic paraphrase of the mass of more
or less legendary tales of the life and spiritual career of the Buddha,
Prince Gautama, and a summary of the principles of the great religious
system originating with him. It is lavishly embellished with Indian
allusions, and expresses incidentally the very spirit of the East. In
numerous cantos, proceeding from episode to episode of its mystical
hero's career, its effect is that of a loftily ethical, picturesque, and
fascinating biography, in highly polished verse. The metre selected is a
graceful and dignified one, especially associated with 'Paradise Lost'
and other of the foremost classics of English verse. Sir Edwin says of
the poem in his preface, "I have sought, by the medium of an imaginary
Buddhist votary, to depict the life and character and indicate the
philosophy of that noble hero and reformer, Prince Gautama of India, the
founder of Buddhism;" and the poet has admirably, if most flatteringly,
succeeded. The poem has been printed in innumerable cheap editions as
well as those _de luxe_; and while it has been criticized as too
complaisant a study of even primitive Buddhism, it is beyond doubt a
lyrical tract of eminent utility as well as seductive charm.


          From 'The Light of Asia'

     This reverence
     Lord Buddha kept to all his schoolmasters,
     Albeit beyond their learning taught; in speech
     Right gentle, yet so wise; princely of mien,
     Yet softly mannered; modest, deferent,
     And tender-hearted, though of fearless blood:
     No bolder horseman in the youthful band
     E'er rode in gay chase of the shy gazelles;
     No keener driver of the chariot
     In mimic contest scoured the palace courts:
     Yet in mid-play the boy would oft-times pause,
     Letting the deer pass free; would oft-times yield
     His half-won race because the laboring steeds
     Fetched painful breath; or if his princely mates
     Saddened to lose, or if some wistful dream
     Swept o'er his thoughts. And ever with the years
     Waxed this compassionateness of our Lord,
     Even as a great tree grows from two soft leaves
     To spread its shade afar; but hardly yet
     Knew the young child of sorrow, pain, or tears,
     Save as strange names for things not felt by kings,
     Nor ever to be felt. But it befell
     In the royal garden on a day of spring,
     A flock of wild swans passed, voyaging north
     To their nest-places on Himála's breast.
     Calling in love-notes down their snowy line
     The bright birds flew, by fond love piloted;
     And Devadatta, cousin of the Prince,
     Pointed his bow, and loosed a willful shaft
     Which found the wide wing of the foremost swan
     Broad-spread to glide upon the free blue road,
     So that it fell, the bitter arrow fixed,
     Bright scarlet blood-gouts staining the pure plumes.
     Which seeing, Prince Siddârtha took the bird
     Tenderly up, rested it in his lap,--
     Sitting with knees crossed, as Lord Buddha sits,--
     And, soothing with a touch the wild thing's fright,
     Composed its ruffled vans, calmed its quick heart,
     Caressed it into peace with light kind palms
     As soft as plantain leaves an hour unrolled;
     And while the left hand held, the right hand drew
     The cruel steel forth from the wound, and laid
     Cool leaves and healing honey on the smart.
     Yet all so little knew the boy of pain,
     That curiously into his wrist he pressed
     The arrow's barb, and winced to feel it sting,
     And turned with tears to soothe his bird again.
     Then some one came who said, "My Prince hath shot
     A swan, which fell among the roses here;
     He bids me pray you send it. Will you send?"
     "Nay," quoth Siddârtha: "If the bird were dead,
     To send it to the slayer might be well,
     But the swan lives; my cousin hath but killed
     The godlike speed which throbbed in this white wing."
     And Devadatta answered, "The wild thing,
     Living or dead, is his who fetched it down;
     'Twas no man's in the clouds, but fallen 'tis mine.
     Give me my prize, fair cousin." Then our Lord
     Laid the swan's neck beside his own smooth cheek
     And gravely spake:--"Say no! the bird is mine,
     The first of myriad things which shall be mine
     By right of mercy and love's lordliness.
     For now I know, by what within me stirs.
     That I shall teach compassion unto men
     And be a speechless world's interpreter,
     Abating this accursed flood of woe.
     Not man's alone; but if the Prince disputes,
     Let him submit this matter to the wise
     And we will wait their word." So was it done;
     In full divan the business had debate,
     And many thought this thing and many that,
     Till there arose an unknown priest who said,
     "If life be aught, the savior of a life
     Owns more the living thing than he can own
     Who sought to slay; the slayer spoils and wastes,
     The cherisher sustains: give him the bird."
     Which judgment all found just; but when the King
     Sought out the sage for honor, he was gone;
     And some one saw a hooded snake glide forth.
     The gods come oft-times thus! So our Lord Buddha
     Began his works of mercy.

                                 Yet not more
     Knew he as yet of grief than that one bird's,
     Which, being healed, went joyous to its kind.
     But on another day the King said, "Come,
     Sweet son! and see the pleasaunce of the spring,
     And how the fruitful earth is wooed to yield
     Its riches to the reaper; how my realm--
     Which shall be thine when the pile flames for me--
     Feeds all its mouths and keeps the King's chest filled.
     Fair is the season with new leaves, bright blooms,
     Green grass, and cries of plow-time." So they rode
     Into a land of wells and gardens, where,
     All up and down the rich red loam, the steers
     Strained their strong shoulders in the creaking yoke,
     Dragging the plows; the fat soil rose and rolled
     In smooth dark waves back from the plow; who drove
     Planted both feet upon the leaping share
     To make the furrow deep; among the palms
     The tinkle of the rippling water rang,
     And where it ran the glad earth 'broidered it
     With balsams and the spears of lemon-grass.
     Elsewhere were sowers who went forth to sow;
     And all the jungle laughed with nesting-songs,
     And all the thickets rustled with small life
     Of lizard, bee, beetle, and creeping things,
     Pleased at the springtime. In the mango-sprays
     The sunbirds flashed; alone at his green forge
     Toiled the loud coppersmith; bee-eaters hawked,
     Chasing the purple butterflies; beneath,
     Striped squirrels raced, the mynas perked and picked,
     The nine brown sisters chattered in the thorn,
     The pied fish-tiger hung above the pool,
     The egrets stalked among the buffaloes,
     The kites sailed circles in the golden air;
     About the painted temple peacocks flew,
     The blue doves cooed from every well, far off
     The village drums beat for some marriage feast;
     All things spoke peace and plenty, and the Prince
     Saw and rejoiced. But, looking deep, he saw
     The thorns which grow upon this rose of life:
     How the swart peasant sweated for his wage,
     Toiling for leave to live; and how he urged
     The great-eyed oxen through the flaming hours,
     Goading their velvet flanks: then marked he, too,
     How lizard fed on ant, and snake on him,
     And kite on both; and how the fish-hawk robbed
     The fish-tiger of that which it had seized;
     The shrike chasing the bulbul, which did chase
     The jeweled butterflies; till everywhere
     Each slew a slayer and in turn was slain,
     Life living upon death. So the fair show
     Veiled one vast, savage, grim conspiracy
     Of mutual murder, from the worm to man,
     Who himself kills his fellow; seeing which--
     The hungry plowman and his laboring kine,
     Their dewlaps blistered with the bitter yoke,
     The rage to live which makes all living strife--
     The Prince Siddârtha sighed. "Is this," he said,
     "That happy earth they brought me forth to see?
     How salt with sweat the peasant's bread! how hard
     The oxen's service! in the brake how fierce
     The war of weak and strong! i' th' air what plots!
     No refuge e'en in water. Go aside
     A space, and let me muse on what ye show."
     So saying, the good Lord Buddha seated him
     Under a jambu-tree, with ankles crossed,
     As holy statues sit, and first began
     To meditate this deep disease of life,
     What its far source and whence its remedy.
     So vast a pity filled him, such wide love
     For living things, such passion to heal pain,
     That by their stress his princely spirit passed
     To ecstasy, and, purged from mortal taint
     Of sense and self, the boy attained thereat
     Dhyâna, first step of "the Path."


          From 'The Light of Asia'

     Onward he passed,
     Exceeding sorrowful, seeing how men
     Fear so to die they are afraid to fear,
     Lust so to live they dare not love their life,
     But plague it with fierce penances, belike
     To please the gods who grudge pleasure to man;
     Belike to balk hell by self-kindled hells;
     Belike in holy madness, hoping soul
     May break the better through their wasted flesh.
     "O flowerets of the field!" Siddârtha said,
     "Who turn your tender faces to the sun,--
     Glad of the light, and grateful with sweet breath
     Of fragrance and these robes of reverence donned,
     Silver and gold and purple,--none of ye
     Miss perfect living, none of ye despoil
     Your happy beauty. O ye palms! which rise
     Eager to pierce the sky and drink the wind
     Blown from Malaya and the cool blue seas;
     What secret know ye that ye grow content,
     From time of tender shoot to time of fruit,
     Murmuring such sun-songs from your feathered crowns?
     Ye too, who dwell so merry in the trees,--
     Quick-darting parrots, bee-birds, bulbuls, doves,--
     None of ye hate your life, none of ye deem
     To strain to better by foregoing needs!
     But man, who slays ye--being lord--is wise,
     And wisdom, nursed on blood, cometh thus forth
     In self-tormentings!"

                           While the Master spake
     Blew down the mount the dust of pattering feet,
     White goats and black sheep winding slow their way
     With many a lingering nibble at the tufts,
     And wanderings from the path, where water gleamed
     Or wild figs hung. But always as they strayed
     The herdsman cried, or slung his sling, and kept
     The silly crowd still moving to the plain.
     A ewe with couplets in the flock there was:
     Some hurt had lamed one lamb, which toiled behind
     Bleeding, while in the front its fellow skipped,
     And the vexed dam hither and thither ran,
     Fearful to lose this little one or that;
     Which when our Lord did mark, full tenderly
     He took the limping lamb upon his neck,
     Saying, "Poor wooly mother, be at peace!
     Whither thou goest I will bear thy care;
     'Twere all as good to ease one beast of grief
     As sit and watch the sorrows of the world
     In yonder caverns with the priests who pray."
     "But," spake he of the herdsmen, "wherefore, friends!
     Drive ye the flocks adown under high noon,
     Since 'tis at evening that men fold their sheep?"

     And answer gave the peasants:--"We are sent
     To fetch a sacrifice of goats fivescore,
     And fivescore sheep, the which our Lord the King
     Slayeth this night in worship of his gods."

     Then said the Master, "I will also go!"
     So paced he patiently, bearing the lamb
     Beside the herdsmen in the dust and sun,
     The wistful ewe low bleating at his feet.
     Whom, when they came unto the river-side,
     A woman--dove-eyed, young, with tearful face
     And lifted hands--saluted, bending low:--
     "Lord! thou art he," she said, "who yesterday
     Had pity on me in the fig grove here,
     Where I live lone and reared my child; but he,
     Straying amid the blossoms, found a snake,
     Which twined about his wrist, while he did laugh
     And teased the quick forked tongue and opened mouth
     Of that cold playmate. But alas! ere long
     He turned so pale and still, I could not think
     Why he should cease to play, and let my breast
     Fall from his lips. And one said, 'He is sick
     Of poison;' and another, 'He will die.'
     But I, who could not lose my precious boy,
     Prayed of them physic, which might bring the light
     Back to his eyes; it was so very small,
     That kiss-mark of the serpent, and I think
     It could not hate him, gracious as he was,
     Nor hurt him in his sport. And some one said,
     'There is a holy man upon the hill--
     Lo! now he passeth in the yellow robe;
     Ask of the Rishi if there be a cure
     For that which ails thy son.' Whereon I came
     Trembling to thee, whose brow is like a god's,
     And wept and drew the face-cloth from my babe,
     Praying thee tell what simples might be good.
     And thou, great sir! didst spurn me not, but gaze
     With gentle eyes and touch with patient hand;
     Then draw the face-cloth back, saying to me,
     'Yea! little sister, there is that might heal
     Thee first, and him, if thou couldst fetch the thing;
     For they who seek physicians bring to them
     What is ordained. Therefore, I pray thee, find
     Black mustard-seed, a tola; only mark
     Thou take it not from any hand or house
     Where father, mother, child, or slave hath died;
     It shall be well if thou canst find such seed.'
     Thus didst thou speak, my lord!"

                                     The Master smiled
     Exceeding tenderly. "Yea! I spake thus,
     Dear Kisagôtami! But didst thou find
     The seed?"

                 "I went, Lord, clasping to my breast
     The babe, grown colder, asking at each hut,--
     Here in the jungle and toward the town,--
     'I pray you, give me mustard, of your grace,
     A tola--black' and each who had it gave,
     For all the poor are piteous to the poor:
     But when I asked, 'In my friend's household here
     Hath any peradventure ever died--
     Husband or wife, or child, or slave?' they said:--
     'O sister! what is this you ask? the dead
     Are very many and the living few!'
     So, with sad thanks, I gave the mustard back,
     And prayed of others, but the others said,
     'Here is the seed, but we have lost our slave!'
     'Here is the seed, but our good man is dead!'
     'Here is some seed, but he that sowed it died!
     Between the rain-time and the harvesting!'
     Ah, sir! I could not find a single house
     Where there was mustard-seed and none had died!
     Therefore I left my child--who would not suck
     Nor smile--beneath the wild vines by the stream,
     To seek thy face and kiss thy feet, and pray
     Where I might find this seed and find no death,
     If now, indeed, my baby be not dead,
     As I do fear, and as they said to me."

     "My sister! thou hast found," the Master said,
     "Searching for what none finds, that bitter balm
     I had to give thee. He thou lovedst slept
     Dead on thy bosom yesterday; to-day
     Thou know'st the whole wide world weeps with thy woe;
     The grief which all hearts share grows less for one.
     Lo! I would pour my blood if it could stay
     Thy tears, and win the secret of that curse
     Which makes sweet love our anguish, and which drives
     O'er flowers and pastures to the sacrifice--
     As these dumb beasts are driven--men their lords.
     I seek that secret: bury thou thy child!"

     So entered they the city side by side,
     The herdsmen and the Prince, what time the sun
     Gilded slow Sona's distant stream, and threw
     Long shadows down the street and through the gate
     Where the King's men kept watch. But when these saw
     Our Lord bearing the lamb, the guards stood back,
     The market-people drew their wains aside,
     In the bazaar buyers and sellers stayed
     The war of tongues to gaze on that mild face;
     The smith, with lifted hammer in his hand,
     Forgot to strike; the weaver left his web,
     The scribe his scroll, the money-changer lost
     His count of cowries; from the unwatched rice
     Shiva's white bull fed free; the wasted milk
     Ran o'er the lota while the milkers watched
     The passage of our Lord moving so meek,
     With yet so beautiful a majesty.
     But most the women gathering in the doors
     Asked, "Who is this that brings the sacrifice
     So graceful and peace-giving as he goes?
     What is his caste? whence hath he eyes so sweet?
     Can he be Sâkra or the Devaraj?"
     And others said, "It is the holy man
     Who dwelleth with the Rishis on the hill."
     But the Lord paced, in meditation lost,
     Thinking, "Alas! for all my sheep which have
     No shepherd; wandering in the night with none
     To guide them; bleating blindly toward the knife
     Of Death, as these dumb beasts which are their kin."

     Then some one told the King, "There cometh here
     A holy hermit, bringing down the flock
     Which thou didst bid to crown the sacrifice."

     The King stood in his hall of offering;
     On either hand the white-robed Brahmans ranged
     Muttered their mantras, feeding still the fire
     Which roared upon the midmost altar. There
     From scented woods flickered bright tongues of flame,
     Hissing and curling as they licked the gifts
     Of ghee and spices and the Soma juice,
     The joy of Indra. Round about the pile
     A slow, thick, scarlet streamlet smoked and ran,
     Sucked by the sand, but ever rolling down,
     The blood of bleating victims. One such lay,
     A spotted goat, long-horned, its head bound back
     With munja grass; at its stretched throat the knife
     Pressed by a priest, who murmured, "This, dread gods.
     Of many yajnas cometh as the crown
     From Bimbasâra: take ye joy to see
     The spirted blood, and pleasure in the scent
     Of rich flesh roasting 'mid the fragrant flames;
     Let the King's sins be laid upon this goat,
     And let the fire consume them burning it,
     For now I strike."

                         But Buddha softly said,
     "Let him not strike, great King!" and therewith loosed
     The victim's bonds, none staying him, so great
     His presence was. Then, craving leave, he spake
     Of life, which all can take, but none can give,
     Life, which all creatures love and strive to keep,
     Wonderful, dear and pleasant unto each,
     Even to the meanest; yea, a boon to all
     Where pity is, for pity makes the world
     Soft to the weak and noble for the strong.
     Unto the dumb lips of his flock he lent
     Sad, pleading words, showing how man, who prays
     For mercy to the gods, is merciless,
     Being as god to those; albeit all life
     Is linked and kin, and what we slay have given
     Meek tribute of the milk and wool, and set
     Fast trust upon the hands which murder them.
     Also he spake of what the holy books
     Do surely teach, how that at death some sink
     To bird and beast, and these rise up to man
     In wanderings of the spark which grows purged flame.
     So were the sacrifice new sin, if so
     The fated passage of a soul be stayed.
     Nor, spake he, shall one wash his spirit clean
     By blood; nor gladden gods, being good, with blood;
     Nor bribe them, being evil; nay, nor lay
     Upon the brow of innocent bound beasts
     One hair's weight of that answer all must give
     For all things done amiss or wrongfully,
     Alone, each for himself, reckoning with that
     The fixed arithmetic of the universe,
     Which meteth good for good and ill for ill,
     Measure for measure, unto deeds, words, thoughts;
     Watchful, aware, implacable, unmoved;
     Making all futures fruits of all the pasts.
     Thus spake he, breathing words so piteous
     With such high lordliness of ruth and right,
     The priests drew back their garments o'er the hands
     Crimsoned with slaughter, and the King came near,
     Standing with clasped palms reverencing Buddha;
     While still our Lord went on, teaching how fair
     This earth were if all living things be linked
     In friendliness of common use of foods,
     Bloodless and pure; the golden grain, bright fruits,
     Sweet herbs which grow for all, the waters wan,
     Sufficient drinks and meats. Which, when these heard,
     The might of gentleness so conquered them,
     The priests themselves scattered their altar-flames
     And flung away the steel of sacrifice;
     And through the land next day passed a decree
     Proclaimed by criers, and in this wise graved
     On rock and column:--"Thus the King's will is:
     There hath been slaughter for the sacrifice
     And slaying for the meat, but henceforth none
     Shall spill the blood of life nor taste of flesh,
     Seeing that knowledge grows, and life is one,
     And mercy cometh to the merciful."
     So ran the edict, and from those days forth
     Sweet peace hath spread between all living kind,
     Man and the beasts which serve him, and the birds,
     Of all those banks of Gunga where our Lord
     Taught with his saintly pity and soft speech.


     From 'The Great Journey,' in the Mahâbhârata

     Thenceforth alone the long-armed monarch strode,
     Not looking back,--nay, not for Bhima's sake,--But
     walking with his face set for the mount;
     And the hound followed him,--only the hound.

     After the deathly sands, the Mount; and lo!
     Sâkra shone forth, the God, filling the earth
     And heavens with thunder of his chariot-wheels.
     "Ascend," he said, "with me, Pritha's great son!"
     But Yudhisthira answered, sore at heart
     For those his kinsfolk, fallen on the way:
     "O Thousand-eyed, O Lord of all the gods,
     Give that my brothers come with me, who fell!
     Not without them is Swarga sweet to me.
     She, too, the dear and kind and queenly,--she
     Whose perfect virtue Paradise must crown,--Grant
     her to come with us! Dost thou grant this?"

     The God replied:--"In heaven thou shalt see
     Thy kinsman and the Queen--these will attain--And
     Krishna. Grieve no longer for thy dead,
     Thou chief of men! their mortal covering stripped,
     These have their places; but to thee the gods
     Allot an unknown grace; Thou shalt go up,
     Living and in thy form, to the immortal homes."

     But the King answered:--"O thou Wisest One,
     Who know'st what was, and is, and is to be,
     Still one more grace! This hound hath ate with me,
     Followed me, loved me: must I leave him now?"

     "Monarch," spake Indra, "thou art now as we,--
     Deathless, divine; thou art become a god;
     Glory and power and gifts celestial,
     And all the joys of heaven are thine for aye;
     What hath a beast with these? Leave here thy hound."

     Yet Yudhisthira answered:--"O Most High,
     O, Thousand-eyed and wisest! can it be
     That one exalted should seem pitiless?
     Nay, let me lose such glory; for its sake
     I cannot leave one living thing I loved."

     Then sternly Indra spake:--"He is unclean,
     And into Swarga such shall enter not.
     The Krodhavasha's wrath destroys the fruits
     Of sacrifice, if dogs defile the fire.
     Bethink thee, Dharmaraj; quit now this beast!
     That which is seemly is not hard of heart."

     Still he replied:--"Tis written that to spurn
     A suppliant equals in offense to slay
     A twice-born; wherefore, not for Swarga's bliss
     Quit I, Mahendra, this poor clinging dog,--
     So without any hope or friend save me,
     So wistful, fawning for my faithfulness;
     So agonized to die, unless I help
     Who among men was called steadfast and just."

     Quoth Indra:--"Nay, the altar-flame is foul
     Where a dog passeth; angry angels sweep
     The ascending smoke aside, and all the fruits
     Of offering, and the merit of the prayer
     Of him whom a hound toucheth. Leave it here!
     He that will enter heaven must enter pure.
     Why didst thou quit thy brethren on the way,
     And Krishna, and the dear-loved Draupadí,
     Attaining, firm and glorious, to this Mount
     Through perfect deeds, to linger for a brute?
     Hath Yudhisthira vanquished self, to melt
     With one poor passion at the door of bliss?
     Stay'st thou for this, who didst not stay for them,--
     Draupadí, Bhima?"

                       But the King yet spake:--
     "'Tis known that none can hurt or help the dead.
     They, the delightful ones, who sank and died,
     Following my footsteps, could not live again
     Though I had turned,--therefore I did not turn;
     But could help profit, I had stayed to help.
     There be four sins, O Sâkra, grievous sins:
     The first is making suppliants despair,
     The second is to slay a nursing wife,
     The third is spoiling Brahmans' goods by force,
     The fourth is injuring an ancient friend.
     These four I deem not direr than the crime,
     If one, in coming forth from woe to weal,
     Abandon any meanest comrade then."

     Straight as he spake, brightly great Indra smiled;
     Vanished the hound, and in its stead stood there
     The Lord of Death and Justice, Dharma's self!
     Sweet were the words which fell from those dread lips,
     Precious the lovely praise:--"O thou true King,
     Thou that dost bring to harvest the good seed
     Of Pandu's righteousness; thou that hast ruth
     As he before, on all which lives!--O son!
     I tried thee in the Dwaita wood, what time
     They smote thy brothers, bringing water; then
     Thou prayedst for Nakula's life--tender and just--
     Nor Bhima's nor Arjuna's, true to both,
     To Madri as to Kunti, to both queens.
     Hear thou my word! Because thou didst not mount
     This car divine, lest the poor hound be shent
     Who looked to thee, lo! there is none in heaven
     Shall sit above thee, King!--Bhârata's son!
     Enter thou now to the eternal joys,
     Living and in thy form. Justice and Love
     Welcome thee, Monarch! thou shalt throne with us."

