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Title: Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 3
Author: Warner, Charles Dudley, 1829-1900 [Editor], Mabie, Hamilton Wright, 1845-1916 [Editor], Runkle, Lucia Isabella Gilbert, 1844- [Editor], Warner, George H., 1833-1919 [Editor]
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 3" ***

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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,

   Professor of Literature,

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

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

   Director of the Lick Observatory, and Astronomer,

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

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

   Professor of Greek and Latin Literature,

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

   Professor of Literature in the



BERTHOLD AUERBACH--_Continued:_                         1812-1882
   The First False Step ('On the Heights')
   The New Home and the Old One (same)
   The Court Physician's Philosophy (same)
   In Countess Irma's Diary (same)

ÉMILE AUGIER                                            1820-1889
   A Conversation with a Purpose ('Giboyer's Boy')
   A Severe Young Judge ('The Adventuress')
   A Contented Idler ('M. Poirier's Son-in-Law')
   Feelings of an Artist (same)
   A Contest of Wills ('The Fourchambaults')

ST. AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO (by Samuel Hart)                 354-430
   The Godly Sorrow that Worketh Repentance ('The Confessions')
   Consolation (same)
   The Foes of the City ('The City of God')
   The Praise of God (same)
   A Prayer ('The Trinity')

MARCUS AURELIUS ANTONINUS                          A.D. 121-180

JANE AUSTEN                                             1775-1817
   An Offer of Marriage ('Pride and Prejudice')
   Mother and Daughter (same)
   A Letter of Condolence (same)
   A Well-Matched Sister and Brother ('Northanger Abbey')
   Family Doctors ('Emma')
   Family Training ('Mansfield Park')
   Private Theatricals (same)
   Fruitless Regrets and Apples of Sodom (same)

AVERROËS                                                1126-1198

THE AVESTA (by A.V. Williams Jackson)
   Psalm of Zoroaster
   Prayer for Knowledge
   The Angel of Divine Obedience
   To the Fire
   The Goddess of the Waters
   Guardian Spirits
   An Ancient Sindbad
   The Wise Man
   Invocation to Rain
   Prayer for Healing

AVICEBRON                                               1028-?1058
   On Matter and Form ('The Fountain of Life')

ROBERT AYTOUN                                           1570-1638
   Inconstancy Upbraided
   Lines to an Inconstant Mistress (with Burns's Adaptation)

WILLIAM EDMONSTOUNE AYTOUN                              1813-1865
   Burial March of Dundee ('Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers')
   Execution of Montrose (same)
   The Broken Pitcher ('Bon Gaultier Ballads')
   Sonnet to Britain. "By the Duke of Wellington" (same)
   A Ball in the Upper Circles ('The Modern Endymion')
   A Highland Tramp ('Norman Sinclair')

MASSIMO TAPARELLI D'AZEGLIO                             1798-1866
   A Happy Childhood ('My Recollections')
   The Priesthood (same)
   My First Venture in Romance (same)

BABER (by Edward S. Holden)                             1482-1530
   From Baber's 'Memoirs'

BABRIUS                                        First Century A.D.
   The North Wind and the Sun
   Jupiter and the Monkey
   The Mouse that Fell into the Pot
   The Fox and the Grapes
   The Carter and Hercules
   The Young Cocks
   The Arab and the Camel
   The Nightingale and the Swallow
   The Husbandman and the stork
   The Pine
   The Woman and Her Maid-Servants
   The Lamp
   The Tortoise and the Hare

FRANCIS BACON (by Charlton T. Lewis)                    1561-1626
   Of Truth ('Essays')
   Of Revenge (same)
   Of Simulation and Dissimulation (same)
   Of Travel (same)
   Of Friendship (same)
   Defects of the Universities ('The Advancement of Learning')
   To My Lord Treasurer Burghley
   In Praise of Knowledge
   To the Lord Chancellor
   To Villiers on his Patent as a Viscount
   Charge to Justice Hutton
   A Prayer, or Psalm
   From the 'Apophthegms'
   Translation of the 137th Psalm
   The World's a Bubble

WALTER BAGEHOT (by Forrest Morgan)                      1826-1877
   The Virtues of Stupidity ('Letters on the French Coup
   Review Writing ('The First Edinburgh Reviewers')
   Lord Eldon (same)
   Taste ('Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Browning')
   Causes of the Sterility of Literature ('Shakespeare')
   The Search for Happiness ('William Cowper')
   On Early Reading ('Edward Gibbon')
   The Cavaliers ('Thomas Babington Macaulay')
   Morality and Fear ('Bishop Butler')
   The Tyranny of Convention ('Sir Robert Peel')
   How to Be an Influential Politician ('Bolingbroke')
   Conditions of Cabinet Government ('The English Constitution')
   Why Early Societies could not be Free ('Physics and
   Benefits of Free Discussion in Modern Times (same)
   Origin of Deposit Banking ('Lombard Street')

JENS BAGGESEN                                           1764-1826
   A Cosmopolitan ('The Labyrinth')
   Philosophy on the Heath (same)
   There was a Time when I was Very Little

PHILIP JAMES BAILEY                                     1816-
   From "Festus": Life: The Passing-Bell; Thoughts;
   Dreams; Chorus of the Saved

JOANNA BAILLIE                                          1762-1851
   Woo'd and Married and A'
   It Was on a Morn when We were Thrang
   Fy, Let Us A' to the Wedding
   The Weary Pund o' Tow
   From 'De Montfort'
   To Mrs. Siddons
   A Scotch Song
   Song, 'Poverty Parts Good Company'
   The Kitten

HENRY MARTYN BAIRD                                      1832-
   The Battle of Ivry ('The Huguenots and Henry of Navarre')

SIR SAMUEL WHITE BAKER                                  1821-1893
   Hunting in Abyssinia ('The Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia')
   The Sources of the Nile ('The Albert Nyanza')

ARTHUR JAMES BALFOUR                                    1848-
   The Pleasures of Reading (Rectorial Address)

THE BALLAD (by F.B. Gummere)
   Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne
   The Hunting of the Cheviot
   Johnie Cock
   Sir Patrick Spens
   The Bonny Earl of Murray
   Mary Hamilton
   Bonnie George Campbell
   Bessie Bell and Mary Gray
   The Three Ravens
   Lord Randal
   The Twa Brothers
   Childe Maurice
   The Wife of Usher's Well
   Sweet William's Ghost

HONORÉ DE BALZAC (by William P. Trent)                  1799-1850
   The Meeting in the Convent ('The Duchess of Langeais')
   An Episode Under the Terror
   A Passion in the Desert
   The Napoleon of the People ('The Country Doctor')

GEORGE BANCROFT (by Austin Scott)                       1800-1891
   The Beginnings of Virginia ('History of the United
   Men and Government in Early Massachusetts (same)
   King Philip's War (same)
   The New Netherland (same)
   Franklin (same)



       *       *       *       *       *

Ancient Irish Miniature (Colored Plate) Frontispiece
"St. Augustine and His Mother" (Photogravure)   1014
Papyrus, Sermons of St. Augustine (Fac-simile)  1018
Marcus Aurelius (Portrait)                      1022
The Zend Avesta (Fac-simile)                    1084
Francis Bacon (Portrait)                        1156
"The Cavaliers" (Photogravure)                  1218
Honoré de Balzac (Portrait)                     1348
George Bancroft (Portrait)                      1432


Émile Augier
Jane Austen
Robert Aytoun
Walter Bagehot
Jens Baggesen
Philip James Bailey
Joanna Baillie
Henry Martyn Baird
Sir Samuel White Baker
Arthur James Balfour

(Continued from Volume II)

"Do you imagine that every one is kindly disposed towards you? Take my
word for it, a palace contains people of all sorts, good and bad. All
the vices abound in such a place. And there are many other matters of
which you have no idea, and of which you will, I trust, ever remain
ignorant. But all you meet are wondrous polite. Try to remain just as
you now are, and when you leave the palace, let it be as the same
Walpurga you were when you came here."

Walpurga stared at her in surprise. Who could change her?

Word came that the Queen was awake and desired Walpurga to bring the
Crown Prince to her.

Accompanied by Doctor Gunther, Mademoiselle Kramer, and two
waiting-women, she proceeded to the Queen's bedchamber. The Queen lay
there, calm and beautiful, and with a smile of greeting, turned her face
towards those who had entered. The curtains had been partially drawn
aside, and a broad, slanting ray of light shone into the apartment,
which seemed still more peaceful than during the breathless silence of
the previous night.

"Good morning!" said the Queen, with a voice full of feeling. "Let me
have my child!" She looked down at the babe that rested in her arms, and
then, without noticing any one in the room, lifted her glance on high
and faintly murmured:--

"This is the first time I behold my child in the daylight!"

All were silent; it seemed as if there was naught in the apartment
except the broad slanting ray of light that streamed in at the window.

"Have you slept well?" inquired the Queen. Walpurga was glad the Queen
had asked a question, for now she could answer. Casting a hurried glance
at Mademoiselle Kramer, she said:--

"Yes, indeed! Sleep's the first, the last, and the best thing in the

"She's clever," said the Queen, addressing Doctor Gunther in French.

Walpurga's heart sank within her. Whenever she heard them speak French,
she felt as if they were betraying her; as if they had put on an
invisible cap, like that worn by the goblins in the fairy-tale, and
could thus speak without being heard.

"Did the Prince sleep well?" asked the Queen.

Walpurga passed her hand over her face, as if to brush away a spider
that had been creeping there. The Queen doesn't speak of her "child" or
her "son," but only of "the Crown Prince."

Walpurga answered:--

"Yes, quite well, thank God! That is, I couldn't hear him, and I only
wanted to say that I'd like to act towards the--" she could not say "the
Prince"--"that is, towards him, as I'd do with my own child. We began on
the very first day. My mother taught me that. Such a child has a will of
its own from the very start, and it won't do to give way to it. It won't
do to take it from the cradle, or to feed it, whenever it pleases; there
ought to be regular times for all those things. It'll soon get used to
that, and it won't harm it either, to let it cry once in a while. On the
contrary, that expands the chest."

"Does he cry?" asked the Queen.

The infant answered the question for itself, for it at once began to cry
most lustily.

"Take him and quiet him," begged the Queen.

The King entered the apartment before the child had stopped crying.

"He will have a good voice of command," said he, kissing the Queen's

Walpurga quieted the child, and she and Mademoiselle Kramer were sent
back to their apartments.

The King informed the Queen of the dispatches that had been received,
and of the sponsors who had been decided upon. She was perfectly
satisfied with the arrangements that had been made.

When Walpurga had returned to her room and had placed the child in the
cradle, she walked up and down and seemed quite agitated.

"There are no angels in this world!" said she. "They're all just like
the rest of us, and who knows but--" She was vexed at the Queen: "Why
won't she listen patiently when her child cries? We must take all our
children bring us, whether it be joy or pain."

She stepped out into the passage-way and heard the tones of the organ in
the palace-chapel. For the first time in her life these sounds
displeased her. "It don't belong in the house," thought she, "where all
sorts of things are going on. The church ought to stand by itself."

When she returned to the room, she found a stranger there. Mademoiselle
Kramer informed her that this was the tailor to the Queen.

Walpurga laughed outright at the notion of a "tailor to the Queen." The
elegantly attired person looked at her in amazement, while Mademoiselle
Kramer explained to her that this was the dressmaker to her Majesty the
Queen, and that he had come to take her measure for three new dresses.

"Am I to wear city clothes?"

"God forbid! You're to wear the dress of your neighborhood, and can
order a stomacher in red, blue, green, or any color that you like best."

"I hardly know what to say; but I'd like to have a workday suit too.
Sunday clothes on week-days--that won't do."

"At court one always wears Sunday clothes, and when her Majesty drives
out again you will have to accompany her."

"A11 right, then. I won't object."

While he took her measure, Walpurga laughed incessantly, and he was at
last obliged to ask her to hold still, so that he might go on with his
work. Putting his measure into his pocket, he informed Mademoiselle
Kramer that he had ordered an exact model, and that the master of
ceremonies had favored him with several drawings, so that there might be
no doubt of success.

Finally he asked permission to see the Crown Prince. Mademoiselle Kramer
was about to let him do so, but Walpurga objected.

"Before the child is christened," said she, "no one shall look at it
just out of curiosity, and least of all a tailor, or else the child will
never turn out the right sort of man."

The tailor took his leave, Mademoiselle Kramer having politely hinted to
him that nothing could be done with the superstition of the lower
orders, and that it would not do to irritate the nurse.

This occurrence induced Walpurga to administer the first serious
reprimand to Mademoiselle Kramer. She could not understand why she was
so willing to make an exhibition of the child. "Nothing does a child
more harm than to let strangers look at it in its sleep, and a tailor
at that."

All the wild fun with which, in popular songs, tailors are held up to
scorn and ridicule, found vent in Walpurga, and she began singing:--

     "Just list, ye braves, who love to roam!
     A snail was chasing a tailor home.
     And if Old Shears hadn't run so fast,
     The snail would surely have caught him at last."

Mademoiselle Kramer's acquaintance with the court tailor had lowered
her in Walpurga's esteem; and with an evident effort to mollify the
latter, Mademoiselle Kramer asked:--

"Does the idea of your new and beautiful clothes really afford you no

"To be frank with you, no! I don't wear them for my own sake, but for
that of others, who dress me to please themselves. It's all the same to
me, however! I've given myself up to them, and suppose I must submit."

"May I come in?" asked a pleasant voice. Countess Irma entered the room.
Extending both her hands to Walpurga, she said:--

"God greet you, my countrywoman! I am also from the Highlands, seven
hours distance from your village. I know it well, and once sailed over
the lake with your father. Does he still live?"

"Alas! no: he was drowned, and the lake hasn't given up its dead."

"He was a fine-looking old man, and you are the very image of him."

"I am glad to find some one else here who knew my father. The court
tailor--I mean the court doctor--knew him too. Yes, search the land
through, you couldn't have found a better man than my father, and no one
can help but admit it."

"Yes: I've often heard as much."

"May I ask your Ladyship's name?"

"Countess Wildenort."

"Wildenort? I've heard the name before. Yes, I remember my mother's
mentioning it. Your father was known as a very kind and benevolent man.
Has he been dead a long while?"

"No, he is still living."

"Is he here too?"


"And as what are you here, Countess?"

"As maid of honor."

"And what is that?"

"Being attached to the Queen's person; or what, in your part of the
country, would be called a companion."

"Indeed! And is your father willing to let them use you that way?"

Irma, who was somewhat annoyed by her questions, said:--

"I wished to ask you something--Can you write?"

"I once could, but I've quite forgotten how."

"Then I've just hit it! that's the very reason for my coming here. Now,
whenever you wish to write home, you can dictate your letter to me, and
I will write whatever you tell me to."

"I could have done that too," suggested Mademoiselle Kramer, timidly;
"and your Ladyship would not have needed to trouble yourself."

"No, the Countess will write for me. Shall it be now?"


But Walpurga had to go to the child. While she was in the next room,
Countess Irma and Mademoiselle Kramer engaged each other in

When Walpurga returned, she found Irma, pen in hand, and at once began
to dictate.

Translation of S.A. Stern.


From 'On the Heights'

The ball was to be given in the palace and the adjoining winter garden.
The intendant now informed Irma of his plan, and was delighted to find
that she approved of it. At the end of the garden he intended to erect a
large fountain, ornamented with antique groups. In the foreground he
meant to have trees and shrubbery and various kinds of rocks, so that
none could approach too closely; and the background was to be a Grecian
landscape, painted in the grand style.

Irma promised to keep his secret. Suddenly she exclaimed, "We are all of
us no better than lackeys and kitchen-maids. We are kept busy stewing,
roasting, and cooking for weeks, in order to prepare a dish that may
please their Majesties."

The intendant made no reply.

"Do you remember," continued Irma, "how, when we were at the lake, we
spoke of the fact that man possessed the advantage of being able to
change his dress, and thus to alter his appearance? While yet a child,
masquerading was my greatest delight. The soul wings its flight in
callow infancy. A _bal costumé_ is indeed one of the noblest fruits of
culture. The love of coquetry which is innate with all of us displays
itself there undisguised."

The intendant took his leave. While walking away, his mind was filled
with his old thoughts about Irma.

"No," said he to himself, "such a woman would be a constant strain, and
would require one to be brilliant and intellectual all day long. She
would exhaust one," said he, almost aloud.

No one knew what character Irma intended to appear in, although many
supposed that it would be as "Victory," since it was well known that she
had stood for the model of the statue that surmounted the arsenal. They
were busy conjecturing how she could assume that character without
violating the social proprieties.

Irma spent much of her time in the atelier, and worked assiduously. She
was unable to escape a feeling of unrest, far greater than that she had
experienced years ago when looking forward to her first ball. She could
not reconcile herself to the idea of preparing for the _fête_ so long
beforehand, and would like to have had it take place in the very next
hour, so that something else might be taken up at once. The long delay
tried her patience. She almost envied those beings to whom the
preparation for pleasure affords the greatest part of the enjoyment.
Work alone calmed her unrest. She had something to do, and this
prevented the thoughts of the festival from engaging her mind during the
day. It was only in the evening that she would recompense herself for
the day's work, by giving full swing to her fancy.

The statue of Victory was still in the atelier and was almost finished.
High ladders were placed beside it. The artist was still chiseling at
the figure, and would now and then hurry down to observe the general
effect, and then hastily mount the ladder again in order to add a touch
here or there. Irma scarcely ventured to look up at this effigy of
herself in Grecian costume--transformed and yet herself. The idea of
being thus translated into the purest of art's forms filled her with a
tremor, half joy, half fear.

It was on a winter afternoon. Irma was working assiduously at a copy of
a bust of Theseus, for it was growing dark. Near her stood her
preceptor's marble bust of Doctor Gunther. All was silent; not a sound
was heard save now and then the picking or scratching of the chisel.

At that moment the master descended the ladder, and drawing a deep
breath, said:--

"There--that will do. One can never finish. I shall not put another
stroke to it. I am afraid that retouching would only injure it. It
is done."

In the master's words and manner, struggling effort and calm content
seemed mingled. He laid the chisel aside. Irma looked at him earnestly
and said:--

"You are a happy man; but I can imagine that you are still unsatisfied.
I don't believe that even Raphael or Michael Angelo was ever satisfied
with the work he had completed. The remnant of dissatisfaction which an
artist feels at the completion of a work is the germ of a new creation."

The master nodded his approval of her words. His eyes expressed his
thanks. He went to the water-tap and washed his hands. Then he placed
himself near Irma and looked at her, while telling her that in every
work an artist parts with a portion of his life; that the figure will
never again inspire the same feelings that it did while in the workshop.
Viewed from afar, and serving as an ornament, no regard would be had to
the care bestowed upon details. But the artist's great satisfaction in
his work is in having pleased himself; and yet no one can accurately
determine how, or to what extent, a conscientious working up of details
will influence the general effect.

While the master was speaking, the King was announced. Irma hurriedly
spread a damp cloth over her clay model.

The King entered. He was unattended, and begged Irma not to allow
herself to be disturbed in her work. Without looking up, she went on
with her modeling. The King was earnest in his praise of the
master's work.

"The grandeur that dwells in this figure will show posterity what our
days have beheld. I am proud of such contemporaries."

Irma felt that the words applied to her as well. Her heart throbbed. The
plaster which stood before her suddenly seemed to gaze at her with a
strange expression.

"I should like to compare the finished work with the first models," said
the king to the artist.

"I regret that the experimental models are in my small atelier. Does
your Majesty wish me to have them brought here?"

"If you will be good enough to do so."

The master left. The King and Irma were alone. With rapid steps the King
mounted the ladder, and exclaimed in a tremulous voice:--

"I ascend into heaven--I ascend to you. Irma, I kiss you, I kiss your
image, and may this kiss forever rest upon those lips, enduring beyond
all time. I kiss thee with the kiss of eternity." He stood aloft and
kissed the lips of the statue. Irma could not help looking up, and just
at that moment a slanting sunbeam fell on the King and on the face of
the marble figure, making it glow as if with life.

Irma felt as if wrapped in a fiery cloud, bearing her away into

The King descended and placed himself beside her. His breathing was
short and quick. She did not dare to look up; she stood as silent and as
immovable as a statue. Then the King embraced her--and living lips
kissed each other.

Translation of S.A. Stern.


From 'On the Heights'

Hansei received various offers for his cottage, and was always provoked
when it was spoken of as a 'tumble-down old shanty.' He always looked as
if he meant to say, "Don't take it ill of me, good old house: the people
only abuse you so that they may get you cheap." Hansei stood his ground.
He would not sell his home for a penny less than it was worth; and
besides that, he owned the fishing-right, which was also worth
something. Grubersepp at last took the house off his hands, with the
design of putting a servant of his, who intended to marry in the fall,
in possession of the place.

All the villagers were kind and friendly to them,--doubly so since they
were about to leave,--and Hansei said:--

"It hurts me to think that I must leave a single enemy behind me, I'd
like to make it up with the innkeeper."

Walpurga agreed with him, and said that she would go along; that she had
really been the cause of the trouble, and that if the innkeeper wanted
to scold any one, he might as well scold her too.

Hansei did not want his wife to go along, but she insisted upon it.

It was in the last evening in August that they went up into the village.
Their hearts beat violently while they drew near to the inn. There was
no light in the room. They groped about the porch, but not a soul was to
be seen. Dachsel and Wachsel, however, were making a heathenish racket.
Hansei called out:

"Is there no one at home?"

"No. There's no one at home," answered a voice from the dark room.

"Well, then tell the host, when he returns, that Hansei and his wife
were here, and that they came to ask him to forgive them if they've done
him any wrong; and to say that they forgive him too, and wish him luck."

"A11 right: I'll tell him," said the voice. The door was again slammed
to, and Dachsel and Wachsel began barking again.

Hansei and Walpurga returned homeward.

"Do you know who that was?" asked Hansei.

"Why, yes: 'twas the innkeeper himself."

"Well, we've done all we could."

They found it sad to part from all the villagers. They listened to the
lovely tones of the bell which they had heard every hour since
childhood. Although their hearts were full, they did not say a word
about the sadness of parting. Hansei at last broke silence:--"Our new
home isn't out of the world: we can often come here."

When they reached the cottage they found that nearly all of the
villagers had assembled in order to bid them farewell, but every one
added, "I'll see you again in the morning."

Grubersepp also came again. He had been proud enough before; but now he
was doubly so, for he had made a man of his neighbor, or at all events
had helped to do so. He did not give way to tender sentiment. He
condensed all his knowledge of life into a few sentences, which he
delivered himself of most bluntly.