               HE AND SHE

     "She is dead!" they said to him: "come away;
     Kiss her and leave her,--thy love is clay!"

     They smoothed her tresses of dark-brown hair;
     On her forehead of stone they laid it fair;

     Over her eyes that gazed too much
     They drew the lids with a gentle touch;

     With a tender touch they closed up well
     The sweet thin lips that had secrets to tell;

     About her brows and beautiful face
     They tied her veil and her marriage lace,

     And drew on her white feet her white-silk shoes,--
     Which were the whitest no eye could choose,--

     And over her bosom they crossed her hands,
     "Come away!" they said, "God understands."

     And there was silence, and nothing there
     But silence, and scents of eglantere,

     And jasmine, and roses and rosemary;
     And they said, "As a lady should lie, lies she."

     And they held their breath till they left the room,
     With a shudder, to glance at its stillness and gloom.

     But he who loved her too well to dread
     The sweet, the stately, the beautiful dead,

     He lit his lamp, and took the key
     And turned it--alone again, he and she.

     He and she; but she would not speak,
     Though he kissed, in the old place, the quiet cheek.

     He and she; yet she would not smile,
     Though he called her the name she loved erewhile.

     He and she; still she did not move
     To any passionate whisper of love.

     Then he said, "Cold lips and breasts without breath,
     Is there no voice, no language of death,

     "Dumb to the ear and still to the sense,
     But to heart and to soul distinct, intense?

     "See, now; I will listen with soul, not ear:
     What was the secret of dying, dear?

     "Was it the infinite wonder of all
     That you ever could let life's flower fall?

     "Or was it a greater marvel to feel
     The perfect calm o'er the agony steal?

     "Was the miracle greater to find how deep
     Beyond all dreams sank downward that sleep?

     "Did life roll back its record dear,
     And show, as they say it does, past things clear?

     "And was it the innermost heart of the bliss
     To find out so, what a wisdom love is?

     "O perfect dead! O dead most dear!
     I hold the breath of my soul to hear.

     "I listen as deep as to horrible hell,
     As high as to heaven, and you do not tell.

     "There must be pleasure in dying, sweet,
     To make you so placid from head to feet!

     "I would tell you, darling, if I were dead,
     And 'twere your hot tears upon my brow shed,--

     "I would say, though the Angel of Death had laid
     His sword on my lips to keep it unsaid,--

     "You should not ask vainly, with streaming eyes,
     Which of all deaths was the chiefest surprise.

     "The very strangest and suddenest thing
     Of all the surprises that dying must bring."

     Ah, foolish world! O most kind dead!
     Though he told me, who will believe it was said?

     Who will believe that he heard her say,
     With the sweet, soft voice, in the dear old way,

     "The utmost wonder is this,--I hear
     And see you, and love you, and kiss you, dear;

     "And am your angel, who was your bride,
     And know that though dead, I have never died."

               AFTER DEATH

          From 'Pearls of the Faith'

     _He made life--and He takes it--but instead
     Gives more: praise the Restorer, Al-Mu'hid!_

          He who died at Azan sends
          This to comfort faithful friends:--

          Faithful friends! it lies, I know,
          Pale and white and cold as snow;
          And ye say, "Abdullah's dead!"
          Weeping at my feet and head.
          I can see your falling tears,
          I can hear your cries and prayers,
          Yet I smile and whisper this:--
          "I am not that thing you kiss;
          Cease your tears and let it lie:
          It _was_ mine, it is not I."

          Sweet friends! what the women lave
          For its last bed in the grave
          Is a tent which I am quitting,
          Is a garment no more fitting,
          Is a cage from which at last
          Like a hawk my soul hath passed.
          Love the inmate, not the room;
          The wearer, not the garb; the plume
          Of the falcon, not the bars
          Which kept him from the splendid stars.

          Loving friends! be wise, and dry
          Straightway every weeping eye:
          What ye lift upon the bier
          Is not worth a wistful tear.
          'Tis an empty sea-shell, one
          Out of which the pearl is gone.
          The shell is broken, it lies there;
          The pearl, the all, the soul, is here.
          'Tis an earthen jar whose lid
          Allah sealed, the while it hid
          That treasure of His treasury,
          A mind which loved Him: let it lie!
          Let the shard be earth's once more,
          Since the gold shines in His store!

          Allah Mu'hid, Allah most good!
          Now Thy grace is understood:
          Now my heart no longer wonders
          What Al-Barsakh is, which sunders
          Life from death, and death from Heaven:
          Nor the "Paradises Seven"
          Which the happy dead inherit;
          Nor those "birds" which bear each spirit
          Toward the Throne, "green birds and white"
          Radiant, glorious, swift their flight!
          Now the long, long darkness ends.
          Yet ye wail, my foolish friends,
          While the man whom ye call "dead"
          In unbroken bliss instead
          Lives, and loves you: lost, 'tis true
          By any light which shines for you;
          But in light ye cannot see
          Of unfulfilled felicity,
          And enlarging Paradise;
          Lives the life that never dies.

          Farewell, friends! Yet not farewell;
          Where I am, ye, too, shall dwell.
          I am gone before your face
          A heart-beat's time, a gray ant's pace.
          When ye come where I have stepped,
          Ye will marvel why ye wept;
          Ye will know, by true love taught,
          That here is all, and there is naught.
          Weep awhile, if ye are fain,--
          Sunshine still must follow rain!
          Only not at death, for death--
          Now I see--is that first breath
          Which our souls draw when we enter
          Life, that is of all life centre.

          Know ye Allah's law is love,
          Viewed from Allah's Throne above;
          Be ye firm of trust, and come
          Faithful onward to your home!
          _"La Allah illa Allah!_ Yea,
          Mu'hid! Restorer! Sovereign!" say!

          _He who died at Azan gave_
          _This to those that made his grave_.

             SOLOMON AND THE ANT

          From 'Pearls of the Faith'

     _Say Ar-Raheen! call Him "Compassionate,"_
     _For He is pitiful to small and great_.

          'Tis written that the serving angels stand
          Beside God's throne, ten myriads on each hand,
          Waiting, with wings outstretched and watchful eyes,
          To do their Master's heavenly embassies.
          Quicker than thought His high commands they read,
          Swifter than light to execute them speed;
          Bearing the word of power from star to star,
          Some hither and some thither, near and far.
          And unto these naught is too high or low,
          Too mean or mighty, if He wills it so;
          Neither is any creature, great or small,
          Beyond His pity, which embraceth all,
          Because His eye beholdeth all which are;
          Sees without search, and counteth without care.
          Nor lies the babe nearer the nursing-place
          Than Allah's smallest child to Allah's grace;
          Nor any ocean rolls so vast that He
          Forgets one wave of all that restless sea.

          Thus it is written; and moreover told
          How Gabriel, watching by the Gates of Gold,
          Heard from the Voice Ineffable this word
          Of twofold mandate uttered by the Lord:--
          "Go earthward! pass where Solomon hath made
          His pleasure-house, and sitteth there arrayed,
          Goodly and splendid--whom I crowned the king.
          For at this hour my servant doth a thing
          Unfitting: out of Nisibis there came
          A thousand steeds with nostrils all aflame
          And limbs of swiftness, prizes of the fight;
          Lo! these are led, for Solomon's delight,
          Before the palace, where he gazeth now
          Filling his heart with pride at that brave show;
          So taken with the snorting and the tramp
          Of his war-horses, that Our silver lamp
          Of eve is swung in vain, Our warning Sun
          Will sink before his sunset-prayer's begun;
          So shall the people say, 'This king, our lord,
          Loves more the long-maned trophies of his sword
          Than the remembrance of his God!' Go in!
          Save thou My faithful servant from such sin.

          "Also, upon the slope of Arafat,
          Beneath a lote-tree which is fallen flat,
          Toileth a yellow ant who carrieth home
          Food for her nest, but so far hath she come
          Her worn feet fail, and she will perish, caught
          In the falling rain; but thou, make the way naught-And
          help her to her people in the cleft
          Of the black rock."

                              Silently Gabriel left
          The Presence, and prevented the king's sin,
          And holp the little ant at entering in.

          _O Thou whose love is wide and great,
          We praise Thee, "The Compassionate_"

               THE AFTERNOON

          From 'Pearls of the Faith'

     _He is sufficient, and He makes suffice;
     Praise thus again thy Lord, mighty and wise_.

     God is enough! thou, who in hope and fear
       Toilest through desert-sands of life, sore tried,
     Climb trustful over death's black ridge, for near
       The bright wells shine: thou wilt be satisfied.

     God doth suffice! O thou, the patient one,
       Who puttest faith in Him, and none beside,
     Bear yet thy load; under the setting sun
       The glad tents gleam: thou wilt be satisfied.

     By God's gold Afternoon! peace ye shall have:
       Man is in loss except he live aright,
     And help his fellow to be firm and brave,
       Faithful and patient: then the restful night!

     _Al Mughni! best Rewarder! we
     Endure; putting our trust in Thee_.

          THE TRUMPET

     From 'Pearls of the Faith'

     _Magnify Him, Al-Kaiyum; and so call
     The "Self-subsisting" God who judgeth all_.

     When the trumpet shall sound,
       On that day,
     The wicked, slow-gathering,
       Shall say,
     "Is it long we have lain in our graves?
       For it seems as an hour!"
     Then will Israfil call them to judgment:
       And none shall have power
     To turn aside, this way or that;
       And their voices will sink
     To silence, except for the sounding
       Of a noise, like the noise on the brink
     Of the sea when its stones
       Are dragged with a clatter and hiss
     Down the shore, in the wild breakers' roar!
       The sound of their woe shall be this:--

     Then they who denied
       That He liveth Eternal, "Self-made,"
     Shall call to the mountains to crush them;
       Amazed and affrayed.

     _Thou Self-subsistent, Living Lord!
     Thy grace against that day afford_.


     Ah, Blessed Lord! Oh, High Deliverer!
     Forgive this feeble script which doth Thee wrong
     Measuring with little wit Thy lofty Love.
     Ah, Lover! Brother! Guide! Lamp of the Law!
     I take my refuge in Thy name and Thee!
     I take my refuge in Thy Law of God!
     I take my refuge in Thy Order! _Om!_
     The Dew is on the lotus--rise, great Sun!
     And lift my leaf and mix me with the wave.
     _Om mani padme hum_, the Sunrise comes!
     The Dewdrop slips into the Shining Sea!

From Harper's Monthly, copyright 1886, by Harper & Brothers


     Translated from Kalidasa's 'Ritu Sanhâra'

     With fierce noons beaming, moons of glory gleaming,
       Full conduits streaming, where fair bathers lie,
     With sunsets splendid, when the strong day, ended,
       Melts into peace, like a tired lover's sigh--
         So cometh summer nigh.

     And nights of ebon blackness, laced with lustres
       From starry clusters; courts of calm retreat,
     Where wan rills warble over glistening marble;
       Cold jewels, and the sandal, moist and sweet--
         These for the time are meet

     Of "Suchi," dear one of the bright days, bringing
       Love songs for singing which all hearts enthrall,
     Wine cups that sparkle at the lips of lovers,
       Odors and pleasures in the palace hall:
         In "Suchi" these befall.

     For then, with wide hips richly girt, and bosoms
       Fragrant with blossoms, and with pearl strings gay,
     Their new-laved hair unbound, and spreading round
       Faint scents, the palace maids in tender play
         The ardent heats allay

     Of princely playmates. Through the gates their feet,
       With lac-dye rosy and neat, and anklets ringing,
     In music trip along, echoing the song
       Of wild swans, all men's hearts by subtle singing
         To Kama's service bringing;

     For who, their sandal-scented breasts perceiving,
       Their white pearls--weaving with the saffron stars
     Girdles and diadems--their gold and gems
       Linked upon waist and thigh, in Love's soft snares
         Is not caught unawares?

     Then lay they by their robes--no longer light
       For the warm midnight--and their beauty cover
     With woven veil too airy to conceal
       Its dew-pearled softness; so, with youth clad over,
         Each seeks her eager lover.

     And sweet airs winnowed from the sandal fans,
       Faint balm that nests between those gem-bound breasts,
     Voices of stream and bird, and clear notes heard
       From vina strings amid the songs' unrests,
         Wake passion. With light jests,

     And sidelong glances, and coy smiles and dances,
       Each maid enhances newly sprung delight;
     Quick leaps the fire of Love's divine desire,
       So kindled in the season when the Night
         With broadest moons is bright;

     Till on the silvered terraces, sleep-sunken,
       With Love's draughts drunken, those close lovers lie;
     And--all for sorrow there shall come To-morrow--
       The Moon, who watched them, pales in the gray sky,
         While the still Night doth die.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Then breaks fierce Day! The whirling dust is driven
       O'er earth and heaven, until the sun-scorched plain
     Its road scarce shows for dazzling heat to those
       Who, far from home and love, journey in pain,
         Longing to rest again.

     Panting and parched, with muzzles dry and burning,
       For cool streams yearning, herds of antelope
     Haste where the brassy sky, banked black and high,
       Hath clouded promise. "There will be"--they hope--
         "Water beyond the tope!"

     Sick with the glare, his hooded terrors failing,
       His slow coils trailing o'er the fiery dust,
     The cobra glides to nighest shade, and hides
       His head beneath the peacock's train: he must
         His ancient foeman trust!

     The purple peafowl, wholly overmastered
       By the red morning, droop with weary cries;
     No stroke they make to slay that gliding snake
       Who creeps for shelter underneath the eyes
         Of their spread jewelries!

     The jungle lord, the kingly tiger, prowling,
       For fierce thirst howling, orbs a-stare and red,
     Sees without heed the elephants pass by him,
       Lolls his lank tongue, and hangs his bloody head,
         His mighty forces fled.

     Nor heed the elephants that tiger, plucking
       Green leaves, and sucking with a dry trunk dew;
     Tormented by the blazing day, they wander,
       And, nowhere finding water, still renew
         Their search--a woful crew!

     With restless snout rooting the dark morasses,
       Where reeds and grasses on the soft slime grow,
     The wild-boars, grunting ill-content and anger,
       Dig lairs to shield them from the torturing glow,
         Deep, deep as they can go.

     The frog, for misery of his pool departing--
       'Neath that flame-darting ball--and waters drained
     Down to their mud, crawls croaking forth, to cower
       Under the black-snake's coils, where there is gained
         A little shade; and, strained

     To patience by such heat, scorching the jewel
       Gleaming so cruel on his venomous head,
     That worm, whose tongue, as the blast burns along,
       Licks it for coolness--all discomfited--
         Strikes not his strange friend dead!

     The pool, with tender-growing cups of lotus
       Once brightly blowing, hath no blossoms more!
     Its fish are dead, its fearful cranes are fled,
       And crowding elephants its flowery shore
         Tramp to a miry floor.

     With foam-strings roping from his jowls, and dropping
       From dried drawn lips, horns laid aback, and eyes
     Mad with the drouth, and thirst-tormented mouth,
       Down-thundering from his mountain cavern flies
         The bison in wild wise,

     Questing a water channel. Bare and scrannel
       The trees droop, where the crows sit in a row
     With beaks agape. The hot baboon and ape
       Climb chattering to the bush. The buffalo
         Bellows. And locusts go

     Choking the wells. Far o'er the hills and dells
       Wanders th' affrighted eye, beholding blasted
     The pleasant grass: the forest's leafy mass
       Wilted; its waters waned; its grace exhausted;
         Its creatures wasted.

     Then leaps to view--blood-red and bright of hue--
       As blooms sprung new on the Kusumbha-Tree--
     The wild-fire's tongue, fanned by the wind, and flung
       Furiously forth; the palms, canes, brakes, you see
         Wrapped in one agony

     Of lurid death! The conflagration, driven
       In fiery levin, roars from jungle caves;
     Hisses and blusters through the bamboo clusters,
       Crackles across the curling grass, and drives
         Into the river waves

     The forest folk! Dreadful that flame to see
       Coil from the cotton-tree--a snake of gold--
     Violently break from root and trunk, to take
       The bending boughs and leaves in deadly hold
         Then passing--to enfold

     New spoils! In herds, elephants, jackals, pards,
       For anguish of such fate their enmity
     Laying aside, burst for the river wide
       Which flows between fair isles: in company
         As friends they madly flee!

       *       *       *       *       *

     But Thee, my Best Beloved! may "Suchi" visit fair
     With songs of secret waters cooling the quiet air,
     Under blue buds of lotus beds, and pâtalas which shed
     Fragrance and balm, while Moonlight weaves over thy happy head
     Its silvery veil! So Nights and Days of Summer pass for thee
     Amid the pleasure-palaces, with love and melody!




Matthew Arnold, an English poet and critic, was born December 24th,
1822, at Laleham, in the Thames valley. He was the son of Dr. Thomas
Arnold, best remembered as the master of Rugby in later years, and
distinguished also as a historian of Rome. His mother was, by her maiden
name, Mary Penrose, and long survived her husband. Arnold passed his
school days at Winchester and Rugby, and went to Oxford in October,
1841. There, as also at school, he won scholarship and prize, and showed
poetical talent. He was elected a fellow of Oriel in March, 1845. He
taught for a short time at Rugby, but in 1847 became private secretary
to Lord Lansdowne, who in 1851 appointed him school inspector. From that
time he was engaged mainly in educational labors, as inspector and
commissioner, and traveled frequently on the Continent examining foreign
methods. He was also interested controversially in political and
religious questions of the day, and altogether had a sufficient public
life outside of literature. In 1851 he married Frances Lucy, daughter of
Sir William Wightman, a judge of the Court of Queen's Bench, and by her
had five children, three sons and two daughters.

His first volume of verse, 'The Strayed Reveller and Other Poems,' bears
the date 1849; the second, 'Empedocles on Etna and Other Poems,' 1852;
the third, 'Poems,' made up mainly from the two former, was published in
1853, and thereafter he added little to his poetic work. His first
volume of similar significance in prose was 'Essays in Criticism,'
issued in 1865. Throughout his mature life he was a constant writer, and
his collected works of all kinds now fill eleven volumes, exclusive of
his letters. In 1857 he was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford, and
there began his career as a lecturer; and this method of public
expression he employed often. His life was thus one with many diverse
activities, and filled with practical or literary affairs; and on no
side was it deficient in human relations. He won respect and reputation
while he lived; and his works continue to attract men's minds, although
with much unevenness. He died at Liverpool, on April 15th, 1888.

[Illustration: MATTHEW ARNOLD]

That considerable portion of Arnold's writings which was concerned with
education and politics, or with phases of theological thought and
religious tendency, however valuable in contemporary discussion, and
to men and movements of the third quarter of the century, must be set on
one side. It is not because of anything there contained that he has
become a permanent figure of his time, or is of interest in literature.
He achieved distinction as a critic and as a poet; but although he was
earlier in the field as a poet, he was recognized by the public at large
first as a critic. The union of the two functions is not unusual in the
history of literature; but where success has been attained in both, the
critic has commonly sprung from the poet in the man, and his range and
quality have been limited thereby. It was so with Dryden and Wordsworth,
and, less obviously, with Landor and Lowell. In Arnold's case there is
no such growth: the two modes of writing, prose and verse, were
disconnected. One could read his essays without suspecting a poet, and
his poems without discerning a critic, except so far as one finds the
moralist there. In fact, Arnold's critical faculty belonged rather to
the practical side of his life, and was a part of his talents as a
public man.

This appears by the very definitions that he gave, and by the turn of
his phrase, which always keeps an audience rather than a meditative
reader in view. "What is the function of criticism at the present time?"
he asks, and answers--"A disinterested endeavor to learn and propagate
the best that is known and thought in the world." That is a wide
warrant. The writer who exercises his critical function under it,
however, is plainly a reformer at heart, and labors for the social
welfare. He is not an analyst of the form of art for its own sake, or a
contemplator of its substance of wisdom or beauty merely. He is not
limited to literature or the other arts of expression, but the
world--the intellectual world--is all before him where to choose; and
having learned the best that is known and thought, his second and
manifestly not inferior duty is to go into all nations, a messenger of
the propaganda of intelligence. It is a great mission, and nobly
characterized; but if criticism be so defined, it is criticism of a
large mold.

The scope of the word conspicuously appears also in the phrase, which
became proverbial, declaring that literature is "a criticism of life."
In such an employment of terms, ordinary meanings evaporate: and it
becomes necessary to know the thought of the author rather than the
usage of men. Without granting the dictum, therefore, which would be far
from the purpose, is it not clear that by "critic" and "criticism"
Arnold intended to designate, or at least to convey, something peculiar
to his own conception,--not strictly related to literature at all, it
may be, but more closely tied to society in its general mental activity?
In other words, Arnold was a critic of civilization more than of books,
and aimed at illumination by means of ideas. With this goes his
manner,--that habitual air of telling you something which you did not
know before, and doing it for your good,--which stamps him as a preacher
born. Under the mask of the critic is the long English face of the
gospeler; that type whose persistent physiognomy was never absent from
the conventicle of English thought.

This evangelizing prepossession of Arnold's mind must be recognized in
order to understand alike his attitude of superiority, his stiffly
didactic method, and his success in attracting converts in whom the seed
proved barren. The first impression that his entire work makes is one of
limitation; so strict is this limitation, and it profits him so much,
that it seems the element in which he had his being. On a close survey,
the fewness of his ideas is most surprising, though the fact is somewhat
cloaked by the lucidity of his thought, its logical vigor, and the
manner of its presentation. He takes a text, either some formula of his
own or some adopted phrase that he has made his own, and from that he
starts out only to return to it again and again with ceaseless
iteration. In his illustrations, for example, when he has pilloried some
poor gentleman, otherwise unknown, for the astounded and amused
contemplation of the Anglican monocle, he cannot let him alone. So too
when, with the journalist's nack for nicknames, he divides all England
into three parts, he cannot forget the rhetorical exploit. He never lets
the points he has made fall into oblivion; and hence his work in
general, as a critic, is skeletonized to the memory in watchwords,
formulas, and nicknames, which, taken altogether, make up only a small
number of ideas.

His scale, likewise, is meagre. His essay is apt to be a book review or
a plea merely; it is without that free illusiveness and undeveloped
suggestion which indicate a full mind and give to such brief pieces of
writing the sense of overflow. He takes no large subject as a whole, but
either a small one or else some phases of the larger one; and he
exhausts all that he touches. He seems to have no more to say. It is
probable that his acquaintance with literature was incommensurate with
his reputation or apparent scope as a writer. As he has fewer ideas than
any other author of his time of the same rank, so he discloses less
knowledge of his own or foreign literatures. His occupations forbade
wide acquisition; he husbanded his time, and economized also by giving
the best direction to his private studies, and he accomplished much; but
he could not master the field as any man whose profession was literature
might easily do. Consequently, in comparison with Coleridge or Lowell,
his critical work seems dry and bare, with neither the fluency nor the
richness of a master.

In yet another point this paucity of matter appears. What Mr. Richard
Holt Hutton says in his essay on the poetry of Arnold is so apposite
here that it will be best to quote the passage. He is speaking, in an
aside, of Arnold's criticisms:--

     "They are fine, they are keen, they are often true; but they
     are always too much limited to the thin superficial layer of
     the moral nature of their subjects, and seem to take little
     comparative interest in the deeper individuality beneath.
     Read his essay on Heine, and you will see the critic
     engrossed with the relation of Heine to the political and
     social ideas of his day, and passing over with comparative
     indifference the true soul of Heine, the fountain of both his
     poetry and his cynicism. Read his five lectures on
     translating Homer, and observe how exclusively the critic's
     mind is occupied with the form as distinguished from the
     substance of the Homeric poetry. Even when he concerns
     himself with the greatest modern poets,--with Shakespeare as
     in the preface to the earlier edition of his poems, or with
     Goethe in reiterated poetical criticisms, or when he again
     and again in his poems treats of Wordsworth,--it is always
     the style and superficial doctrine of their poetry, not the
     individual character and unique genius, which occupy him. He
     will tell you whether a poet is 'sane and clear,' or stormy
     and fervent; whether he is rapid and noble, or loquacious and
     quaint; whether a thinker penetrates the husks of
     conventional thought which mislead the crowd; whether there
     is sweetness as well as lucidity in his aims; whether a
     descriptive writer has 'distinction' of style, or is
     admirable only for his vivacity: but he rarely goes to the
     individual heart of any of the subjects of his criticism; he
     finds their style and class, but not their personality in
     that class; he _ranks_ his men, but does not portray them;
     hardly even seems to find much interest in the _individual_
     roots of their character."

In brief, this is to say that Arnold took little interest in human
nature; nor is there anything in his later essays on Byron, Keats,
Wordsworth, Milton, or Gray, to cause us to revise the judgment on this
point. In fact, so far as he touched on the personality of Keats or
Gray, to take the capital instances, he was most unsatisfactory.

Arnold was not, then, one of those critics who are interested in life
itself, and through the literary work seize on the soul of the author in
its original brightness, or set forth the life-stains in the successive
incarnations of his heart and mind. Nor was he of those who consider the
work itself final, and endeavor simply to understand it,--form and
matter,--and so to mediate between genius and our slower intelligence.
He followed neither the psychological nor the aesthetic method. It need
hardly be said that he was born too early to be able ever to conceive of
literature as a phenomenon of society, and its great men as only terms
in an evolutionary series. He had only a moderate knowledge of
literature, and his stock of ideas was small; his manner of speech was
hard and dry, there was a trick in his style, and his self-repetition
is tiresome.

What gave him vogue, then, and what still keeps his more literary work
alive? Is it anything more than the temper in which he worked, and the
spirit which he evoked in the reader? He stood for the very spirit of
intelligence in his time. He made his readers respect ideas, and want to
have as many as possible. He enveloped them in an atmosphere of mental
curiosity and alertness, and put them in contact with novel and
attractive themes. In particular, he took their minds to the Continent
and made them feel that they were becoming cosmopolitan by knowing
Joubert; or at home, he rallied them in opposition to the dullness of
the period, to "barbarism" or other objectionable traits in the social
classes: and he volleyed contempt upon the common multitudinous foe in
general, and from time to time cheered them with some delectable
examples of single combat. It cannot be concealed that there was much
malicious pleasure in it all. He was not indisposed to high-bred
cruelty. Like Lamb, he "loved a fool," but it was in a mortar; and
pleasant it was to see the spectacle when he really took a man in hand
for the chastisement of irony. It is thus that "the _seraphim
illuminati_ sneer." And in all his controversial writing there was a
brilliancy and unsparingness that will appeal to the deepest instincts
of a fighting race, willy-nilly; and as one had only to read the words
to feel himself among the children of light, so that our withers were
unwrung, there was high enjoyment.

This liveliness of intellectual conflict, together with the sense of
ideas, was a boon to youth especially; and the academic air in which the
thought and style always moved, with scholarly self-possession and
assurance, with the dogmatism of "enlightenment" in all ages and among
all sects, with serenity and security unassailable, from within at
least--this academic "clearness and purity without shadow or stain" had
an overpowering charm to the college-bred and cultivated, who found the
rare combination of information, taste, and aggressiveness in one of
their own ilk. Above all, there was the play of intelligence on every
page; there was an application of ideas to life in many regions of the
world's interests; there was contact with a mind keen, clear, and firm,
armed for controversy or persuasion equally, and filled with eager
belief in itself, its ways, and its will.

To meet such personality in a book was a bracing experience; and for
many these essays were an awakening of the mind itself. We may go to
others for the greater part of what criticism can give,--for definite
and fundamental principles, for adequate characterization, for the
intuition and the revelation, the penetrant flash of thought and phrase:
but Arnold generates and supports a temper of mind in which the work of
these writers best thrives even in its own sphere; and through him this
temper becomes less individual than social, encompassing the whole of
life. Few critics have been really less "disinterested," few have kept
their eyes less steadily "upon the object": but that fact does not
lessen the value of his precepts of disinterestedness and objectivity;
nor is it necessary, in becoming "a child of light," to join in spirit
the unhappy "remnant" of the academy, or to drink too deep of that
honeyed satisfaction, with which he fills his readers, of being on his
side. As a critic, Arnold succeeds if his main purpose does not fail,
and that was to reinforce the party of ideas, of culture, of the
children of light; to impart, not moral vigor, but openness and
reasonableness of mind; and to arouse and arm the intellectual in
contradistinction to the other energies of civilization.

The poetry of Arnold, to pass to the second portion of his work, was
less widely welcomed than his prose, and made its way very slowly; but
it now seems the most important and permanent part. It is not small in
quantity, though his unproductiveness in later years has made it appear
that he was less fluent and abundant in verse than he really was. The
remarkable thing, as one turns to his poems, is the contrast in spirit
that they afford to the essays: there is here an atmosphere of entire
calm. We seem to be in a different world. This fact, with the singular
silence of his familiar letters in regard to his verse, indicates that
his poetic life was truly a thing apart.

In one respect only is there something in common between his prose and
verse: just as interest in human nature was absent in the latter, it is
absent also in the former. There is no action in the poems; neither is
there character for its own sake. Arnold was a man of the mind, and he
betrays no interest in personality except for its intellectual traits;
in Clough as in Obermann, it is the life of thought, not the human
being, that he portrays. As a poet, he expresses the moods of the
meditative spirit in view of nature and our mortal existence; and he
represents life, not lyrically by its changeful moments, nor tragically
by its conflict in great characters, but philosophically by a
self-contained and unvarying monologue, deeper or less deep in feeling
and with cadences of tone, but always with the same grave and serious
effect. He is constantly thinking, whatever his subject or his mood; his
attitude is intellectual, his sentiments are maxims, his conclusions are
advisory. His world is the sphere of thought, and his poems have the
distance and repose and also the coldness that befit that sphere; and
the character of his imagination, which lays hold of form and reason,
makes natural to him the classical style.

It is obvious that the sources of his poetical culture are Greek. It is
not merely, however, that he takes for his early subjects Merope and
Empedocles, or that he strives in 'Balder Dead' for Homeric narrative,
or that in the recitative to which he was addicted he evoked an
immelodious phantom of Greek choruses; nor is it the "marmoreal air"
that chills while it ennobles much of his finest work. One feels the
Greek quality not as a source but as a presence. In Tennyson, Keats, and
Shelley, there was Greek influence, but in them the result was modern.
In Arnold the antiquity remains; remains in mood, just as in Landor it
remains in form. The Greek twilight broods over all his poetry. It is
pagan in philosophic spirit; not Attic, but of a later and stoical time,
with the very virtues of patience, endurance, suffering, not in their
Christian types, but as they now seem to a post-Christian imagination
looking back to the imperial past. There is a difference, it is true, in
Arnold's expression of the mood: he is as little Sophoclean as he is
Homeric, as little Lucretian as he is Vergilian. The temperament is not
the same, not a survival or a revival of the antique, but original and
living. And yet the mood of the verse is felt at once to be a
reincarnation of the deathless spirit of Hellas, that in other ages also
has made beautiful and solemn for a time the shadowed places of the
Christian world. If one does not realize this, he must miss the secret
of the tranquillity, the chill, the grave austerity, as well as the
philosophical resignation, which are essential to the verse. Even in
those parts of the poems which use romantic motives, one reason of their
original charm is that they suggest how the Greek imagination would have
dealt with the forsaken merman, the church of Brou, and Tristram and
Iseult. The presence of such motives, such mythology, and such Christian
and chivalric color in the work of Arnold does not disturb the simple
unity of its feeling, which finds no solvent for life, whatever its
accident of time and place and faith, except in that Greek spirit which
ruled in thoughtful men before the triumph of Christianity, and is still
native in men who accept the intellect as the sole guide of life.

It was with reference to these modern men and the movement they took
part in, that he made his serious claim to greatness; to rank, that is,
with Tennyson and Browning, as he said, in the literature of his time.
"My poems," he wrote, "represent on the whole the main movement of mind
of the last quarter of a century; and thus they will probably have their
day as people become conscious to themselves of what that movement of
mind is, and interested in the literary productions that reflect it. It
might be fairly urged that I have less poetical sentiment than Tennyson,
and less intellectual vigor and abundance than Browning; yet because I
have, perhaps, more of a fusion of the two than either of them, and have
more regularly applied that fusion to the main line of modern
development, I am likely enough to have my turn, as they have had
theirs." If the main movement had been such as he thought of it, or if
it had been of importance in the long run, there might be a sounder
basis for this hope than now appears to be the case; but there can be no
doubt, let the contemporary movement have been what it may, that
Arnold's mood is one that will not pass out of men's hearts to-day nor

On the modern side the example of Wordsworth was most formative, and in
fact it is common to describe Arnold as a Wordsworthian: and so, in his
contemplative attitude to nature, and in his habitual recourse to her,
he was; but both nature herself as she appeared to him, and his mood in
her presence, were very different from Wordsworth's conception and
emotion. Arnold finds in nature a refuge from life, an anodyne, an
escape; but Wordsworth, in going into the hills for poetical communion,
passed from a less to a fuller and deeper life, and obtained an
inspiration, and was seeking the goal of all his being. In the method of
approach, too, as well as in the character of the experience, there was
a profound difference between the two poets. Arnold sees with the
outward rather than the inward eye. He is pictorial in a way that
Wordsworth seldom is; he uses detail much more, and gives a group or a
scene with the externality of a painter. The method resembles that of
Tennyson rather than that of Wordsworth, and has more direct analogy
with the Greek manner than with the modern and emotional schools; it is
objective, often minute, and always carefully composed, in the artistic
sense of that term. The description of the river Oxus, for example,
though faintly charged with suggested and allegoric meaning, is a noble
close to the poem which ends in it. The scale is large, and Arnold was
fond of a broad landscape, of mountains, and prospects over the land;
but one cannot fancy Wordsworth writing it. So too, on a small scale,
the charming scene of the English garden in 'Thyrsis' is far from
Wordsworth's manner:--

     "When garden walks and all the grassy floor
     With blossoms red and white of fallen May
       And chestnut-flowers are strewn--
     So have I heard the cuckoo's parting cry,
     From the wet field, through the vext garden trees,
     Come with the volleying rain and tossing breeze."

This is a picture that could be framed: how different from Wordsworth's
"wandering voice"! Or to take another notable example, which, like the
Oxus passage, is a fine close in the 'Tristram and Iseult,'--the hunter
on the arras above the dead lovers:--

     "A stately huntsman, clad in green,
     And round him a fresh forest scene.
     On that clear forest-knoll he stays,
     With his pack round him, and delays.

       *       *       *       *       *

     The wild boar rustles in his lair,
     The fierce hounds snuff the tainted air,
     But lord and hounds keep rooted there.
     Cheer, cheer thy dogs into the brake,
     O hunter! and without a fear
     Thy golden tasseled bugle blow"

But no one is deceived, and the hunter does not move from the arras, but
is still "rooted there," with his green suit and his golden tassel. The
piece is pictorial, and highly wrought for pictorial effects only,
obviously decorative and used as stage scenery precisely in the manner
of our later theatrical art, with that accent of forethought which turns
the beautiful into the aesthetic. This is a method which Wordsworth
never used. Take one of his pictures, the 'Reaper' for example, and see
the difference. The one is out-of-doors, the other is of the studio. The
purpose of these illustrations is to show that Arnold's nature-pictures
are not only consciously artistic, with an arrangement that approaches
artifice, but that he is interested through his eye primarily and not
through his emotions. It is characteristic of his temperament also that
he reminds one most often of the painter in water-colors.

If there is this difference between Arnold and Wordsworth in method, a
greater difference in spirit is to be anticipated. It is a fixed gulf.
In nature Wordsworth found the one spirit's "plastic stress," and a near
and intimate revelation to the soul of truths that were his greatest joy
and support in existence. Arnold finds there no inhabitancy of God, no
such streaming forth of wisdom and beauty from the fountain heads of
being; but the secret frame of nature is filled only with the darkness,
the melancholy, the waiting endurance that is projected from himself:--

     "Yet, Fausta, the mute turf we tread,
     The solemn hills about us spread,
     The stream that falls incessantly,
     The strange-scrawled rocks, the lonely sky,
     If I might lend their life a voice,
     Seem to bear rather than rejoice."

Compare this with Wordsworth's 'Stanzas on Peele Castle,' and the
important reservations that must be borne in mind in describing Arnold
as a Wordsworthian will become clearer. It is as a relief from thought,
as a beautiful and half-physical diversion, as a scale of being so vast
and mysterious as to reduce the pettiness of human life to
nothingness,--it is in these ways that nature has value in Arnold's
verse. Such a poet may describe natural scenes well, and obtain by means
of them contrast to human conditions, and decorative beauty; but he does
not penetrate nature or interpret what her significance is in the human
spirit, as the more emotional poets have done. He ends in an antithesis,
not in a synthesis, and both nature and man lose by the divorce. One
looks in vain for anything deeper than landscapes in Arnold's treatment
of nature; she is emptied of her own infinite, and has become
spiritually void: and in the simple great line in which he gave
the sea--

     "The unplumbed, salt, estranging sea--"

he is thinking of man, not of the ocean: and the mood seems ancient
rather than modern, the feeling of a Greek, just as the sound of the
waves to him is always Aegean.

In treating of man's life, which must be the main thing in any poet's
work, Arnold is either very austere or very pessimistic. If the feeling
is moral, the predominant impression is of austerity; if it is
intellectual, the predominant impression is of sadness. He was not
insensible to the charm of life, but he feels it in his senses only to
deny it in his mind. The illustrative passage is from 'Dover Beach':--

         "Ah, love, let us be true
     To one another! for the world which seems
     To lie before us like a land of dreams,
       So various, so beautiful, so new,
     Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
     Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain."

This is the contradiction of sense and thought, the voice of a regret
grounded in the intellect (for if it were vital and grounded in the
emotions it would become despair); the creed of illusion and futility in
life, which is the characteristic note of Arnold, and the reason of his
acceptance by many minds. The one thing about life which he most insists
on is its isolation, its individuality. In the series called
'Switzerland,' this is the substance of the whole; and the doctrine is
stated with an intensity and power, with an amplitude and prolongation,
that set these poems apart as the most remarkable of all his lyrics.
From a poet so deeply impressed with this aspect of existence, and
unable to find its remedy or its counterpart in the harmony of life, no
joyful or hopeful word can be expected, and none is found. The second
thing about life which he dwells on is its futility; though he bids one
strive and work, and points to the example of the strong whom he has
known, yet one feels that his voice rings more true when he writes of
Obermann than in any other of the elegiac poems. In such verse as the
'Summer Night,' again, the genuineness of the mood is indubitable. In
'The Sick King of Bokhara,' the one dramatic expression of his genius,
futility is the very centre of the action. The fact that so much of his
poetry seems to take its motive from the subsidence of Christian faith
has set him among the skeptic or agnostic poets, and the "main movement"
which he believed he had expressed was doubtless that in which
agnosticism was a leading element. The unbelief of the third quarter of
the century was certainly a controlling influence over him, and in a man
mainly intellectual by nature it could not well have been otherwise.

Hence, as one looks at his more philosophical and lyrical poems--the
profounder part of his work--and endeavors to determine their character
and sources alike, it is plain to see that in the old phrase, "the pride
of the intellect" lifts its lonely column over the desolation of every
page. The man of the academy is here, as in the prose, after all. He
reveals himself in the literary motive, the bookish atmosphere of the
verse, in its vocabulary, its elegance of structure, its precise phrase
and its curious allusions (involving footnotes), and in fact, throughout
all its form and structure. So self-conscious is it that it becomes
frankly prosaic at inconvenient times, and is more often on the level of
eloquent and graceful rhetoric than of poetry. It is frequently liquid
and melodious, but there is no burst of native song in it anywhere. It
is the work of a true poet, nevertheless; but there are many voices for
the Muse. It is sincere, it is touched with reality; it is the mirror of
a phase of life in our times, and not in our times only, but whenever
the intellect seeks expression for its sense of the limitation of its
own career, and its sadness in a world which it cannot solve.

A word should be added concerning the personality of Arnold
which is revealed in his familiar letters,--a collection that has
dignified the records of literature with a singularly noble memory of
private life. Few who did not know Arnold could have been prepared
for the revelation of a nature so true, so amiable, so dutiful.
In every relation of private life he is shown to have been a man of
exceptional constancy and plainness. The letters are mainly home
letters; but a few friendships also yielded up their hoard, and thus
the circle of private life is made complete. Every one must take
delight in the mental association with Arnold in the scenes of his
existence, thus daily exposed, and in his family affections. A nature
warm to its own, kindly to all, cheerful, fond of sport and fun, and
always fed from pure fountains, and with it a character so founded
upon the rock, so humbly serviceable, so continuing in power and
grace, must wake in all the responses of happy appreciation, and
leave the charm of memory.

He did his duty as naturally as if it required neither resolve, nor
effort, nor thought of any kind for the morrow, and he never failed,
seemingly, in act or word of sympathy, in little or great things; and
when, to this, one adds the clear ether of the intellectual life where
he habitually moved in his own life apart, and the humanity of his
home, the gift that these letters bring may be appreciated. That gift
is the man himself; but set in the atmosphere of home, with son-ship
and fatherhood, sisters and brothers, with the bereavements of
years fully accomplished, and those of babyhood and boyhood,--a
sweet and wholesome English home, with all the cloud and sunshine
of the English world drifting over its roof-tree, and the soil of England
beneath its stones, and English duties for the breath of its being.
To add such a home to the household-rights of English literature is
perhaps something from which Arnold would have shrunk, but it
endears his memory.

[Illustration: Signature: Geroge E. Woodberry]


From 'Essays in Criticism'

What are the essential characteristics of the spirit of our nation? Not,
certainly, an open and clear mind, not a quick and flexible
intelligence. Our greatest admirers would not claim for us that we have
these in a pre-eminent degree; they might say that we had more of them
than our detractors gave us credit for, but they would not assert them
to be our essential characteristics. They would rather allege, as our
chief spiritual characteristics, energy and honesty; and if we are
judged favorably and positively, not invidiously and negatively, our
chief characteristics are no doubt these: energy and honesty, not an
open and clear mind, not a quick and flexible intelligence. Openness of
mind and flexibility of intelligence were very signal characteristics of
the Athenian people in ancient times; everybody will feel that. Openness
of mind and flexibility of intelligence are remarkable characteristics
of the French people in modern times,--at any rate, they strikingly
characterize them as compared with us; I think everybody, or almost
everybody, will feel that. I will not now ask what more the Athenian or
the French spirit has than this, nor what shortcomings either of them
may have as a set-off against this; all I want now to point out is that
they have this, and that we have it in a much lesser degree.

Let me remark, however, that not only in the moral sphere, but also in
the intellectual and spiritual sphere, energy and honesty are most
important and fruitful qualities; that for instance, of what we call
genius, energy is the most essential part. So, by assigning to a nation
energy and honesty as its chief spiritual characteristics,--by refusing
to it, as at all eminent characteristics, openness of mind and
flexibility of intelligence,--we do not by any means, as some people
might at first suppose, relegate its importance and its power of
manifesting itself with effect from the intellectual to the moral
sphere. We only indicate its probable special line of successful
activity in the intellectual sphere, and, it is true, certain
imperfections and failings to which in this sphere it will always be
subject. Genius is mainly an affair of energy, and poetry is mainly an
affair of genius; therefore a nation whose spirit is characterized by
energy may well be eminent in poetry;--and we have Shakespeare. Again,
the highest reach of science is, one may say, an inventive power, a
faculty of divination, akin to the highest power exercised in poetry;
therefore a nation whose spirit is characterized by energy may well be
eminent in science;--and we have Newton. Shakespeare and Newton: in the
intellectual sphere there can be no higher names. And what that energy,
which is the life of genius, above everything demands and insists upon,
is freedom; entire independence of all authority, prescription, and
routine,--the fullest room to expand as it will. Therefore a nation
whose chief spiritual characteristic is energy will not be very apt to
set up, in intellectual matters, a fixed standard, an authority, like an
academy. By this it certainly escapes certain real inconveniences and
dangers; and it can at the same time, as we have seen, reach undeniably
splendid heights in poetry and science.

On the other hand, some of the requisites of intellectual work are
specially the affair of quickness of mind and flexibility of
intelligence. The form, the method of evolution, the precision, the
proportions, the relations of the parts to the whole, in an intellectual
work, depend mainly upon them. And these are the elements of an
intellectual work which are really most communicable from it, which can
most be learned and adopted from it, which have therefore the greatest
effect upon the intellectual performance of others. Even in poetry these
requisites are very important; and the poetry of a nation not eminent
for the gifts on which they depend, will more or less suffer by this
shortcoming. In poetry, however, they are after all secondary, and
energy is the first thing; but in prose they are of first-rate
importance. In its prose literature, therefore, and in the routine of
intellectual work generally, a nation with no particular gifts for these
will not be so successful. These are what, as I have said, can to a
certain degree be learned and appropriated, while the free activity of
genius cannot. Academies consecrate and maintain them, and therefore a
nation with an eminent turn for them naturally establishes academies. So
far as routine and authority tend to embarrass energy and inventive
genius, academies may be said to be obstructive to energy and inventive
genius, and to this extent to the human spirit's general advance. But
then this evil is so much compensated by the propagation, on a large
scale, of the mental aptitudes and demands which an open mind and a
flexible intelligence naturally engender, genius itself in the long run
so greatly finds its account in this propagation, and bodies like the
French Academy have such power for promoting it, that the general
advance of the human spirit is perhaps, on the whole, rather furthered
than impeded by their existence.