"I only want to tell you," said he, "you'll have lots of servants now.
Take my word for it, the best of them are good for nothing; but
something may be made of them for all that. He who would have his
servants mow well, must take the scythe in hand himself. And since you
got your riches so quickly, don't forget the proverb: 'Light come, light
go.' Keep steady, or it'll go ill with you."

He gave him much more good advice, and Hansei accompanied him all the
way back to his house. With a silent pressure of the hand they took
leave of each other.

The house seemed empty, for quite a number of chests and boxes had been
sent in advance by a boat that was already crossing the lake. On the
following morning two teams would be in waiting on the other side.

"So this is the last time that we go to bed in this house," said the
mother. They were all fatigued with work and excitement, and yet none of
them cared to go to bed. At last, however, they could not help doing so,
although they slept but little.

The next morning they were up and about at an early hour. Having attired
themselves in their best clothes, they bundled up the beds and carried
them into the boat. The mother kindled the last fire on the hearth. The
cows were led out and put into the boat, the chickens were also taken
along in a coop, and the dog was constantly running to and fro.

The hour of parting had come.

The mother uttered a prayer, and then called all of them into the
kitchen. She scooped up some water from the pail and poured it into the
fire, with these words:--"May all that's evil be thus poured out and
extinguished, and let those who light a fire after us find nothing but
health in their home."

Hansei, Walpurga, and Gundel were each of them obliged to pour a
ladleful of water into the fire, and the grandmother guided the child's
hand while it did the same thing.

After they had all silently performed this ceremony, the grandmother
prayed aloud:--

"Take from us, O Lord our God, all heartache and home-sickness and all
trouble, and grant us health and a happy home where we next kindle
our fire."

She was the first to cross the threshold. She had the child in her arms
and covered its eyes with her hands while she called out to
the others:--

"Don't look back when you go out."

"Just wait a moment," said Hansei to Walpurga when he found himself
alone with her. "Before we cross this threshold for the last time, I've
something to tell you. I must tell it. I mean to be a righteous man and
to keep nothing concealed from you. I must tell you this, Walpurga.
While you were away and Black Esther lived up yonder, I once came very
near being wicked--and unfaithful--thank God, I wasn't. But it torments
me to think that I ever wanted to be bad; and now, Walpurga, forgive me
and God will forgive me, too. Now I've told you, and have nothing more
to tell. If I were to appear before God this moment, I'd know of
nothing more."

Walpurga embraced him, and sobbing, said, "You're my dear good husband!"
and they crossed the threshold for the last time.

When they reached the garden, Hansei paused, looked up at the
cherry-tree, and said:--

"And so you remain here. Won't you come with us? We've always been good
friends, and spent many an hour together. But wait! I'll take you with
me, after all," cried he, joyfully, "and I'll plant you in my new home."

He carefully dug out a shoot that was sprouting up from one of the roots
of the tree. He stuck it in his hat-band, and went to join his wife
at the boat.

From the landing-place on the bank were heard the merry sounds of
fiddles, clarinets, and trumpets.

Hansei hastened to the landing-place. The whole village had congregated
there, and with it the full band of music. Tailor Schneck's son, he who
had been one of, the cuirassiers at the christening of the crown prince,
had arranged and was now conducting the parting ceremonies. Schneck, who
was scraping his bass-viol, was the first to see Hansei, and called out
in the midst of the music:--

"Long live farmer Hansei and the one he loves best! Hip, hip, hurrah!"

The early dawn resounded with their cheers. There was a flourish of
trumpets, and the salutes fired from several small mortars were echoed
back from the mountains. The large boat in which their household
furniture, the two cows, and the fowls were placed, was adorned with
wreaths of fir and oak. Walpurga was standing in the middle of the boat,
and with both hands held the child aloft, so that it might see the great
crowd of friends and the lake sparkling in the rosy dawn.

"My master's best respects," said one of Grubersepp's servants, leading
a snow-white colt by the halter: "he sends you this to remember him by."

Grubersepp was not present. He disliked noise and crowds. He was of a
solitary and self-contained temperament. Nevertheless he sent a present
which was not only of intrinsic value, but was also a most flattering
souvenir; for a colt is usually given by a rich farmer to a younger
brother when about to depart. In the eyes of all the world--that is to
say, the whole village--Hansei appeared as the younger brother of

Little Burgei shouted for joy when she saw them leading the snow-white
foal into the boat. Gruberwaldl, who was but six years old, stood by the
whinnying colt, stroking it and speaking kindly to it.

"Would you like to go to the farm with me and be my servant?" asked
Hansei of Gruberwaldl.

"Yes, indeed, if you'll take me."

"See what a boy he is," said Hansei to his wife. "What a boy!"

Walpurga made no answer, but busied herself with the child.

Hansei shook hands with every one at parting. His hand trembled, but he
did not forget to give a couple of crown thalers to the musicians.

At last he got into the boat and exclaimed:--

"Kind friends! I thank you all. Don't forget us, and we shan't forget
you. Farewell! may God protect you all."

Walpurga and her mother were in tears.

"And now, in God's name, let us start!" The chains were loosened; the
boat put off. Music, shouting, singing, and the firing of cannon
resounded while the boat quietly moved away from the shore. The sun
burst forth in all his glory.

The mother sat there, with her hands clasped. All were silent. The only
sound heard was the neighing of the foal.

Walpurga was the first to break the silence. "O dear Lord! if people
would only show each other half as much love during life as they do when
one dies or moves away."

The grandmother, who was in the middle of a prayer, shook her head. She
quickly finished her prayer and said:--

"That's more than one has the right to ask. It won't do to go about all
day long with your heart in your hand. But remember, I've always told
you that the people are good enough at heart, even if there are a few
bad ones among them."

Hansei bestowed an admiring glance upon his wife, who had so many
different thoughts about almost everything. He supposed it was caused by
her having been away from home. But his heart was full, too, although in
a different way.

"I can hardly realize," said Hansei, taking a long breath and putting
the pipe, which he had intended to light, back into his pocket, "what
has become of all the years that I spent there and all that I went
through during the time. Look, Walpurga! the road you see there leads to
my home. I know every hill and every hollow. My mother's buried there.
Do you see the pines growing on the hill over yonder? That hill was
quite bare; every tree was cut down when the French were here; and see
how fine and hardy the trees are now. I planted most of them myself. I
was a little boy about eleven or twelve years old when the forester
hired me. He had fresh soil brought for the whole place and covered the
rocky spots with moss. In the spring I worked from six in the morning
till seven in the evening, putting in the little plants. My left hand
was almost frozen, for I had to keep putting it into a tub of wet loam,
with which I covered the roots. I was scantily clothed into the bargain,
and had nothing to eat all day long but a piece of bread. In the morning
it was cold enough to freeze the marrow in one's bones, and at noon I
was almost roasted by the hot sun beating on the rocks. It was a hard
life. Yes, I had a hard time of it when I was young. Thank God, it
hasn't harmed me any. But I shan't forget it; and let's be right
industrious and give all we can to the poor. I never would have believed
that I'd live to call a single tree or a handful of earth my own; and
now that God has given me so much, let's try and deserve it all."

Hansei's eyes blinked, as if there was something in them, and he pulled
his hat down over his forehead. Now, while he was pulling himself up by
the roots as it were, he could not help thinking of how thoroughly he
had become engrafted into the neighborhood by the work of his hands and
by habit. He had felled many a tree, but he knew full well how hard it
was to remove the stumps.

The foal grew restive. Gruberwaldl, who had come with them in order to
hold it, was not strong enough, and one of the boatmen was obliged to go
to his assistance.

"Stay with the foal," said Hansei. "I'll take the oar."

"And I too," cried Walpurga. "Who knows when I'll have another chance?
Ah! how often I've rowed on the lake with you and my blessed father."

Hansei and Walpurga sat side by side plying their oars in perfect time.
It did them both good to have some employment which would enable them to
work off the excitement.

"I shall miss the water," said Walpurga; "without the lake, life'll seem
so dull and dry. I felt that, while I was in the city."

Hansei did not answer.

"At the summer palace there's a pond with swans swimming about in it,"
said she, but still received no answer. She looked around, and a
feeling of anger arose within her. When she said anything at the palace,
it was always listened to.

In a sorrowful tone she added, "It would have been better if we'd moved
in the spring; it would have been much easier to get used to things."

"Maybe it would," replied Hansei, at last, "but I've got to hew wood in
the winter. Walpurga, let's make life pleasant to each other, and not
sad. I shall have enough on my shoulders, and can't have you and your
palace thoughts besides."

Walpurga quickly answered, "I'll throw this ring, which the Queen gave
me, into the lake, to prove that I've stopped thinking of the palace."

"There's no need of that. The ring's worth a nice sum, and besides that
it's an honorable keepsake. You must do just as I do."

"Yes; only remain strong and true."

The grandmother suddenly stood up before them. Her features were
illumined with a strange expression, and she said:--

"Children! Hold fast to the good fortune that you have. You've gone
through fire and water together; for it was fire when you were
surrounded by joy and love and every one greeted you with kindness--and
you passed through the water, when the wickedness of others stung you to
the soul. At that time the water was up to your neck, and yet you
weren't drowned. Now you've got over it all. And when my last hour
comes, don't weep for me; for through you I've enjoyed all the happiness
a mother's heart can have in this world."

She knelt down, scooped up some water with her hand, and sprinkled it
over Hansei's and also over Walpurga's face.

They rowed on in silence. The grandmother laid her head on a roll of
bedding and closed her eyes. Her face wore a strange expression. After a
while she opened her eyes again, and casting a glance full of happiness
on her children, she said:

"Sing and be merry. Sing the song that father and I so often sang
together; that one verse, the good one."

Hansei and Walpurga plied the oars while they sang:--

     "Ah, blissful is the tender tie
       That binds me, love, to thee;
     And swiftly speed the hours by,
       When thou art near to me."

They repeated the verse again, although at times the joyous shouting of
the child and the neighing of the foal bade fair to interrupt it.

       *       *       *       *       *

As they drew near the house, they could hear the neighing of the white

"That's a good beginning," cried Hansei.

The grandmother placed the child on the ground, and got her hymn-book
out of the chest. Pressing the book against her breast with both hands,
she went into the house, being the first to enter. Hansei, who was
standing near the stable, took a piece of chalk from his pocket and
wrote the letters C.M.B., and the date, on the stable door. Then he too
went into the house,--his wife, Irma, and the child following him.

Before going into the sitting-room the grandmother knocked thrice at the
door. When she had entered she placed the open hymn-book upon the open
window-sill, so that the sun might read in it. There were no tables or
chairs in the room.

Hansei shook hands with his wife and said, "God be with you,
freeholder's wife."

From that moment Walpurga was known as the "freeholder's wife," and was
never called by any other name.

And now they showed Irma her room. The view extended over meadow and
brook and the neighboring forest. She examined the room. There was
naught but a green Dutch oven and bare walls, and she had brought
nothing with her. In her paternal mansion, and at the castle, there were
chairs and tables, horses and carriages; but here--None of these
follow the dead.

Irma knelt by the window and gazed out over meadow and forest, where the
sun was now shining.

How was it yesterday--was it only yesterday when you saw the sun go

Her thoughts were confused and indistinct. She pressed her hand to her
forehead; the white handkerchief was still there. A bird looked up to
her from the meadow, and when her glance rested upon it it flew away
into the woods.

"The bird has its nest," said she to herself, "and I--"

Suddenly she drew herself up. Hansei had walked out to the grass plot in
front of Irma's window, removed the slip of the cherry-tree from his
hat, and planted it in the ground.

The grandmother stood by and said, "I trust that you'll be alive and
hearty long enough to climb this tree and gather cherries from it, and
that your children and grandchildren may do the same."

There was much to do and to set to rights in the house, and on such
occasions it usually happens that those who are dearest to one another
are as much in each other's way as closets and tables which have not yet
been placed where they belong. The best proof of the amiability of these
folks was that they assisted each other cheerfully, and indeed with
jest and song.

Walpurga moved her best furniture into Irma's room. Hansei did not
interpose a word. "Aren't you too lonely here?" asked Walpurga, after
she had arranged everything as well as possible in so short a time.

"Not at all. There is no place in all the world lonely enough for me.
You've so much to do now; don't worry about me. I must now arrange
things within myself. I see how good you and yours are; fate has
directed me kindly."

"Oh, don't talk in that way. If you hadn't given me the money, how could
we have bought the farm? This is really your own."

"Don't speak of that," said Irma, with a sudden start. "Never mention
that money to me again."

Walpurga promised, and merely added that Irma needn't be alarmed at the
old man who lived in the room above hers, and who at times would talk to
himself and make a loud noise. He was old and blind. The children teased
and worried him, but he wasn't bad and would harm no one. Walpurga
offered at all events to leave Gundel with Irma for the first night; but
Irma preferred to be alone.

"You'll stay with us, won't you?" said Walpurga hesitatingly. "You won't
have such bad thoughts again?"

"No, never. But don't talk now: my voice pains me, and so does yours
too. Good-night! leave me alone."

Irma sat by the window and gazed out into the dark night. Was it only a
day since she had passed through such terrors? Suddenly she sprang from
her seat with a shudder. She had seen Black Esther's head rising out of
the darkness, had again heard her dying shriek, had beheld the distorted
face and the wild black tresses.--Her hair stood on end. Her thoughts
carried her to the bottom of the lake, where she now lay dead. She
opened the window and inhaled the soft, balmy air. She sat by the open
casement for a long while, and suddenly heard some one laughing in the
room above her.

"Ha! ha! I won't do you the favor! I won't die! I won't die! Pooh, pooh!
I'll live till I'm a hundred years old, and then I'll get a new lease
of life."

It was the old pensioner. After a while he continued:--

"I'm not so stupid; I know that it's night now, and the freeholder and
his wife are come. I'll give them lots of trouble. I'm Jochem. Jochem's
my name, and what the people don't like, I do for spite. Ha! ha! I don't
use any light, and they must make me an allowance for that. I'll insist
on it, if I have to go to the King himself about it."

Irma started when she heard the King mentioned.

"Yes, I'll go to the King, to the King! to the King!" cried the old man
overhead, as if he knew that the word tortured Irma.

She heard him close the window and move a chair. The old man went to

Irma looked out into the dark night. Not a star was to be seen. There
was no light anywhere; nothing was heard but the roaring of the mountain
stream and the rustling of the trees. The night seemed like a
dark abyss.

"Are you still awake?" asked a soft voice without. It was the

"I was once a servant at this farm," said she. "That was forty years
ago; and now I'm the mother of the freeholder's wife, and almost the
head one on the farm. But I keep thinking of you all the time. I keep
trying to think how it is in your heart. I've something to tell you.
Come out again. I'll take you where it'll do you good to be. Come!"

Irma went out into the dark night with the old woman. How different this
guide from the one she had had the day before!

The old woman led her to the fountain. She had brought a cup with her
and gave it to Irma. "Come, drink; good cold water's the best. Water
comforts the body; it cools and quiets us; it's like bathing one's soul.
I know what sorrow is too. One's insides burn as if they were afire."

Irma drank some of the water of the mountain spring. It seemed like a
healing dew, whose influence was diffused through her whole frame.

The grandmother led her back to her room and said, "You've still got
the shirt on that you wore at the palace. You'll never stop thinking of
that place till you've burned that shirt."

The old woman would listen to no denial, and Irma was as docile as a
little child. The grandmother hurried to get a coarse shirt for her, and
after Irma had put it on, brought wood and a light and burnt the other
at the open fire. Irma was also obliged to cut off her long nails and
throw them into the fire. Then Beate disappeared for a few moments, and
returned with Irma's riding-habit. "You must have been shot; for there
are balls in this," said she, spreading out the long blue habit.

A smile passed over Irma's face, as she felt the balls that had been
sewed into the lower part of the habit, so that it might hang more
gracefully. Beate had also brought something very useful,--a deerskin.
"Hansei sends you this," said she. "He thinks that maybe you're used to
having something soft for your feet to rest on. He shot the
deer himself."

Irma appreciated the kindness of the man who could show such affection
to one who was both a stranger and a mystery to him.

The grandmother remained at Irma's bedside until she fell asleep. Then
she breathed thrice on the sleeper and left the room.

It was late at night when Irma awoke.

"To the King! to the King! to the King!" The words had been uttered
thrice in a loud voice. Was it hers, or that of the man overhead? Irma
pressed her hand to her forehead and felt the bandage. Was it sea-grass
that had gathered there? Was she lying alive at the bottom of the lake?
Gradually all that had happened became clear to her.

Alone, in the dark and silent night, she wept. And these were the first
tears she had shed since the terrible events through which she
had passed.

It was evening when Irma awoke. She put her hand to her forehead. A wet
cloth had been bound round it. She had been sleeping nearly twenty-four
hours. The grandmother was sitting by her bed.

"You've a strong constitution," said the old woman, "and that helped
you. It's all right now."

Irma arose. She felt strong, and guided by the grandmother, walked over
to the dwelling-house.

"God be praised that you're well again," said Walpurga, who was
standing there with her husband; and Hansei added, "yes, that's right."

Irma thanked them, and looked up at the gable of the house. What words
there met her eye?

"Don't you think the house has a good motto written on its forehead?"
asked Hansei.

Irma started. On the gable of the house she read the following


Translation of S.A. Stern.


From 'On the Heights'

Gunther continued, "I am only a physician, who has held many a hand hot
with fever or stiff in death in his own. The healing art might serve as
an illustration. We help all who need our help, and do not stop to ask
who they are, whence they come, or whether when restored to health they
persist in their evil courses. Our actions are incomplete, fragmentary;
thought alone is complete and all-embracing. Our deeds and ourselves are
but fragments--the whole is God."

"I think I grasp your meaning [replied the Queen]. But our life, as you
say, is indeed a mere fraction of life as a whole; and how is each one
to bear up under the portion of suffering that falls to his individual
lot? Can one--I mean it in its best sense--always be outside of
one's self?"

"I am well aware, your Majesty, that passions and emotions cannot be
regulated by ideas; for they grow in a different soil, or, to express
myself correctly, move in entirely different spheres. It is but a few
days since I closed the eyes of my old friend Eberhard. Even he never
fully succeeded in subordinating his temperament to his philosophy; but
in his dying hour he rose beyond the terrible grief that broke his
heart--grief for his child. He summoned the thoughts of better hours to
his aid,--hours when his perception of the truth had been undimmed by
sorrow or passion,--and he died a noble, peaceful death. Your Majesty
must still live and labor, elevating yourself and others, at one and the
same time. Permit me to remind you of the moment when, seated under the
weeping ash, your heart was filled with pity for the poor child that
from the time it enters into the world is doubly helpless. Do you still
remember how you refused to rob it of its mother? I appeal to the pure
and genuine impulse of that moment. You were noble and forgiving then,
because you had not yet suffered. You cast no stone at the fallen; you
loved, and therefore you forgave."

"O God!" cried the Queen, "and what has happened to me? The woman on
whose bosom my child rested is the most abandoned of creatures. I loved
her just as if she belonged to another world--a world of innocence. And
now I am satisfied that she was the go-between, and that her naïveté was
a mere mask concealing an unparalleled hypocrite. I imagined that truth
and purity still dwelt in the simple rustic world--but everything is
perverted and corrupt. The world of simplicity is base; aye, far worse
than that of corruption!"

"I am not arguing about individuals. I think you mistaken in regard to
Walpurga; but admitting that you are right, of this at least we can be
sure: morality does not depend upon so-called education or ignorance,
belief or unbelief. The heart and mind which have regained purity and
steadfastness alone possess true knowledge. Extend your view beyond
details and take in the whole--that alone can comfort and
reconcile you."

"I see where you are, but I cannot get up there. I can't always be
looking through your telescope that shows naught but blue sky. I am too
weak. I know what you mean; you say in effect, 'Rise above these few
people, above this span of space known as a kingdom: compared with the
universe, they are but as so many blades of grass or a mere clod
of earth.'"

Gunther nodded a pleased assent: but the Queen, in a sad voice, added:--

"Yes, but this space and these people constitute my world. Is purity
merely imaginary? If it be not about us, where can it be found?"

"Within ourselves," replied Gunther. "If it dwell within us, it is
everywhere; if not, it is nowhere. He who asks for more has not yet
passed the threshold. His heart is not yet what it should be. True love
for the things of this earth, and for God, the final cause of all, does
not ask for love in return. We love the divine spark that dwells in
creatures themselves unconscious of it: creatures who are wretched,
debased, and as the church has it, unredeemed. My Master taught me that
the purest joys arise from this love of God or of eternally pure nature.
I made this truth my own, and you can and ought to do likewise. This
park is yours; but the birds that dwell in it, the air, the light, its
beauty, are not yours alone, but are shared with you by all. So long as
the world is ours, in the vulgar sense of the word, we may love it; but
when we have made it our own, in a purer and better sense, no one can
take it from us. The great thing is to be strong and to know that hatred
is death, that love alone is life, and that the amount of love that we
possess is the measure of the life and the divinity that dwells
within us."

Gunther rose and was about to withdraw. He feared lest excessive thought
might over-agitate the Queen, who, however, motioned him to remain. He
sat down again.

"You cannot imagine--" said the Queen after a long pause, "--but that is
one of the cant phrases that we have learned by heart. I mean just the
reverse of what I have said. You can imagine the change that your words
have effected in me."

"I can conceive it."

"Let me ask a few more questions. I believe--nay, I am sure--that on the
height you occupy, and toward which you would fain lead me, there dwells
eternal peace. But it seems so cold and lonely up there. I am oppressed
with a sense of fear, just as if I were in a balloon ascending into a
rarer atmosphere, while more and more ballast was ever being thrown out.
I don't know how to make my meaning clear to you. I don't understand how
to keep up affectionate relations with those about me, and yet regard
them from a distance, as it were,--looking upon their deeds as the mere
action and reaction of natural forces. It seems to me as if, at that
height, every sound and every image must vanish into thin air."

"Certainly, your Majesty. There is a realm of thought in which hearing
and sight do not exist, where there is pure thought and nothing more."

"But are not the thoughts that there abound projected from the realm of
death into that of life, and is that any better than monastic

"It is just the contrary. They praise death, or at all events extol it,
because after it life is to begin. I am not one of those who deny a
future life. I only say, in the words of my Master, 'Our knowledge is of
life and not of death,' and where my knowledge ceases my thoughts must
cease. Our labors, our love, are all of this life. And because God is in
this world and in all that exist in it, and only in those things, have
we to liberate the divine essence wherever it exists. The law of love
should rule. What the law of nature is in regard to matter, the moral
law is to man."

"I cannot reconcile myself to your dividing the divine power into
millions of parts. When a stone is crushed, every fragment still remains
a stone; but when a flower is torn to pieces, the parts are no
longer flowers."