How much greater is our nation in poetry than prose! how much better, in
general, do the productions of its spirit show in the qualities of
genius than in the qualities of intelligence! One may constantly remark
this in the work of individuals: how much more striking, in general,
does any Englishman--of some vigor of mind, but by no means a poet--seem
in his verse than in his prose! His verse partly suffers from his not
being really a poet, partly no doubt from the very same defects which
impair his prose, and he cannot express himself with thorough success in
it, but how much more powerful a personage does he appear in it, by dint
of feeling and of originality and movement of ideas, than when he is
writing prose! With a Frenchman of like stamp, it is just the reverse:
set him to write poetry, he is limited, artificial, and impotent; set
him to write prose, he is free, natural, and effective. The power of
French literature is in its prose writers, the power of English
literature is in its poets. Nay, many of the celebrated French poets
depend wholly for their fame upon the qualities of intelligence which
they exhibit,--qualities which are the distinctive support of prose;
many of the celebrated English prose writers depend wholly for their
fame upon the qualities of genius and imagination which they
exhibit,--qualities which are the distinctive support of poetry.

But as I have said, the qualities of genius are less transferable than
the qualities of intelligence; less can be immediately learned and
appropriated from their product; they are less direct and stringent
intellectual agencies, though they may be more beautiful and divine.
Shakespeare and our great Elizabethan group were certainly more gifted
writers than Corneille and his group; but what was the sequel to this
great literature, this literature of genius, as we may call it,
stretching from Marlowe to Milton? What did it lead up to in English
literature? To our provincial and second-rate literature of the
eighteenth century. What, on the other hand, was the sequel to the
literature of the French "great century," to this literature of
intelligence, as by comparison with our Elizabethan literature we may
call it; what did it lead up to? To the French literature of the
eighteenth century, one of the most powerful and pervasive intellectual
agencies that have ever existed,--the greatest European force of the
eighteenth century. In science, again, we had Newton, a genius of the
very highest order, a type of genius in science if ever there was one.
On the continent, as a sort of counterpart to Newton, there was
Leibnitz; a man, it seems to me (though on these matters I speak under
correction), of much less creative energy of genius, much less power of
divination than Newton, but rather a man of admirable intelligence, a
type of intelligence in science if ever there was one. Well, and what
did they each directly lead up to in science? What was the intellectual
generation that sprang from each of them? I only repeat what the men of
science have themselves pointed out. The man of genius was continued by
the English analysts of the eighteenth century, comparatively powerless
and obscure followers of the renowned master. The man of intelligence
was continued by successors like Bernoulli, Euler, Lagrange, and
Laplace, the greatest names in modern mathematics.


From 'Culture and Anarchy'

The disparagers of culture make its motive curiosity; sometimes, indeed,
they make its motive mere exclusiveness and vanity. The culture which is
supposed to plume itself on a smattering of Greek and Latin is a culture
which is begotten by nothing so intellectual as curiosity; it is valued
either out of sheer vanity and ignorance, or else as an engine of social
and class distinction, separating its holder, like a badge or title,
from other people who have not got it. No serious man would call this
_culture_, or attach any value to it, as culture, at all. To find the
real ground for the very differing estimate which serious people will
set upon culture, we must find some motive for culture in the terms of
which may lie a real ambiguity; and such a motive the word
_curiosity_ gives us.

I have before now pointed out that we English do not, like the
foreigners, use this word in a good sense as well as in a bad sense.
With us the word is always used in a somewhat disapproving sense. A
liberal and intelligent eagerness about the things of the mind may be
meant by a foreigner when he speaks of curiosity; but with us the word
always conveys a certain notion of frivolous and unedifying activity. In
the Quarterly Review, some little time ago, was an estimate of the
celebrated French critic, M. Sainte-Beuve; and a very inadequate
estimate it in my judgment was. And its inadequacy consisted chiefly in
this: that in our English way it left out of sight the double sense
really involved in the word _curiosity_, thinking enough was said to
stamp M. Sainte-Beuve with blame if it was said that he was impelled in
his operations as a critic by curiosity, and omitting either to perceive
that M. Sainte-Beuve himself, and many other people with him, would
consider that this was praiseworthy and not blameworthy, or to point out
why it ought really to be accounted worthy of blame and not of praise.
For as there is a curiosity about intellectual matters which is futile,
and merely a disease, so there is certainly a curiosity--a desire after
the things of the mind simply for their own sakes and for the pleasure
of seeing them as they are--which is, in an intelligent being, natural
and laudable. Nay, and the very desire to see things as they are implies
a balance and regulation of mind which is not often attained without
fruitful effort, and which is the very opposite of the blind and
diseased impulse of mind which is what we mean to blame when we blame
curiosity. Montesquieu says:--"The first motive which ought to impel us
to study is the desire to augment the excellence of our nature, and to
render an intelligent being yet more intelligent." This is the true
ground to assign for the genuine scientific passion, however manifested,
and for culture, viewed simply as a fruit of this passion; and it is a
worthy ground, even though we let the term _curiosity_ stand to
describe it.

But there is of culture another view, in which not solely the scientific
passion, the sheer desire to see things as they are, natural and proper
in an intelligent being, appears as the ground of it. There is a view in
which all the love of our neighbor, the impulses toward action, help,
and beneficence, the desire for removing human error, clearing human
confusion, and diminishing human misery, the noble aspiration to leave
the world better and happier than we found it,--motives eminently such
as are called social,--come in as part of the grounds of culture, and
the main and pre-eminent part. Culture is then properly described not as
having its origin in curiosity, but as having its origin in the love of
perfection; it is _a study of perfection_. It moves by the force, not
merely or primarily of the scientific passion for pure knowledge, but
also of the moral and social passion for doing good. As in the first
view of it we took for its worthy motto Montesquieu's words, "To render
an intelligent being yet more intelligent!" so in the second view of it
there is no better motto which it can have than these words of Bishop
Wilson: "To make reason and the will of God prevail."

Only, whereas the passion for doing good is apt to be over-hasty in
determining what reason and the will of God say, because its turn is for
acting rather than thinking, and it wants to be beginning to act; and
whereas it is apt to take its own conceptions, which proceed from its
own state of development and share in all the imperfections and
immaturities of this, for a basis of action: what distinguishes culture
is, that it is possessed by the scientific passion as well as by the
passion of doing good; that it demands worthy notions of reason and the
will of God, and does not readily suffer its own crude conceptions to
substitute themselves for them. And knowing that no action or
institution can be salutary and stable which is not based on reason and
the will of God, it is not so bent on acting and instituting, even with
the great aim of diminishing human error and misery ever before its
thoughts, but that it can remember that acting and instituting are of
little use, unless we know how and what we ought to act and to

The pursuit of perfection, then, is the pursuit of sweetness and light.
He who works for sweetness and light, works to make reason and the will
of God prevail. He who works for machinery, he who works for hatred,
works only for confusion. Culture looks beyond machinery, culture hates
hatred; culture has one great passion, the passion for sweetness and
light. It has one even yet greater!--the passion for making them
_prevail._ It is not satisfied till we _all_ come to a perfect man; it
knows that the sweetness and light of the few must be imperfect until
the raw and unkindled masses of humanity are touched with sweetness and
light. If I have not shrunk from saying that we must work for sweetness
and light, so neither have I shrunk from saying that we must have a
broad basis, must have sweetness and light for as many as possible.
Again and again I have insisted how those are the happy moments of
humanity, how those are the marking epochs of a people's life, how those
are the flowering times for literature and art and all the creative
power of genius, when there is a _national_ glow of life and thought,
when the whole of society is in the fullest measure permeated by
thought, sensible to beauty, intelligent and alive. Only it must be
_real_ thought and _real_ beauty; _real_ sweetness and _real_ light.
Plenty of people will try to give the masses, as they call them, an
intellectual food prepared and adapted in the way they think proper for
the actual condition of the masses. The ordinary popular literature is
an example of this way of working on the masses. Plenty of people will
try to indoctrinate the masses with the set of ideas and judgments
constituting the creed of their own profession or party. Our religious
and political organizations give an example of this way of working on
the masses. I condemn neither way; but culture works differently. It
does not try to teach down to the level of inferior classes; it does not
try to win them for this or that sect of its own, with ready-made
judgments and watchwords. It seeks to do away with classes; to make the
best that has been thought and known in the world current everywhere; to
make all men live in an atmosphere of sweetness and light, where they
may use ideas, as it uses them itself, freely,--nourished and not
bound by them.

This is the _social idea_; and the men of culture are the true apostles
of equality. The great men of culture are those who have had a passion
for diffusing, for making prevail, for carrying from one end of society
to the other, the best knowledge, the best ideas of their time; who have
labored to divest knowledge of all that was harsh, uncouth, difficult,
abstract, professional, exclusive; to humanize it, to make it efficient
outside the clique of the cultivated and learned, yet still remaining
the _best_ knowledge and thought of the time, and a true source,
therefore, of sweetness and light. Such a man was Abélard in the Middle
Ages, in spite of all his imperfections; and thence the boundless
emotion and enthusiasm which Abélard excited. Such were Lessing and
Herder in Germany, at the end of the last century; and their services to
Germany were in this way inestimably precious. Generations will pass,
and literary monuments will accumulate, and works far more perfect than
the works of Lessing and Herder will be produced in Germany; and yet the
names of these two men will fill a German with a reverence and
enthusiasm such as the names of the most gifted masters will hardly
awaken. And why? Because they _humanized_ knowledge; because they
broadened the basis of life and intelligence; because they worked
powerfully to diffuse sweetness and light, to make reason and the will
of God prevail. With Saint Augustine they said:--"Let us not leave thee
alone to make in the secret of thy knowledge, as thou didst before the
creation of the firmament, the division of light from darkness; let the
children of thy spirit, placed in their firmament, make their light
shine upon the earth, mark the division of night and day, and announce
the revolution of the times; for the old order is passed, and the new
arises; the night is spent, the day is come forth; and thou shalt crown
the year with thy blessing, when thou shalt send forth laborers into thy
harvest sown by other hands than theirs; when thou shalt send forth new
laborers to new seed-times, whereof the harvest shall be not yet."

Keeping this in view, I have in my own mind often indulged myself with
the fancy of employing, in order to designate our aristocratic class,
the name of _The Barbarians_. The Barbarians, to whom we all owe so
much, and who reinvigorated and renewed our worn-out Europe, had, as is
well known, eminent merits; and in this country, where we are for the
most part sprung from the Barbarians, we have never had the prejudice
against them which prevails among the races of Latin origin. The
Barbarians brought with them that stanch individualism, as the modern
phrase is, and that passion for doing as one likes, for the assertion of
personal liberty, which appears to Mr. Bright the central idea of
English life, and of which we have at any rate a very rich supply. The
stronghold and natural seat of this passion was in the nobles of whom
our aristocratic class are the inheritors; and this class, accordingly,
have signally manifested it, and have done much by their example to
recommend it to the body of the nation, who already, indeed, had it in
their blood. The Barbarians, again, had the passion for field-sports;
and they have handed it on to our aristocratic class, who of this
passion, too, as of the passion for asserting one's personal liberty,
are the great natural stronghold. The care of the Barbarians for the
body, and for all manly exercises; the vigor, good looks, and fine
complexion which they acquired and perpetuated in their families by
these means,--all this may be observed still in our aristocratic class.
The chivalry of the Barbarians, with its characteristics of high spirit,
choice manners, and distinguished bearing,--what is this but the
attractive commencement of the politeness of our aristocratic class? In
some Barbarian noble, no doubt, one would have admired, if one could
have been then alive to see it, the rudiments of our politest peer.
Only, all this culture (to call it by that name) of the Barbarians was
an exterior culture mainly. It consisted principally in outward gifts
and graces, in looks, manners, accomplishments, prowess. The chief
inward gifts which had part in it were the most exterior, so to speak,
of inward gifts, those which come nearest to outward ones; they were
courage, a high spirit, self-confidence. Far within, and unawakened, lay
a whole range of powers of thought and feeling, to which these
interesting productions of nature had, from the circumstances of their
life, no access. Making allowances for the difference of the times,
surely we can observe precisely the same thing now in our aristocratic
class. In general its culture is exterior chiefly; all the exterior
graces and accomplishments, and the more external of the inward virtues,
seem to be principally its portion. It now, of course, cannot but be
often in contact with those studies by which, from the world of thought
and feeling, true culture teaches us to fetch sweetness and light; but
its hold upon these very studies appears remarkably external, and
unable to exert any deep power upon its spirit. Therefore the one
insufficiency which we noted in the perfect mean of this class was an
insufficiency of light. And owing to the same causes, does not a subtle
criticism lead us to make, even on the good looks and politeness of our
aristocratic class, and of even the most fascinating half of that class,
the feminine half, the one qualifying remark, that in these charming
gifts there should perhaps be, for ideal perfection, a shade
more _soul_?

I often, therefore, when I want to distinguish clearly the aristocratic
class from the Philistines proper, or middle class, name the former, in
my own mind, _The Barbarians_. And when I go through the country, and
see this and that beautiful and imposing seat of theirs crowning the
landscape, "There," I say to myself, "is a great fortified post of the


From 'Essays in Criticism'

No, we are all seekers still! seekers often make mistakes, and I wish
mine to redound to my own discredit only, and not to touch Oxford.
Beautiful city! so venerable, so lovely, so unravaged by the fierce
intellectual life of our century, so serene!

     "There are our young barbarians all at play!"

And yet, steeped in sentiment as she lies, spreading her gardens to the
moonlight, and whispering from her towers the last enchantments of the
Middle Age, who will deny that Oxford, by her ineffable charm, keeps
ever calling us nearer to the true goal of all of us, to the ideal, to
perfection,--to beauty, in a word, which is only truth seen from another
side?--nearer, perhaps, than all the science of Tübingen. Adorable
dreamer, whose heart has been so romantic! who hast given thyself so
prodigally, given thyself to sides and to heroes not mine, only never to
the Philistines! home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs, and
unpopular names, and impossible loyalties! what example could ever so
inspire us to keep down the Philistine in ourselves, what teacher could
ever so save us from that bondage to which we are all prone, that
bondage which Goethe, in his incomparable lines on the death of
Schiller, makes it his friend's highest praise (and nobly did Schiller
deserve the praise) to have left miles out of sight behind him: the
bondage of "_was uns alle bandigt, Das Gemeine!_" She will forgive me,
even if I have unwittingly drawn upon her a shot or two aimed at her
unworthy son; for she is generous, and the cause in which I fight is,
after all, hers. Apparitions of a day, what is our puny warfare against
the Philistines, compared with the warfare which this queen of romance
has been waging against them for centuries, and will wage after we
are gone?

               TO A FRIEND

     Who prop, thou ask'st, in these bad days, my mind?--
       He much, the old man, who, clearest-souled of men,
       Saw The Wide Prospect, and the Asian Fen,
     And Tmolus hill, and Smyrna bay, though blind.
     Much he, whose friendship I not long since won,
       That halting slave, who in Nicopolis
     Taught Arrian, when Vespasian's brutal son
       Cleared Rome of what most shamed him. But he his
     My special thanks, whose even-balanced soul,
       From first youth tested up to extreme old age,
         Business could not make dull, nor passion wild;
     Who saw life steadily, and saw it whole;
       The mellow glory of the Attic stage,
         Singer of sweet Colonus, and its child.

               YOUTH AND CALM

     'Tis death! and peace, indeed, is here,
     And ease from shame, and rest from fear.
     There's nothing can dismarble now
     The smoothness of that limpid brow.
     But is a calm like this, in truth,
     The crowning end of life and youth,
     And when this boon rewards the dead,
     Are all debts paid, has all been said?
     And is the heart of youth so light,
     Its step so firm, its eye so bright,
     Because on its hot brow there blows
     A wind of promise and repose
     From the far grave, to which it goes;
     Because it has the hope to come,
     One day, to harbor in the tomb?
     Ah no, the bliss youth dreams is one
     For daylight, for the cheerful sun,
     For feeling nerves and living breath--
     Youth dreams a bliss on this side death.
     It dreams a rest, if not more deep,
     More grateful than this marble sleep;
     It hears a voice within it tell:
     _Calms not life's crown, though calm is well._
     'Tis all perhaps which man acquires,
     But 'tis not what our youth desires.


               TO MARGUERITE

     We were apart; yet, day by day,
       I bade my heart more constant be.
     I bade it keep the world away,
       And grow a home for only thee;
     Nor feared but thy love likewise grew,
     Like mine, each day, more tried, more true.

     The fault was grave! I might have known,
       What far too soon, alas! I learned--
     The heart can bind itself alone,
       And faith may oft be unreturned.
     Self-swayed our feelings ebb and swell--
     Thou lov'st no more;--Farewell! Farewell!

     Farewell!--and thou, thou lonely heart,
       Which never yet without remorse
     Even for a moment didst depart
       From thy remote and spherèd course
     To haunt the place where passions reign--
     Back to thy solitude again!

     Back! with the conscious thrill of shame
       Which Luna felt, that summer-night,
     Flash through her pure immortal frame,
       When she forsook the starry height
     To hang over Endymion's sleep
     Upon the pine-grown Latmian steep.

     Yet she, chaste queen, had never proved
       How vain a thing is mortal love,
     Wandering in Heaven, far removed;
       But thou hast long had place to prove
     This truth--to prove, and make thine own:
     "Thou hast been, shalt be, art, alone."

     Or, if not quite alone, yet they
       Which touch thee are unmating things--
     Ocean and clouds and night and day;
       Lorn autumns and triumphant springs;
     And life, and others' joy and pain,
     And love, if love, of happier men.

     Of happier men--for they, at least,
       Have dreamed two human hearts might blend
     In one, and were through faith released
       From isolation without end
     Prolonged; nor knew, although not less
     Alone than thou, their loneliness.

     Yes! in the sea of life enisled,
       With echoing straits between us thrown,
     Dotting the shoreless watery wild,
       We mortal millions live alone.
     The islands feel the enclasping flow,
     And then their endless bounds they know.

     But when the moon their hollow lights,
       And they are swept by balms of spring,
     And in their glens, on starry nights,
       The nightingales divinely sing;
     And lovely notes, from shore to shore,
     Across the sounds and channels pour--

     Oh! then a longing like despair
       Is to their farthest caverns sent;
     For surely once, they feel, we were
       Parts of a single continent!
     Now round us spreads the watery plain--
     Oh, might our marges meet again!

     Who ordered that their longing's fire
       Should be, as soon as kindled, cooled?
     Who renders vain their deep desire?--
       A God, a God their severance ruled!
     And bade betwixt their shores to be
     The unplumbed, salt, estranging sea


     In front the awful Alpine track
       Crawls up its rocky stair;
     The autumn storm-winds drive the rack,
       Close o'er it, in the air.

     Behind are the abandoned baths
       Mute in their meadows lone;
     The leaves are on the valley-paths,
       The mists are on the Rhone--

     The white mists rolling like a sea!
       I hear the torrents roar.
     --Yes, Obermann, all speaks of thee;
       I feel thee near once more.

     I turn thy leaves! I feel their breath
       Once more upon me roll;
     That air of languor, cold, and death,
       Which brooded o'er thy soul.

     Fly hence, poor wretch, whoe'er thou art,
       Condemned to cast about,
     All shipwreck in thy own weak heart,
       For comfort from without!

     A fever in these pages burns
       Beneath the calm they feign;
     A wounded human spirit turns,
       Here, on its bed of pain.

     Yes, though the virgin mountain-air
       Fresh through these pages blows;
     Though to these leaves the glaciers spare
       The soul of their mute snows;

     Though here a mountain-murmur swells
       Of many a dark-boughed pine;
     Though, as you read, you hear the bells
       Of the high-pasturing kine--

     Yet, through the hum of torrent lone,
       And brooding mountain-bee,
     There sobs I know not what ground-tone
       Of human agony.

     Is it for this, because the sound
       Is fraught too deep with pain,
     That, Obermann! the world around
       So little loves thy strain?

       *       *       *       *       *

     And then we turn, thou sadder sage,
       To thee! we feel thy spell!
     --The hopeless tangle of our age,
       Thou too hast scanned it well!

     Immovable thou sittest, still
       As death, composed to bear!
     Thy head is clear, thy feeling chill,
       And icy thy despair.

       *       *       *       *       *

     He who hath watched, not shared, the strife,
       Knows how the day hath gone.
     He only lives with the world's life
       Who hath renounced his own.

     To thee we come, then! Clouds are rolled
       Where thou, O seer! art set;
     Thy realm of thought is drear and cold--
       The world is colder yet!

     And thou hast pleasures, too, to share
       With those who come to thee--
     Balms floating on thy mountain-air,
       And healing sights to see.

     How often, where the slopes are green
       On Jaman, hast thou sate
     By some high chalet-door, and seen
       The summer-day grow late;

     And darkness steal o'er the wet grass
       With the pale crocus starr'd,
     And reach that glimmering sheet of glass
       Beneath the piny sward,

     Lake Leman's waters, far below!
       And watched the rosy light
     Fade from the distant peaks of snow;
       And on the air of night

     Heard accents of the eternal tongue
       Through the pine branches play--
     Listened and felt thyself grow young!
       Listened, and wept--Away!

     Away the dreams that but deceive!
       And thou, sad guide, adieu!
     I go, fate drives me; but I leave
       Half of my life with you.

     We, in some unknown Power's employ,
       Move on a rigorous line;
     Can neither, when we will, enjoy,
       Nor, when we will, resign.

     I in the world must live;--but thou,
       Thou melancholy shade!
     Wilt not, if thou can'st see me now,
       Condemn me, nor upbraid.

     For thou art gone away from earth,
       And place with those dost claim,
     The Children of the Second Birth,
       Whom the world could not tame.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Farewell!--Whether thou now liest near
       That much-loved inland sea,
     The ripples of whose blue waves cheer
       Vevey and Meillerie;

     And in that gracious region bland,
       Where with clear-rustling wave
     The scented pines of Switzerland
       Stand dark round thy green grave,

     Between the dusty vineyard-walls
       Issuing on that green place,
     The early peasant still recalls
       The pensive stranger's face,

     And stoops to clear thy moss-grown date
       Ere he plods on again;--
     Or whether, by maligner fate,
       Among the swarms of men,

     Where between granite terraces
       The blue Seine rolls her wave,
     The Capital of Pleasures sees
       Thy hardly-heard-of grave;--

     Farewell! Under the sky we part,
       In this stern Alpine dell.
     O unstrung will! O broken heart!
       A last, a last farewell!

          MEMORIAL VERSES (1850)

     Goethe in Weimar sleeps, and Greece,
     Long since, saw Byron's struggle cease,
     But one such death remained to come;
     The last poetic voice is dumb--
     We stand to-day by Wordsworth's tomb.

     When Byron's eyes were shut in death,
     We bowed our head and held our breath.
     He taught us little; but our soul
     Had felt him like the thunder's roll.
     With shivering heart the strife we saw
     Of passion with eternal law;
     And yet with reverential awe
     We watched the fount of fiery life
     Which served for that Titanic strife.

     When Goethe's death was told, we said,--
     Sunk, then, is Europe's sagest head.
     Physician of the iron age,
     Goethe has done his pilgrimage.
     He took the suffering human race,
       He read each wound, each weakness clear;
     And struck his finger on the place,
       And said: Thou ailest here, and here!
     He looked on Europe's dying hour
     Of fitful dream and feverish power;
     His eye plunged down the weltering strife,
     The turmoil of expiring life--He
     said, The end is everywhere,
     Art still has truth, take refuge there!
     And he was happy, if to know
     Causes of things, and far below
     His feet to see the lurid flow
     Of terror, and insane distress,
     And headlong fate, be happiness.

     And Wordsworth!--Ah, pale ghosts, rejoice!
     For never has such soothing voice
     Been to your shadowy world conveyed,
     Since erst, at morn, some wandering shade
     Heard the clear song of Orpheus come
     Through Hades, and the mournful gloom.
     Wordsworth has gone from us--and ye,
     Ah, may ye feel his voice as we!
     He too upon a wintry clime
     Had fallen--on this iron time
       Of doubts, disputes, distractions, fears.
     He found us when the age had bound
     Our souls in its benumbing round;
       He spoke, and loosed our heart in tears.
     He laid us as we lay at birth,
     On the cool, flowery lap of earth.
     Smiles broke from us and we had ease;
     The hills were round us, and the breeze
     Went o'er the sunlit fields again;
     Our foreheads felt the wind and rain,
     Our youth returned; for there was shed
     On spirits that had long been dead,
     Spirits dried up and closely furled,
     The freshness of the early world.

     Ah! since dark days still bring to light
     Man's prudence and man's fiery might,
     Time may restore us in his course
     Goethe's sage mind and Byron's force;
     But where will Europe's latter hour
     Again find Wordsworth's healing power?
     Others will teach us how to dare,
       And against fear our breast to steel;
     Others will strengthen us to bear--
       But who, ah! who, will make us feel?
     The cloud of mortal destiny,
     Others will front it fearlessly--But
     who, like him, will put it by?
     Keep fresh the grass upon his grave,
     O Rotha, with thy living wave!
     Sing him thy best! for few or none
     Hears thy voice right, now he is gone.



     O most just Vizier, send away
       The cloth-merchants, and let them be,
     Them and their dues, this day! the King
       Is ill at ease, and calls for thee.

           THE VIZIER

     O merchants, tarry yet a day
     Here in Bokhara! but at noon,
       To-morrow, come, and ye shall pay
     Each fortieth web of cloth to me,
       As the law is, and go your way.

     O Hussein, lead me to the King!
     Thou teller of sweet tales,--thine own,
     Ferdousi's, and the others',--lead!
     How is it with my lord?


     Ever since prayer-time, he doth wait,
     O Vizier! without lying down,
     In the great window of the gate,
       Looking into the Registàn,
     Where through the sellers' booths the slaves
       Are this way bringing the dead man.--
     O Vizier, here is the King's door!

            THE KING

    O Vizier, I may bury him?

            THE VIZIER

     O King, thou know'st, I have been sick
       These many days, and heard no thing
     (For Allah shut my ears and mind),
       Not even what thou dost, O King!
     Wherefore, that I may counsel thee,
     Let Hussein, if thou wilt, make haste
     To speak in order what hath chanced.

            THE KING

     O Vizier, be it as thou say'st!


     Three days since, at the time of prayer,
     A certain Moollah, with his robe
     All rent, and dust upon his hair,
     Watched my lord's coming forth, and pushed
     The golden mace-bearers aside,
     And fell at the King's feet, and cried:--

     "Justice, O King, and on myself!
     On this great sinner, who did break
     The law, and by the law must die!
     Vengeance, O King!"

                           But the King spake:--
     "What fool is this, that hurts our ears
     With folly? or what drunken slave?
     My guards, what, prick him with your spears!
     Prick me the fellow from the path!"

     As the King said, so was it done,
     And to the mosque my lord passed on.

     But on the morrow when the King
       Went forth again, the holy book
     Carried before him, as his right,
       And through the square his way he took,

     My man comes running, flecked with blood
     From yesterday, and falling down
     Cries out most earnestly:--"O King,
     My lord, O King, do right, I pray!

     "How canst thou, ere thou hear, discern
     If I speak folly? but a king,
     Whether a thing be great or small,
     Like Allah, hears and judges all.

     "Wherefore hear thou! Thou know'st how fierce
       In these last days the sun hath burned;
     That the green water in the tanks
       Is to a putrid puddle turned;
     And the canal, that from the stream
     Of Samarcand is brought this way,
     Wastes, and runs thinner every day.

     "Now I at nightfall had gone forth
       Alone, and in a darksome place
     Under some mulberry trees I found
       A little pool; and in short space
     With all the water that was there
     I filled my pitcher, and stole home
     Unseen; and having drink to spare,
     I hid the can behind the door,
     And went up on the roof to sleep.

     "But in the night, which was with wind
     And burning dust, again I creep
     Down, having fever, for a drink.

     "Now meanwhile had my brethren found
     The water-pitcher, where it stood
     Behind the door upon the ground,
     And called my mother; and they all,
     As they were thirsty, and the night
     Most sultry, drained the pitcher there;
     That they sate with it, in my sight,
     Their lips still wet, when I came down.

     "Now mark! I, being fevered, sick
       (Most unblest also), at that sight
     Brake forth, and cursed them--dost thou hear?--
       One was my mother--Now, do right!"

     But my lord mused a space, and said:--
       "Send him away, sirs, and make on!
     It is some madman!" the King said.
       As the King bade, so was it done.

     The morrow, at the self-same hour,
       In the King's path, behold, the man,
     Not kneeling, sternly fixed! he stood
       Right opposite, and thus began,

     Frowning grim down:--"Thou wicked King,
       Most deaf where thou shouldst most give ear!
     What, must I howl in the next world,
       Because thou wilt not listen here?

     "What, wilt thou pray, and get thee grace,
       And all grace shall to me be grudged?
     Nay, but I swear, from this thy path
       I will not stir till I be judged!"

     Then they who stood about the King
       Drew close together and conferred;
     Till that the King stood forth and said,
       "Before the priests thou shalt be heard."

     But when the Ulemas were met,
       And the thing heard, they doubted not;
     But sentenced him, as the law is,
       To die by stoning on the spot.

     Now the King charged us secretly:--
       "Stoned must he be, the law stands so.
     Yet, if he seek to fly, give way;
       Hinder him not, but let him go."

     So saying, the King took a stone,
       And cast it softly;--but the man,
     With a great joy upon his face,
       Kneeled down, and cried not, neither ran.

     So they, whose lot it was, cast stones,
       That they flew thick and bruised him sore,
     But he praised Allah with loud voice,
       And remained kneeling as before.

     My lord had covered up his face;
       But when one told him, "He is dead,"
     Turning him quickly to go in,--
       "Bring thou to me his corpse," he said.

     And truly while I speak, O King,
       I hear the bearers on the stair;
     Wilt thou they straightway bring him in?
       --Ho! enter ye who tarry there!

            THE VIZIER

     O King, in this I praise thee not.
       Now must I call thy grief not wise,
     Is he thy friend, or of thy blood,
       To find such favor in thine eyes?

     Nay, were he thine own mother's son,
       Still, thou art king, and the law stands.
     It were not meet the balance swerved,
        The sword were broken in thy hands.

     But being nothing, as he is,
       Why for no cause make sad thy face?--
     Lo, I am old! Three kings, ere thee,
       Have I seen reigning in this place.

     But who, through all this length of time,
       Could bear the burden of his years,
     If he for strangers pained his heart
       Not less than those who merit tears?

     Fathers we must have, wife and child,
       And grievous is the grief for these;
     This pain alone, which must be borne,
       Makes the head white, and bows the knees.

     But other loads than this his own
       One man is not well made to bear.
     Besides, to each are his own friends,
       To mourn with him, and show him care.

     Look, this is but one single place,
       Though it be great; all the earth round,
     If a man bear to have it so,
       Things which might vex him shall be found.

       *       *       *       *       *

     All these have sorrow, and keep still,
       Whilst other men make cheer, and sing,
     Wilt thou have pity on all these?
       No, nor on this dead dog, O King!

            THE KING

     O Vizier, thou art old, I young!
       Clear in these things I cannot see.
     My head is burning, and a heat
       Is in my skin which angers me.

     But hear ye this, ye sons of men!
       They that bear rule, and are obeyed,
     Unto a rule more strong than theirs
       Are in their turn obedient made.

     In vain therefore, with wistful eyes
       Gazing up hither, the poor man
     Who loiters by the high-heaped booths,
       Below there in the Registàn,

     Says:--"Happy he, who lodges there!
       With silken raiment, store of rice,
     And for this drought, all kinds of fruits,
       Grape-syrup, squares of colored ice,

     With cherries served in drifts of snow."
       In vain hath a king power to build
     Houses, arcades, enameled mosques;
       And to make orchard-closes, filled

     With curious fruit-trees brought from far;
       With cisterns for the winter rain;
     And in the desert, spacious inns
       In divers places--if that pain

     Is not more lightened, which he feels,
       If his will be not satisfied;
     And that it be not, from all time
       The law is planted, to abide.

     Thou wast a sinner, thou poor man!
       Thou wast athirst, and didst not see
     That, though we take what we desire,
       We must not snatch it eagerly.

     And I have meat and drink at will,
       And rooms of treasures, not a few,
     But I am sick, nor heed I these;
       And what I would, I cannot do.

     Even the great honor which I have,
       When I am dead, will soon grow still;
     So have I neither joy nor fame--
       But what I can do, that I will.

     I have a fretted brickwork tomb
       Upon a hill on the right hand,
     Hard by a close of apricots,
       Upon the road of Samarcand;

     Thither, O Vizier, will I bear
       This man my pity could not save,
     And plucking up the marble flags,
       There lay his body in my grave.

     Bring water, nard, and linen rolls!
       Wash off all blood, set smooth each limb!
     Then say:--"He was not wholly vile,
       Because a king shall bury him."

          DOVER BEACH

     The sea is calm to-night.
     The tide is full, the moon lies fair
     Upon the straits;--on the French coast the light
     Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
     Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.

     Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
       Only, from the long line of spray
     Where the sea meets the moon-blanched sand,
       Listen! you hear the grating roar
     Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
       At their return, up the high strand,
       Begin and cease, and then again begin,
       With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
         The eternal note of sadness in.

           Sophocles long ago
       Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
       Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
           Of human misery; we
       Find also in the sound a thought,
       Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

           The sea of faith
     Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
     Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
           But now I only hear
       Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
           Retreating, to the breath
     Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
         And naked shingles of the world.

           Ah, love, let us be true
     To one another! for the world, which seems
       To lie before us like a land of dreams,
         So various, so beautiful, so new,
       Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
       Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
       And we are here as on a darkling plain
     Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
         Where ignorant armies clash by night.


     Weary of myself, and sick of asking
       What I am, and what I ought to be,
     At this vessel's prow I stand, which bears me
       Forwards, forwards, o'er the starlit sea.

     And a look of passionate desire
       O'er the sea and to the stars I send:
     "Ye who from my childhood up have calmed me,
       Calm me, ah, compose me to the end!

     "Ah, once more," I cried, "ye stars, ye waters,
       On my heart your mighty charm renew;
     Still, still let me, as I gaze upon you,
       Feel my soul becoming vast like you."

     From the intense, clear, star-sown vault of heaven,
       Over the lit sea's unquiet way,
     In the rustling night-air came the answer:--
       "Wouldst thou _be_ as these are? _Live_ as they.

     "Unaffrighted by the silence round them,
       Undistracted by the sights they see,
     These demand not that the things without them
       Yield them love, amusement, sympathy.

     "And with joy the stars perform their shining,
       And the sea its long moon-silvered roll;
     For self-poised they live, nor pine with noting
       All the fever of some differing soul.

     "Bounded by themselves, and unregardful
       In what state God's other works may be,
     In their own tasks all their powers pouring,
       These attain the mighty life you see."

     O air-born voice! long since, severely clear,
       A cry like thine in mine own heart I hear:--
     "Resolve to be thyself; and know that he
       Who finds himself, loses his misery!"


     Oh, hide me in your gloom profound,
       Ye solemn seats of holy pain!
     Take me, cowled forms, and fence me round,
       Till I possess my soul again;
     Till free my thoughts before me roll,
     Not chafed by hourly false control!

     For the world cries your faith is now
       But a dead time's exploded dream;
     My melancholy, sciolists say,
       Is a passed mood, and outworn theme--
     As if the world had ever had
     A faith, or sciolists been sad!

     Ah, if it _be_ passed, take away
       At least the restlessness, the pain!
     Be man henceforth no more a prey
       To these out-dated stings again!
     The nobleness of grief is gone--
     Ah, leave us not the fret alone!

     But--if you cannot give us ease--
       Last of the race of them who grieve,
     Here leave us to die out with these
       Last of the people who believe!
     Silent, while years engrave the brow;
     Silent--the best are silent now.

     Achilles ponders in his tent,
       The kings of modern thought are dumb;
     Silent they are, though not content,
       And wait to see the future come.
     They have the grief men had of yore,
     But they contend and cry no more.

     Our fathers watered with their tears
       This sea of time whereon we sail;
     Their voices were in all men's ears
       Who passed within their puissant hail.
     Still the same ocean round us raves,
     But we stand mute and watch the waves.

     For what availed it, all the noise
       And outcry of the former men?--
     Say, have their sons achieved more joys,
       Say, is life lighter now than then?
     The sufferers died, they left their pain--
     The pangs which tortured them remain.

     What helps it now that Byron bore,
       With haughty scorn which mocked the smart,
     Through Europe to the Ætolian shore
       The pageant of his bleeding heart?
     That thousands counted every groan,
     And Europe made his woe her own?

     What boots it, Shelley! that the breeze
       Carried thy lovely wail away,
     Musical through Italian trees
       Which fringe thy soft blue Spezzian bay?
     Inheritors of thy distress,
     Have restless hearts one throb the less?

     Or are we easier to have read,
       O Obermann! the sad, stern page,
     Which tells us how thou hidd'st thy head
       From the fierce tempest of thine age
     In the lone brakes of Fontainebleau,
     Or châlets near the Alpine snow?

     Ye slumber in your silent grave!--
       The world, which for an idle day
     Grace to your mood of sadness gave,
       Long since hath flung her weeds away.
     The eternal trifler breaks your spell;
     But we--we learnt your lore too well!

     Years hence, perhaps, may dawn an age,
       More fortunate, alas! than we,
     Which without hardness will be sage,
       And gay without frivolity.
     Sons of the world, oh, speed those years;
     But while we wait, allow our tears!

               A SUMMER NIGHT

       In the deserted, moon-blanched street,
         How lonely rings the echo of my feet!
       Those windows, which I gaze at, frown,
       Silent and white, unopening down,
         Repellent as the world,--but see,
       A break between the housetops shows
     The moon! and lost behind her, fading dim
         Into the dewy dark obscurity
         Down at the far horizon's rim,
       Doth a whole tract of heaven disclose!

           And to my mind the thought
             Is on a sudden brought
       Of a past night, and a far different scene:
       Headlands stood out into the moonlit deep
             As clearly as at noon;
           The spring-tide's brimming flow
           Heaved dazzlingly between;
           Houses, with long wide sweep,
           Girdled the glistening bay;
           Behind, through the soft air,
       The blue haze-cradled mountains spread away.
           That night was far more fair--
       But the same restless pacings to and fro,
       And the same vainly throbbing heart was there,
           And the same bright, calm moon.

       And the calm moonlight seems to say:--
     Hast thou then still the old unquiet breast,
           Which neither deadens into rest,
             Nor ever feels the fiery glow
        That whirls the spirit from itself away,
             But fluctuates to and fro,
           Never by passion quite possessed
       And never quite benumbed by the world's sway?--
           And I, I know not if to pray
         Still to be what I am, or yield, and be
           Like all the other men I see.

         For most men in a brazen prison live,
             Where, in the sun's hot eye,
       With heads bent o'er their toil, they languidly
       Their lives to some unmeaning taskwork give,
       Dreaming of naught beyond their prison wall.
               And as, year after year,
              Fresh products of their barren labor fall
              From their tired hands, and rest
                    Never yet comes more near,
            Gloom settles slowly down over their breast.
                    And while they try to stem
     The waves of mournful thought by which they are prest,
                Death in their prison reaches them,
           Unfreed, having seen nothing, still unblest.

                     And the rest, a few,
                 Escape their prison and depart
                 On the wide ocean of life anew.
             There the freed prisoner, where'er his heart
                      Listeth will sail;
                 Nor doth he know how there prevail,
                     Despotic on that sea.
            Trade-winds which cross it from eternity:
            Awhile he holds some false way, undebarred
                    By thwarting signs, and braves
            The freshening wind and blackening waves.
            And then the tempest strikes him; and between
                    The lightning bursts is seen
                    Only a driving wreck,
            And the pale master on his spar-strewn deck
                    With anguished face and flying hair
                    Grasping the rudder hard,
            Still bent to make some port he knows not where,
            Still standing for some false, impossible shore.
                      And sterner comes the roar
            Of sea and wind, and through the deepening gloom
            Fainter and fainter wreck and helmsman loom,
            And he too disappears, and comes no more.

                Is there no life, but these alone?
                Madman or slave, must man be one?

            Plainness and clearness without shadow of stain!
                        Clearness divine!
            Ye heavens, whose pure dark regions have no sign
            Of languor, though so calm, and though so great
              Are yet untroubled and unpassionate;
            Who, though so noble, share in the world's toil,
            And, though so tasked, keep free from dust and soil!
              I will not say that your mild deeps retain
              A tinge, it may be, of their silent pain
            Who have longed deeply once, and longed in vain--
              But I will rather say that you remain

     A world above man's head, to let him see
         How boundless might his soul's horizons be,
         How vast, yet of what clear transparency!
         How it were good to live there, and breathe free;
                How fair a lot to fill
                Is left to each man still!

               THE BETTER PART

     Long fed on boundless hopes, O race of man,
     How angrily thou spurn'st all simpler fare!
     "Christ," some one says, "was human as we are;
     No judge eyes us from Heaven, our sin to scan;
     We live no more when we have done our span."--
       "Well, then, for Christ," thou answerest, "who can care?
       From sin, which Heaven records not, why forbear?
     Live we like brutes our life without a plan!"
     So answerest thou; but why not rather say,
       "Hath man no second life?--Pitch this one high!
         Sits there no judge in Heaven our sin to see?--
     More strictly, then, the inward judge obey!
       Was Christ a man like us?--Ah! let us try
         If we then, too, can be such men as he!"

          THE LAST WORD

     Creep into thy narrow bed,
     Creep, and let no more be said!
     Vain thy onset! all stands fast.
     Thou thyself must break at last.

     Let the long contention cease!
     Geese are swans, and swans are geese.
     Let them have it how they will!
     Thou art tired; best be still.

     They out-talked thee, hissed thee, tore thee?
     Better men fared thus before thee;
     Fired their ringing shot and passed,
     Hotly charged--and sank at last.

     Charge once more, then, and be dumb!
     Let the victors, when they come,
     When the forts of folly fall,
     Find thy body by the wall!


(Eighth to Twelfth Centuries)


For nearly a thousand years, the Arthurian legends, which lie at the
basis of Tennyson's 'Idylls of the King,' have furnished unlimited
literary material, not to English poets alone, but to the poets of all
Christendom. These Celtic romances, having their birthplace in Brittany
or in Wales, had been growing and changing for some centuries, before
the fanciful 'Historia Britonum' of Geoffrey of Monmouth flushed them
with color and filled them with new life. Through the version of the
good Benedictine they soon became a vehicle for the dissemination of
Christian doctrine. By the year 1200 they were the common property of
Europe, influencing profoundly the literature of the Middle Ages, and
becoming the source of a great stream of poetry that has flowed without
interruption down to our own day.

Sixty years after the 'Historia Britonum' appeared, and when the English
poet Layamon wrote his 'Brut' (A.D. 1205), which was a translation of
Wace, as Wace was a translation of Geoffrey, the theme was engrossing
the imagination of Europe. It had absorbed into itself the elements of
other cycles of legend, which had grown up independently; some of these,
in fact, having been at one time of much greater prominence. Finally, so
vast and so complicated did the body of Arthurian legend become, that
summaries of the essential features were attempted. Such a summary was
made in French about 1270, by the Italian Rustighello of Pisa; in
German, about two centuries later, by Ulrich Füterer; and in English by
Sir Thomas Malory in his 'Morte d'Arthur,' finished "the ix. yere of the
reygne of kyng Edward the Fourth," and one of the first books published
in England by Caxton, "emprynted and fynysshed in th'abbey Westmestre
the last day of July, the yere of our Lord MCCCCLXXXV." It is of
interest to note, as an indication of the popularity of the Arthurian
legends, that Caxton printed the 'Morte d'Arthur' eight years before he
printed any portion of the English Bible, and fifty-three years before
the complete English Bible was in print. He printed the 'Morte d'Arthur'
in response to a general "demaund"; for "many noble and dyvers gentylmen
of thys royame of England camen and demaunded me many and oftymes
wherefore that I have not do make and enprynte the noble hystorye of the
saynt greal, and of the moost renomed crysten kyng, fyrst and chyef of
the thre best crysten and worthy, kyng Arthur, whyche ought moost to be
remembred emonge us Englysshe men tofore al other crysten kynges."

Nor did poetic treatment of the theme then cease. Dante, in the 'Divine
Comedy,' speaks by name of Arthur, Guinevere, Tristan, and Launcelot. In
that touching interview in the second cycle of the Inferno between the
poet and Francesca da Rimini, which Carlyle has called "a thing woven
out of rainbows on a ground of eternal black," Francesca replies to
Dante, who was bent to know the primal root whence her love for Paolo
gat being:--

                                    "One day
     For our delight, we read of Launcelot,
     How him love thralled. Alone we were, and no
     Suspicion near us. Oft-times by that reading
     Our eyes were drawn together, and the hue
     Fled from our altered cheek. But at one point
     Alone we fell. When of that smile we read,
     The wished smile, rapturously kissed
     By one so deep in love, then he, who ne'er
     From me shall separate, at once my lips
     All trembling kissed. The book and writer both
     Were love's purveyors. In its leaves that day
     We read no more."

This poetic material was appropriated also by the countrymen of Dante,
Boiardo, Ariosto, and Tasso, by Hans Sachs in Germany, by Spenser,
Shakespeare, and Milton in England. As Sir Walter Scott has sung:--

     "The mightiest chiefs of British song
     Scorned not such legends to prolong."

Roger Ascham, it is true, has, in his 'Scholemaster' (1570 A.D.), broken
a lance against this body of fiction. "In our forefathers' tyme," wrote
he, "whan Papistrie, as a standyng poole, couered and ouerflowed all
England, fewe bookes were read in our tong, sauyng certaine bookes of
Cheualrie, as they sayd, for pastime and pleasure, which, as some say,
were made in Monasteries, by idle Monkes, or wanton Chanons; as one for
example, 'Morte Arthure': the whole pleasure of which booke standeth in
two speciall poyntes, in open mans slaughter, and bold bawdrye: in which
booke those be counted the noblest Knights, that do kill most men
without any quarrell, and commit foulest aduoulteries by
sutlest shiftes."

But Roger's characterization of "the whole pleasure of which booke" was
not just, nor did it destroy interest in the theme. "The generall end of
all the booke," said Spenser of the 'Faerie Queene,' "is to fashion a
gentleman or noble person in vertuous and gentle discipline;" and for
this purpose he therefore "chose the historye of King Arthure, as most
fitte for the excellency of his person, being made famous by many men's
former workes, and also furthest from the daunger of envie, and
suspition of present tyme."