"Let us take your simile as an illustration, although in truth no
example is adequate. The world, the firmament, the creatures that live
on the face of the earth, are not divided--they are one; thought regards
them as a whole. Take for instance the flower. The idea of divinity
which it suggests to us, and the fragrance which ascends from it, are
yet part and parcel of the flower; attributes without which it is
impossible for us to conceive of its existence. The works of all poets,
all thinkers, all heroes, may be likened to streams of fragrance wafted
through time and space. It is in the flower that they live forever.
Although the eternal spirit dwells in the cell of every tree or flower
and in every human heart, it is undivided and in its unity fills the
world. He whose thoughts dwell in the infinite regards the world as the
mighty corolla from which the thought of God exhales."

Translation of S.A. Stern.


From 'On the Heights'

Yesterday was a year since I lay at the foot of the rock. I could not
write a word. My brain whirled with the thoughts of that day; but now
it is over.

       *       *       *       *       *

I don't think I shall write much more. I have now experienced all the
seasons in my new world. The circle is complete. There is nothing new
to come from without. I know all that exists about me, or that can
happen. I am at home in my new world.

       *       *       *       *       *

Unto Jesus the Scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who was to be
stoned to death, and He said unto them, "Let him that is without sin
among you cast the first stone."

Thus it is written.

But I ask: How did she continue to live--she who was saved from being
stoned to death; she who was pardoned--that is, condemned to live? How
did she live on? Did she return to her home? How did she stand with the
world? And how with her own heart?

No answer. None.

I must find the answer in my own experience

       *       *       *       *       *

"Let him that is without sin among you cast the first stone." These are
the noblest, the greatest words ever uttered by human lips, or heard by
human ear. They divide the history of the human race into two parts.
They are the "Let there be light" of the second creation. They divide
and heal my little life too, and create me anew.

Has one who is not wholly without sin a right to offer precepts and
reflections to others?

Look into your own heart. What are you?

Behold my hands. They are hardened by toil. I have done more than merely
lift them in prayer.

       *       *       *       *       *

Since I am alone I have not seen a letter of print. I have no book and
wish for none; and this is not in order to mortify myself, but because I
wish to be perfectly alone.

       *       *       *       *       *

She who renounces the world, and in her loneliness still cherishes the
thought of eternity, has assumed a heavy burden.

Convent life is not without its advantages. The different voices that
join in the _chorale_ sustain each other; and when the tone at last
ceases, it seems to float away on the air and vanish by degrees. But
here I am quite alone. I am priest and church, organ and congregation,
confessor and penitent, all in one; and my heart is often _so_ heavy, as
if I must needs have another to help me bear the load. "Take me up and
carry me, I cannot go further!" cries my soul. But then I rouse myself
again, seize my scrip and my pilgrim's staff and wander on, solitary and
alone; and while I wander, strength returns to me.

       *       *       *       *       *

It often seems to me as if it were sinful thus to bury myself alive. My
voice is no longer heard in song, and much more that dwells within me
has become mute.

Is this right?

If my only object in life were to be at peace with myself, it would be
well enough; but I long to labor and to do something for others. Yet
where and what shall it be?

       *       *       *       *       *

When I first heard that the beautifully carved furniture of the great
and wealthy is the work of prisoners, it made me shudder. And now,
although I am not deprived of freedom, I am in much the same condition.
Those who have disfigured life should, as an act of expiation, help to
make life more beautiful for others. The thought that I am doing this
comforts and sustains me.

       *       *       *       *       *

My work prospers. But last winter's wood is not yet fit for use. My
little pitchman has brought me some that is old, excellent, and well
seasoned, having been part of the rafters of an old house that has just
been torn down. We work together cheerfully, and our earnings are

       *       *       *       *       *

Vice is the same everywhere, except that here it is more open. Among the
masses, vice is characterized by coarseness; among the upper classes,
by meanness.

The latter shake off the consequences of their evil deeds, while the
former are obliged to bear them.

       *       *       *       *       *

The rude manners of these people are necessary, and are far preferable
to polite deceit. They must needs be rough and rude. If it were not for
its coarse, thick bark, the oak could not withstand the storm.

I have found that this rough bark covers more tenderness and sincerity
than does the smoothest surface.

       *       *       *       *       *

Jochem told me, to-day, that he is still quite a good walker, but that a
blind man finds it very troublesome to go anywhere; for at every step he
is obliged to grope about, so that he may feel sure of his ground before
he firmly plants his foot on the earth.

Is it not the same with me? Am I not obliged to be sure of the ground
before I take a step?

Such is the way of the fallen.

Ah! why does everything I see or hear become a symbol of my life?

       *       *       *       *       *

I have now been here between two and three years. I have formed a
resolve which it will be difficult to carry out. I shall go out into the
world once more. I must again behold the scenes of my past life. I have
tested myself severely.

May it not be a love of adventure, that genteel yet vulgar desire to
undertake what is unusual or fraught with peril? Or is it a morbid
desire to wander through the world after having died, as it were?

No; far from it. What can it be? An intense longing to roam again, if it
be only for a few days. I must kill the desire, lest it kill me.

Whence arises this sudden longing?

Every tool that I use while at work burns my hand.

I must go.

I shall obey the impulse, without worrying myself with speculations as
to its cause. I am subject to the rules of no order. My will is my only
law. I harm no one by obeying it. I feel myself free; the world has no
power over me.

I dreaded informing Walpurga of my intention. When I did so, her tone,
her words, her whole manner, and the fact that she for the first time
called me "child," made it seem as if her mother were still speaking
to me.

"Child," said she, "you're right! Go! It'll do you good. I believe that
you'll come back and will stay with us; but if you don't, and another
life opens up to you--your expiation has been a bitter one, far heavier
than your sin."

Uncle Peter was quite happy when he learned that we were to be gone
from one Sunday to the Sunday following. When I asked him whether he was
curious as to where we were going, he replied:--

"It's all one to me. I'd travel over the whole world with you, wherever
you'd care to go; and if you were to drive me away, I'd follow you like
a dog and find you again."

I shall take my journal with me, and will note down every day.

       *       *       *       *       *

[By the lake.]--I find it difficult to write a word.

The threshold I am obliged to cross, in order to go out into the world,
is my own gravestone.

I am equal to it.

How pleasant it was to descend toward the valley. Uncle Peter sang; and
melodies suggested themselves to me, but I did not sing. Suddenly he
interrupted himself and said:--

"In the inns you'll be my niece, won't you?"


"But you must call me 'uncle' when we're there?"

"Of course, dear uncle."

He kept nodding to himself for the rest of the way, and was quite happy.

We reached the inn at the landing. He drank, and I drank too, from the
same glass.

"Where are you going?" asked the hostess.

"To the capital," said he, although I had not said a word to him about
it. Then he said to me in a whisper:--

"If you intend to go elsewhere, the people needn't know everything."

I let him have his own way.

I looked for the place where I had wandered at that time. There--there
was the rock--and on it a cross, bearing in golden characters the

                  HERE PERISHED


                   OF HER LIFE.

  _Traveler, pray for her and honor her memory_.

I never rightly knew why I was always dissatisfied, and yearning for
the next hour, the next day, the next year, hoping that it would bring
me that which I could not find in the present. It was not love, for love
does not satisfy. I desired to live in the passing moment, but could
not. It always seemed as if something were waiting for me without the
door, and calling me. What could it have been?

I know now; it was a desire to be at one with myself, to understand
myself. Myself in the world, and the world in me.

       *       *       *       *       *

The vain man is the loneliest of human beings. He is constantly longing
to be seen, understood, acknowledged, admired, and loved.

I could say much on the subject, for I too was once vain. It was only in
actual solitude that I conquered the loneliness of vanity. It is enough
for me that I exist.

How far removed this is from all that is mere show.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now I understand my father's last act. He did not mean to punish me. His
only desire was to arouse me; to lead me to self-consciousness; to the
knowledge which, teaching us to become different from what we are,
saves us.

       *       *       *       *       *

I understand the inscription in my father's library:--"When I am alone,
then am I least alone."

Yes; when alone, one can more perfectly lose himself in the life
universal. I have lived and have come to know the truth. I can now die.

       *       *       *       *       *

He who is at one with himself, possesses all....

I believe that I know what I have done. I have no compassion for myself.
This is my full confession.

I have sinned--not against nature, but against the world's rules. Is
that sin? Look at the tall pines in yonder forest. The higher the tree
grows, the more do the lower branches die away; and thus the tree in the
thick forest is protected and sheltered by its fellows, but can
nevertheless not perfect itself in all directions.

I desired to lead a full and complete life and yet to be in the forest,
to be in the world and yet in society. But he who means to live thus,
must remain in solitude. As soon as we become members of society, we
cease to be mere creatures of nature. Nature and morality have equal
rights, and must form a compact with each other; and where there are two
powers with equal rights, there must be mutual concessions.

Herein lies my sin.

_He who desires to live a life of nature alone, must withdraw himself
from the protection of morality. I did not fully desire either the one
or the other; hence I was crushed and shattered_.

My father's last action was right. He avenged the moral law, which is
just as human as the law of nature. The animal world knows neither
father nor mother, so soon as the young is able to take care of itself.
The human world does know them and must hold them sacred.

I see it all quite clearly. My sufferings and my expiation are deserved.
I was a thief! I stole the highest treasures of all: confidence, love,
honor, respect, splendor.

How noble and exalted the tender souls appear to themselves when a poor
rogue is sent to jail for having committed a theft! But what are all
possessions which can be carried away, when compared with those that are

Those who are summoned to the bar of justice are not always the basest
of mankind.

I acknowledge my sin, and my repentance is sincere.

My fatal sin, the sin for which I now atone, was that I dissembled, that
I denied and extenuated that which I represented to myself as a natural
right. Against the Queen I have sinned worst of all. To me she
represents that moral order which I violated and yet wished to enjoy.

To you, O Queen, to you--lovely, good, and deeply injured one--do I
confess all this!

If I die before you,--and I hope that I may,--these pages are to be
given to you.

       *       *       *       *       *

I can now accurately tell the season of the year, and often the hour of
the day, by the way in which the first sunbeams fall into my room and on
my work-bench in the morning. My chisel hangs before me on the wall, and
is my index.

The drizzling spring showers now fall on the trees; and thus it is with
me. It seems as if there were a new delight in store for me. What can it
be? I shall patiently wait!

       *       *       *       *       *

A strange feeling comes over me, as if I were lifted up from the chair
on which I am sitting, and were flying, I know not whither! What is it?
I feel as if dwelling in eternity.

Everything seems flying toward me: the sunlight and the sunshine, the
rustling of the forests and the forest breezes, beings of all ages and
of all kinds--all seem beautiful and rendered transparent by the
sun's glow.

I am!

I am in God!

If I could only die now and be wafted through this joy to dissolution
and redemption!

But I will live on until my hour comes.

Come, thou dark hour, whenever thou wilt! To me thou art light!

I feel that there is light within me. O Eternal Spirit of the universe,
I am one with thee!

I was dead, and I live--I shall die and yet live.

Everything has been forgiven and blotted out.--There was dust on my
wings.--I soar aloft into the sun and into infinite space. I shall die
singing from the fullness of my soul. Shall I sing!


       *       *       *       *       *

I know that I shall again be gloomy and depressed and drag along a weary
existence; but I have once soared into infinity and have felt a ray of
eternity within me. That I shall never lose again. I should like to go
to a convent, to some quiet, cloistered cell, where I might know nothing
of the world, and could live on within myself until death shall call me.
But it is not to be. I am destined to live on in freedom and to labor;
to live with my fellow-beings and to work for them.

The results of my handiwork and of my powers of imagination belong to
you; but what I am within myself is mine alone.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have taken leave of everything here; of my quiet room, of my summer
bench; for I know not whether I shall ever return. And if I do, who
knows but what everything may have become strange to me?

       *       *       *       *       *

(Last page written in pencil.)--It is my wish that when I am dead, I may
be wrapped in a simple linen cloth, placed in a rough unplaned coffin,
and buried under the apple-tree, on the road that leads to my paternal
mansion. I desire that my brother and other relatives may be apprised of
my death at once, and that they shall not disturb my grave by
the wayside.

No stone, no name, is to mark my grave.



As an observer of society, a satirist, and a painter of types and
characters of modern life, Émile Augier ranks among the greatest French
dramatists of this century. Critics consider him in the line of direct
descent from Molière and Beaumarchais. His collected works ('Theatre
Complet') number twenty-seven plays, of which nine are in verse. Eight
of these were written with a literary partner. Three are now called
classics: 'Le Gendre de M. Poirier' (M. Poirier's Son-in-Law),
'L'Aventurière' (The Adventuress), and 'Fils de Giboyer' (Giboyer's
Boy). 'Le Gendre de M. Poirier' was written with Jules Sandeau, but the
admirers of Augier have proved by internal evidence that his share in
its composition was the greater. It is a comedy of manners based on the
old antagonism between vulgar ignorant energy and ability on the one
side, and lazy empty birth and breeding on the other; embodied in
Poirier, a wealthy shopkeeper, and M. de Presles, his son-in-law, an
impoverished nobleman. Guillaume Victor Émile Augier was born in
Valence, France, September 17th, 1820, and was intended for the law; but
inheriting literary tastes from his grandfather, Pigault Lebrun the
romance writer, he devoted himself to letters. When his first play, 'La
Ciguë' (The Hemlock),--in the preface to which he defended his
grandfather's memory,--was presented at the Odéon in 1844, it made the
author famous. Théophile Gautier describes it at length in Vol. iii. of
his 'Art Dramatique,' and compares it to Shakespeare's 'Timon of
Athens.' It is a classic play, and the hero closes his career by a
draught of hemlock.

Augier's works are:--'Un Homme de Bien' (A Good Man); 'L'Aventurière'
(The Adventuress); 'Gabrielle'; 'Le Joueur de Flute' (The Flute Player);
'Diane' (Diana), a romantic play on the same theme as Victor Hugo's
'Marion Delorme,' written for and played by Rachel; 'La Pierre de
Touche' (The Touchstone), with Jules Sandeau; 'Philberte,' a comedy of
the last century; 'Le Mariage d'Olympe' (Olympia's Marriage); 'Le Gendre
de M. Poirier' (M. Poirier's Son-in-Law); 'Ceinture Dorée' (The Golden
Belt), with Edouard Foussier; 'La Jeunesse' (Youth); 'Les Lionnes
Pauvres' (Ambition and Poverty),--a bold story of social life in Paris
during the Second Empire, also with Foussier; 'Les Effrontés' (Brass),
an attack on the worship of money; 'Le Fils de Giboyer' (Giboyer's Boy),
the story of a father's devotion, ambitions, and self-sacrifice; 'Maître
Guérin' (Guérin the Notary), the hero being an inventor; 'La Contagion'
(Contagion), the theme of which is skepticism; 'Paul Forestier,' the
story of a young artist; 'Le Post-Scriptum' (The Postscript); 'Lions et
Renards' (Lions and Foxes), whose motive is love of power; 'Jean
Thommeray,' the hero of which is drawn from Sandeau's novel of the same
title; 'Madame Caverlet,' hinging on the divorce question; 'Les
Fourchambault' (The Fourchambaults), a plea for family union; 'La Chasse
au Roman' (Pursuit of a Romance), and 'L'Habit Vert' (The Green Coat),
with Sandeau and Alfred de Musset; and the libretto for Gounod's opera
'Sappho.' Augier wrote one volume of verse, which he modestly called
'Pariétaire,' the name of a common little vine, the English danewort. In
1858 he was elected to the French Academy, and in 1868 became a
Commander of the Legion of Honor. He died at Croissy, October 25th,
1889. An analysis of his dramas by Émile Montégut is published in the
Revue de Deux Mondes for April, 1878.


From 'Giboyer's Boy'

_Marquis_--Well, dear Baroness, what has an old bachelor like me done to
deserve so charming a visit?

_Baroness_--That's what I wonder myself, Marquis. Now I see you I don't
know why I've come, and I've a great mind to go straight back.

_Marquis_--Sit down, vexatious one!

_Baroness_--No. So you close your door for a week; your servants all
look tragic; your friends put on mourning in anticipation; I,
disconsolate, come to inquire--and behold, I find you at table!

_Marquis_--I'm an old flirt, and wouldn't show myself for an empire when
I'm in a bad temper. You wouldn't recognize your agreeable friend when
he has the gout;--that's why I hide.

_Baroness_--I shall rush off to reassure your friend.

_Marquis_--They are not so anxious as all that. Tell me something of

_Baroness_--But somebody's waiting in my carriage.

_Marquis_--I'll send to ask him up.

_Baroness_--But I'm not sure that you know him.

_Marquis_--His name?

_Baroness_--I met him by chance.

_Marquis_--And you brought him by chance. [_He rings_.] You are a mother
to me. [_To Dubois_.] You will find an ecclesiastic in Madame's
carriage. Tell him I'm much obliged for his kind alacrity, but I think I
won't die this morning.

_Baroness_--O Marquis! what would our friends say if they heard you?

_Marquis_--Bah! I'm the black sheep of the party, its spoiled child;
that's taken for granted. Dubois, you may say also that Madame begs the
Abbé to drive home, and to send her carriage back for her.

_Baroness_--Allow me--

_Marquis_--Go along, Dubois.--Now you are my prisoner.

_Baroness_--But, Marquis, this is very unconventional.

_Marquis [kissing her hand_]--Flatterer! Now sit down, and let's talk
about serious things. _[Taking a newspaper from the table_.] The gout
hasn't kept me from reading the news. Do you know that poor Déodat's
death is a serious mishap?

_Baroness_--What a loss to our cause!

_Marquis_--I have wept for him.

_Baroness_--Such talent! Such spirit! Such sarcasm!

_Marquis_--He was the hussar of orthodoxy. He will live in history as
the angelic pamphleteer. And now that we have settled his noble ghost--

_Baroness_--You speak very lightly about it, Marquis.

_Marquis_--I tell you I've wept for him.--Now let's think of some one to
replace him.

_Baroness_--Say to succeed him. Heaven doesn't create two such men at
the same time.

_Marquis_--What if I tell you that I have found such another? Yes,
Baroness, I've unearthed a wicked, cynical, virulent pen, that spits and
splashes; a fellow who would lard his own father with epigrams for a
consideration, and who would eat him with salt for five francs more.

_Baroness_--Déodat had sincere convictions.

_Marquis_--That's because he fought for them. There are no more
mercenaries. The blows they get convince them. I'll give this fellow a
week to belong to us body and soul.

_Baroness_--If you haven't any other proofs of his faithfulness--

_Marquis_--But I have.

_Baroness_--Where from?

_Marquis_--Never mind. I have it.

_Baroness_--And why do you wait before presenting him?

_Marquis_--For him in the first place, and then for his consent. He
lives in Lyons, and I expect him to-day or to-morrow. As soon as he is
presentable, I'll introduce him.

_Baroness_--Meanwhile, I'll tell the committee of your find.

_Marquis_--I beg you, no. With regard to the committee, dear Baroness, I
wish you'd use your influence in a matter which touches me.

_Baroness_--I have not much influence--

_Marquis_--Is that modesty, or the exordium of a refusal?

_Baroness_--If either, it's modesty.

_Marquis_--Very well, my charming friend. Don't you know that these
gentlemen owe you too much to refuse you anything?

_Baroness_--Because they meet in my parlor?

_Marquis_--That, yes; but the true, great, inestimable service you
render every day is to possess such superb eyes.

_Baroness_--It's well for you to pay attention to such things!

_Marquis_--Well for me, but better for these Solons whose compliments
don't exceed a certain romantic intensity.

_Baroness_--You are dreaming.

_Marquis_--What I say is true. That's why serious societies always rally
in the parlor of a woman, sometimes clever, sometimes beautiful. You are
both, Madame: judge then of your power!

_Baroness_--You are too complimentary: your cause must be detestable.

_Marquis_--If it was good I could win it for myself.

_Baroness_--Come, tell me, tell me.

_Marquis_--Well, then: we must choose an orator to the Chamber for our
Campaign against the University. I want them to choose--

_Baroness_--Monsieur Maréchal?

_Marquis_--You are right.

_Baroness_--Do you really think so, Marquis? Monsieur Maréchal?

_Marquis_--Yes, I know. But we don't need a bolt of eloquence, since
we'll furnish the address. Maréchal reads well enough, I assure you.

_Baroness_--We made him deputy on your recommendation. That was a good

_Marquis_--Maréchal is an excellent recruit.

_Baroness_--So you say.

_Marquis_--How disgusted you are! An old subscriber to the
Constitutionnel, a liberal, a Voltairean, who comes over to the enemy
bag and baggage. What would you have? Monsieur Maréchal is not a man, my
dear: it's the stout _bourgeoisie_ itself coming over to us. I love this
honest _bourgeoisie_, which hates the revolution, since there is no more
to be gotten out of it; which wants to stem the tide which brought it,
and make over a little feudal France to its own profit. Let it draw our
chestnuts from the fire if it wants to. This pleasant sight makes me
enjoy politics. Long live Monsieur Maréchal and his likes, _bourgeois_
of the right divine. Let us heap these precious allies with honor and
glory until our triumph ships them off to their mills again.

_Baroness_--Several of our deputies are birds of the same feather. Why
choose the least capable for orator?

_Marquis_--It's not a question of capacity.

_Baroness_--You're a warm patron of Monsieur Maréchal!

_Marquis_--I regard him as a kind of family protégé. His grandfather was
farmer to mine. I'm his daughter's guardian. These are bonds.

_Baroness_--You don't tell everything.

_Marquis_--All that I know.

_Baroness_--Then let me complete your information. They say that in old
times you fell in love with the first Madame Maréchal.

_Marquis_--I hope you don't believe this silly story?

_Baroness_--Faith, you do so much to please Monsieur Maréchal--

_Marquis_--That it seems as if I must have injured him? Good heavens!
Who is safe from malice? Nobody. Not even you, dear Baroness.

_Baroness_--I'd like to know what they can say of me.

_Marquis_--Foolish things that I certainly won't repeat.

_Baroness_--Then you believe them?

_Marquis_--God forbid! That your dead husband married his mother's
companion? It made me so angry!

_Baroness_--Too much honor for such wretched gossip.

_Marquis_--I answered strongly enough, I can tell you.

_Baroness_--I don't doubt it.

_Marquis_--But you are right in wanting to marry again.

_Baroness_--Who says I want to?

_Marquis_--Ah! you don't treat me as a friend. I deserve your confidence
all the more for understanding you as if you had given it. The aid of a
sorcerer is not to be despised, Baroness.

_Baroness_ [_sitting down by the table_]--Prove your sorcery.

_Marquis_ [_sitting down opposite_]--Willingly! Give me your hand.

_Baroness_ [_removing her glove_]--You'll give it back again.