The plots for Shakespeare's 'King Lear' and 'Cymbeline' came from
Geoffrey's 'Historia Britonum,' as did also the story of 'Gorboduc,' the
first tragedy in the English language. Milton intended at one time that
the subject of the great poem for which he was "pluming his wings"
should be King Arthur, as may be seen, in his 'Mansus' and 'Epitaphium
Damonis.' Indeed, he did touch the lyre upon this theme,--lightly, it is
true, but firmly enough to justify Swinburne's lines:--

     "Yet Milton's sacred feet have lingered there,
     His lips have made august the fabulous air,
     His hands have touched and left the wild weeds fair."

But his duties as Latin Secretary to the Commonwealth diverted him from
poetry for many years, and when the Restoration gave him leisure once
more to court the Muse, he had come to doubt the existence of the Celtic
hero-king; for in 'Paradise Lost' (Book i., line 579) he refers to

                      "what resounds
     In fable or romance of Uther's son;"

and in his 'History of Britain' (1670 A.D.) he says explicitly:--"For
who Arthur was, and whether ever any such reign'd in Britan, hath bin
doubted heertofore, and may again with good reason."

Dryden, who composed the words of an opera on King Arthur, meditated,
according to Sir Walter Scott, a larger treatment of the theme:--

     "And Dryden in immortal strain
     Had raised the Table Round again,
     But that a ribald King and Court
     Bade him toil on to make them sport."

Sir Walter himself edited the old metrical romance of 'Sir Tristram,'
and where the manuscript was defective, composed a portion after the
manner of the original, the portion in which occur the lines,

     "Mi schip do thou take,
       With godes that bethe new;
     Two seyles do thou make,
       Beth different in hewe:

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Ysoude of Britanye,
       With the white honde,
     The schip she can se,
       Seyling to londe;
     The white seyl tho marked sche.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Fairer ladye ere
       Did Britannye never spye,
     Swiche murning chere,
       Making on heighe;
     On Tristremes bere,
       Doun con she lye;
     Rise ogayn did sche nere,
       But thare con sche dye
               For woe;
       Swiche lovers als thei
     Never schal be moe."

Of the poets of the present generation, Tennyson has treated the
Arthurian poetic heritage as a whole. Phases of the Arthurian theme have
been presented also by his contemporaries and successors at home and
abroad,--by William Wordsworth, Lord Lytton, Robert Stephen Hawker,
Matthew Arnold, William Morris, Algernon Charles Swinburne, in England;
Edgar Quinet in France; Wilhelm Hertz, L. Schneegans, F. Roeber, in
Germany; Richard Hovey in America. There have been many other approved
variations on Arthurian themes, such as James Russell Lowell's 'Vision
of Sir Launfal,' and Richard Wagner's operas, 'Lohengrin,' 'Tristan and
Isolde,' and 'Parsifal.' Of still later versions, we may mention the
'King Arthur' of J. Comyns Carr, which has been presented on the stage
by Sir Henry Irving; and 'Under King Constantine,' by Katrina Trask,
whose hero is the king whom tradition names as the successor of the
heroic Arthur, "Imperator, Dux Bellorum."

This poetic material is manifestly a living force in the literature of
the present day. And we may well remind ourselves of the rule which
should govern our verdict in regard to the new treatments of the theme
as they appear. This century-old 'Dichterstoff,' this poetic
treasure-store through which speaks the voice of the race, this great
body of accumulated poetic material, is a heritage; and it is evident
that whoever attempts any phase of this theme may not treat such
subject-matter capriciously, nor otherwise than in harmony with its
inherent nature and spirit. It is recognized that the stuff whereof
great poetry is made is not the arbitrary creation of the poet, and
cannot be manufactured to order. "Genuine poetic material," it has been
said, "is handed down in the imagination of man from generation to
generation, changing its spirit according to the spirit of each age,
and reaching its full development only when in the course of time the
favorable conditions coincide." Inasmuch as the subject-matter of the
Arthurian legends is not the creation of a single poet, nor even of many
poets, but is in fact the creation of the people,--indeed, of many
peoples widely separated in time and space, and is thus in a sense the
voice of the race,--it resembles in this respect the Faust legends,
which are the basis of Goethe's world-poem; or the mediæval visions of a
future state, which found their supreme and final expression in Dante's
'Divina Commedia,' which sums up within itself the art, the religion,
the politics, the philosophy, and the view of life of the Middle Ages.

Whether the Arthurian legends as a whole have found their final and
adequate expression in Tennyson's 'Idylls of the King,' or whether it
was already too late, when the Laureate wrote, to create from primitive
ideas so simple a poem of the first rank, is not within the province of
this essay to discuss. But manifestly, any final judgment in regard to
the treatment of this theme as a whole, or any phase of the theme, is
inadequate which leaves out of consideration the history of the
subject-matter, and its treatment by other poets; which, in short,
ignores its possibilities and its significance. With respect to the
origin and the early history of the Arthurian legend, much remains to be
established. Whether its original home was in Wales, or among the
neighboring Celts across the sea in Brittany, whither many of the Celts
of Britain fled after the Anglo-Saxon invasion of their island home, no
one knows. But to some extent, at least, the legend was common to both
sides of the Channel when Geoffrey wrote his book, about 1145. As a
matter of course, this King Arthur, the ideal hero of later ages, was a
less commanding personage in the early forms of the legend than when it
had acquired its splendid distinction by borrowing and assimilating
other mythical tales.

It appears that five great cycles of legend,--(1) the Arthur, Guinevere,
and Merlin cycle, (2) the Round Table cycle, (3) the Holy Grail cycle,
(4) the Launcelot cycle, (5) the Tristan cycle,--which at first
developed independently, were, in the latter half of the twelfth
century, merged together into a body of legend whose bond of unity was
the idealized Celtic hero, King Arthur.

Photogravure from Drawing by Gustave Doré.


This blameless knight, whose transfigured memory has been thus
transmitted to us, was probably a leader of the Celtic tribes of England
in their struggles with the Saxon invaders. His victory at Mount Badon,
described by Sir Launcelot to the household at Astolat,--

     "Dull days were those, till our good Arthur broke
     The pagan yet once more on Badon Hill,"--

this victory is mentioned by Gildas, who wrote in the sixth
century. Gildas, however, though he mentions the occasion, does not give
the name of the leader. But Nennius, who wrote in the latter part of the
eighth century, or early in the ninth, makes Arthur the chieftain, and
adds an account of his great personal prowess. Thus the Arthur legend
has already begun to grow. For the desperate struggle with the Saxons
was vain. As the highly gifted, imaginative Celt saw his people
overwhelmed by the kinsmen of the conquerors of Rome, he found solace in
song for the hard facts of life. In the fields of imagination he won the
victories denied him on the field of battle, and he clustered these
triumphs against the enemies of his race about the name and the person
of the magnanimous Arthur. When the descendants of the Saxons were in
their turn overcome by Norman conquerors, the heart of the Celtic world
was profoundly stirred. Ancient memories awoke, and, yearning for the
restoration of British greatness, men rehearsed the deeds of him who had
been king, and of whom it was prophesied that he should be king
hereafter. At this moment of newly awakened hope, Geoffrey's 'Historia'
appeared. His book was not in reality a history. Possibly it was not
even very largely founded on existing legends. But in any case the
chronicle of Geoffrey was a work of genius and of imagination. "The
figure of Arthur," says Ten Brink, "now stood forth in brilliant light,
a chivalrous king and hero, endowed and guarded by supernatural powers,
surrounded by brave warriors and a splendid court, a man of marvelous
life and a tragic death."

Geoffrey's book was immediately translated into French by Robert Wace,
who incorporated with the legend of Arthur the Round Table legend. In
his 'Brut,' the English poet-priest Layamon reproduced this feature of
the legend with additional details. His chronicle is largely a free
translation of the 'Brut d'Engleterre' of Wace, earlier known as 'Geste
des Bretons.' Thus as Wace had reproduced Geoffrey with additions and
modifications, Layamon reproduced Wace. So the story grew. In the mean
time, other poets in other lands had taken up the theme, connecting with
it other cycles of legend already in existence. In 1205, when Layamon
wrote his 'Brut,' unnumbered versions of the history of King Arthur,
with which had been woven the legend of the Holy Grail, had already
appeared among the principal nations of Europe. Of the early Arthurian
poets, two of the more illustrious and important are Chrestien de
Troyes, in France, of highest poetic repute, who opened the way for
Tennyson, and Wolfram von Eschenbach, in Germany, with his 'Parzival,'
later the theme of Wagner's greatest opera. The names of Robert de
Borron in France, Walter Map in England, and Heinrich von dem Türlin in
Germany, may also be mentioned.

In divers lands, innumerable poets with diverse tastes set themselves
to make new versions of the legend. Characteristics of the Arthurian
tale were grafted upon an entirely different stock, as was done by
Boiardo in Italy, making confusion worse confounded to the modern
Arthurian scholar. Boiardo expressly says in the 'Orlando Innamorato'
that his intention is to graft the characteristics of the Arthurian
cycle upon the Carlovingian French national epic stock. He wished to
please the courts, whose ideal was not the paladins, but Arthur's
knights. The "peers" of the Charlemagne legend are thus transformed into
knights-errant, who fight for ladies and for honor. The result of this
interpenetration of the two cycles is a splendid world of love and
_cortesia_, whose constituent elements it defies the Arthurian scholar
to trace. Truly, as Dr. Sommer has said in his erudite edition of
Malory's 'La Morte d'Arthur.' "The origin and relationship to one
another of these branches of romance, whether in prose or in verse, are
involved in great obscurity." He adds that it would almost seem as
though several generations of scholars were required for the gigantic
task of finding a sure pathway through this intricate maze. And M.
Gaston Paris, one of the foremost of living Arthurian scholars, has
written in his 'Romania': "Some time ago I undertook a methodical
exploration in the grand poetical domain which is called the cycle of
the Round Table, the cycle of Arthur, or the Breton cycle. I advance,
groping along, and very often retracing my steps twenty times over, I
become aware that I am lost in a pathless maze."

There is a question, moreover, whether Geoffrey's book is based mainly
upon inherited poetical material, or is largely the product of
Geoffrey's individual imagination. The elder Paris, M. Paulin Paris,
inclined to the view that Nennius, with hints from local tales, supplied
all the bases that Geoffrey had. But his son, Professor Gaston Paris, in
his 'Littérature Française au Moyen Age,' emphasizes the importance of
the "Celtic" contribution, as does also Mr. Alfred Nutt in his 'Studies
in the Arthurian Legend.' The former view emphasizes the individual
importance of Geoffrey; the latter view places the emphasis on the
legendary heritage. Referring to this so-called national poetry, Ten
Brink says:--

     "But herein lies the essential difference between that age
     and our own: the result of poetical activity was not the
     property and not the production of a single person, but of
     the community. The work of the individual singer endured only
     as long as its delivery lasted. He gained personal
     distinction only as a virtuoso. The permanent elements of
     what he presented, the material, the ideas, even the style
     and metre, already existed. The work of the singer was only a
     ripple in the stream of national poetry. Who can say how much
     the individual contributed to it, or where in his poetical
     recitation memory ceased and creative impulse began! In any
     case the work of the individual lived on only as the ideal
     possession of the aggregate body of the people, and it soon
     lost the stamp of originality."

When Geoffrey wrote, this period of national poetry was drawing to a
close; but it was not yet closed. Alfred Nutt, in his 'Studies in the
Legend of the Holy Grail,' speaking of Wolfram von Eschenbach, who wrote
his 'Parzival' about the time that the 'Nibelungenlied' was given its
present form (_i.e.,_ about a half-century after Geoffrey),
says:--"Compared with the unknown poets who gave their present shape to
the 'Nibelungenlied' or to the 'Chanson de Roland,' he is an individual
writer; but he is far from deserving this epithet even in the sense that
Chaucer deserves it." Professor Rhys says, in his 'Studies in the
Arthurian Legend':--"Leaving aside for a while the man Arthur, and
assuming the existence of a god of that name, let us see what could be
made of him. Mythologically speaking, he would probably have to be
regarded as a Culture Hero," etc.

To summarize this discussion of the difficulties of the theme, there are
now existing, scattered throughout the libraries and the monasteries of
Europe, unnumbered versions of the Arthurian legends. Some of these are
early versions, some are late, and some are intermediate. What is the
relation of all these versions to one another? Which are the oldest, and
which are copies, and of what versions are they copies? What is the land
of their origin, and what is the significance of their symbolism? These
problems, weighty in tracing the growth of mediæval ideals,--_i.e.,_ in
tracing the development of the realities of the present from the ideals
of the past,--are still under investigation by the specialists. The
study of the Arthurian legends is in itself a distinct branch of
learning, which demands the lifelong labors of scholarly devotees.

There now remains to consider the extraordinary spread of the legend in
the closing decades of the twelfth century and in the century following.
Though Tennyson has worthily celebrated as the morning star of
English song--

     "Dan Chaucer, the first warbler, whose sweet breath
       Preluded those melodious bursts that fill
     The spacious times of great Elizabeth
       With sounds that echo still."

yet the centuries before Chaucer, far from being barren of literature,
were periods of rich poetical activity both in England and on the
Continent. Eleanor of Aquitaine, formerly Queen of France,--who had
herself gone on a crusade to the Holy Land, and who, on returning,
married in 1152 Henry of Anjou, who became in 1155 Henry II. of
England,--was an ardent patroness of the art of poetry, and personally
aroused the zeal of poets. The famous troubadour Bernard de
Ventadorn--"with whom," says Ten Brink, "the Provençal art-poesy entered
upon the period of its florescence"--followed her to England, and
addressed to her his impassioned verse. Wace, the Norman-French
_trouvere_, dedicated to her his 'Brut.' The ruling classes of England
at this time were truly cosmopolitan, familiar with the poetic material
of many lands. Jusserand, in his 'English Novel in the Time of
Shakespeare,' discussing a poem of the following century written in
French by a Norman monk of Westminster and dedicated to Eleanor of
Provence, wife of Henry III., says:--"Rarely was the like seen in any
literature: here is a poem dedicated to a Frenchwoman by a Norman of
England, which begins with the praise of a Briton, a Saxon, and a Dane."

But the ruling classes of England were not the only cosmopolitans, nor
the only possessors of fresh poetic material. Throughout Europe in
general, the conditions were favorable for poetic production. The
Crusades had brought home a larger knowledge of the world, and the
stimulus of new experiences. Western princes returned with princesses of
the East as their brides, and these were accompanied by splendid trains,
including minstrels and poets. Thus Europe gathered in new poetic
material, which stimulated and developed the poetical activity of the
age. Furthermore, the Crusades had aroused an intense idealism, which,
as always, demanded and found poetic expression. The dominant idea
pervading the earlier forms of the Charlemagne stories, the unswerving
loyalty due from a vassal to his lord,--that is, the feudal view of
life,--no longer found an echo in the hearts of men. The time was
therefore propitious for the development of a new cycle of legend.

Though by the middle of the twelfth century the Arthurian legend had
been long in existence, and King Arthur had of late been glorified by
Geoffrey's book, the legend was not yet supreme in popular interest. It
became so through its association, a few years later, with the legend of
the Holy Grail,--the San Graal, the holy vessel which received at the
Cross the blood of Christ, which was now become a symbol of the Divine
Presence. This holy vessel had been brought by Joseph of Arimathea from
Palestine to Britain, but was now, alas, vanished quite from the sight
of man. It was the holy quest for this sacred vessel, to which the
knights of the Round Table now bound themselves,--this "search for the
supernatural," this "struggle for the spiritual," this blending of the
spirit of Christianity with that of chivalry,--which immediately
transformed the Arthurian legend, and gave to its heroes immortality. At
once a new spirit breathes in the old legend. In a few years it is
become a mystical, symbolical, anagogical tale, inculcating one of the
profoundest dogmas of the Holy Catholic Church, a bearer of a Christian
doctrine engrossing the thought of the Christian world. And inasmuch as
the transformed Arthurian legend now taught by implication the doctrine
of the Divine Presence, its spread was in every way furthered by the
great power of the Church, whose spiritual rulers made the minstrel
doubly welcome when celebrating this theme.

For there was heresy to be combated; viz., the heresy of the scholastic
theologian Berengar of Tours, who had attacked the doctrine of the
transubstantiation of the bread and the wine of the Eucharist into the
body and blood of Christ. Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, one of the
most brilliant of the Middle Age theologians, felt impelled to reply to
Berengar, who had been his personal friend; and he did so in the 'Liber
Scintillarum,' which was a vigorous, indeed a violent, defense of the
doctrine denied by Berengar. Berengar died in 1088; but he left a
considerable body of followers. The heretics were anathematized by the
Second Lateran Ecumenical Council held in Rome in 1139. Again, in 1215,
the Fourth Lateran Council declared transubstantiation to be an article
of faith, and in 1264 a special holy day, Corpus Christi,--viz., the
first Thursday after Trinity Sunday,--was set apart to give an annual
public manifestation of the belief of the Church in the doctrine of the

But when the Fourth Lateran Ecumenical Council met in 1215, the
transformation of the Arthurian legend by means of its association with
the legend of the Holy Grail was already complete, and the transformed
legend, now become a defender of the faith, was engrossing the
imagination of Europe. The subsequent influence of the legend was
doubtless to some extent associated with the discussions which
continually came up anew respecting the meaning of the doctrine of the
Eucharist; for it was not until the Council of Trent (1545-63) that the
doctrine was finally and authoritatively defined. In the mean time there
was interminable discussion respecting the nature of this "real
presence," respecting _tran_substantiation and _con_substantiation and
impanation, respecting the actual presence of the body and blood of
Christ under the _appearance_ of the bread and wine, or the presence of
the body and blood _together with_ the bread and wine. The professor of
philosophy in the University of Oxford, who passes daily through Logic
Lane, has said that there the followers of Duns Scotus and Thomas
Aquinas were wont to come to blows in the eagerness of their discussion
respecting the proper definition of the doctrine. Nor was the doctrine
without interest to the Reformers. Luther and Zwingli held opposing
views, and Calvin was involved in a long dispute concerning the
doctrine, which resulted in the division of the evangelical body into
the two parties of the Lutherans and the Reformed. Doubtless the
connection between the Arthurian legend and the doctrine of the Divine
Presence was not without influence on the unparalleled spread of the
legend in the closing decades of the twelfth century, and on its
prominence in the centuries following.

A suggestion has already been given of the vast development of the
Arthurian legends during the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth
centuries, and of the importance of the labors of the specialists, who
are endeavoring to fix a date for these versions in order to infer
therefrom the spiritual ideals of the people among whom they arose. To
perceive clearly to what extent ideals do change, it is but necessary to
compare various versions of the same incident as given in various
periods of time. To go no farther back than Malory, for example, we
observe a signal difference between his treatment of the sin of
Guinevere and Launcelot, and the treatment of the theme by Tennyson.
Malory's Arthur is not so much wounded by the treachery of Launcelot, of
whose relations to Guinevere he had long been aware, as he is angered at
Sir Modred for making public those disclosures which made it necessary
for him and Sir Launcelot to "bee at debate." "Ah! Agravaine,
Agravaine," cries the King, "Jesu forgive it thy soule! for thine evill
will that thou and thy brother Sir Modred had unto Sir Launcelot hath
caused all this sorrow.... Wit you well my heart was never so heavie as
it is now, and much more I am sorrier for my good knights losse than for
the losse of my queene, for queenes might I have enough, but such a
fellowship of good knightes shall never bee together in no company." But
to the great Poet Laureate, who voices the modern ideal, a true marriage
is the crown of life. To love one maiden only, to cleave to her and
worship her by years of noblest deeds, to be joined with her and to live
together as one life, and, reigning with one will in all things, to have
power on this dead world to make it live,--this was the high ideal of
the blameless King.

     "Too wholly true to dream untruth in thee."

And his farewell from her who had not made his life so sweet that he
should greatly care to live,--

     "Lo! I forgive thee, as Eternal God
     Forgives: ...
     And so thou lean on our fair father Christ,
     Hereafter in that world where all are pure
     We two may meet before high God, and thou
     Wilt spring to me, and claim me thine,"--

this is altogether one of the noblest passages in modern verse.

A comparison of the various modern treatments of the Tristram theme, as
given by Tennyson, Richard Wagner, F. Roeber, L. Schneegans, Matthew
Arnold, Algernon Charles Swinburne, F. Millard, touching also on the
Tristan of Hans Sachs, and the Tristram who, because he is true to love,
is the darling of the old romances, and is there--notwithstanding that
his love is the wedded wife of another--always represented as the strong
and beautiful knight, the flower of courtesy, a model to youth,--such a
comparison would reveal striking differences between mediæval and
modern ideals.

In making the comparison, however, care must be exercised to select the
modern treatment of the theme which represents correctly the modern
ideal. The Middle Age romances, sung by wandering minstrels, before the
invention of the printing press, doubtless expressed the ideals of the
age in which they were produced more infallibly than does the possibly
individualistic conception of the modern poet; for, of the earlier forms
of the romance, only those which found general favor were likely to be
preserved and handed down. This inference may be safely made because of
the method of the dissemination of the poems before the art of printing
was known. It is true that copies of them were carried in manuscript
from country to country; but the more important means of dissemination
were the minstrels, who passed from court to court and land to land,
singing the songs which they had made or heard. In that age there was
little thought of literary proprietorship. The poem belonged to him who
could recall it. And as each minstrel felt free to adopt whatever poem
he found or heard that pleased him, so he felt free also to modify the
incidents thereof, guided only by his experience as to what pleased his
hearers. Hence the countless variations in the treatment of the theme,
and the value of the conclusions that may be drawn as to the moral
sentiment of an age, the quality of whose moral judgments is indicated
by the prevailing tone of the songs which persisted because they
pleased. Unconformable variations, which express the view of an
individual rather than the view of a people, may have come down to us in
an accidentally preserved manuscript; but the songs which were sung by
the poets of all lands give expression to the view of life of the age,
and reveal the morals and the ideals of nations, whose history in this
respect may otherwise be lost to us. What some of these ideals were, as
revealed by this rich store of poetic material which grew up about the
chivalrous and spiritual ideals of the Middle Ages, and what the
corresponding modern ideals are,--what, in brief, some of the hitherto
dimly discerned ethical movements of the past seven hundred years have
in reality been, and whither they seem to be tending,--surely, clear
knowledge on these themes is an end worthy the supreme endeavor of
finished scholars, whose training has made them expert in interpreting
the aspirations of each age, and in tracing the evolution of the ideals
of the past into the realities of the present. And though, as M. Gaston
Paris has said, the path of the Arthurian scholar seems at times to be
an inextricable maze, yet the value of the results already achieved, and
the possibility of still greater results, will doubtless prove a
sufficient encouragement to the several generations of scholars which,
as Dr. Sommer suggests, are needed for the gigantic task.

[Illustration: Signature: Richard Jones]



Uther Pendragon being dead, the nobility from several provinces
assembled together at Silchester, and proposed to Dubricius, Archbishop
of Legions, that he should consecrate Arthur, Uther's son, to be their
king. For they were now in great straits, because, upon hearing of the
king's death, the Saxons had invited over their countrymen from Germany,
and were attempting, under the command of Colgrin, to exterminate the
whole British race.... Dubricius, therefore, grieving for the calamities
of his country, in conjunction with the other bishops set the crown upon
Arthur's head. Arthur was then only fifteen years old, but a youth of
such unparalleled courage and generosity, joined with that sweetness of
temper and innate goodness, as gained for him universal love. When his
coronation was over, he, according to usual custom, showed his bounty
and munificence to the people. And such a number of soldiers flocked to
him upon it that his treasury was not able to answer that vast expense.
But such a spirit of generosity, joined with valor, can never long want
means to support itself. Arthur, therefore, the better to keep up his
munificence, resolved to make use of his courage, and to fall upon the
Saxons, that he might enrich his followers with their wealth. To this he
was also moved by the justice of the cause, since the entire monarchy of
Britain belonged to him by hereditary right. Hereupon assembling the
youth under his command, he marched to York, of which, when Colgrin had
intelligence, he met with a very great army, composed of Saxons, Scots,
and Picts, by the river Duglas, where a battle happened, with the loss
of the greater part of both armies. Notwithstanding, the victory fell to
Arthur, who pursued Colgrin to York, and there besieged him.


When he had done speaking, St. Dubricius, Archbishop of Legions, going
to the top of a hill, cried out with a loud voice, "You that have the
honor to profess the Christian faith, keep fixed in your minds the love
which you owe to your country and fellow subjects, whose sufferings by
the treachery of the Pagans will be an everlasting reproach to you if
you do not courageously defend them. It is your country which you fight
for, and for which you should, when required, voluntarily suffer death;
for that itself is victory and the cure of the soul. For he that shall
die for his brethren, offers himself a living sacrifice to God, and has
Christ for his example, who condescended to lay down his life for his
brethren. If, therefore, any of you shall be killed in this war, that
death itself, which is suffered in so glorious a cause, shall be to him
for penance and absolution of all his sins." At these words, all of
them, encouraged with the benediction of the holy prelate, instantly
armed themselves.... Upon [Arthur's shield] the picture of the blessed
Mary, Mother of God, was painted, in order to put him frequently in mind
of her.... In this manner was a great part of that day also spent;
whereupon Arthur, provoked to see the little advantage he had yet
gained, and that victory still continued in suspense, drew out his
Caliburn [Excalibur, Tennyson], and calling upon the name of the blessed
Virgin, rushed forward with great fury into the thickest of the enemy's
ranks; of whom (such was the merit of his prayers) not one escaped alive
that felt the fury of his sword; neither did he give over the fury of
his assault until he had, with his Caliburn alone, killed four hundred
and seventy men. The Britons, seeing this, followed their leader in
great multitudes, and made slaughter on all sides; so that Colgrin and
Baldulph, his brother, and many thousands more, fell before them. But
Cheldric, in his imminent danger of his men, betook himself to flight.


After this, having invited over to him all persons whatsoever that were
famous for valor in foreign nations, he began to augment the number of
his domestics, and introduced such politeness into his court as people
of the remotest countries thought worthy of their imitation. So that
there was not a nobleman who thought himself of any consideration unless
his clothes and arms were made in the same fashion as those of Arthur's
knights. At length the fame of his munificence and valor spreading over
the whole world, he became a terror to the kings of other countries, who
grievously feared the loss of their dominions if he should make any
attempt upon them.... Arthur formed a design for the conquest of all
Europe.... At the end of nine years, in which time all the parts of Gaul
were entirely reduced, Arthur returned back to Paris, where he kept his
court, and calling an assembly of the clergy and people, established
peace and the just administration of the laws in that kingdom. Then he
bestowed Neustria, now called Normandy, upon Bedoer, his butler; the
province of Andegavia upon Caius, his sewer; and several other provinces
upon his great men that attended him. Thus, having settled the peace of
the cities and the countries there, he returned back in the beginning of
spring to Britain.


Upon the approach of the feast of Pentecost, Arthur, the better to
demonstrate his joy after such triumphant success, and for the more
solemn observation of that festival, and reconciling the minds of the
princes that were now subject to him, resolved, during that season, to
hold a magnificent court, to place the crown upon his head, and to
invite all the kings and dukes under his subjection to the solemnity.
And when he had communicated his design to his familiar friends, he
pitched upon the city of Legions as a proper place for his purpose. For
besides its great wealth above the other cities, its situation, which
was in Glamorganshire, upon the River Uske, near the Severn Sea, was
most pleasant and fit for so great a solemnity; for on one side it was
washed by that noble river, so that the kings and princes from the
countries beyond the seas might have the convenience of sailing up to
it. On the other side, the beauty of the meadows and groves, and
magnificence of the royal palaces, with lofty, gilded roofs that
adorned it, made it even rival the grandeur of Rome. It was also famous
for two churches: whereof one was built in honor of the martyr Julius,
and adorned with a choir of virgins, who had devoted themselves wholly
to the service of God; but the other, which was founded in memory of St.
Aaron, his companion, and maintained a convent of canons, was the third
metropolitan church of Britain. Besides, there was a college of two
hundred philosophers, who, being learned in astronomy and the other
arts, were diligent in observing the courses of the stars, and gave
Arthur true predictions of the events that would happen at that time. In
this place, therefore, which afforded such delights, were preparations
made for the ensuing festival. Ambassadors were sent into several
kingdoms to invite to court the princes both of Gaul and all the
adjacent islands ... who came with such a train of mules, horses, and
rich furniture as it is difficult to describe. Besides these, there
remained no prince of any consideration on this side of Spain, who came
not upon this invitation. And no wonder, when Arthur's munificence,
which was celebrated over the whole world, made him beloved by
all people.

When all these were assembled together in the city, upon the day of the
solemnity, the archbishops were conducted to the palace, in order to
place the crown upon the king's head. Therefore Dubricius, inasmuch as
the court was kept in his diocese, made himself ready to celebrate the
office, and undertook the ordering of whatever related to it. As soon as
the king was invested with his royal habiliments, he was conducted in
great pomp to the metropolitan church, supported on each side by two
archbishops, and having four kings, viz., of Albania, Cornwall, Demetia,
and Venedotia, whose right it was, bearing four golden swords before
him. He was also attended with a concert of all sorts of music, which
made most excellent harmony. On another part was the queen, dressed out
in her richest ornaments, conducted by the archbishops and bishops to
the Temple of Virgins; the four queens also of the kings last mentioned,
bearing before her four white doves, according to ancient custom; and
after her there followed a retinue of women, making all imaginable
demonstrations of joy. When the whole procession was ended, so
transporting was the harmony of the musical instruments and voices,
whereof there was a vast variety in both churches, that the knights who
attended were in doubt which to prefer, and therefore crowded from the
one to the other by turns, and were far from being tired with the
solemnity, though the whole day had been spent in it. At last, when
divine service was over at both churches, the king and queen put off
their crowns, and putting on their lighter ornaments, went to the
banquet, he to one palace with the men, she to another with the women.
For the Britons still observed the ancient custom of Troy, by which the
men and women used to celebrate their festivals apart. When they had all
taken their seats according to precedence, Caius, the sewer, in rich
robes of ermine, with a thousand young noblemen, all in like manner
clothed with ermine, served up the dishes. From another part, Bedoer,
the butler, was followed with the same number of attendants, in various
habits, who waited with all kinds of cups and drinking vessels. In the
queen's palace were innumerable waiters, dressed with variety of
ornaments, all performing their respective offices; which, if I should
describe particularly, I should draw out the history to a tedious
length. For at that time Britain had arrived at such a pitch of
grandeur, that in abundance of riches, luxury of ornaments, and
politeness of inhabitants, it far surpassed all other kingdoms. The
knights in it that were famous for feats of chivalry wore their clothes
and arms all of the same color and fashion: and the women also, no less
celebrated for their wit, wore all the same kind of apparel; and
esteemed none worthy of their love but such as had given a proof of
their valor in three several battles. Thus was the valor of the men an
encouragement for the women's chastity, and the love of the women a spur
to the soldiers' bravery.


As soon as the banquets were over they went into the fields without the
city to divert themselves with various sports. The military men composed
a kind of diversion in imitation of a fight on horseback; and the
ladies, placed on the top of the walls as spectators, in a sportive
manner darted their amorous glances at the courtiers, the more to
encourage them. Others spent the remainder of the day in other
diversions, such as shooting with bows and arrows, tossing the pike,
casting of heavy stones and rocks, playing at dice and the like, and all
these inoffensively and without quarreling. Whoever gained the victory
in any of these sports was awarded with a rich prize by Arthur. In this
manner were the first three days spent; and on the fourth, all who, upon
account of their titles, bore any kind of office at this solemnity, were
called together to receive honors and preferments in reward of their
services, and to fill up the vacancies in the governments of cities and
castles, archbishoprics, bishoprics, abbeys, and other hosts of honor.


At the beginning of the following summer, as he was on his march toward
Rome and was beginning to pass the Alps, he had news brought him that
his nephew Modred, to whose care he had intrusted Britain, had, by
tyrannical and treasonable practices, set the crown upon his own head.
[Book xi., Chapters i. and ii.] His [Modred's] whole army, taking Pagans
and Christians together, amounted to eighty thousand men, with the help
of whom he met Arthur just after his landing at the port of Rutupi, and
joining battle with him, made a very great slaughter of his men....
After they had at last, with much difficulty, got ashore, they paid back
the slaughter, and put Modred and his army to flight. For by long
practice in war they had learned an excellent way of ordering their
forces; which was so managed that while their foot were employed either
in an assault or upon the defensive, the horse would come in at full
speed obliquely, break through the enemy's ranks, and so force them to
flee. Nevertheless, this perjured usurper got his forces together again,
and the night following entered Winchester. As soon as Queen Guanhumara
[Guinevere] heard this, she immediately, despairing of success, fled
from York to the City of Legions, where she resolved to lead a chaste
life among the nuns in the church of Julius the Martyr, and entered
herself one of their order....

In the battle that followed thereupon, great numbers lost their lives on
both sides.... In this assault fell the wicked traitor himself, and many
thousands with him. But notwithstanding the loss of him, the rest did
not flee, but running together from all parts of the field, maintained
their ground with undaunted courage. The fight now grew more furious
than ever, and proved fatal to almost all the commanders and their
forces.... And even the renowned King Arthur himself was mortally
wounded; and being carried thence to the isle of Avallon to be cured of
his wounds, he gave up the crown of Britain to his kinsman Constantine,
the son of Cador, Duke of Cornwall, in the five hundred and forty-second
year of our Lord's incarnation.


From Malory's 'Morte d'Arthur'

"Faire knight," said the King, "what is your name? I require you of your
knighthood to tell me."

"Sir," said Sir Launcelot, "wit ye well, my name is Sir Launcelot du

"And my name is Sir Pelles, king of the forrain countrey, and nigh
cousin unto Joseph of Arithmy" [Arimathea].

Then either of them made much of the other, and so they went into the
castle for to take their repast. And anon there came in a dove at the
window, and in her bill there seemed a little censer of gold, and
therewithal there was such a savor as though all the spicery of the
world had been there; and forthwithal there was upon the table all
manner of meates and drinkes that they could thinke upon. So there came
a damosell, passing faire and young, and she beare a vessell of gold
between her hands, and thereto the king kneeled devoutly and said his
prayers, and so did all that were there.

"O Jesu," said Sir Launcelot, "what may this meane?"

"This is," said King Pelles, "the richest thing that any man hath
living; and when this thing goeth about, the round table shall bee
broken. And wit ye well," said King Pelles, "that this is the holy
sanegreall which ye have heere seene."

So King Pelles and Sir Launcelot led their lives the most part of that



Asbjörnsen was born January 15th, 1812, at Christiania, Norway. He
entered the University in 1833, but was presently obliged to take the
position of tutor with a family in Romerike. Four years later he came
back to the University, where he studied medicine, but also and
particularly zoölogy and botany, subjects which he subsequently taught
in various schools. During his life among the country people he had
begun to collect folk-tales and legends, and afterward, on long
foot-tours undertaken in the pursuit of his favorite studies, he added
to this store. In co-operation with his lifelong friend, Jörgen Moe,
subsequently Bishop of Christiansand, he published in 1838 a first
collection of folk-stories. In later years his study of folk-lore went
on side by side with his study of zoölogy. At various times, from 1846
to 1853, he received stipends from the Christiania University to enable
him to pursue zoölogical investigations at points along the Norwegian
coast. In addition to these journeys he had traversed Norway in every
direction, partly to observe the condition of the forests of the
country, and partly to collect the popular legends, which seem always to
have been in his mind.

From 1856 to 1858 he studied forestry at Tharand, and in 1860 was made
head forester of the district of Trondhjem, in the north of Norway. He
retained this position until 1864, when he was sent by the government to
Holland, Germany, and Denmark, to investigate the turf industry. On his
return he was made the head of a commission whose purpose was to better
the turf production of the country, from which position he was finally
released with a pension in 1876. He died in 1885.

Asbjörnsen's principal literary work was in the direction of the
folk-tales of Norway, although the list of his writings on natural
history, popular and scientific, is a long one. As a scientist he made
several important discoveries in deep-sea soundings, which gave him, at
home and abroad, a wide reputation, but the significance of his work as
a collector of folk-lore has in a great measure overshadowed this phase
of his activity. His greatest works are--'Norske Folke-eventyr'
(Norwegian Folk Tales), in collaboration with Moe, which appeared in
1842-44, and subsequently in many editions; 'Norske Huldre-eventyr og
Folkesagn' (Norwegian Fairy Tales and Folk Legends) in 1845. In the
stories published by Asbjörnsen alone, he has not confined himself
simply to the reproduction of the tales in their popular form, but has
retold them with an admirable setting of the characteristics of the life
of the people in their particular environment. He was a rare lover of
nature, and there are many exquisite bits of natural description.

Asbjörnsen's literary power was of no mean merit, and his work not only
found immediate acceptance in his own country, but has been widely
translated into the other languages of Europe. Norwegian literature in
particular owes him a debt of gratitude, for he was the first to point
out the direction of the subsequent national development.


There was once a man named Gudbrand, who had a farm which lay on the
side of a mountain, whence he was called Gudbrand of the Mountain-side.
He and his wife lived in such harmony together, and were so well
matched, that whatever the husband did, seemed to the wife so well done
that it could not be done better; let him therefore act as he might, she
was equally well pleased.

They owned a plot of ground, and had a hundred dollars lying at the
bottom of a chest, and in the stall two fine cows. One day the woman
said to Gudbrand:--

"I think we might as well drive one of the cows to town, and sell it; we
should then have a little pocket-money: for such respectable persons as
we are ought to have a few shillings in hand as well as others. The
hundred dollars at the bottom of the chest we had better not touch; but
I do not see why we should keep more than one cow: besides, we shall be
somewhat the gainers; for instead of two cows, I shall have only one to
milk and look after."

These words Gudbrand thought both just and reasonable; so he took the
cow and went to the town in order to sell it: but when he came there, he
could not find any one who wanted to buy a cow.

"Well!" thought Gudbrand, "I can go home again with my cow: I have both
stall and collar for her, and it is no farther to go backwards than
forwards." So saying, he began wandering home again.

When he had gone a little way, he met a man who had a horse he wished to
sell, and Gudbrand thought it better to have a horse than a cow, so he
exchanged with the man. Going a little further still, he met a man
driving a fat pig before him; and thinking it better to have a fat pig
than a horse, he made an exchange with him also. A little further on he
met a man with a goat. "A goat," thought he, "is always better to have
than a pig;" so he made an exchange with the owner of the goat. He now
walked on for an hour, when he met a man with a sheep; with him he
exchanged his goat: "for," thought he, "it is always better to have a
sheep than a goat." After walking some way again, meeting a man with a
goose, he changed away the sheep for the goose; then going on a long
way, he met a man with a cock, and thought to himself, "It is better to
have a cock than a goose," and so gave his goose for the cock. Having
walked on till the day was far gone, and beginning to feel hungry, he
sold the cock for twelve shillings, and bought some food; "for," thought
he, "it is better to support life than to carry back the cock." After
this he continued his way homeward till he reached the house of his
nearest neighbor, where he called in.

"How have matters gone with you in town?" asked the neighbor.

"Oh," answered Gudbrand, "but so-so; I cannot boast of my luck, neither
can I exactly complain of it." He then began to relate all that he had
done from first to last.

"You'll meet with a warm reception when you get home to your wife," said
his neighbor. "God help you, I would not be in your place."

"I think things might have been much worse," said Gudbrand; "but whether
they are good or bad, I have such a gentle wife that she will never say
a word, let me do what I may."

"Yes, that I know," answered his neighbor; "but I do not think she will
be so gentle in this instance."

"Shall we lay a wager?" said Gudbrand of the Mountain-side. "I have got
a hundred dollars in my chest at home; will you venture the like sum?"

"Yes, I will," replied the neighbor, and they wagered accordingly, and
remained till evening drew on, when they set out together for Gudbrand's
house; having agreed that the neighbor should stand outside and listen,
while Gudbrand went in to meet his wife.

"Good-evening," said Gudbrand.

"Good-evening," said his wife, "thank God thou art there."

Yes, there he was. His wife then began asking him how he had fared in
the town.

"So-so," said Gudbrand: "I have not much to boast of; for when I reached
the town there was no one who would buy the cow, so I changed it for
a horse."

"Many thanks for that," said his wife: "we are such respectable people
that we ought to ride to church as well as others; and if we can afford
to keep a horse, we may certainly have one. Go and put the horse in the
stable, children."

"Oh," said Gudbrand, "but I have not got the horse; for as I went along
the road, I exchanged the horse for a pig."

"Well," said the woman, "that is just what I should have done myself; I
thank thee for that. I can now have pork and bacon in my house to offer
anybody when they come to see us. What should we have done with a horse?
People would only have said we were grown too proud to walk to church.
Go, children, and put the pig in."

"But I have not brought the pig with me," exclaimed Gudbrand; "for when
I had gone a little further on, I exchanged it for a milch goat."

"How admirably thou dost everything," exclaimed his wife. "What should
we have done with a pig? People would only have said that we eat
everything we own. Yes, now that I have a goat, I can get both milk and
cheese, and still keep my goat. Go and tie the goat, children."

"No," said Gudbrand, "I have not brought home the goat; for when I came
a little further on, I changed the goat for a fine sheep."

"Well," cried the woman, "thou hast done everything just as I could
wish; just as if I had been there myself. What should we have done with
a goat? I must have climbed up the mountains and wandered through the
valleys to bring it home in the evening. With a sheep I should have wool
and clothing in the house, with food into the bargain. So go, children,
and put the sheep into the field."

"But I have not got the sheep," said Gudbrand, "for as I went a little
further, I changed it away for a goose."

"Many, many thanks for that," said his wife. "What should I have done
with a sheep? For I have neither a spinning-wheel nor have I much desire
to toil and labor to make clothes; we can purchase clothing as we have
hitherto: now I shall have roast goose, which I have often longed for;
and then I can make a little pillow of the feathers. Go and bring in the
goose, children."

"But I have not got the goose," said Gudbrand; "as I came on a little
further, I changed it away for a cock."

"Heaven only knows how thou couldst think of all this," exclaimed his
wife, "it is just as if I had managed it all myself. A cock! that is
just as good as if thou hadst bought an eight-day clock; for as the cock
crows every morning at four o'clock, we can be stirring betimes. What
should I have done with a goose? I do not know how to dress a goose, and
my pillow I can stuff with moss. Go and fetch in the cock, children."

"But I have not brought the cock home with me," said Gudbrand; "for when
I had gone a long, long way, I became so hungry that I was obliged to
sell the cock for twelve shillings to keep me alive."

"Well! thank God thou always dost just as I could wish to have it done.
What should we have done with a cock? We are our own masters; we can lie
as long as we like in the morning. God be praised, I have got thee here
safe again, and as thou always dost everything so right, we want neither
a cock, nor a goose, nor a pig, nor a sheep, nor a cow."

Hereupon Gudbrand opened the door:--"Have I won your hundred dollars?"
asked he of the neighbor, who was obliged to confess that he had.

Translation by Benjamin Thorpe in 'Yule-Tide Stories' (Bonn's Library).


There was once a very poor woman who had only one son. She toiled for
him till he was old enough to be confirmed by the priest, when she told
him that she could support him no longer, but that he must go out in the
world and gain his own livelihood. So the youth set out, and after
wandering about for a day or two he met a stranger. "Whither art thou
going?" asked the man. "I am going out in the world to see if I can get
employment," answered the youth.--"Wilt thou serve us?"--"Yes, just as
well serve you as anybody else," answered the youth. "Thou shalt be well
cared for with me," said the man: "thou shalt be my companion, and do
little or nothing besides."

So the youth resided with him, had plenty to eat and drink, and very
little or nothing to do; but he never saw a living person in the
man's house.

One day his master said to him:--"I am going to travel, and shall be
absent eight days. During that time thou wilt be here alone: but thou
must not go into either of these four rooms; if thou dost, I will kill
thee when I return." The youth answered that he would not. When the man
had gone away three or four days, the youth could no longer refrain, but
went into one of the rooms. He looked around, but saw nothing except a
shelf over the door, with a whip made of briar on it. "This was well
worth forbidding me so strictly from seeing," thought the youth. When
the eight days had passed the man came home again. "Thou hast not, I
hope, been into any of my rooms," said he. "No, I have not," answered
the youth. "That I shall soon be able to see," said the man, going into
the room the youth had entered. "But thou hast been in," said he, "and
now thou shalt die." The youth cried and entreated to be forgiven, so
that he escaped with his life but had a severe beating; when that was
over, they were as good friends as before.

Some time after this, the man took another journey. This time he would
be away a fortnight, but first forbade the youth again from going into
any of the rooms he had not already been in; but the one he had
previously entered he might enter again. This time all took place just
as before, the only difference being that the youth abstained for eight
days before he entered the forbidden rooms. In one apartment he found
only a shelf over the door, on which lay a huge stone and a
water-bottle. "This is also something to be in such fear about," thought
the youth again. When the man came home, he asked whether he had been in
any of the rooms. "No, he had not," was the answer. "I shall soon see,"
said the man; and when he found that the youth had nevertheless been in,
he said, "Now I will no longer spare thee, thou shalt die." But the
youth cried and implored that his life might be spared, and thus again
escaped with a beating; but this time got as much as could be laid on
him. When he had recovered from the effect of this beating he lived as
well as ever, and he and the man were as good friends as before.