_Marquis_--And help you dispose of it, which is more. [_Examining her
hand_.] You are beautiful, rich, and a widow.

_Baroness_--I could believe myself at Mademoiselle Lenormand's!

_Marquis_--While it is so easy, not to say tempting, for you to lead a
brilliant, frivolous life, you have chosen a rôle almost austere with
its irreproachable morals.

_Baroness_--If it was a rôle, you'll admit that it was much like a

_Marquis_--Not for you.

_Baroness_--What do you know about it?

_Marquis_--I read it in your hand. I even see that the contrary would
cost you more, for nature has gifted your heart with unalterable

_Baroness_ [_drawing away her hand_]--Say at once that I'm a monster.

_Marquis_--Time enough! The credulous think you a saint; the skeptics
say you desire power; I, Guy François Condorier, Marquis d'Auberive,
think you a clever little German, trying to build a throne for yourself
in the Faubourg Saint-Germain. You have conquered the men, but the women
resist you: your reputation offends them; and for want of a better
weapon they use this miserable rumor I've just repeated. In short, your
flag's inadequate and you're looking for a larger one. Henry IV. said
that Paris was worth a mass. You think so too.

_Baroness_--They say sleep-walkers shouldn't be contradicted. However,
do let me say that if I really wanted a husband--with my money and my
social position, I might already have found twenty.

_Marquis_--Twenty, yes; but not one. You forget this little devil of a

_Baroness [rising]_--Only fools believe that.

_Marquis [rising]_--There's the _hic_. It's only very clever men, too
clever, who court you, and you want a fool.


_Marquis_--Because you don't want a master. You want a husband whom you
can keep in your parlor, like a family portrait, nothing more.

_Baroness_--Have you finished, dear diviner? What you have just said
lacks common-sense, but you are amusing, and I can refuse you nothing.

_Marquis_--Maréchal shall have the oration?

_Baroness_--Or I'll lose my name.

_Marquis_--And you _shall_ lose your name--I promise you.


From 'The Adventuress'

_Clorinde_ [_softly_]--Here's Célie. Look at her clear eyes. I love her,
innocent child!

_Annibal_--Yes, yes, yes! [_He sits down in a corner._]

_Clorinde_ [_approaching Célie, who has paused in the doorway_]--My
child, you would not avoid me to-day if you knew how happy you make me!

_Célie_--My father has ordered me to come to you.

_Clorinde_--Ordered you? Did you need an order? Are we really on such
terms? Tell me, do you think I do not love you, that you should look
upon me as your enemy? Dear, if you could read my heart you would find
there the tenderest attachment.

_Célie_--I do not know whether you are sincere, Madame. I hope that you
are not, for it distresses one to be loved by those--

_Clorinde_--Whom one does not love? They must have painted me black
indeed, that you are so reluctant to believe in my friendship.

_Célie_--They have told me--what I have heard, thanks to you, Madame,
was not fit for my young ears. This interview is cruel--Please let me--

_Clorinde_--No, no! Stay, Mademoiselle. For this interview, painful to
us both, nevertheless concerns us both.

_Célie_--I am not your judge, Madame.

_Clorinde_--Nevertheless you do judge me, and severely! Yes, my life has
been blameworthy; I confess it. But you know nothing of its temptations.
How should you know, sweet soul, to whom life is happy and goodness
easy? Child, you have your family to guard you. You have happiness to
keep watch and ward for you. How should you know what poverty whispers
to young ears on cold evenings! You, who have never been hungry, how
should you understand the price that is asked for a mouthful of bread?

_Célie_--I don't know the pleadings of poverty, but one need not listen
to them. There are many poor girls who go hungry and cold and keep
from harm.

_Clorinde_--Child, their courage is sublime. Honor them if you will, but
pity the cowards.

_Célie_--Yes, for choosing infamy rather than work, hunger, or death!
Yes, for losing the respect of all honest souls! Yes, I can pity them
for not being worthier of pity.

_Clorinde_--So that's your Christian charity! So nothing in the
world--bitter repentance or agonies of suffering, or vows of sanctity
for all time to come--may obliterate the past?

_Célie_--You force me to speak without knowledge. But--since I must give
judgment--who really hates a fault will hate the fruit of it. If you
keep this place, Madame, you will not expect me to believe in the
genuineness of your renunciations.

_Clorinde_--I do not dishonor it. There is no reason why I should leave
it. I have already proved my sincerity by high-minded and generous acts.
I bear myself as my place demands. My conscience is at rest.

_Célie_--Your good action--for I believe you--is only the beginning of
expiation. Virtue seems to me like a holy temple. You may leave it by a
door with a single step, but to enter again you must climb up a hundred
on your knees, beating your breast.

_Clorinde_--How rigid you all are, and how your parents train their
first-born never to open the ranks! Oh, fortunate race! impenetrable
phalanx of respectability, who make it impossible for the sinner to
reform! You keep the way of repentance so rough that the foot of poor
humanity cannot tread it. God will demand from you the lost souls whom
your hardness has driven back to sin.

_Célie_--God, do you say? When good people forgive they betray his
justice. For punishment is not retribution only, but the acknowledgment
and recompense of those fighting ones that brave hunger and cold in a
garret, Madame, yet do not surrender.

_Clorinde_--Go, child! I cannot bear more--

_Célie_--I have said more than I meant to say. Good-by. This is the
first and last time that I shall ever speak of this.

[_She goes_.]


From 'M. Poirier's Son-in-Law'

[_The party are leaving the dining-room._]

_Gaston_--Well, Hector! What do you think of it? The house is just as
you see it now, every day in the year. Do you believe there is a happier
man in the world than I?

_Duke_--Faith! I envy you; you reconcile me to marriage.

_Antoinette_ [_in a low voice to Verdelet_]--Monsieur de Montmeyran is a
charming young man!

_Verdelet_ [_in a low voice_]--He pleases me.

_Gaston_ [_to Poirier, who comes in last_]--Monsieur Poirier, I must
tell you once for all how much I esteem you. Don't think I'm ungrateful.

_Poirier_--Oh! Monsieur!

_Gaston_--Why the devil don't you call me Gaston? And you, too, dear
Monsieur Verdelet, I'm very glad to see you.

_Antoinette_--He is one of the family, Gaston.

_Gaston_--Shake hands then, Uncle.

_Verdelet_ [_aside, giving him his hand_]--He's not a bad fellow.

_Gaston_--Agree, Hector, that I've been lucky. Monsieur Poirier, I feel
guilty. You make my life one long fête and never give me a chance in
return. Try to think of something I can do for you.

_Poirier_--Very well, if that's the way you feel, give me a quarter of
an hour. I should like to have a serious talk with you.

_Duke_--I'll withdraw.

_Poirier_--No, stay, Monsieur. We are going to hold a kind of family
council. Neither you nor Verdelet will be in the way.

_Gaston_--The deuce, my dear father-in-law. A family council! You
embarrass me!

_Poirier_--Not at all, dear Gaston. Let us sit down.

[_They seat themselves around the fireplace_.]

_Gaston_--Begin, Monsieur Poirier.

_Poirier_--You say you are happy, dear Gaston, and that is my greatest

_Gaston_--I'm willing to double your gratification.

_Poirier_--But now that three months have been given to the joys of the
honeymoon, I think that there has been romance enough, and that it's
time to think about history.

_Gaston_--You talk like a book. Certainly, we'll think about history if
you wish. I'm willing.

_Poirier_--What do you intend to do?


_Poirier_--And to-morrow, and in the future. You must have some idea.

_Gaston_--True, my plans are made. I expect to do to-day what I did
yesterday, and to-morrow what I shall do to-day. I'm not versatile, in
spite of my light air; and if the future is only like the present I'll
be satisfied.

_Poirier_--But you are too sensible to think that the honeymoon can last

_Gaston_--Too sensible, and too good an astronomer. But you've probably
read Heine?

_Poirier_--You must have read that, Verdelet?

_Verdelet_--Yes; I've read him.

_Poirier_--Perhaps he spent his life at playing truant.

_Gaston_--Well, Heine, when he was asked what became of the old full
moons, said that they were broken up to make the stars.

_Poirier_--I don't understand.

_Gaston_--When our honeymoon is old, we'll break it up and there'll be
enough to make a whole Milky Way.

_Poirier_--That is a clever idea, of course.

_Gaston_--Its only merit is simplicity.

_Poirier_--But seriously, don't you think that the idle life you lead
may jeopardize the happiness of a young household?

_Gaston_--Not at all.

_Verdelet_--A man of your capacity can't mean to idle all his life.

_Gaston_--With resignation.

_Antoinette_--Don't you think you'll find it dull after a time, Gaston?

_Gaston_--You calumniate yourself, my dear.

_Antoinette_--I'm not vain enough to suppose that I can fill your whole
existence, and I admit that I'd like to see you follow the example of
Monsieur de Montmeyran.

_Gaston_ [_rising and leaning against the mantelpiece_]--Perhaps you
want me to fight?

_Antoinette_--No, of course not.

_Gaston_--What then?

_Poirier_--We want you to take a position worthy of your name.

_Gaston_--There are only three positions which my name permits me:
soldier, bishop, or husbandman. Choose.

_Poirier_--We owe everything to France. France is our mother.

_Verdelet_--I understand the vexation of a son whose mother remarries; I
understand why he doesn't go to the wedding: but if he has the right
kind of heart he won't turn sulky. If the second husband makes her
happy, he'll soon offer him a friendly hand.

_Poirier_--The nobility cannot always hold itself aloof, as it begins to
perceive. More than one illustrious name has set the example: Monsieur
de Valcherrière, Monsieur de Chazerolles, Monsieur de Mont Louis--

_Gaston_--These men have done as they thought best. I don't judge them,
but I cannot imitate them.

_Antoinette_--Why not, Gaston?

_Gaston_--Ask Montmeyran.

_Verdelet_--The Duke's uniform answers for him.

_Duke_--Excuse me, a soldier has but one opinion--his duty; but one
adversary--the enemy.

_Poirier_--However, Monsieur--

_Gaston_--Enough, it isn't a matter of politics, Monsieur Poirier. One
may discuss opinions, but not sentiments. I am bound by gratitude. My
fidelity is that of a servant and of a friend. Not another word. [_To
the Duke_.] I beg your pardon, my dear fellow. This is the first time
we've talked politics here, and I promise you it shall be the last.

_The Duke_ [_in a low voice to Antoinette_]--You've been forced into
making a mistake, Madame.

_Antoinette_--I know it, now that it's too late.

_Verdelet_ [_softly, to Poirier_]--Now you're in a fine fix.

_Poirier_ [_in same tone_]--He's repulsed the first assault, but I don't
raise the siege.

_Gaston_--I'm not resentful, Monsieur Poirier. Perhaps I spoke a little
too strongly, but this is a tender point with me, and unintentionally
you wounded me. Shake hands.

_Poirier_--You are very kind.

_A Servant_--There are some people in the little parlor who say they
have an appointment with Monsieur Poirier.

_Poirier_--Very well, ask them to wait a moment. [_The servant goes
out_.] Your creditors, son-in-law.

_Gaston_--Yours, my dear father-in-law. I've turned them over to you.

_Duke_--As a wedding present.


From 'M. Poirier's Son-in-Law'

_Poirier_ [_alone_]--How vexatious he is, that son-in-law of mine! and
there's no way to get rid of him. He'll die a nobleman, for he will do
nothing and he is good for nothing.--There's no end to the money he
costs me.--He is master of my house.--I'll put a stop to it. [_He rings.
Enter a servant_.] Send up the porter and the cook. We shall see my
son-in-law! I have set up my back. I've unsheathed my velvet paws. You
will make no concessions, eh, my fine gentleman? Take your comfort! I
will not yield either: you may remain marquis, and I will again become a
_bourgeois_. At least I'll have the pleasure of living to my fancy.

_The Porter_--Monsieur has sent for me?

_Poirier_--Yes, François, Monsieur has sent for you. You can put the
sign on the door at once.

_The Porter_--The sign?

_Poirier_--"To let immediately, a magnificent apartment on the first
floor, with stables and carriage houses."

_The Porter_--The apartment of Monsieur le Marquis?

_Poirier_--You have said it, François.

_The Porter_--But Monsieur le Marquis has not given the order.

_Poirier_--Who is the master here, donkey? Who owns this mansion?

_The Porter_--You, Monsieur.

_Poirier_--Then do what I tell you without arguing.

_The Porter_--Yes, Monsieur. [_Enter Vatel_.]

_Poirier_--Go, François. [_Exit Porter_.] Come in, Monsieur Vatel: you
are getting up a big dinner for to-morrow?

_Vatel_--Yes, Monsieur, and I venture to say that the menu would not be
disowned by my illustrious ancestor himself. It is really a work of art,
and Monsieur Poirier will be astonished.

_Poirier_--Have you the menu with you?

_Vatel_--No, Monsieur, it is being copied; but I know it by heart.

_Poirier_--Then recite it to me.

_Vatel_--Le potage aux ravioles à l'Italienne et le potage à l'orge à la
Marie Stuart.

_Poirier_--You will replace these unknown concoctions by a good meat
soup, with some vegetables on a plate.

_Vatel_--What, Monsieur?

_Poirier_--I mean it. Go on.

_Vatel_--Relevé. La carpe du Rhin à la Lithuanienne, les poulardes à la
Godard--le filet de boeuf braisé aux raisins à la Napolitaine, le jambon
de Westphalie, rotie madère.

_Poirier_--Here is a simpler and far more sensible fish course: brill
with caper sauce--then Bayonne ham with spinach, and a savory stew of
bird, with well-browned rabbit.

_Vatel_--But, Monsieur Poirier--I will never consent.

_Poirier_--I am master--do you hear? Go on.

_Vatel_--Entrées. Les filets de volaille à la concordat--les croustades
de truffe garniés de foies à la royale, le faison étoffe à la
Montpensier, les perdreaux rouges farcis à la bohemienne.

_Poirier_--In place of these side dishes we will have nothing at all,
and we will go at once to the roast,--that is the only essential.

_Vatel_--That is against the precepts of art.

_Poirier_--I'll take the blame of that: let us have your roasts.

_Vatel_--It is not worth while, Monsieur: my ancestor would have run his
sword through his body for a less affront. I offer my resignation.

_Poirier_--And I was about to ask for it, my good friend; but as one has
eight days to replace a servant--

_Vatel_--A servant, Monsieur? I am an artist!

_Poirier_--I will fill your place by a woman. But in the mean time, as
you still have eight days in my service, I wish you to prepare my menu.

_Vatel_--I will blow my brains out before I dishonor my name.

_Poirier_ [_aside_]--Another fellow who adores his name! [_Aloud_.] You
may burn your brains, Monsieur Vatel, but don't burn your sauces.--Well,
_bon jour_! [_Exit Vatel_.] And now to write invitations to my old
cronies of the Rue des Bourdonnais. Monsieur le Marquis de Presles, I'll
soon take the starch out of you.

[_He goes out whistling the first couplet of 'Monsieur and Madame


From 'The Fourchambaults'

_Madame Fourchambault_--Why do you follow me?

_Fourchambault_--I'm not following you: I'm accompanying you.

_Madame Fourchambault_--I despise you; let me alone. Oh! my poor mother
little thought what a life of privation would be mine when she gave me
to you with a dowry of eight hundred thousand francs!

_Fourchambault_--A life of privation--because I refuse you a yacht!

_Madame Fourchambault_--I thought my dowry permitted me to indulge a
few whims, but it seems I was wrong.

_Fourchambault_--A whim costing eight thousand francs!

_Madame Fourchambault_--Would you have to pay for it?

_Fourchambault_--That's the kind of reasoning that's ruining me.

_Madame Fourchambault_--Now he says I'm ruining him! His whole fortune
comes from me.

_Fourchambault_--Now don't get angry, my dear. I want you to have
everything in reason, but you must understand the situation.

_Madame Fourchambault_--The situation?

_Fourchambault_--I ought to be a rich man; but thanks to the continual
expenses you incur in the name of your dowry, I can barely rub along
from day to day. If there should be a sudden fall in stocks, I have no
reserve with which to meet it.

_Madame Fourchambault_--That can't be true! Tell me at once that it
isn't true, for if it were so you would be without excuse.

_Fourchambault_--I or you?

_Madame Fourchambault_--This is too much! Is it my fault that you don't
understand business? If you haven't had the wit to make the best use of
your way of living and your family connections--any one else--

_Fourchambault_--Quite likely! But I am petty enough to be a scrupulous
man, and to wish to remain one.

_Madame Fourchambault_--Pooh! That's the excuse of all the dolts who
can't succeed. They set up to be the only honest fellows in business. In
my opinion, Monsieur, a timid and mediocre man should not insist upon
remaining at the head of a bank, but should turn the position over
to his son.

_Fourchambault_--You are still harping on that? But, my dear, you might
as well bury me alive! Already I'm a mere cipher in my family.

_Madame Fourchambault_--You do not choose your time well to pose as a
victim, when like a tyrant you are refusing me a mere trifle.

_Fourchambault_--I refuse you nothing. I merely explain my position. Now
do as you like. It is useless to expostulate.

_Madame Fourchambault_--At last! But you have wounded me to the heart,
Adrien, and just when I had a surprise for you--

_Fourchambault_--What is your surprise? [_Aside_: It makes me tremble.]

_Madame Fourchambault_--Thanks to me, the Fourchambaults are going to
triumph over the Duhamels.


_Madame Fourchambault_--Madame Duhamel has been determined this long
time to marry her daughter to the son of the prefect.

_Fourchambault_--I knew it. What about it?

_Madame Fourchambault_--While she was making a goose of herself so
publicly, I was quietly negotiating, and Baron Rastiboulois is coming to
ask our daughter's hand.

_Fourchambault_--That will never do! I'm planning quite a different
match for her.

_Madame Fourchambault_--You? I should like to know--

_Fourchambault_--He's a fine fellow of our own set, who loves Blanche,
and whom she loves if I'm not mistaken.

_Madame Fourchambault_--You are entirely mistaken. You mean Victor
Chauvet, Monsieur Bernard's clerk?

_Fourchambault_--His right arm, rather. His _alter ego_.

_Madame Fourchambault_--Blanche did think of him at one time. But her
fancy was just a morning mist, which I easily dispelled. She has
forgotten all about him, and I advise you to follow her example.

_Fourchambault_--What fault can you find with this young man?

_Madame Fourchambault_--Nothing and everything. Even his name is absurd.
I never would have consented to be called Madame Chauvet, and Blanche is
as proud as I was. But that is only a detail; the truth is, I won't have
her marry a clerk.

_Fourchambault_--You won't have! You won't have! But there are two of

_Madame Fourchambault_--Are you going to portion Blanche?

_Fourchambault_--I? No.

_Madame Fourchambault_--Then you see there are not two of us. As I am
going to portion her, it is my privilege to choose my son-in-law.

_Fourchambault_--And mine to refuse him. I tell you I won't have your
little baron at any price.

_Madame Fourchambault_--Now it is your turn. What fault can you find
with him, except his title?

_Fourchambault_--He's fast, a gambler, worn out by dissipation.

_Madame Fourchambault_--Blanche likes him just as he is.

_Fourchambault_--Heavens! He's not even handsome.

_Madame Fourchambault_--What does that matter? Haven't I been the
happiest of wives?

_Fourchambault_--What? One word is as good as a hundred. I won't have
him. Blanche need not take Chauvet, but she shan't marry Rastiboulois
either. That's all I have to say.

_Madame Fourchambault_--But, Monsieur--

_Fourchambault_--That's all I have to say.

[_He goes out._]




St. Augustine of Hippo (Aurelius Augustinus) was born at Tagaste in
Numidia, November 13th, 354. The story of his life has been told by
himself in that wonderful book addressed to God which he called the
'Confessions'. He gained but little from his father Patricius; he owed
almost everything to his loving and saintly mother Monica. Though she
was a Christian, she did not venture to bring her son to baptism; and he
went away from home with only the echo of the name of Jesus Christ in
his soul, as it had been spoken by his mother's lips. He fell deeply
into the sins of youth, but found no satisfaction in them, nor was he
satisfied by the studies of literature to which for a while he devoted
himself. The reading of Cicero's 'Hortensius' partly called him back to
himself; but before he was twenty years old he was carried away into
Manichæism, a strange system of belief which united traces of Christian
teaching with Persian doctrines of two antagonistic principles,
practically two gods, a good god of the spiritual world and an evil god
of the material world. From this he passed after a while into less gross
forms of philosophical speculation, and presently began to lecture on
rhetoric at Tagaste and at Carthage. When nearly thirty years of age he
went to Rome, only to be disappointed in his hopes for glory as a
rhetorician; and after two years his mother joined him at Milan.

[Illustration: _ST. AUGUSTINE AND HIS MOTHER_. Photogravure from a
Painting by Ary Scheffer.]


The great Ambrose had been called from the magistrate's chair to be
bishop of this important city; and his character and ability made a
great impression on Augustine. But Augustine was kept from acknowledging
and submitting to the truth, not by the intellectual difficulties which
he propounded as an excuse, but by his unwillingness to submit to the
moral demands which Christianity made upon him. At last there came one
great struggle, described in a passage from the 'Confessions' which is
given below; and Monica's hopes and prayers were answered in the
conversion of her son to the faith and obedience of Jesus Christ. On
Easter Day, 387, in the thirty-third year of his life, he was baptized,
an unsubstantiated tradition assigning to this occasion the composition
and first use of the _Te Deum_. His mother died at Ostia as they were
setting out for Africa; and he returned to his native land, with the
hope that he might there live a life of retirement and of simple
Christian obedience. But this might not be: on the occasion of
Augustine's visit to Hippo in 391, the bishop of that city persuaded him
to receive ordination to the priesthood and to remain with him as an
adviser; and four years later he was consecrated as colleague or
coadjutor in the episcopate. Thus he entered on a busy public life of
thirty-five years, which called for the exercise of all his powers as a
Christian, a metaphysician, a man of letters, a theologian, an
ecclesiastic, and an administrator.

Into the details of that life it is impossible to enter here; it must
suffice to indicate some of the ways in which as a writer he gained and
still holds a high place in Western Christendom, having had an influence
which can be paralleled, from among uninspired men, only by that of
Aristotle. He maintained the unity of the Church, and its true breadth,
against the Donatists; he argued, as he so well could argue, against the
irreligion of the Manichaeans; when the great Pelagian heresy arose, he
defended the truth of the doctrine of divine grace as no one could have
done who had not learned by experience its power in the regeneration and
conversion of his own soul; he brought out from the treasures of Holy
Scripture ample lessons of truth and duty, in simple exposition and
exhortation; and in full treatises he stated and enforced the great
doctrines of Christianity.

Augustine was not alone or chiefly the stern theologian whom men picture
to themselves when they are told that he was the Calvin of those early
days, or when they read from his voluminous and often illogical writings
quotations which have a hard sound. If he taught a stern doctrine of
predestinarianism, he taught also the great power of sacramental grace;
if he dwelt at times on the awfulness of the divine justice, he spoke
also from the depths of his experience of the power of the divine love;
and his influence on the ages has been rather that of the
'Confessions'--taking their key-note from the words of the first
chapter, "Thou, O Lord, hast made us for Thyself, and our heart is
unquiet until it find rest in Thee"--than that of the writings which
have earned for their author the foremost place among the Doctors of the
Western Church. But his greatest work, without any doubt, is the
treatise on the 'City of God.' The Roman empire, as Augustine's life
passed on, was hastening to its end. Moral and political declension had
doubtless been arrested by the good influence which had been brought to
bear upon it; but it was impossible to avert its fall. "Men's hearts,"
as well among the heathen as among the Christians, were "failing them
for fear and for looking after those things that were coming on the
earth." And Christianity was called to meet the argument drawn from the
fact that the visible declension seemed to date from the time when the
new religion was introduced into the Roman world, and that the most
rapid decline had been from the time when it had been accepted as the
religion of the State. It fell to the Bishop of Hippo to write in reply
one of the greatest works ever written by a Christian. Eloquence and
learning, argument and irony, appeals to history and earnest entreaties,
are united to move enemies to acknowledge the truth and to strengthen
the faithful in maintaining it. The writer sets over against each other
the city of the world and the city of God, and in varied ways draws the
contrast between them; and while mourning over the ruin that is coming
upon the great city that had become a world-empire, he tells of the holy
beauty and enduring strength of "the city that hath the foundations."

Apart from the interest attaching to the great subjects handled by St.
Augustine in his many works, and from the literary attractions of
writings which unite high moral earnestness and the use of a cultivated
rhetorical style, his works formed a model for Latin theologians as long
as that language continued to be habitually used by Western scholars;
and to-day both the spirit and the style of the great man have a wide
influence on the devotional and the controversial style of writers on
sacred subjects.

He died at Hippo, August 28th, 430.

[Illustration: signature]

The selections are from the 'Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers,'
by permission of the Christian Literature Company.


From the 'Confessions'

Such was the story of Pontitianus: but thou, O Lord, while he was
speaking, didst turn me round towards myself, taking me from behind my
back, when I had placed myself, unwilling to observe myself; and setting
me before my face, that I might see how foul I was, how crooked and
defiled, bespotted and ulcerous. And I beheld and stood aghast; and
whither to flee from myself I found not. And if I sought to turn mine
eye from off myself, he went on with his relation, and thou didst again
set me over against myself, and thrusted me before my eyes, that I might
find out mine iniquity and hate it. I had known it, but made as though I
saw it not, winked at it, and forgot it.

But now, the more ardently I loved those whose healthful affections I
heard of, that they had resigned themselves wholly to thee to be cured,
the more did I abhor myself when compared with them. For many of my
years (some twelve) had now run out with me since my nineteenth, when,
upon the reading of Cicero's 'Hortensius,' I was stirred to an earnest
love of wisdom; and still I was deferring to reject mere earthly
felicity and to give myself to search out that, whereof not the finding
only, but the very search, was to be preferred to the treasures and
kingdoms of the world, though already found, and to the pleasures of the
body, though spread around me at my will. But I, wretched, most
wretched, in the very beginning of my early youth, had begged chastity
of thee, and said, "Give me chastity and continency, only not yet." For
I feared lest thou shouldest hear me soon, and soon cure me of the
disease of concupiscence, which I wished to have satisfied, rather than
extinguished. And I had wandered through crooked ways in a sacrilegious
superstition, not indeed assured thereof, but as preferring it to the
others which I did not seek religiously, but opposed maliciously.

But when a deep consideration had, from the secret bottom of my soul,
drawn together and heaped up all my misery in the sight of my heart,
there arose a mighty storm, bringing a mighty shower of tears. And that
I might pour it forth wholly in its natural expressions, I rose from
Alypius: solitude was suggested to me as fitter for the business of
weeping; and I retired so far that even his presence could not be a
burden to me. Thus was it then with me, and he perceived something of
it; for something I suppose he had spoken, wherein the tones of my voice
appeared choked with weeping, and so had risen up. He then remained
where we were sitting, most extremely astonished. I cast myself down I
know not how, under a fig-tree, giving full vent to my tears; and the
floods of mine eyes gushed out, an acceptable sacrifice to thee. And,
not indeed in these words, yet to this purpose, spake I much unto
thee:--"And thou, O Lord, how long? how long, Lord, wilt thou be
angry--forever? Remember not our former iniquities," for I felt that I
was held by them. I sent up these sorrowful words: "How long? how long?
To-morrow and to-morrow? Why not now? why is there not this hour an end
to my uncleanness?"


From the 'Confessions'

So was I speaking, and weeping, in the most bitter contrition of my
heart, when lo! I heard from a neighboring house a voice, as of boy or
girl (I could not tell which), chanting and oft repeating, "Take up and
read; take up and read." Instantly my countenance altered, and I began
to think most intently whether any were wont in any kind of play to sing
such words, nor could I remember ever to have heard the like. So,
checking the torrent of my tears, I arose; interpreting it to be no
other than a command from God, to open the book and read the first
chapter I should find. Eagerly then I returned to the place where
Alypius was sitting; for there had I laid the volume of the Epistles
when I arose thence. I seized, opened, and in silence read that section
on which my eyes first fell:--"Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in
chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on the
Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the
lusts thereof." No further would I read; nor heeded I, for instantly at
the end of this sentence, by a light, as it were, of serenity infused
into my heart, all the darkness of doubt vanished away.


Reduced facsimile of a Latin manuscript containing the


Sixth Century. In the National Library at Paris.

A fine specimen of sixth-century writing upon sheets formed of two thin
layers of longitudinal strips of the stem or pith of the papyrus plant
pressed together at right angles to each other.


Then putting my finger between (or some other mark), I shut the volume,
and with a calmed countenance, made it known to Alypius. And what was
wrought in him, which I know not, he thus shewed me. He asked to see
what I had read; I shewed him, and he looked even farther than I had
read, and I knew not what followed. This followed: "Him that is weak in
the faith, receive ye"; which he applied to himself and disclosed to me.
And by this admonition was he strengthened; and by a good resolution and
purpose, and most corresponding to his character, wherein he did always
far differ from me for the better, without any turbulent delay he joined
me. Thence we go to my mother: we tell her; she rejoiceth: we relate in
order how it took place; she leapeth for joy, and triumpheth and
blesseth thee, "who art able to do above all that we ask or think": for
she perceived that thou hadst given her more for me than she was wont to
beg by her pitiful and most sorrowful groanings.


From 'The City of God'

Let these and similar answers (if any fuller and fitter answers can be
found) be given to their enemies by the redeemed family of the Lord
Christ, and by the pilgrim city of the King Christ. But let this city
bear in mind that among her enemies lie hid those who are destined to be
fellow-citizens, that she may not think it a fruitless labor to bear
what they inflict as enemies, till they become confessors of the faith.
So also, as long as she is a stranger in the world, the city of God has
in her communion, and bound to her by the sacraments, some who shall not
eternally dwell in the lot of the saints. Of these, some are not now
recognized; others declare themselves, and do not hesitate to make
common cause with our enemies in murmuring against God, whose
sacramental badge they wear. These men you may see to-day thronging the
churches with us, to-morrow crowding the theatres with the godless. But
we have the less reason to despair of the reclamation of even such
persons, if among our most declared enemies there are now some, unknown
to themselves, who are destined to become our friends. In truth, these
two cities are entangled together in this world, and intermingled until
the last judgment shall effect their separation. I now proceed to speak,
as God shall help me, of the rise and progress and end of these two
cities; and what I write, I write for the glory of the city of God, that
being placed in comparison with the other, it may shine with a
brighter lustre.


From 'The City of God'

Wherefore it may very well be, and it is perfectly credible, that we
shall in the future world see the material forms of the new heavens and
the new earth, in such a way that we shall most distinctly recognize God
everywhere present, and governing all things, material as well as
spiritual; and shall see Him, not as we now understand the invisible
things of God, by the things that are made, and see Him darkly as in a
mirror and in part, and rather by faith than by bodily vision of
material appearances, but by means of the bodies which we shall wear and
which we shall see wherever we turn our eyes. As we do not believe, but
see, that the living men around us who are exercising the functions of
life are alive, although we cannot see their life without their bodies,
but see it most distinctly by means of their bodies, so, wherever we
shall look with the spiritual eyes of our future bodies, we shall also,
by means of bodily substances, behold God, though a spirit, ruling all
things. Either, therefore, the eyes shall possess some quality similar
to that of the mind, by which they shall be able to discern spiritual
things, and among them God,--a supposition for which it is difficult or
even impossible to find any support in Scripture,--or what is more easy
to comprehend, God will be so known by us, and so much before us, that
we shall see Him by the spirit in ourselves, in one another, in Himself,
in the new heavens and the new earth, in every created thing that shall
then exist; and that also by the body we shall see Him in every bodily
thing which the keen vision of the eye of the spiritual body shall
reach. Our thoughts also shall be visible to all, for then shall be
fulfilled the words of the Apostle, "Judge nothing before the time,
until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of
darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then
shall every man have praise of God." How great shall be that felicity,
which shall be tainted with no evil, which shall lack no good, and which
shall afford leisure for the praises of God, who shall be all in all!
For I know not what other employment there can be where no weariness
shall slacken activity, nor any want stimulate to labor. I am admonished
also by the sacred song, in which I read or hear the words, "Blessed are
they that dwell in Thy house; they will be alway praising Thee."


From 'The Trinity'

O Lord our God, directing my purpose by the rule of faith, so far as I
have been able, so far as Thou hast made me able, I have sought Thee,
and have desired to see with my understanding what I have believed; and
I have argued and labored much. O Lord my God, my only hope, hearken to
me, lest through weariness I be unwilling to seek Thee, but that I may
always ardently seek Thy face. Do Thou give me strength to seek, who
hast led me to find Thee, and hast given the hope of finding Thee more
and more. My strength and my weakness are in Thy sight; preserve my
strength and heal my weakness. My knowledge and my ignorance are in Thy
sight; when Thou hast opened to me, receive me as I enter; when Thou
hast closed, open to me as I knock. May I remember Thee, understand
Thee, love Thee. Increase these things in me, until Thou renew me
wholly. But oh, that I might speak only in preaching Thy word and in
praising Thee. But many are my thoughts, such as Thou knowest, "thoughts
of man, that are vain." Let them not so prevail in me, that anything in
my acts should proceed from them; but at least that my judgment and my
conscience be safe from them under Thy protection. When the wise man
spake of Thee in his book, which is now called by the special name of
Ecclesiasticus, "We speak," he says, "much, and yet come short; and in
sum of words, He is all." When therefore we shall have come to Thee,
these very many things that we speak, and yet come short, shall cease;
and Thou, as One, shalt remain "all in all." And we shall say one thing
without end, in praising Thee as One, ourselves also made one in Thee. O
Lord, the one God, God the Trinity, whatever I have said in these books
that is of Thine, may they acknowledge who are Thine; if I have said
anything of my own, may it be pardoned both by Thee and by those who are
Thine. Amen.

     The three immediately preceding citations, from 'A Select
     Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the
     Christian Church, First Series,' are reprinted by permission
     of the Christian Literature Company, New York.


(121-180 A.D.)


Marcus Aurelius, one of the most illustrious emperors of Rome, and,
according to Canon Farrar, "the noblest of pagan emperors", was born at
Rome April 20th, A.D. 121, and died at Vindobona--the modern
Vienna--March 17th, A.D. 180, in the twentieth year of his reign and the
fifty-ninth year of his age.

His right to an honored place in literature depends upon a small volume
written in Greek, and usually called 'The Meditations of Marcus
Aurelius.' The work consists of mere memoranda, notes, disconnected
reflections and confessions, and also of excerpts from the Emperor's
favorite authors. It was evidently a mere private diary or note-book
written in great haste, which readily accounts for its repetitions, its
occasional obscurity, and its frequently elliptical style of expression.
In its pages the Emperor gives his aspirations, and his sorrow for his
inability to realize them in his daily life; he expresses his tentative
opinions concerning the problems of creation, life, and death; his
reflections upon the deceitfulness of riches, pomp, and power, and his
conviction of the vanity of all things except the performance of duty.
The work contains what has been called by a distinguished scholar "the
common creed of wise men, from which all other views may well seem mere
deflections on the side of an unwarranted credulity or of an exaggerated
despair." From the pomp and circumstance of state surrounding him, from
the manifold cares of his exalted rank, from the tumult of protracted
wars, the Emperor retired into the pages of this book as into the
sanctuary of his soul, and there found in sane and rational reflection
the peace that the world could not give and could never take away. The
tone and temper of the work is unique among books of its class. It is
sweet yet dignified, courageous yet resigned, philosophical and
speculative, yet above all, intensely practical.

Through all the ages from the time when the Emperor Diocletian
prescribed a distinct ritual for Aurelius as one of the gods; from the
time when the monks of the Middle Ages treasured the 'Meditations' as
carefully as they kept their manuscripts of the Gospels, the work has
been recognized as the precious life-blood of a master spirit. An
adequate English translation would constitute to-day a most valuable
_vade mecum_ of devotional feeling and of religious inspiration. It
would prove a strong moral tonic to hundreds of minds now sinking into
agnosticism or materialism.

[Illustration: MARCUS AURELIUS]

The distinguished French writer M. Martha observes that in the
'Meditations of Marcus Aurelius' "we find a pure serenity, sweetness,
and docility to the commands of God, which before him were unknown, and
which Christian grace has alone surpassed. One cannot read the book
without thinking of the sadness of Pascal and the gentleness of Fénelon.
We must pause before this soul, so lofty and so pure, to contemplate
ancient virtue in its softest brilliancy, to see the moral delicacy to
which profane doctrines have attained."

Those in the past who have found solace in its pages have not been
limited to any one country, creed, or condition in life. The
distinguished Cardinal Francis Barberini the elder occupied his last
years in translating the 'Meditations' into Italian; so that, as he
said, "the thoughts of the pious pagan might quicken the faith of the
faithful." He dedicated the work to his own soul, so that it "might
blush deeper than the scarlet of the cardinal robe as it looked upon the
nobility of the pagan." The venerable and learned English scholar Thomas
Gataker, of the religious faith of Cromwell and Milton, spent the last
years of his life in translating the work into Latin as the noblest
preparation for death. The book was the constant companion of Captain
John Smith, the discoverer of Virginia, who found in it "sweet
refreshment in his seasons of despondency." Jean Paul Richter speaks of
it as a vital help in "the deepest floods of adversity." The French
translator Pierron says that it exalted his soul into a serene region,
above all petty cares and rivalries. Montesquieu declares, in speaking
of Marcus Aurelius, "He produces such an effect upon our minds that we
think better of ourselves, because he inspires us with a better opinion
of mankind." The great German historian Niebuhr says of the Emperor, as
revealed in this work, "I know of no other man who combined such
unaffected kindness, mildness, and humility with such conscientiousness
and severity toward himself." Renan declares the book to be "a veritable
gospel. It will never grow old, for it asserts no dogma. Though science
were to destroy God and the soul, the 'Meditations of Marcus Aurelius'
would remain forever young and immortally true." The eminent English
critic Matthew Arnold was found on the morning after the death of his
eldest son engaged in the perusal of his favorite Marcus Aurelius,
wherein alone he found comfort and consolation.

The 'Meditations of Marcus Aurelius' embrace not only moral reflections;
they include, as before remarked, speculations upon the origin and
evolution of the universe and of man. They rest upon a philosophy. This
philosophy is that of the Stoic school as broadly distinguished from the
Epicurean. Stoicism, at all times, inculcated the supreme virtues of
moderation and resignation; the subjugation of corporeal desires; the
faithful performance of duty; indifference to one's own pain and
suffering, and the disregard of material luxuries. With these principles
there was, originally, in the Stoic philosophy conjoined a considerable
body of logic, cosmogony, and paradox. But in Marcus Aurelius these
doctrines no longer stain the pure current of eternal truth which ever
flowed through the history of Stoicism. It still speculated about the
immortality of the soul and the government of the universe by a
supernatural Intelligence, but on these subjects proposed no dogma and
offered no final authoritative solution. It did not forbid man to hope
for a future life, but it emphasized the duties of the present life. On
purely rational grounds it sought to show men that they should always
live nobly and heroicly, and how best to do so. It recognized the
significance of death, and attempted to teach how men could meet it
under any and all circumstances with perfect equanimity.

       *       *       *       *       *

Marcus Aurelius was descended from an illustrious line which tradition
declared extended to the good Numa, the second King of Rome. In the
descendant Marcus were certainly to be found, with a great increment of
many centuries of noble life, all the virtues of his illustrious
ancestor. Doubtless the cruel persecutions of the infamous Emperors who
preceded Hadrian account for the fact that the ancestors of Aurelius
left the imperial city and found safety in Hispania Baetica, where in a
town called Succubo--not far from the present city of Cordova--the
Emperor's great-grandfather, Annius Verus, was born. From Spain also
came the family of the Emperor Hadrian, who was an intimate friend of
Annius Verus. The death of the father of Marcus Aurelius when the lad
was of tender years led to his adoption by his grandfather and
subsequently by Antoninus Pius. By Antoninus he was subsequently named
as joint heir to the Imperial dignity with Commodus, the son of Aelius
Caesar, who had previously been adopted by Hadrian.

From his earliest youth Marcus was distinguished for his sincerity and
truthfulness. His was a docile and a serious nature. "Hadrian's bad and
sinful habits left him," says Niebuhr, "when he gazed on the sweetness
of that innocent child. Punning on the boy's paternal name of _Verus_,
he called him _Verissimus_, 'the _most_ true.'" Among the many statues
of Marcus extant is one representing him at the tender age of eight
years offering sacrifice. He was even then a priest of Mars. It was the
hand of Marcus alone that threw the crown so carefully and skillfully
that it invariably alighted upon the head of the statue of the god. The
entire ritual he knew by heart. The great Emperor Antoninus Pius lived
in the most simple and unostentatious manner; yet even this did not
satisfy the exacting, lofty spirit of Marcus. At twelve years of age he
began to practice all the austerities of Stoicism. He became a veritable
ascetic. He ate most sparingly; slept little, and when he did so it was
upon a bed of boards. Only the repeated entreaties of his mother induced
him to spread a few skins upon his couch. His health was seriously
affected for a time; and it was, perhaps, to this extreme privation that
his subsequent feebleness was largely due. His education was of the
highest order of excellence. His tutors, like Nero's, were the most
distinguished teachers of the age; but unlike Nero, the lad was in every
way worthy of his instructors. His letters to his dearly beloved teacher
Fronto are still extant, and in a very striking and charming way they
illustrate the extreme simplicity of life in the imperial household in
the villa of Antoninus Pius at Lorium by the sea. They also indicate the
lad's deep devotion to his studies and the sincerity of his love for his
relatives and friends.

When his predecessor and adoptive father Antoninus felt the approach of
death, he gave to the tribune who asked him for the watchword for the
night the reply "Equanimity," directed that the golden statue of Fortune
that always stood in the Emperor's chamber be transferred to that of
Marcus Aurelius, and then turned his face and passed away as peacefully
as if he had fallen asleep. The watchword of the father became the
life-word of the son, who pronounced upon that father in the
'Meditations' one of the noblest eulogies ever written. "We should,"
says Renan, "have known nothing of Antoninus if Marcus Aurelius had not
handed down to us that exquisite portrait of his adopted father, in
which he seems, by reason of humility, to have applied himself to paint
an image superior to what he himself was. Antoninus resembled a Christ
who would not have had an evangel; Marcus Aurelius a Christ who would
have written his own."

       *       *       *       *       *

It would be impossible here to detail even briefly all the manifold
public services rendered by Marcus Aurelius to the Empire during his
reign of twenty years. Among his good works were these: the
establishment, upon eternal foundation, of the noble fabric of the Civil
Law--the prototype and basis of Justinian's task; the founding of
schools for the education of poor children; the endowment of hospitals
and homes for orphans of both sexes; the creation of trust companies to
receive and distribute legacies and endowments; the just government of
the provinces; the complete reform of the system of collecting taxes;
the abolition of the cruelty of the criminal laws and the mitigation of
sentences unnecessarily severe; the regulation of gladiatorial
exhibitions; the diminution of the absolute power possessed by fathers
over their children and of masters over their slaves; the admission of
women to equal rights to succession to property from their children; the
rigid suppression of spies and informers; and the adoption of the
principle that merit, as distinguished from rank or political
friendship, alone justified promotion in the public service.

But the greatest reform was the reform in the Imperial Dignity itself,
as exemplified in the life and character of the Emperor. It is this fact
which gives to the 'Meditations' their distinctive value. The infinite
charm, the tenderness and sweetness of their moral teachings, and their
broad humanity, are chiefly noteworthy because the Emperor himself
practiced in his daily life the principles of which he speaks, and
because tenderness and sweetness, patience and pity, suffused his daily
conduct and permeated his actions. The horrible cruelties of the reigns
of Nero and Domitian seemed only awful dreams under the benignant rule
of Marcus Aurelius.

It is not surprising that the deification of a deceased emperor, usually
regarded by Senate and people as a hollow mockery, became a veritable
fact upon the death of Marcus Aurelius. He was not regarded in any sense
as mortal. All men said he had but returned to his heavenly place among
the immortal gods. As his body passed, in the pomp of an imperial
funeral, to its last resting-place, the tomb of Hadrian,--the modern
Castle of St. Angelo at Rome,--thousands invoked the divine blessing of
Antoninus. His memory was sacredly cherished. His portrait was preserved
as an inspiration in innumerable homes. His statue was almost
universally given an honored place among the household gods. And all
this continued during successive generations of men.