Some time after this, the man again made a journey, and now he was to be
three weeks absent. He warned the youth anew not to enter the third
room; if he did he must at once prepare to die. At the end of a
fortnight, the youth had no longer any command over himself, and stole
in; but here he saw nothing save a trap-door in the floor. He lifted it
up and looked through; there stood a large copper kettle, that boiled
and boiled, yet he could see no fire under it. "I should like to know if
it is hot," thought the youth, dipping his finger down into it; but when
he drew it up again he found that all his finger was gilt. He scraped
and washed it, but the gilding was not to be removed; so he tied a rag
over it, and when the man returned and asked him what was the matter
with his finger, he answered he had cut it badly. But the man, tearing
the rag off, at once saw what ailed the finger. At first he was going to
kill the youth, but as he cried and begged again, he merely beat him so
that he was obliged to lie in bed for three days. The man then took a
pot down from the wall and rubbed him with what it contained, so that
the youth was as well as before.

After some time the man made another journey, and said he should not
return for a month. He then told the youth that if he went into the
fourth room, he must not think for a moment that his life would be
spared. One, two, even three weeks the youth refrained from entering the
forbidden room; but then, having no longer any command over himself, he
stole in. There stood a large black horse in a stall, with a trough of
burning embers at its head and a basket of hay at its tail. The youth
thought this was cruel, and therefore changed their position, putting
the basket of hay by the horse's head. The horse thereupon said:--

"As you have so kind a disposition that you enable me to get food, I
will save you: should the Troll return and find you here, he will kill
you. Now you must go up into the chamber above this, and take one of the
suits of armor that hang there: but on no account take one that is
bright; on the contrary, select the most rusty you can see, and take
that; choose also a sword and saddle in like manner."

The youth did so, but he found the whole very heavy for him to carry.
When he came back, the horse said that now he should strip and wash
himself well in the kettle, which stood boiling in the next apartment.
"I feel afraid," thought the youth, but nevertheless did so. When he had
washed himself, he became comely and plump, and as red and white as milk
and blood, and much stronger than before. "Are you sensible of any
change?" asked the horse. "Yes," answered the youth. "Try to lift me,"
said the horse. Aye, that he could, and brandished the sword with ease.
"Now lay the saddle on me," said the horse, "put on the armor and take
the whip of thorn, the stone and the water-flask, and the pot with
ointment, and then we will set out."

When the youth had mounted the horse, it started off at a rapid rate.
After riding some time, the horse said, "I think I hear a noise. Look
round: can you see anything?" "A great many men are coming after
us,--certainly a score at least," answered the youth. "Ah! that is the
Troll," said the horse, "he is coming with all his companions."

They traveled for a time, until their pursuers were gaining on them.
"Throw now the thorn whip over your shoulder," said the horse, "but
throw it far away from me."

The youth did so, and at the same moment there sprang up a large thick
wood of briars. The youth now rode on a long way, while the Troll was
obliged to go home for something wherewith to hew a road through the
wood. After some time the horse again said, "Look back: can you see
anything now?" "Yes, a whole multitude of people," said the youth, "like
a church congregation."--"That is the Troll; now he has got more with
him; throw out now the large stone, but throw it far from me."

When the youth had done what the horse desired, there arose a large
stone mountain behind them. So the Troll was obliged to go home after
something with which to bore through the mountain; and while he was thus
employed, the youth rode on a considerable way. But now the horse again
bade him look back: he then saw a multitude like a whole army; they were
so bright that they glittered in the sun. "Well, that is the Troll with
all his friends," said the horse. "Now throw the water bottle behind
you, but take good care to spill nothing on me!" The youth did so, but
notwithstanding his caution he happened to spill a drop on the horse's
loins. Immediately there rose a vast lake, and the spilling of the few
drops caused the horse to stand far out in the water; nevertheless, he
at last swam to the shore.

When the Trolls came to the water they lay down to drink it all up, and
they gulped and gulped till they burst. "Now we are quit of them," said
the horse.

When they had traveled on a very long way they came to a green plain in
a wood. "Take off your armor now," said the horse, "and put on your rags
only; lift my saddle off and hang everything up in that large hollow
linden; make yourself then a wig of pine-moss, go to the royal palace
which lies close by, and there ask for employment. When you desire to
see me, come to this spot, shake the bridle, and I will instantly be
with you."

The youth did as the horse told him; and when he put on the moss wig he
became so pale and miserable to look at that no one would have
recognized him. On reaching the palace, he only asked if he might serve
in the kitchen to carry wood and water to the cook; but the cook-maid
asked him why he wore such an ugly wig? "Take it off," said she: "I will
not have anybody here so frightful." "That I cannot," answered the
youth, "for I am not very clean in the head." "Dost thou think then that
I will have thee in the kitchen, if such be the case?" said she; "go to
the master of the horse: thou art fittest to carry muck from the
stables." When the master of the horse told him to take off his wig, he
got the same answer, so he refused to have him. "Thou canst go to the
gardener," said he, "thou art only fit to go and dig the ground." The
gardener allowed him to remain, but none of the servants would sleep
with him, so he was obliged to sleep alone under the stairs of the
summer-house, which stood upon pillars and had a high staircase, under
which he laid a quantity of moss for a bed, and there lay as well as
he could.

When he had been some time in the royal palace, it happened one morning,
just at sunrise, that the youth had taken off his moss wig and was
standing washing himself, and appeared so handsome it was a pleasure to
look on him. The princess saw from her window this comely gardener, and
thought she had never before seen any one so handsome.

She then asked the gardener why he lay out there under the stairs.
"Because none of the other servants will lie with him," answered the
gardener. "Let him come this evening and lie by the door in my room,"
said the princess: "they cannot refuse after that to let him sleep in
the house."

The gardener told this to the youth. "Dost thou think I will do so?"
said he. "If I do so, all will say there is something between me and the
princess." "Thou hast reason, forsooth, to fear such a suspicion,"
replied the gardener, "such a fine, comely lad as thou art." "Well, if
she has commanded it, I suppose I must comply," said the youth. In
going up-stairs that evening he stamped and made such a noise that they
were obliged to beg of him to go more gently, lest it might come to the
king's knowledge. When within the chamber, he lay down and began
immediately to snore. The princess then said to her waiting-maid, "Go
gently and pull off his moss wig." Creeping softly toward him, she was
about to snatch it, but he held it fast with both hands, and said she
should not have it. He then lay down again and began to snore. The
princess made a sign to the maid, and this time she snatched his wig
off. There he lay so beautifully red and white, just as the princess had
seen him in the morning sun. After this the youth slept every night in
the princess's chamber.

But it was not long before the king heard that the garden lad slept
every night in the princess's chamber, at which he became so angry that
he almost resolved on putting him to death. This, however, he did not
do, but cast him into prison, and his daughter he confined to her room,
not allowing her to go out, either by day or night. Her tears and
prayers for herself and the youth were unheeded by the king, who only
became the more incensed against her.

Some time after this, there arose a war and disturbance in the country,
and the king was obliged to take arms and defend himself against another
king, who threatened to deprive him of his throne. When the youth heard
this he begged the jailer would go to the king for him, and propose to
let him have armor and a sword, and allow him to follow to the war. All
the courtiers laughed when the jailer made known his errand to the king.
They begged he might have some old trumpery for armor, that they might
enjoy the sport of seeing the poor creature in the war. He got the armor
and also an old jade of a horse, which limped on three legs, dragging
the fourth after it.

Thus they all marched forth against the enemy, but they had not gone far
from the royal palace before the youth stuck fast with his old jade in a
swamp. Here he sat beating and calling to the jade, "Hie! wilt thou go?
hie! wilt thou go?" This amused all the others, who laughed and jeered
as they passed. But no sooner were they all gone than, running to the
linden, he put on his own armor and shook the bridle, and immediately
the horse appeared, and said, "Do thou do thy best and I will do mine."

When the youth arrived on the field the battle had already begun, and
the king was hard pressed; but just at that moment the youth put the
enemy to flight. The king and his attendants wondered who it could be
that came to their help; but no one had been near enough to speak to
him, and when the battle was over he was away. When they returned, the
youth was still sitting fast in the swamp, beating and calling to his
three-legged jade. They laughed as they passed, and said, "Only look,
yonder sits the fool yet."

The next day when they marched out the youth was still sitting there,
and they again laughed and jeered at him; but no sooner had they all
passed by than he ran again to the linden, and everything took place as
on the previous day. Every one wondered who the stranger warrior was who
had fought for them; but no one approached him so near that he could
speak to him: of course no one ever imagined that it was the youth.

When they returned in the evening and saw him and his old jade still
sticking fast in the swamp, they again made a jest of him; one shot an
arrow at him and wounded him in the leg, and he began to cry and moan so
that it was sad to hear, whereupon the king threw him his handkerchief
that he might bind it about his leg. When they marched forth the third
morning there sat the youth calling to his horse, "Hie! wilt thou go?
hie! wilt thou go?" "No, no! he will stay there till he starves," said
the king's men as they passed by, and laughed so heartily at him that
they nearly fell from their horses. When they had all passed, he again
ran to the linden, and came to the battle just at the right moment. That
day he killed the enemy's king, and thus the war was at an end.

When the fighting was over, the king observed his handkerchief tied
round the leg of the strange warrior, and by this he easily knew him.
They received him with great joy, and carried him with them up to the
royal palace, and the princess, who saw them from her window, was so
delighted no one could tell. "There comes my beloved also," said she. He
then took the pot of ointment and rubbed his leg, and afterward all the
wounded, so that they were all well again in a moment.

After this the king gave him the princess to wife. On the day of his
marriage he went down into the stable to see the horse, and found him
dull, hanging his ears and refusing to eat. When the young king--for he
was now king, having obtained the half of the realm--spoke to him and
asked him what he wanted, the horse said, "I have now helped thee
forward in the world, and I will live no longer: thou must take thy
sword, and cut my head off." "No, that I will not do," said the young
king: "thou shalt have whatever thou wilt, and always live without
working." "If thou wilt not do as I say," answered the horse, "I shall
find a way of killing thee."

The king was then obliged to slay him; but when he raised the sword to
give the stroke he was so distressed that he turned his face away; but
no sooner had he struck his head off than there stood before him a
handsome prince in the place of the horse.

"Whence in the name of Heaven didst thou come?" asked the king. "It was
I who was the horse," answered the prince. "Formerly I was king of the
country whose sovereign you slew yesterday; it was he who cast over me a
horse's semblance, and sold me to the Troll. As he is killed, I shall
recover my kingdom, and you and I shall be neighboring kings; but we
will never go to war with each other."

Neither did they; they were friends as long as they lived, and the one
came often to visit the other.



This noted scholar owes his place in English literature to his pure,
vigorous English prose. John Tindal and Sir Thomas More, his
predecessors, had perhaps equaled him in the flexible and simple use of
his native tongue, but they had not surpassed him. The usage of the time
was still to write works of importance in Latin, and Ascham was master
of a good Ciceronian Latin style. It is to his credit that he urged on
his countrymen the writing of English, and set them an example of its
vigorous use.

He was the son of John Ascham, house steward to Lord Scrope of Bolton,
and was born at Kirby Wiske, near Northallerton, in 1515. At the age of
fifteen he entered St. John's College, Cambridge, where he applied
himself to Greek and Latin, mathematics, music, and penmanship. He had
great success in teaching and improving the study of the classics; but
seems to have had a somewhat checkered academic career, both as student
and teacher. His poverty was excessive, and he made many unsuccessful
attempts to secure patronage and position; till at length, in 1545, he
published his famous treatise on Archery, 'Toxophilus,' which he
presented to Henry VIII. in the picture gallery at Greenwich, and which
obtained for him a small pension. The treatise is in the form of a
dialogue, the first part being an argument in favor of archery, and the
second, instructions for its practice. In its pages he makes a plea for
the literary use of the English tongue.

After long-continued disappointment and trouble, he was finally
successful in obtaining the position of tutor to the Princess Elizabeth,
in 1548. She was fifteen years old, and he found her an apt scholar; but
the life was irksome, and in 1550 he resigned the post to return to
Cambridge as public orator,--whence one may guess as a main reason for
so excellent a teacher having so hard a time to live, that like many
others he liked to talk about his profession better than to practice it.
Going abroad shortly afterward as secretary to Sir Richard Morysin,
ambassador to Charles V., he remained with him until 1553, when he
received the appointment of Latin secretary to Queen Mary. It is said
that he wrote for her forty-seven letters in his fine Latin style, in
three days.

[Illustration: ROGER ASCHAM]

At the accession of Elizabeth he received the office of the Queen's
private tutor. Poverty and "household griefs" still gave him anxiety;
but during the five years which elapsed between 1563 and his death in
1568, he found some comfort in the composition of his Schoolmaster,
which was published by his widow in 1570. It was suggested by a
conversation at Windsor with Sir William Cecil, on the proper method of
bringing up children. Sir Richard Sackville was so well pleased with
Ascham's theories that he, with others, entreated him to write a
practical work on the subject. 'The Schoolmaster' argues in favor of
gentleness rather than force on the part of an instructor. Then he
commends his own method of teaching Latin by double translation, offers
remarks on Latin prosody, and touches on other pedagogic themes. Both
this and the 'Toxophilus' show a pure, straightforward, easy style.
Contemporary testimony to its beauty may be found in an appendix to
Mayor's edition of 'The School master' (1863); though Dr. Johnson, in a
memoir prefixed to Rennet's collected edition of Ascham's English works
(1771), says that "he was scarcely known as an author in his own
language till Mr. Upton published his 'Schoolmaster' in 1771." He has
remained, however, the best known type of a great teacher in the
popular memory; in part, perhaps, through his great pupil.

The best collected edition of his works, including his Latin letters,
was published by Dr. Giles in 1864-5. There is an authoritative edition
of the 'Schoolmaster' in the Arber Series of old English reprints. The
best account of his system of education is in R.H. Quick's 'Essays on
Educational Reformers' (1868).


From 'The Schoolmaster'

Yet some will say that children, of nature, love pastime, and mislike
learning; because, in their kind, the one is easy and pleasant, the
other hard and wearisome. Which is an opinion not so true as some men
ween. For the matter lieth not so much in the disposition of them that
be young, as in the order and manner of bringing up by them that be old;
nor yet in the difference of learning and pastime. For, beat a child if
he dance not well, and cherish him though he learn not well, you shall
have him unwilling to go to dance, and glad to go to his book; knock him
always when he draweth his shaft ill, and favor him again though he
fault at his book, you shall have him very loth to be in the field, and
very willing to be in the school. Yea, I say more, and not of myself,
but by the judgment of those from whom few wise men will gladly dissent;
that if ever the nature of man be given at any time, more than other, to
receive goodness, it is in innocency of young years, before that
experience of evil have taken root in him. For the pure clean wit of a
sweet young babe is like the newest wax, most able to receive the best
and fairest printing; and like a new bright silver dish never occupied,
to receive and keep clean any good thing that is put into it.

And thus, will in children, wisely wrought withal, may easily be won to
be very well willing to learn. And wit in children, by nature, namely
memory, the only key and keeper of all learning, is readiest to receive
and surest to keep any manner of thing that is learned in youth. This,
lewd and learned, by common experience, know to be most true. For we
remember nothing so well when we be old as those things which we learned
when we were young. And this is not strange, but common in all nature's
works. "Every man seeth (as I said before) new wax is best for
printing, new clay fittest for working, new-shorn wool aptest for soon
and surest dyeing, new fresh flesh for good and durable salting." And
this similitude is not rude, nor borrowed of the larder-house, but out
of his school-house, of whom the wisest of England need not be ashamed
to learn. "Young grafts grow not only soonest, but also fairest, and
bring always forth the best and sweetest fruit; young whelps learn
easily to carry; young popin-jays learn quickly to speak." And so, to be
short, if in all other things, though they lack reason, sense, and life,
the similitude of youth is fittest to all goodness, surely nature in
mankind is most beneficial and effectual in their behalf.

Therefore, if to the goodness of nature be joined the wisdom of the
teacher, in leading young wits into a right and plain way of learning;
surely children kept up in God's fear, and governed by His grace, may
most easily be brought well to serve God and their country, both by
virtue and wisdom.

But if will and wit, by farther age, be once allured from innocency,
delighted in vain sights, filled with foul talk, crooked with
wilfulness, hardened with stubbornness, and let loose to disobedience;
surely it is hard with gentleness, but impossible with severe cruelty,
to call them back to good frame again. For where the one perchance may
bend it, the other shall surely break it: and so, instead of some hope,
leave an assured desperation, and shameless contempt of all goodness;
the furthest point in all mischief, as Xenophon doth most truly and most
wittily mark.

Therefore, to love or to hate, to like or contemn, to ply this way or
that way to good or to bad, ye shall have as ye use a child in
his youth.

And one example whether love or fear doth work more in a child for
virtue and learning, I will gladly report; which may be heard with some
pleasure, and followed with more profit.

Before I went into Germany, I came to Broadgate in Leicestershire, to
take my leave of that noble lady, Jane Grey, to whom I was exceeding
much beholding. Her parents, the duke and duchess, with all the
household, gentlemen and gentlewomen, were hunting in the park. I found
her in her chamber, reading Phædo Platonis in Greek, and that with as
much delight as some gentlemen would read a merry tale in Boccace. After
salutation and duty done, with some other talk, I asked her why she
would leese [lose] such pastime in the park? Smiling she answered me:
"Iwisse, all their sport in the park is but a shadow to that pleasure
that I find in Plato. Alas! good folk, they never felt what true
pleasure meant." "And how came you, madame," quoth I, "to this deep
knowledge of pleasure? and what did chiefly allure you unto it, seeing
not many women, but very few men, have attained thereunto?" "I will tell
you," quoth she, "and tell you a truth, which perchance ye will marvel
at. One of the greatest benefits that ever God gave me, is, that he sent
me so sharp and severe parents, and so gentle a schoolmaster. For when I
am in presence either of father or mother, whether I speak, keep
silence, sit, stand, or go, eat, drink, be merry, or sad, be sewing,
playing, dancing, or doing anything else, I must do it, as it were, in
such weight, measure, and number, even so perfectly, as God made the
world; or else I am so sharply taunted, so cruelly threatened, yea,
presently, sometimes with pinches, nips, and bobs, and other ways which
I will not name, for the honor I bear them, so without measure
misordered, that I think myself in hell, till time come that I must go
to Mr. Elmer; who teacheth me so gently, so pleasantly, with such fair
allurements to learning, that I think all the time nothing whiles I am
with him. And when I am called from him, I fall on weeping, because
whatsoever I do else but learning, is full of grief, trouble, fear, and
whole misliking unto me. And thus my book hath been so much my pleasure,
and bringeth daily to me more pleasure and more, that in respect of it,
all other pleasures, in very deed, be but trifles and troubles unto me."

I remember this talk gladly, both because it is so worthy of memory, and
because also it was the last talk that ever I had, and the last time
that ever I saw that noble and worthy lady.


From 'Toxophilus'

Philologe--But now to our shooting, Toxophile, again; wherein I suppose
you cannot say so much for shooting to be fit for learning, as you have
spoken against music for the same. Therefore, as concerning music, I can
be content to grant you your mind; but as for shooting, surely I suppose
that you cannot persuade me, by no means, that a man can be earnest in
it, and earnest at his book too; but rather I think that a man with a
bow on his back, and shafts under his girdle, is more fit to wait upon
Robin Hood than upon Apollo or the Muses.

_Toxophile_--Over-earnest shooting surely I will not over-earnestly
defend; for I ever thought shooting should be a waiter upon learning,
not a mistress over learning. Yet this I marvel not a little at, that ye
think a man with a bow on his back is more like Robin Hood's servant
than Apollo's, seeing that Apollo himself, in Alcestis of Euripides,
which tragedy you read openly not long ago, in a manner glorieth, saying
this verse:--

     "It is my wont always my bow with me to bear."

Therefore a learned man ought not too much to be ashamed to bear that
sometime, which Apollo, god of learning, himself was not ashamed always
to bear. And because ye would have a man wait upon the Muses, and not at
all meddle with shooting: I marvel that you do not remember how that the
nine Muses their self, as soon as they were born, were put to nurse to a
lady called Euphemis, which had a son named Erotus, with whom the nine
Muses for his excellent shooting kept evermore company withal, and used
daily to shoot together in the Mount Parnassus; and at last it chanced
this Erotus to die, whose death the Muses lamented greatly, and fell all
upon their knees afore Jupiter their father; and at their request,
Erotus, for shooting with the Muses on earth, was made a sign and called
Sagittarius in heaven. Therefore you see that if Apollo and the Muses
either were examples indeed, or only feigned of wise men to be examples
of learning, honest shooting may well enough be companion with
honest study.

_Philologe_--Well, Toxophile, if you have no stronger defense of
shooting than poets, I fear if your companions which love shooting heard
you, they would think you made it but a trifling and fabling matter,
rather than any other man that loveth not shooting could be persuaded by
this reason to love it.

_Toxophile_--Even as I am not so fond but I know that these be fables,
so I am sure you be not so ignorant but you know what such noble wits as
the poets had, meant by such matters; which oftentimes, under the
covering of a fable, do hide and wrap in goodly precepts of philosophy,
with the true judgment of things. Which to be true, specially in Homer
and Euripides, Plato, Aristotle, and Galen plainly do show; when through
all their works (in a manner) they determine all controversies by these
two poets and such like authorities. Therefore, if in this matter I seem
to fable and nothing prove, I am content you judge so on me, seeing the
same judgment shall condemn with me Plato, Aristotle, and Galen, whom in
that error I am well content to follow. If these old examples prove
nothing for shooting, what say you to this, that the best learned and
sagest men in this realm which be now alive, both love shooting and use
shooting, as the best learned bishops that be? amongst whom, Philologe,
you yourself know four or five, which, as in all good learning, virtue,
and sageness, they give other men example what thing they should do,
even so by their shooting they plainly show what honest pastime other
men given to learning may honestly use. That earnest study must be
recreated with honest pastime, sufficiently I have proved afore, both by
reason and authority of the best learned men that ever wrote. Then
seeing pastimes be leful [lawful], the most fittest for learning is to
be sought for. A pastime, saith Aristotle, must be like a medicine.
Medicines stand by contraries; therefore, the nature of studying
considered, the fittest pastime shall soon appear. In study every part
of the body is idle, which thing causeth gross and cold humors to gather
together and vex scholars very much; the mind is altogether bent and set
on work. A pastime then must be had where every part of the body must be
labored, to separate and lessen such humors withal; the mind must be
unbent, to gather and fetch again his quickness withal. Thus pastimes
for the mind only be nothing fit for students, because the body, which
is most hurt by study, should take away no profit thereat. This knew
Erasmus very well, when he was here in Cambridge; which, when he had
been sore at his book (as Garret our book-binder had very often told
me), for lack of better exercise, would take his horse and ride about
the market-hill and come again. If a scholar should use bowls or tennis,
the labor is too vehement and unequal, which is condemned of Galen; the
example very ill for other men, when by so many acts they be made
unlawful. Running, leaping, and quoiting be too vile for scholars, and
so not fit by Aristotle's judgment; walking alone into the field hath no
token of courage in it, a pastime like a simple man which is neither
flesh nor fish. Therefore if a man would have a pastime wholesome and
equal for every part of the body, pleasant and full of courage for the
mind, not vile and unhonest to give ill example to laymen, not kept in
gardens and corners, not lurking on the night and in holes, but evermore
in the face of men, either to rebuke i