       *       *       *       *       *

Marcus Aurelius has been censured for two acts: the first, the massacre
of the Christians which took place during his reign; the second, the
selection of his son Commodus as his successor. Of the massacre of the
Christians it may be said, that when the conditions surrounding the
Emperor are once properly understood, no just cause for condemnation of
his course remains. A prejudice against the sect was doubtless acquired
by him through the teachings of his dearly beloved instructor and friend
Fronto. In the writings of the revered Epictetus he found severe
condemnation of the Christians as fanatics. Stoicism enjoined upon men
obedience to the law, endurance of evil conditions, and patience under
misfortunes. The Christians openly defied the laws; they struck the
images of the gods, they scoffed at the established religion and its
ministers. They welcomed death; they invited it. To Marcus Aurelius, as
he says in his 'Meditations,' death had no terrors. The wise man stood,
like the trained soldier, ready to be called into action, ready to
depart from life when the Supreme Ruler called him; but it was also,
according to the Stoic, no less the duty of a man to remain until he was
called, and it certainly was not his duty to invite destruction by abuse
of all other religions and by contempt for the distinctive deities of
the Roman faith. The Roman State was tolerant of all religions so long
as they were tolerant of others. Christianity was intolerant of all
other religions; it condemned them all. In persecuting what he regarded
as a "pernicious sect" the Emperor regarded himself only as the
conservator of the peace and the welfare of the realm. The truth is,
that Marcus Aurelius enacted no new laws on the subject of the
Christians. He even lessened the dangers to which they were exposed. On
this subject one of the Fathers of the Church, Tertullian, bears
witness. He says in his address to the Roman officials:--"Consult your
annals, and you will find that the princes who have been cruel to us are
those whom it was held an honor to have as persecutors. On the contrary,
of all princes who have known human and Divine law, name one of them who
has persecuted the Christians. We might even cite one of them who
declared himself their protector,--the wise Marcus Aurelius. If he did
not openly revoke the edicts against our brethren, he destroyed the
effect of them by the severe penalties he instituted against their
accusers." This statement would seem to dispose effectually of the
charge of cruel persecution brought so often against the kindly and
tender-hearted Emperor.

Of the appointment of Commodus as his successor, it may be said that the
paternal heart hoped against hope for filial excellence. Marcus Aurelius
believed, as clearly appears from many passages in the 'Meditations,'
that men did not do evil willingly but through ignorance; and that when
the exceeding beauty of goodness had been fully disclosed to them, the
depravity of evil conduct would appear no less clearly. The Emperor who,
when the head of his rebellious general was brought to him, grieved
because that general had not lived to be forgiven; the ruler who burned
unread all treasonable correspondence, would not, nay, could not believe
in the existence of such an inhuman monster as Commodus proved himself
to be. The appointment of Commodus was a calamity of the most terrific
character; but it testifies in trumpet tones to the nobility of the
Emperor's heart, the sincerity of his own belief in the triumph of right
and justice.

The volume of the 'Meditations' is the best mirror of the Emperor's
soul. Therein will be found expressed delicately but unmistakably much
of the sorrow that darkened his life. As the book proceeds the shadows
deepen, and in the latter portion his loneliness is painfully apparent.
Yet he never lost hope or faith, or failed for one moment in his duty as
a man, a philosopher, and an Emperor. In the deadly marshes and in the
great forests which stretched beside the Danube, in his mortal sickness,
in the long nights when weakness and pain rendered sleep impossible, it
is not difficult to imagine him in his tent, writing, by the light of
his solitary lamp, the immortal thoughts which alone soothed his soul;
thoughts which have out-lived the centuries--not perhaps wholly by
chance--to reveal to men in nations then unborn, on continents whose
very existence was then unknown, the Godlike qualities of one of the
noblest of the sons of men.

       *       *       *       *       *

The best literal translation of the work into English thus far made is
that of George Long. It is published by Little, Brown & Co. of Boston. A
most admirable work, 'The Life of Marcus Aurelius,' by Paul Barron
Watson, published by Harper & Brothers, New York, will repay careful
reading. Other general works to be consulted are as follows:--'Seekers
After God,' by Rev. F.W. Farrar, Macmillan & Co. (1890); and 'Classical
Essays,' by F.W.H. Myers, Macmillan & Co. (1888). Both of these contain
excellent articles upon the Emperor. Consult also Renan's 'History of
the Origins of Christianity,' Book vii., Marcus Aurelius, translation
published by Mathieson & Co. (London, 1896); 'Essay on Marcus Aurelius'
by Matthew Arnold, in his 'Essays in Criticism,' Macmillan & Co. Further
information may also be had in Montesquieu's 'Decadence of the Romans,'
Sismondi's 'Fall of the Roman Empire,' and Gibbon's 'Decline and Fall of
the Roman Empire.'

[Illustration: Signature: James F. Gluck]



Begin thy morning with these thoughts: I shall meet the meddler, the
ingrate, the scorner, the hypocrite, the envious man, the cynic. These
men are such because they know not to discern the difference between
good and evil. But I know that Goodness is Beauty and that Evil is
Loathsomeness: I know that the real nature of the evil-doer is akin to
mine, not only physically but in a unity of intelligence and in
participation in the Divine Nature. Therefore I know that I cannot be
harmed by such persons, nor can they thrust upon me what is base. I
know, too, that I should not be angry with my kinsmen nor hate them,
because we are all made to work together fitly like the feet, the hands,
the eyelids, the rows of the upper and the lower teeth. To be at strife
one with another is therefore contrary to our real nature; and to be
angry with one another, to despise one another, _is_ to be at strife one
with another. (Book ii,§ I.)

Fashion thyself to the circumstances of thy lot. The men whom Fate hath
made thy comrades here, love; and love them in sincerity and in truth.
(Book vi., § 39.)

This is distinctive of men,--to love those who do wrong. And this thou
shalt do if thou forget not that they are thy kinsmen, and that they do
wrong through ignorance and not through design; that ere long thou and
they will be dead; and more than all, that the evil-doer hath really
done thee no evil, since he hath left thy conscience unharmed. (Book
viii., §22.)


As A Roman and as a man, strive steadfastly every moment to do thy duty,
with dignity, sincerity, and loving-kindness, freely and justly, and
freed from all disquieting thought concerning any other thing. And from
such thought thou wilt be free if every act be done as though it were
thy last, putting away from thee slothfulness, all loathing to do what
Reason bids thee, all dissimulation, selfishness, and discontent with
thine appointed lot. Behold, then, how few are the things needful for a
life which will flow onward like a quiet stream, blessed even as the
life of the gods. For he who so lives, fulfills their will. (Book
ii., §5.)

So long as thou art doing thy duty, heed not warmth nor cold, drowsiness
nor wakefulness, life, nor impending death; nay, even in the very act of
death, which is indeed only one of the acts of life, it suffices to do
well what then remains to be done. (Book vi., § 2.)

I strive to do my duty; to all other considerations I am indifferent,
whether they be material things or unreasoning and ignorant people.
(Book vi., §22.)


This very moment thou mayest die. Think, act, as if this were now to
befall thee. Yet fear not death. If there are gods they will do thee no
evil. If there are not gods, or if they care not for the welfare of men,
why should I care to live in a Universe that is devoid of Divine beings
or of any providential care? But, verily, there are Divine beings, and
they do concern themselves with the welfare of men; and they have given
unto him all power not to fall into any real evil. If, indeed, what men
call misfortunes were really evils, then from these things also, man
would have been given the power to free himself. But--thou sayest--are
not death, dishonor, pain, really evils? Reflect that if they were, it
is incredible that the Ruler of the Universe has, through ignorance,
overlooked these things, or has not had the power or the skill to
prevent them; and that thereby what is real evil befalls good and bad
alike. For true it is that life and death, honor and dishonor, pain and
pleasure, come impartially to the good and to the bad. But none of these
things can affect our lives if they do not affect our true selves. Now
our real selves they do not affect either for better or for worse; and
therefore such things are not really good or evil. (Book ii., §11.)

       *       *       *       *       *

If our spirits live, how does Space suffice for all during all the ages?
Well, how does the earth contain the bodies of those who have been
buried therein during all the ages? In the latter case, the
decomposition and--after a certain period--the dispersion of the bodies
already buried, affords room for other bodies; so, in the former case,
the souls which pass into Space, after a certain period are purged of
their grosser elements and become ethereal, and glow with the glory of
flame as they meet and mingle with the Creative Energy of the world. And
thereby there is room for other souls which in their turn pass into
Space. This, then, is the explanation that may be given, if souls
continue to exist at all.

Moreover, in thinking of all the bodies which the earth contains, we
must have in mind not only the bodies which are buried therein, but also
the vast number of animals which are the daily food of ourselves and
also of the entire animal creation itself. Yet these, too, Space
contains; for on the one hand they are changed into blood which becomes
part of the bodies that are buried in the earth, and on the other hand
these are changed into the ultimate elements of fire or air. (Book
iv., §21.)

I am spirit and body: neither will pass into nothingness, since neither
came therefrom; and therefore every part of me, though changed in form,
will continue to be a part of the Universe, and that part will change
into another part, and so on through all the ages. And therefore,
through such changes I myself exist; and, in like manner, those who
preceded me and those who will follow me will exist forever,--a
conclusion equally true though the Universe itself be dissipated at
prescribed cycles of time. (Book v., § 13.)

       *       *       *       *       *

How can it be that the gods, who have clothed the Universe with such
beauty and ordered all things with such loving-kindness for the welfare
of man, have neglected this alone, that the best men--the men who walked
as it were with the Divine Being, and who, by their acts of
righteousness and by their reverent service, dwelt ever in his
presence--should never live again when once they have died? If this be
really true, then be satisfied that it is best that it should be so,
else it would have been otherwise ordained. For whatever is right and
just is possible; and therefore, if it were in accord with the will of
the Divine Being that we should live after death--so it would have been.
But because it is otherwise,--if indeed it be otherwise,--rest thou
satisfied that this also is just and right.

Moreover, is it not manifest to thee that in inquiring so curiously
concerning these things, thou art questioning God himself as to what is
right, and that this thou wouldst not do didst thou not believe in his
supreme goodness and wisdom? Therefore, since in these we believe, we
may also believe that in the government of the Universe nothing that is
right and just has been overlooked or forgotten. (Book xii., § 5.)


To him who hath a true insight into the real nature of the Universe,
every change in everything therein that is a part thereof seems
appropriate and delightful. The bread that is over-baked so that it
cracks and bursts asunder hath not the form desired by the baker; yet
none the less it hath a beauty of its own, and is most tempting to the
palate. Figs bursting in their ripeness, olives near even unto decay,
have yet in their broken ripeness a distinctive beauty. Shocks of corn
bending down in their fullness, the lion's mane, the wild boar's mouth
all flecked with foam, and many other things of the same kind, though
perhaps not pleasing in and of themselves, yet as necessary parts of the
Universe created by the Divine Being they add to the beauty of the
Universe, and inspire a feeling of pleasure. So that if a man hath
appreciation of and an insight into the purpose of the Universe, there
is scarcely a portion thereof that will not to him in a sense seem
adapted to give delight. In this sense the open jaws of wild beasts will
appear no less pleasing than their prototypes in the realm of art. Even
in old men and women he will be able to perceive a distinctive maturity
and seemliness, while the winsome bloom of youth he can contemplate with
eyes free from lascivious desire. And in like manner it will be with
very many things which to every one may not seem pleasing, but which
will certainly rejoice the man who is a true student of Nature and her
works. (Book iii., § 2.)


In the mind of him who is pure and good will be found neither corruption
nor defilement nor any malignant taint. Unlike the actor who leaves the
stage before his part is played, the life of such a man is complete
whenever death may come. He is neither cowardly nor presuming; not
enslaved to life nor indifferent to its duties; and in him is found
nothing worthy of condemnation nor that which putteth to shame. (Book
iii., § 8.)

Test by a trial how excellent is the life of the good man;--the man who
rejoices at the portion given him in the universal lot and abides
therein, content; just in all his ways and kindly minded toward all men.
(Book iv., § 25.)

This is moral perfection: to live each day as though it were the last;
to be tranquil, sincere, yet not indifferent to one's fate. (Book
vii., § 69.)


Cast from thee all other things and hold fast to a few precepts such as
these: forget not that every man's real life is but the present
moment,--an indivisible point of time,--and that all the rest of his
life hath either passed away or is uncertain. Short, then, the time that
any man may live; and small the earthly niche wherein he hath his home;
and short is longest fame,--a whisper passed from race to race of dying
men, ignorant concerning themselves, and much less really knowing thee,
who died so long ago. (Book iii., § 10.)


Many are the doctors who have knit their brows over their patients and
now are dead themselves; many are the astrologers who in their day
esteemed themselves renowned in foretelling the death of others, yet now
they too are dead. Many are the philosophers who have held countless
discussions upon death and immortality, and yet themselves have shared
the common lot; many the valiant warriors who have slain their thousands
and yet have themselves been slain by Death; many are the rulers and the
kings of the earth, who, in their arrogance, have exercised over others
the power of life or death as though they were themselves beyond the
hazard of Fate, and yet themselves have, in their turn, felt Death's
remorseless power. Nay, even great cities--Helice, Pompeii,
Herculaneum--have, so to speak, died utterly. Recall, one by one, the
names of thy friends who have died; how many of these, having closed the
eyes of their kinsmen, have in a brief time been buried also. To
conclude: keep ever before thee the brevity and vanity of human life and
all that is therein; for man is conceived to-day, and to-morrow will be
a mummy or ashes. Pass, therefore, this moment of life in accord with
the will of Nature, and depart in peace: even as does the olive, which
in its season, fully ripe, drops to the ground, blessing its mother,
the earth, which bore it, and giving thanks to the tree which put it
forth. (Book iv., § 48.)

A simple yet potent help to enable one to despise Death is to recall
those who, in their greed for life, tarried the longest here. Wherein
had they really more than those who were cut off untimely in their
bloom? Together, at last, somewhere, they all repose in death.
Cadicianus, Fabius, Julianus, Lepidus, or any like them, who bore forth
so many to the tomb, were, in their turn, borne thither also. Their
longer span was but trivial! Think too, of the cares thereof, of the
people with whom it was passed, of the infirmities of the flesh! All
vanity! Think of the infinite deeps of Time in the past, of the infinite
depths to be! And in that vast profound of Time, what difference is
there between a life of three centuries and the three days' life of a
little child! (Book iv., § 50.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Think of the Universe of matter!--an atom thou! Think of the eternity of
Time--thy predestined time but a moment! Reflect upon the great plan of
Fate--how trivial this destiny of thine! (Book v., § 24.)

       *       *       *       *       *

All things are enveloped in such darkness that they have seemed utterly
incomprehensible to those who have led the philosophic life--and those
too not a few in number, nor of ill-repute. Nay, even to the Stoics the
course of affairs seems an enigma. Indeed, every conclusion reached
seems tentative; for where is the man to be found who does not change
his conclusions? Think too of the things men most desire,--riches,
reputation, and the like,--and consider how ephemeral they are, how
vain! A vile wretch, a common strumpet, or a thief, may possess them.
Then think of the habits and manners of those about thee--how difficult
it is to endure the least offensive of such people--nay how difficult,
most of all, it is to endure one's self!

Amidst such darkness, then, and such unworthiness, amidst this eternal
change, with all temporal things and even Time itself passing away, with
all things moving in eternal motion, I cannot imagine what, in all this,
is worthy of a man's esteem or serious effort. (Book v., § 10.)


To cease from bodily activity, to end all efforts of will and of
thought, to stop all these forever, is no evil. For do but contemplate
thine own life as a child, a growing lad, a youth, an old man: the
change to each of these periods was the death of the period which
preceded it. Why then fear the death of all these--the death of thyself?
Think too of thy life under the care of thy grandfather, then of thy
life under the care of thy mother, then under the care of thy father,
and so on with every change that hath occurred in thy life, and then ask
thyself concerning any change that hath yet to be, Is there anything to
fear? And then shall all fear, even of the great change,--the change of
death itself,--vanish and flee away. (Book ix., §21.)


Contemplate men as from some lofty height. How innumerable seem the
swarms of men! How infinite their pomps and ceremonies! How they wander
to and fro upon the deep in fair weather and in storm! How varied their
fate in their births, in their lives, in their deaths! Think of the
lives of those who lived long ago, of those who shall follow thee, of
those who now live in uncivilized lands who have not even heard of thy
name, and, of those who have heard it, how many will soon forget it; of
how many there are who now praise thee who will soon malign thee,--and
thence conclude the vanity of fame, glory, reputation. (Book ix., §30.)


The gods are all-powerful or they are not. If they are not, why pray to
them at all? If they are, why dost thou not pray to them to remove from
thee all desire and all fear, rather than to ask from them the things
thou longest for, or the removal of those things of which thou art in
fear? For if the gods can aid men at all, surely they will grant this
request. Wilt thou say that the removal of all fear and of all desire is
within thine own power? If so, is it not better, then, to use the
strength the gods have given, rather than in a servile and fawning way
to long for those things which our will cannot obtain? And who hath
said to thee that the gods will not _strengthen_ thy will? I say unto
thee, begin to pray that this may come to pass, and thou shalt see what
shall befall thee. One man prays that he may enjoy a certain woman: let
thy prayer be to not have even the desire so to do. Another man prays
that he may not be forced to do his duty: let thy prayer be that thou
mayest not even desire to be relieved of its performance. Another man
prays that he may not lose his beloved son: let thy prayer be that even
the fear of losing him may be taken away. Let these be thy prayers, and
thou shalt see what good will befall thee. (Book ix., §41.)


The Universe is either a chaos or a fortuitous aggregation and
dispersion of atoms; or else it is builded in order and harmony and
ruled by Wisdom. If then it is the former, why should one wish to tarry
in a hap-hazard disordered mass? Why should I be concerned except to
know how soon I may cease to be? Why should I be disquieted concerning
what I do, since whatever I may do, the elements of which I am composed
will at last, at last be scattered? But if the latter thought be true,
then I reverence the Divine One; I trust; I possess my soul in peace.
(Book vi., § 10.)


If pain cannot be borne, we die. If it continue a long time it becomes
endurable; and the mind, retiring into itself, can keep its own
tranquillity and the true self be still unharmed. If the body feel the
pain, let the body make its moan. (Book vii., §30.)


If it be in thy power, teach men to do better. If not, remember it is
always in thy power to forgive. The gods are so merciful to those who
err, that for some purposes they grant their aid to such men by
conferring upon them health, riches, and honor. What prevents thee from
doing likewise? (Book ix., §11.)


Think, often, of how swiftly all things pass away and are no more--the
works of Nature and the works of man. The substance of the
Universe--matter--is like unto a river that flows on forever. All things
are not only in a constant state of change, but they are the cause of
constant and infinite change in other things. Upon a narrow ledge thou
standest! Behind thee, the bottomless abyss of the Past! In front of
thee, the Future that will swallow up all things that now are! Over what
things, then, in this present life, wilt thou, O foolish man, be
disquieted or exalted--making thyself wretched; seeing that they can vex
thee only for a time--a brief, brief time! (Book v., §23.)


Peradventure men may curse thee, torture thee, kill thee; yet can all
these things not prevent thee from keeping at all times thy thoughts
pure, considerate, sober, and just. If one should stand beside a limpid
stream and cease not to revile it, would the spring stop pouring forth
its refreshing waters? Nay, if such an one should even cast into the
stream mud and mire, would not the stream quickly scatter it, and so
bear it away that not even a trace would remain? How then wilt thou be
able to have within thee not a mere well that may fail thee, but a
fountain that shall never cease to flow? By wonting thyself every moment
to independence in judgment, joined together with serenity of thought
and simplicity in act and bearing. (Book viii., §51.)


O divine Spirit of the Universe, Thy will, Thy wish is mine! Calmly I
wait Thy appointed times, which cannot come too early or too late! Thy
providences are all fruitful to me! Thou art the source, Thou art the
stay, Thou art the end of all things. The poet says of his native city,
"Dear city of Cecrops"; and shall I not say of the Universe, "Beloved
City of God"? (Book iv., §23.)

Either there is a predestined order in the Universe, or else it is mere
aggregation, fortuitous yet not without a certain kind of order. For how
within thyself can a certain system exist and yet the entire Universe be
chaos? And especially when in the Universe all things, though separate
and divided, yet work together in unity? (Book iv., §27.)

Think always of the Universe as one living organism, composed of one
material substance and one soul. Observe how all things are the product
of a single conception--the conception of a living organism. Observe how
one force is the cause of the motion of all things: that all existing
things are the concurrent causes of all that is to be--the eternal warp
and woof of the ever-weaving web of existence. (Book iv., §40.)


Country houses, retreats in the mountains or by the sea--these things
men seek out for themselves; and often thou, too, dost most eagerly
desire such things. But this does but betoken the greatest ignorance;
for thou art able, when thou desirest, to retreat into thyself. No
otherwhere can a man find a retreat more quiet and free from care than
in his own soul; and most of all, when he hath such rules of conduct
that if faithfully remembered, they will give to him perfect
equanimity,--for equanimity is naught else than a mind harmoniously
disciplined. Cease not then to betake thyself to this retreat, there to
refresh thyself. Let thy rules of conduct be few and well settled; so
that when thou hast thought thereon, straightway they will suffice to
thoroughly purify the soul that possesses them, and to send thee back,
restless no more, to the things to the which thou must return. With what
indeed art thou disquieted? With the wickedness of men? Meditate on the
thought that men do not do evil of set purpose. Remember also how many
in the past, who, after living in enmity, suspicion, hatred, and strife
one with another, now lie prone in death and are but ashes. Fret then no
more. But perhaps thou art troubled concerning the portion decreed to
thee in the Universe? Remember this alternative: either there is a
Providence or simply matter! Recall all the proofs that the world is, as
it were, a city or a commonwealth! But perhaps the desires of the body
still torment thee? Forget not, then, that the mind, when conscious of
its real self, when self-reliant, shares not the agitations of the body,
be they great or small. Recall too all thou hast learned (and now
holdest as true) concerning pleasure and pain. But perhaps what men call
Fame allures thee? Behold how quickly all things are forgotten! Before
us, after us, the formless Void of endless ages! How vain is human
praise! How fickle and undiscriminating those who seem to praise! How
limited the sphere of the greatest fame! For the whole earth is but a
point in space, thy dwelling-place a tiny nook therein. How few are
those who dwell therein, and what manner of men are those who will
praise thee!

Therefore, forget not to retire into thine own little country
place,--thyself. Above all, be not diverted from thy course. Be serene,
be free, contemplate all things as a man, as a lover of his kind, and of
his country--yet withal as a being born to die. Have readiest to thy
hand, above all others, these two thoughts: one, that _things_ cannot
touch the soul; the other, that things are perpetually changing and
ceasing to be. Remember how many of these changes thou thyself hast
seen! The Universe is change. But as thy thoughts are, so thy life shall
be. (Book iv., §3.)

       *       *       *       *       *

All things that befall thee should seem to thee as natural as roses in
spring or fruits in autumn: such things, I mean, as disease, death,
slander, dissimulation, and all other things which give pleasure or pain
to foolish men. (Book iv., §44.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Be thou like a lofty headland. Endlessly against it dash the waves; yet
it stands unshaken, and lulls to rest the fury of the sea. (Book
iv., §49.)

       *       *       *       *       *

"Unhappy me upon whom this misfortune hath fallen!"--nay, rather thou
shouldst say, "Fortunate I, that having met with such a misfortune, I am
able to endure it without complaining; in the present not dismayed, in
the future dreading no evil. Such a misadventure might have befallen a
man who could not, perchance, have endured it without grievous
suffering." Why then shouldst thou call _anything_ that befalls thee a
misfortune, and not the rather a blessing? Is that a "misfortune," in
all cases, which does not defeat the purpose of man's nature? and does
that defeat man's nature which his _Will_ can accept? And what that
_Will_ can accept, thou knowest. Can this misadventure, then, prevent
thy Will from being just, magnanimous, temperate, circumspect, free from
rashness or error, considerate, independent? Can it prevent thy Will
from being, in short, all that becomes a man? Remember, then, should
anything befall thee which might cause thee to complain, to fortify
thyself with this truth: this is not a misfortune, while to endure it
nobly is a blessing. (Book iv., §49.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Be not annoyed or dismayed or despondent if thou art not able to do all
things in accord with the rules of right conduct. When thou hast not
succeeded, renew thy efforts, and be serene if, in most things, thy
conduct is such as becomes a man. Love and pursue the philosophic life.
Seek Philosophy, not as thy taskmaster but to find a medicine for all
thy ills, as thou wouldst seek balm for thine eyes, a bandage for a
sprain, a lotion for a fever. So it shall come to pass that the voice of
Reason shall guide thee and bring to thee rest and peace. Remember, too,
that Philosophy enjoins only such things as are in accord with thy
better nature. The trouble is, that in thy heart thou prefer-rest those
things which are not in accord with thy better nature. For thou sayest,
"What can be more delightful than these things?" But is not the word
"delightful" in this sense misleading? Are not magnanimity,
broad-mindedness, sincerity, equanimity, and a reverent spirit more
"delightful"? Indeed, what is more "delightful" than Wisdom, if so be
thou wilt but reflect upon the strength and contentment of mind and the
happiness of life that spring from the exercise of the powers of thy
reason and thine intelligence? (Book v., §9.)

       *       *       *       *       *

As are thy wonted thoughts, so is thy mind; and the soul is tinged by
the coloring of the mind. Let then thy mind be constantly suffused with
such thoughts as these: Where it is possible for a man to live, there he
can live nobly. But suppose he must live in a palace? Be it so; even
there he can live nobly. (Book v., §16.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Live with the gods! And he so lives who at all times makes it manifest
that he is content with his predestined lot, fulfilling the entire will
of the indwelling spirit given to man by the Divine Ruler, and which is
in truth nothing else than the Understanding--the Reason of man.
(Book v., §27.)

Seek the solitude of thy spirit. This is the law of the indwelling
Reason--to be self-content and to abide in peace when what is right and
just hath been done. (Book vii., § 28.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Let thine eyes follow the stars in their courses as though their
movements were thine own. Meditate on the eternal transformation of
Matter. Such thoughts purge the mind of earthly passion and desire.
(Book vii., § 45.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Search thou thy heart! Therein is the fountain of good! Do thou but dig,
and abundantly the stream shall gush forth. (Book vii., § 59.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Be not unmindful of the graces of life. Let thy body be stalwart, yet
not ungainly either in motion or in repose. Let not thy face alone, but
thy whole body, make manifest the alertness of thy mind. Yet let all
this be without affectation. (Book vii., § 60.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Thy breath is part of the all-encircling air, and is one with it. Let
thy mind be part, no less, of that Supreme Mind comprehending all
things. For verily, to him who is willing to be inspired thereby, the
Supreme Mind flows through all things and permeates all things as truly
as the air exists for him who will but breathe. (Book viii., § 54.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Men are created that they may live for each other. Teach them to be
better or bear with them as they are. (Book viii., § 59.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Write no more, Antoninus, about what a good man is or what he ought to
do. _Be_ a good man. (Book x., § 16.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Look steadfastly at any created thing. See! it is changing, melting into
corruption, and ready to be dissolved. In its essential nature, it was
born but to die. (Book x., § 18.)

Co-workers are we all, toward one result. Some, consciously and of set
purpose; others, unwittingly even as men who sleep,--of whom Heraclitus
(I think it is he) says they also are co-workers in the events of the
Universe. In diverse fashion also men work; and abundantly, too, work
the fault-finders and the hinderers,--for even of such as these the
Universe hath need. It rests then with thee to determine with what
workers thou wilt place thyself; for He who governs all things will
without failure place thee at thy proper task, and will welcome thee to
some station among those who work and act together. (Book vi., §42.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Unconstrained and in supreme joyousness of soul thou mayest live though
all men revile thee as they list, and though wild beasts rend in pieces
the unworthy garment--thy body. For what prevents thee, in the midst of
all this, from keeping thyself in profound calm, with a true judgment of
thy surroundings and a helpful knowledge of the things that are seen? So
that the Judgment may say to whatever presents itself, "In truth this is
what thou really art, howsoever thou appearest to men;" and thy
Knowledge may say to whatsoever may come beneath its vision, "Thee I
sought; for whatever presents itself to me is fit material for nobility
in personal thought and public conduct; in short, for skill in work for
man or for God." For all things which befall us are related to God or to
man, and are not new to us or hard to work upon, but familiar and
serviceable. (Book vii., §68.)

       *       *       *       *       *

When thou art annoyed at some one's impudence, straightway ask thyself,
"Is it possible that there should be no impudent men in the world?" It
is impossible. Ask not then the impossible. For such an one is but one
of these impudent persons who needs must be in the world. Keep before
thee like conclusions also concerning the rascal, the untrustworthy one,
and all evil-doers. Then, when it is quite clear to thy mind that such
men must needs exist, thou shalt be the more forgiving toward each one
of their number. This also will aid thee to observe, whensoever occasion
comes, what power for good, Nature hath given to man to frustrate such
viciousness. She hath bestowed upon man Patience as an antidote to the
stupid man, and against another man some other power for good. Besides,
it is wholly in thine own power to teach new things to the one who hath
erred, for every one who errs hath but missed the appointed path and
wandered away. Reflect, and thou wilt discover that no one of these with
whom thou art annoyed hath done aught to debase thy _mind_, and that is
the only real evil that can befall thee.

Moreover, wherein is it wicked or surprising that the ignorant man
should act ignorantly? Is not the error really thine own in not
foreseeing that such an one would do as he did? If thou hadst but taken
thought thou wouldst have known he would be prone to err, and it is only
because thou hast forgotten to use thy Reason that thou art surprised at
his deed. Above all, when thou condemnest another as untruthful, examine
thyself closely; for upon thee rests the blame, in that thou dost trust
to such an one to keep his promise. If thou didst bestow upon him thy
bounty, thine is the blame not to have given it freely, and without
expectation of good to thee, save the doing of the act itself. What more
dost thou wish than to do good to man? Doth not this suffice,--that thou
hast done what conforms to thy true nature? Must thou then have a
reward, as though the eyes demanded pay for seeing or the feet for
walking? For even as these are formed for such work, and by co-operating
in their distinctive duty come into their own, even so man (by his real
nature disposed to do good), when he hath done some good deed, or in any
other way furthered the Commonweal, acts according to his own nature,
and in so doing hath all that is truly his own. (Book ix., §42.)

O Man, thou hast been a citizen of this great State, the Universe! What
matters what thy prescribed time hath been, five years or three? What
the law prescribes is just to every one.

Why complain, then, if thou art sent away from the State, not by a
tyrant or an unjust judge, but by Nature who led thee thither,--even as
the manager excuses from the stage an actor whom he hath employed?

"But I have played three acts only?"

True. But in the drama of thy life three acts conclude the play. For
what its conclusion shall be, He determines who created it and now ends
it; and with either of these thou hast naught to do. Depart thou, then,
well pleased; for He who dismisses thee is well pleased also. (Book
xii., §36.)

Be not disquieted lest, in the days to come, some misadventure befall
thee. The Reason which now sufficeth thee will then be with thee, should
there be the need. (Book vii., §8.)

       *       *       *       *       *

To the wise man the dictates of Reason seem the instincts of Nature.
(Book vii., §11)

       *       *       *       *       *

My true self--the philosophic mind--hath but one dread: the dread lest I
do something unworthy of a man, or that I may act in an unseemly way or
at an improper time. (Book vii., §20.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Accept with joy the Fate that befalls thee. Thine it is and not
another's. What then could be better for thee? (Book vii., §57)

       *       *       *       *       *

See to it that thou art humane to those who are not humane. (Book vii.,

       *       *       *       *       *

He who does _not_ act, often commits as great a wrong as he who acts.
(Book ix., §5.)

       *       *       *       *       *

The wrong that another has done--let alone! Add not to it thine own.
(Book ix., §20.)

       *       *       *       *       *

How powerful is man! He is able to do all that God wishes him to do. He
is able to accept all that God sends upon him. (Book xii., §11.)

       *       *       *       *       *

A lamp sends forth its light until it is completely extinguished. Shall
Truth and Justice and Equanimity suffer abatement in thee until all are
extinguished in death? (Book xii., §15.)



The biography of one of the greatest English novelists might be written
in a dozen lines, so simple, so tranquil, so fortunate was her life.
Jane Austen, the second daughter of an English clergyman, was born at
Steventon, in Hampshire, in 1775. Her father had been known at Oxford as
"the handsome proctor," and all his children inherited good looks. He
was accomplished enough to fit his boys for the University, and the
atmosphere of the household was that of culture, good breeding, and
healthy fun. Mrs. Austen was a clever woman, full of epigram and humor
in conversation, and rather famous in her own coterie for improvised
verses and satirical hits at her friends. The elder daughter, Cassandra,
adored by Jane, who was three years her junior, seems to have had a rare
balance and common-sense which exercised great influence over the more
brilliant younger sister. Their mother declared that of the two girls,
Cassandra had the merit of having her temper always under her control;
and Jane the happiness of a temper that never required to be commanded.

[Illustration: JANE AUSTEN]

From her cradle, Jane Austen was used to hearing agreeable household
talk, and the freest personal criticism on the men and women who made up
her small, secluded world. The family circumstances were easy, and the
family friendliness unlimited,--conditions determining, perhaps, the
cheerful tone, the unexciting course, the sly fun and good-fellowship of
her stories.

It was in this Steventon rectory, in the family room where the boys
might be building their toy boats, or the parish poor folk complaining
to "passon's madam," or the county ladies paying visits of ceremony, in
monstrous muffs, heelless slippers laced over open-worked silk
stockings, short flounced skirts, and lutestring pelisses trimmed with
"Irish," or where tradesmen might be explaining their delinquencies, or
farmers' wives growing voluble over foxes and young chickens--it was in
the midst of this busy and noisy publicity, where nobody respected her
employment, and where she was interrupted twenty times in an hour, that
the shrewd and smiling social critic managed, before she was
twenty-one, to write her famous 'Pride and Prejudice.' Here too 'Sense
and Sensibility' was finished in 1797, and 'Northanger Abbey' in 1798.
The first of these, submitted to a London publisher, was declined as
unavailable, by return of post. The second, the gay and mocking
'Northanger Abbey,' was sold to a Bath bookseller for £10, and several
years later bought back again, still unpublished, by one of Miss
Austen's brothers. For the third story she seems not even to have sought
a publisher. These three books, all written before she was twenty-five,
were evidently the employment and delight of her leisure. The serious
business of life was that which occupied other pretty girls of her time
and her social position,--dressing, dancing, flirting, learning a new
stitch at the embroidery frame, or a new air on "the instrument"; while
all the time she was observing, with those soft hazel eyes of hers, what
honest Nym calls the "humors" of the world about her. In 1801, the
family removed to Bath, then the most fashionable watering-place in
England. The gay life of the brilliant little city, the etiquette of the
Pump Room and the Assemblies, regulated by the autocratic Beau Nash, the
drives, the routs, the card parties, the toilets, the shops, the Parade,
the general frivolity, pretension, and display of the eighteenth century
Vanity Fair, had already been studied by the good-natured satirist on
occasional visits, and already immortalized in the swiftly changing
comedy scenes of 'Northanger Abbey.' But they tickled her fancy none the
less, now that she lived among them, and she made use of them again in
her later novel, 'Persuasion.'

For a period of eight years, spent in Bath and in Southampton, Miss
Austen wrote nothing save some fragments of 'Lady Susan' and 'The
Watsons,' neither of them of great importance. In 1809 the lessened
household, composed of the mother and her two daughters only, removed to
the village of Chawton, on the estate of Mrs. Austen's third son; and
here, in a rustic cottage, now become a place of pilgrimage, Jane Austen
again took up her pen. She rewrote 'Pride and Prejudice.' She revised
'Sense and Sensibility,' and between February 1811 and August 1816 she
completed 'Mansfield Park,' 'Emma,' and 'Persuasion.' At Chawton, as at
Steventon, she had no study, and her stories were written on a little
mahogany desk near a window in the family sitting-room, where she must
often have been interrupted by the prototypes of her Mrs. Allen, Mrs.
Bennet, Miss Bates, Mr. Collins, or Mrs. Norris. When at last she began
to publish, her stories appeared in rapid succession: 'Sense and
Sensibility' in 1811; 'Pride and Prejudice' early in 1813; 'Mansfield
Park' in 1814; 'Emma' in 1816; 'Northanger Abbey' and 'Persuasion' in
1818, the year following her death. In January 1813 she wrote to her
beloved Cassandra:--"I want to tell you that I have got my own darling
child 'Pride and Prejudice' from London. We fairly set at it and read
half the first volume to Miss B. She was amused, poor soul! ... but she
really does seem to admire Elizabeth. I must confess that _I_ think her
as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print, and how I shall be
able to tolerate those who do not like _her_ at least, I do not know." A
month later she wrote:--"Upon the whole, however, I am quite vain
enough, and well satisfied enough. The work is rather too light, and
bright, and sparkling: it wants shade; it wants to be stretched out here
and there with a long chapter of sense, if it could be had; if not, of
solemn, specious nonsense, about something unconnected with the story;
an essay on writing, a critique on Walter Scott, or the history of
Bonaparte, or something that would form a contrast, and bring the reader
with increased delight to the playfulness and epigrammatism of the
general style!"

Thus she who laughed at everybody else laughed at herself, and set her
critical instinct to estimate her own capacity. To Mr. Clarke, the
librarian of Carlton House, who had requested her to "delineate a
clergyman" of earnestness, enthusiasm, and learning, she replied:--"I am
quite honored by your thinking me capable of drawing such a clergyman as
you gave the sketch of in your note. But I assure you I am not. The
comic part of the character I might be equal to, but not the good, the
enthusiastic, the literary.... I think I may boast myself to be, with
all possible vanity, the most unlearned and uninformed female who ever
dared to be an authoress." And when the same remarkable bibliophile
suggested to her, on the approach of the marriage of the Princess
Charlotte with Prince Leopold, that "an historical romance, illustrative
of the august House of Coburg, would just now be very interesting," she
answered:--"I am fully sensible that an historical romance, founded on
the House of Saxe-Coburg, might be much more to the purpose of profit or
popularity than such pictures of domestic life in country villages as I
deal in. But I could no more write a romance than an epic poem. I could
not sit seriously down to write a serious romance under any other motive
than to save my life; and if it were indispensable to keep it up, and
never relax into laughing at myself or at other people, I am sure that I
should be hung before I had finished the first chapter. No! I must keep
to my own style, and go on in my own way: and though I may never succeed
again in that, I am convinced that I shall totally fail in any other."
And again she writes: "What shall _I_ do with your 'strong, manly,
vigorous sketches, full of variety and glow'? How could I possibly join
them on to the little bit (two inches wide) of ivory on which I work
with so fine a brush as produces little effect, after much labor?"

Miss Austen read very little. She "detested quartos." Richardson,
Johnson, Crabbe, and Cowper seem to have been the only authors for whom
she had an appreciation. She would sometimes say, in jest, that "if ever
she married at all, she could fancy being Mrs. Crabbe!" But her bent of
original composition, her amazing power of observation, her
inexhaustible sense of humor, her absorbing interest in what she saw
about her, were so strong that she needed no reinforcement of culture.
It was no more in her power than it was in Wordsworth's to "gather a
posy of other men's thoughts."

During her lifetime she had not a single literary friend. Other women
novelists possessed their sponsors and devotees. Miss Ferrier was the
delight of a brilliant Edinboro' coterie. Miss Edgeworth was feasted and
flattered, not only in England, but on the Continent; Miss Burney
counted Johnson, Burke, Garrick, Windham, Sheridan, among the admiring
friends who assured her that no flight in fiction or the drama was
beyond her powers. But the creator of Elizabeth Bennet, of Emma, and of
Mr. Collins, never met an author of eminence, received no encouragement
to write except that of her own family, heard no literary talk, and
obtained in her lifetime but the slightest literary recognition. It was
long after her death that Walter Scott wrote in his journal:--"Read
again, and for the third time at least, Miss Austen's finely written
novel of _Pride and Prejudice_. That young lady had a talent for
describing the involvements and feelings and characters of ordinary life
which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. The Big Bow-wow
strain I can do myself, like any now going; but the exquisite touch
which renders commonplace things and characters interesting from the
truth of the description and the sentiment is denied to me." It was
still later that Macaulay made his famous estimate of her
genius:--"Shakespeare has neither equal nor second; but among those who,
in the point we have noticed (the delineation of character), approached
nearest the great master, we have no hesitation in placing Jane Austen
as a woman of whom England may justly be proud. She has given us a
multitude of characters, all, in a certain sense, commonplace, all such
as we meet every day. Yet they are all as perfectly discriminated from
each other as if they were the most eccentric of human beings.... And
all this is done by touches so delicate that they elude analysis, that
they defy the powers of description, and that we know them to exist only
by the general effect to which they have contributed." And a new
generation had almost forgotten her name before the exacting Lewes
wrote:--"To make our meaning precise, we would say that Fielding and
Jane Austen are the greatest novelists in the English language.... We
would rather have written 'Pride and Prejudice' or 'Tom Jones,' than
any of the Waverley novels.... The greatness of Miss Austen (her
marvelous dramatic power) seems more than anything in Scott akin to

The six novels which have made so great a reputation for their author
relate the least sensational of histories in the least sensational way.
'Sense and Sensibility' might be called a novel with a purpose, that
purpose being to portray the dangerous haste with which sentiment
degenerates into sentimentality; and because of its purpose, the story
discloses a less excellent art than its fellows. 'Pride and Prejudice'
finds its motive in the crass pride of birth and place that characterize
the really generous and high-minded hero, Darcy, and the fierce
resentment of his claims to love and respect on the part of the clever,
high-tempered, and chivalrous heroine, Elizabeth Bennet. 'Northanger
Abbey' is a laughing skit at the school of Mrs. Radcliffe; 'Persuasion,'
a simple story of upper middle-class society, of which the most charming
of her charming girls, Anne Elliot, is the heroine; 'Mansfield Park' a
new and fun-loving version of 'Cinderella'; and finally 'Emma,'--the
favorite with most readers, concerning which Miss Austen said, "I am
going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like,"--the
history of the blunders of a bright, kind-hearted, and really clever
girl, who contrives as much discomfort for her friends as stupidity or
ill-nature could devise.

Numberless as are the novelist's characters, no two clergymen, no two
British matrons, no two fussy spinsters, no two men of fashion, no two
heavy fathers, no two smart young ladies, no two heroines, are alike.
And this variety results from the absolute fidelity of each character to
the law of its own development, each one growing from within and not
being simply described from without. Nor are the circumstances which she
permits herself to use less genuine than her people. What surrounds them
is what one must expect; what happens to them is seen to be inevitable.

The low and quiet key in which her "situations" are pitched produces one
artistic gain which countervails its own loss of immediate intensity:
the least touch of color shows strongly against that subdued background.
A very slight catastrophe among those orderly scenes of peaceful life
has more effect than the noisier incidents and contrived convulsions of
more melodramatic novels. Thus, in 'Mansfield Park' the result of
private theatricals, including many rehearsals of stage love-making,
among a group of young people who show no very strong principles or
firmness of character, appears in a couple of elopements which break up
a family, occasion a pitiable scandal, and spoil the career of an able,
generous, and highly promising young man. To most novelists an incident
of this sort would seem too ineffective: in her hands it strikes us as
what in fact it is--a tragic misfortune and the ruin of two lives.

In a word, it is life which Miss Austen sees with unerring vision and
draws with unerring touch; so that above all other writers of English
fiction she seems entitled to the tribute which an Athenian critic gave
to an earlier and more famous realist,--

     "O life! O Menander!
     Which of you two is the plagiarist?"


From 'Pride and Prejudice'

The next day opened a new scene at Longbourn. Mr. Collins made his
declaration in form. Having resolved to do it without loss of time, as
his leave of absence extended only to the following Saturday, and having
no feelings of diffidence to make it distressing to himself even at the
moment, he set about it in a very orderly manner, with all the
observances which he supposed a regular part of the business. On finding
Mrs. Bennet, Elizabeth, and one of the younger girls together, soon
after breakfast, he addressed the mother in these words:--

"May I hope, madam, for your interest with your fair daughter Elizabeth,
when I solicit for the honor of a private audience with her in the
course of this morning?"

Before Elizabeth had time for anything but a blush of surprise, Mrs.
Bennet instantly answered: "Oh, dear. Yes; certainly. I am sure Lizzy
will be very happy--I am sure she can have no objection. Come, Kitty, I
want you upstairs." And, gathering her work together, she was hastening
away, when Elizabeth called out:--

"Dear ma'am, do not go. I beg you will not go. Mr. Collins must excuse
me. He can have nothing to say to me that anybody need not hear. I am
going away myself."

"No, no; nonsense, Lizzy. I desire you will stay where you are." And
upon Elizabeth's seeming really, with vexed and embarrassed looks, about
to escape, she added, "Lizzy, I _insist_ upon your staying and hearing
Mr. Collins."

Elizabeth would not oppose such an injunction; and a moment's
consideration making her also sensible that it would be wisest to get
it over as soon and as quietly as possible, she sat down again, and
tried to conceal by incessant employment the feelings which were divided
between distress and diversion. Mrs. Bennet and Kitty walked off; and as
soon as they were gone, Mr. Collins began:--

"Believe me, my dear Miss Elizabeth, that your modesty, so far from
doing you any disservice, rather adds to your other perfections. You
would have been less amiable in my eyes had there _not_ been this little
unwillingness; but allow me to assure you that I have your respected
mother's permission for this address. You can hardly doubt the purport
of my discourse, however your natural delicacy may lead you to
dissemble: my attentions have been too marked to be mistaken. Almost as
soon as I entered the house I singled you out as the companion of my
future life. But before I am run away with by my feelings on this
subject, perhaps it will be advisable for me to state my reasons for
marrying--and moreover, for coming into Hertfordshire with the design of
selecting a wife, as I certainly did."

The idea of Mr. Collins, with all his solemn composure, being run away
with by his feelings, made Elizabeth so near laughing that she could not
use the short pause he allowed in any attempt to stop him further, and
he continued:--

"My reasons for marrying are, first, that I think it a right thing for
every clergyman in easy circumstances (like myself) to set the example
of matrimony in his parish; secondly, that I am convinced it will add
very greatly to my happiness; and thirdly,--which perhaps I ought to
have mentioned earlier,--that it is the particular advice and
recommendation of the very noble lady whom I have the honor of calling
patroness. Twice has she condescended to give me her opinion (unasked,
too!) on this subject; and it was but the very Saturday night before I
left Hunsford--between our pools at quadrille, while Mrs. Jenkinson was
arranging Miss de Bourgh's footstool--that she said, 'Mr. Collins, you
must marry. A clergyman like you must marry. Choose properly, choose a
gentlewoman, for _my_ sake; and for your _own_, let her be an active,
useful sort of person, not brought up high, but able to make a small
income go a good way. This is my advice. Find such a woman as soon as
you can, bring her to Hunsford, and I will visit her!' Allow me, by the
way, to observe, my fair cousin, that I do not reckon the notice and
kindness of Lady Catherine de Bourgh as among the least of the
advantages in my power to offer. You will find her manners beyond
anything I can describe; and your wit and vivacity, I think, must be
acceptable to her, especially when tempered with the silence and respect
which her rank will inevitably excite. Thus much for my general
intention in favor of matrimony; it remains to be told why my views are
directed to Longbourn instead of my own neighborhood, where, I assure
you, there are many amiable young women. But the fact is, that being, as
I am, to inherit this estate after the death of your honored father
(who, however, may live many years longer), I could not satisfy myself
without resolving to choose a wife from among his daughters, that the
loss to them might be as little as possible, when the melancholy event
takes place,--which, however, as I have already said, may not be for
several years. This has been my motive, my fair cousin, and I flatter
myself it will not sink me in your esteem. And now, nothing remains for
me but to assure you, in the most animated language, of the violence of
my affection. To fortune I am perfectly indifferent, and shall make no
demand of that nature on your father, since I am well aware that it
could not be complied with; and that one thousand pounds in the four per
cents., which will not be yours till after your mother's decease, is all
that you may ever be entitled to. On that head, therefore, I shall be
uniformly silent; and you may assure yourself that no ungenerous
reproach shall ever pass my lips when we are married."

It was absolutely necessary to interrupt him now.

"You are too hasty, sir," she cried. "You forget that I have made no
answer. Let me do it without further loss of time. Accept my thanks for
the compliment you are paying me. I am very sensible of the honor of
your proposals, but it is impossible for me to do otherwise than
decline them."

"I am not now to learn," replied Mr. Collins, with a formal wave of the
hand, "that it is usual with young ladies to reject the addresses of the
man whom they secretly mean to accept, when he first applies for their
favor; and that sometimes the refusal is repeated a second, or even a
third time. I am therefore by no means discouraged by what you have just
said, and shall hope to lead you to the altar ere long."

"Upon my word, sir," cried Elizabeth, "your hope is rather an
extraordinary one, after my declaration. I do assure you that I am not
one of those young ladies (if such young ladies there are) who are so
daring as to risk their happiness on the chance of being asked a second
time. I am perfectly serious in my refusal. You could not make _me_
happy, and I am convinced that I am the last woman in the world who
would make _you_ so. Nay, were your friend Lady Catherine to know me, I
am persuaded she would find me in every respect ill qualified for the

"Were it certain that Lady Catherine would think so," said Mr. Collins,
very gravely--"but I cannot imagine that her ladyship would at all
disapprove of you. And you may be certain that when I have the honor of
seeing her again, I shall speak in the highest terms of your modesty,
economy, and other amiable qualifications."

"Indeed, Mr. Collins, all praise of me will be unnecessary. You must
give me leave to judge for myself, and pay me the compliment of
believing what I say. I wish you very happy and very rich, and by
refusing your hand do all in my power to prevent your being otherwise.
In making me the offer, you must have satisfied the delicacy of your
feelings with regard to my family, and may take possession of Longbourn
estate whenever it falls, without any self-reproach. This matter may be
considered, therefore, as finally settled." And rising as she thus
spoke, she would have quitted the room had not Mr. Collins thus
addressed her:--

"When I do myself the honor of speaking to you next on the subject, I
shall hope to receive a more favorable answer than you have now given
me: though I am far from accusing you of cruelty at present, because I
know it to be the established custom of your sex to reject a man on the
first application; and perhaps you have even now said as much to
encourage my suit as would be consistent with the true delicacy of the
female character."

"Really, Mr. Collins," cried Elizabeth, with some warmth, "you puzzle me
exceedingly. If what I have hitherto said can appear to you in the form
of encouragement, I know not how to express my refusal in such a way as
may convince you of its being one."

"You must give me leave to flatter myself, my dear cousin, that your
refusal of my addresses is merely a thing of course. My reasons for
believing it are briefly these:--It does not appear to me that my hand
is unworthy your acceptance, or that the establishment I can offer would
be any other than highly desirable. My situation in life, my
connections with the family of De Bourgh, and my relationship to your
own, are circumstances highly in my favor; and you should take it into
further consideration that, in spite of your manifold attractions, it is
by no means certain that another offer of marriage may ever be made you.
Your portion is unhappily so small that it will in all likelihood undo
the effects of your loveliness and amiable qualifications. As I must
therefore conclude that you are not serious in your rejection of me, I
shall choose to attribute it to your wish of increasing my love by
suspense, according to the usual practice of elegant females."

"I do assure you, sir, that I have no pretensions whatever to that kind
of elegance which consists in tormenting a respectable man. I would
rather be paid the compliment of being believed sincere. I thank you
again and again for the honor you have done me in your proposals, but to
accept them is absolutely impossible. My feelings in every respect
forbid it. Can I speak plainer? Do not consider me now as an elegant
female intending to plague you, but as a rational creature speaking the
truth from her heart."

"You are uniformly charming!" cried he, with an air of awkward
gallantry; "and I am persuaded that when sanctioned by the express
authority of both your excellent parents, my proposals will not fail of
being acceptable."

To such perseverance in willful self-deception Elizabeth would make no
reply, and immediately and in silence withdrew; determined, if he
persisted in considering her repeated refusals as flattering
encouragement, to apply to her father, whose negative might be uttered
in such a manner as must be decisive, and whose behavior at least could
not be mistaken for the affectation and coquetry of an elegant female.


From 'Pride and Prejudice'

[Lydia Bennet has eloped with the worthless rake Wickham, who has no
intention of marrying her.]

Mrs. Bennet, to whose apartment they all repaired, after a few minutes'
conversation together, received them exactly as might be expected: with
tears and lamentations of regret, invectives against the villainous
conduct of Wickham, and complaints of her own suffering and
ill-usage;--blaming everybody but the person to whose ill-judging
indulgence the errors of her daughter must be principally owing.

"If I had been able," said she, "to carry my point in going to Brighton
with all my family, _this_ would not have happened; but poor, dear Lydia
had nobody to take care of her. Why did the Forsters ever let her go out
of their sight? I am sure there was some great neglect or other on their
side, for she is not the kind of girl to do such a thing, if she had
been well looked after. I always thought they were very unfit to have
the charge of her; but I was overruled, as I always am. Poor, dear
child! And now here's Mr. Bennet gone away, and I know he will fight
Wickham, wherever he meets him, and then he will be killed, and what is
to become of us all? The Collinses will turn us out, before he is cold
in his grave; and if you are not kind to us, brother, I do not know what
we shall do."

They all exclaimed against such terrific ideas; and Mr. Gardiner, after
general assurances of his affection for her and all her family, told her
that he meant to be in London the very next day, and would assist Mr.
Bennet in every endeavor for recovering Lydia.

"Do not give way to useless alarm," added he: "though it is right to be
prepared for the worst, there is no occasion to look on it as certain.
It is not quite a week since they left Brighton. In a few days more, we
may gain some news of them; and till we know that they are not married,
and have no design of marrying, do not let us give the matter over as
lost. As soon as I get to town, I shall go to my brother, and make him
come home with me, to Grace-church-street, and then we may consult
together as to what is to be done."

"Oh! my dear brother," replied Mrs. Bennet, "that is exactly what I
could most wish for. And now do, when you get to town, find them out,
wherever they may be; and if they are not married already, _make_ them
marry. And as for wedding clothes, do not let them wait for that, but
tell Lydia she shall have as much money as she chooses to buy them,
after they are married. And above all things, keep Mr. Bennet from
fighting. Tell him what a dreadful state I am in--that I am frightened
out of my wits; and have such tremblings, such flutterings, all over me,
such spasms in my side, and pains in my head, and such beatings at
heart, that I can get no rest by night nor by day. And tell my dear
Lydia not to give any directions about her clothes till she has seen me,
for she does not know which are the best warehouses. Oh! brother, how
kind you are! I know you will contrive it all."

But Mr. Gardiner, though he assured her again of his earnest endeavors
in the cause, could not avoid recommending moderation to her, as well in
her hopes as her fears; and after talking with her in this manner till
dinner was on the table, they left her to vent all her feelings on the
housekeeper, who attended, in the absence of her daughters.

Though her brother and sister were persuaded that there was no real
occasion for such a seclusion from the family, they did not attempt to
oppose it, for they knew that she had not prudence enough to hold her
tongue before the servants, while they waited at table, and judged it
better that one only of the household, and the one whom they could most
trust, should comprehend all her fears and solicitude on the subject.

In the dining-room they were soon joined by Mary and Kitty, who had been
too busily engaged in their separate apartments to make their appearance
before. One came from her books, and the other from her toilette. The
faces of both, however, were tolerably calm; and no change was visible
in either, except that the loss of her favorite sister, or the anger
which she had herself incurred in the business, had given something more
of fretfulness than usual to the accents of Kitty. As for Mary, she was
mistress enough of herself to whisper to Elizabeth, with a countenance
of grave reflection, soon after they were seated at table:--

"This is a most unfortunate affair; and will probably be much talked of.
But we must stem the tide of malice, and pour into the wounded bosoms of
each other the balm of sisterly consolation."

Then, perceiving in Elizabeth no inclination of replying, she added,
"Unhappy as the event must be for Lydia, we may draw from it this useful
lesson: that loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable--that one false
step involves her in endless ruin--that her reputation is no less
brittle than it is beautiful--and that she cannot be too much guarded in
her behavior towards the undeserving of the other sex."

Elizabeth lifted up her eyes in amazement, but was too much oppressed to
make any reply.


From 'Pride and Prejudice'


_My Dear Sir_:

I feel myself called upon, by our relationship and my situation in life,
to condole with you on the grievous affliction you are now suffering
under, of which we were yesterday informed by letter from Hertfordshire.
Be assured, my dear sir, that Mrs. Collins and myself sincerely
sympathize with you, and all your respectable family, in your present
distress, which must be of the bitterest kind, because proceeding from a
cause which no time can remove. No arguments shall be wanting, on my
part, that can alleviate so severe a misfortune; or that may comfort you
under a circumstance that must be of all others most afflicting to a
parent's mind. The death of your daughter would have been a blessing in
comparison of this. And it is the more to be lamented because there is
reason to suppose, as my dear Charlotte informs me, that this
licentiousness of behavior in your daughter has proceeded from a faulty
degree of indulgence; though at the same time, for the consolation of
yourself and Mrs. Bennet, I am inclined to think that her own
disposition must be naturally bad, or she could not be guilty of such an
enormity at so early an age. Howsoever that may be, you are grievously
to be pitied, in which opinion I am not only joined by Mrs. Collins, but
likewise by Lady Catherine and her daughter, to whom I have related the
affair. They agree with me in apprehending that this false step in one
daughter will be injurious to the fortunes of all the others; for who,
as Lady Catherine herself condescendingly says, will connect themselves
with such a family? And this consideration leads me, moreover, to
reflect with augmented satisfaction on a certain event of last November;
for had it been otherwise, I must have been involved in all your sorrows
and disgrace. Let me advise you, then, my dear sir, to console yourself
as much as possible, to throw off your unworthy child from your
affection forever, and leave her to reap the fruits of her own
heinous offense.

I am, dear sir, etc., etc.


From 'Northanger Abbey'

"My dearest Catherine, have you settled what to wear on your head
to-night? I am determined, at all events, to be dressed exactly like
you. The men take notice of _that_ sometimes, you know."

"But it does not signify if they do," said Catherine, very innocently.

"Signify! oh, heavens! I make it a rule never to mind what they say.
They are very often amazingly impertinent, if you do not treat them with
spirit, and make them keep their distance."

"Are they? Well I never observed _that_. They always behave very well to

"Oh! they give themselves such airs. They are the most conceited
creatures in the world, and think themselves of so much importance! By
the by, though I have thought of it a hundred times, I have always
forgot to ask you what is your favorite complexion in a man. Do you like
them best dark or fair?"

"I hardly know. I never much thought about it. Something between both, I
think--brown: not fair, and not very dark."

"Very well, Catherine. That is exactly he. I have not forgot your
description of Mr. Tilney: 'a brown skin, with dark eyes, and rather
dark hair.' Well, my taste is different. I prefer light eyes; and as to
complexion, do you know, I like a sallow better than any other. You must
not betray me, if you should ever meet with one of your acquaintance
answering that description."

"Betray you! What do you mean?"

"Nay, do not distress me. I believe I have said too much. Let us drop
the subject."

Catherine, in some amazement, complied; and after remaining a few
moments silent, was on the point of reverting to what interested her at
that time rather more than anything else in the world, Laurentina's
skeleton, when her friend prevented her by saying, "For Heaven's sake!
let us move away from this end of the room. Do you know, there are two
odious young men who have been staring at me this half-hour. They really
put me quite out of countenance. Let us go and look at the arrivals.
They will hardly follow us there."

Away they walked to the book; and while Isabella examined the names, it
was Catherine's employment to watch the proceedings of these alarming
young men.

"They are not coming this way, are they? I hope they are not so
impertinent as to follow us. Pray let me know if they are coming. I am
determined I will not look up."

In a few moments Catherine, with unaffected pleasure, assured her that
she need not be longer uneasy, as the gentlemen had just left the

"And which way are they gone?" said Isabella, turning hastily round.
"One was a very good-looking young man."

"They went towards the churchyard."

"Well, I am amazingly glad I have got rid of them! And now what say you
to going to Edgar's Buildings with me, and looking at my new hat? You
said you should like to see it."

Catherine readily agreed. "Only," she added, "perhaps we may overtake
the two young men."

"Oh! never mind that. If we make haste, we shall pass by them presently,
and I am dying to show you my hat."

"But if we only wait a few minutes, there will be no danger of our
seeing them at all."

"I shall not pay them any such compliment, I assure you. I have no
notion of treating men with such respect. _That_ is the way to
spoil them."

Catherine had nothing to oppose against such reasoning; and therefore,
to show the independence of Miss Thorpe, and her resolution of humbling
the sex, they set off immediately, as fast as they could walk, in
pursuit of the two young men.

Half a minute conducted them through the Pump-yard to the archway,
opposite Union Passage; but here they were stopped. Everybody acquainted
with Bath may remember the difficulties of crossing Cheap Street at this
point; it is indeed a street of so impertinent a nature, so
unfortunately connected with the great London and Oxford roads, and the
principal inn of the city, that a day never passes in which parties of
ladies, however important their business, whether in quest of pastry,
millinery, or even (as in the present case) of young men, are not
detained on one side or other by carriages, horsemen, or carts. This
evil had been felt and lamented, at least three times a day, by Isabella
since her residence in Bath: and she was now fated to feel and lament it
once more; for at the very moment of coming opposite to Union Passage,
and within view of the two gentlemen who were proceeding through the
crowds and treading the gutters of that interesting alley, they were
prevented crossing by the approach of a gig, driven along on bad
pavements by a most knowing-looking coachman, with all the vehemence
that could most fitly endanger the lives of himself, his companion, and
his horse.

"Oh, these odious gigs!" said Isabella, looking up, "how I detest them!"
But this detestation, though so just, was of short duration, for she
looked again, and exclaimed, "Delightful! Mr. Morland and my brother!"

"Good Heaven! 'tis James!" was uttered at the same moment by Catherine;
and on catching the young men's eyes, the horse was immediately checked
with a violence which almost threw him on his haunches; and the servant
having now scampered up, the gentlemen jumped out, and the equipage was
delivered to his care.

Catherine, by whom this meeting was wholly unexpected, received her
brother with the liveliest pleasure; and he, being of a very amiable
disposition, and sincerely attached to her, gave every proof on his side
of equal satisfaction, which he could have leisure to do, while the
bright eyes of Miss Thorpe were incessantly challenging his notice; and
to her his devoirs were speedily paid, with a mixture of joy and
embarrassment which might have informed Catherine, had she been more
expert in the development of other people's feelings, and less simply
engrossed by her own, that her brother thought her friend quite as
pretty as she could do herself.

John Thorpe, who in the mean time had been giving orders about the
horse, soon joined them, and from him she directly received the amends
which were her due; for while he slightly and carelessly touched the
hand of Isabella, on her he bestowed a whole scrape and half a short
bow. He was a stout young man, of middling height, who, with a plain
face and ungraceful form, seemed fearful of being too handsome unless he
wore the dress of a groom, and too much like a gentleman unless he were
easy where he ought to be civil, and impudent where he might be allowed
to be easy. He took out his watch:--"How long do you think we have been
running in from Tetbury, Miss Morland?"

"I do not know the distance." Her brother told her that it was
twenty-three miles.

"_Three_-and-twenty!" cried Thorpe; "five-and-twenty if it is an inch."
Morland remonstrated, pleaded the authority of road-books, innkeepers,
and milestones: but his friend disregarded them all; he had a surer test
of distance. "I know it must be five-and-twenty," said he, "by the time
we have been doing it." "It is now half after one; we drove out of the
inn-yard at Tetbury as the town-clock struck eleven; and I defy any man
in England to make my horse go less than ten miles an hour in harness;
that makes it exactly twenty-five."

"You have lost an hour," said Morland: "it was only ten o'clock when we
came from Tetbury."

"Ten o'clock! it was eleven, upon my soul! I counted every stroke. This
brother of yours would persuade me out of my senses, Miss Morland. Do
but look at my horse: did you ever see an animal so made for speed in
your life?" (The servant had just mounted the carriage and was driving
off.) "Such true blood! Three hours and a half, indeed, coming only
three-and-twenty miles! Look at that creature, and suppose it possible,
if you can!"

"He _does_ look very hot, to be sure."

"Hot! he had not turned a hair till we came to Walcot Church: but look
at his forehand; look at his loins; only see how he moves: that horse
_cannot_ go less than ten miles an hour; tie his legs, and he will get
on. What do you think of my gig, Miss Morland? A neat one, is it not?
Well hung; town built: I have not had it a month. It was built for a
Christ Church man, a friend of mine, a very good sort of fellow; he ran
it a few weeks, till, I believe, it was convenient to have done with it.
I happened just then to be looking out for some light thing of the kind,
though I had pretty well determined on a curricle too; but I chanced to
meet him on Magdalen Bridge, as he was driving into Oxford, last term:
'Ah, Thorpe,' said he, 'do you happen to want such a little thing as
this? It is a capital one of the kind, but I am cursed tired of it.'
'Oh! d----,' said I, 'I am your man; what do you ask?' And how much do
you think he did, Miss Morland?"

"I am sure I cannot guess at all."

"Curricle-hung, you see; seat, trunk, sword-case, splashing-board,
lamps, silver molding, all, you see, complete; the ironwork as good as
new, or better. He asked fifty guineas: I closed with him directly,
threw down the money, and the carriage was mine."

"And I am sure," said Catherine, "I know so little of such things, that
I cannot judge whether it was cheap or dear."

"Neither one nor t'other; I might have got it for less, I dare say; but
I hate haggling, and poor Freeman wanted cash."

"That was very good-natured of you," said Catherine, quite pleased.

"Oh! d---- it, when one has the means of doing a kind thing by a friend,
I hate to be pitiful."

An inquiry now took place into the intended movements of the young
ladies; and on finding whither they were going, it was decided that the
gentlemen should accompany them to Edgar's Buildings, and pay their
respects to Mrs. Thorpe. James and Isabella led the way; and so well
satisfied was the latter with her lot, so contentedly was she
endeavoring to insure a pleasant walk to him who brought the double
recommendation of being her brother's friend and her friend's brother,
so pure and uncoquettish were her feelings, that though they overtook
and passed the two offending young men in Milsom Street, she was so far
from seeking to attract their notice that she looked back at them only
three times.

John Thorpe kept of course with Catherine, and after a few minutes'
silence renewed the conversation about his gig:--"You will find,
however, Miss Morland, it would be reckoned a cheap thing by some
people, for I might have sold it for ten guineas more the next day;
Jackson of Oriel bid me sixty at once; Morland was with me at the time."

"Yes," said Morland, who overheard this; "bet you forgot that your horse
was included."

"My horse! oh, d---- it! I would not sell my horse for a hundred. Are
you fond of an open carriage, Miss Morland?"

"Yes, very: I have hardly ever an opportunity of being in one; but I am
particularly fond of it."

"I am glad of it: I will drive you out in mine every day."

"Thank you," said Catherine, in some distress, from a doubt of the
propriety of accepting such an offer.

"I will drive you up Lansdown Hill to-morrow."

"Thank you; but will not your horse want rest?"

"Rest! he has only come three-and-twenty miles to-day; all nonsense:
nothing ruins horses so much as rest; nothing knocks them up so soon.
No, no: I shall exercise mine at the average of four hours every day
while I am here."

"Shall you, indeed!" said Catherine, very seriously: "that will be
forty miles a day."

"Forty! ay, fifty, for what I care. Well, I will drive you up Lansdown
to-morrow; mind, I am engaged."

"How delightful that will be!" cried Isabella, turning round; "my
dearest Catherine, I quite envy you; but I am afraid, brother, you will
not have room for a third."

"A third, indeed! no, no; I did not come to Bath to drive my sisters
about: that would be a good joke, faith! Morland must take care of you."

This brought on a dialogue of civilities between the other two; but
Catherine heard neither the particulars nor the result. Her companion's
discourse now sunk from its hitherto animated pitch to nothing more than
a short, decisive sentence of praise or condemnation on the face of
every women they met; and Catherine, after listening and agreeing as
long as she could, with all the civility and deference of the youthful
female mind, fearful of hazarding an opinion of its own in opposition to
that of a self-assured man, especially where the beauty of her own sex
is concerned, ventured at length to vary the subject by a question which
had been long uppermost in her thoughts. It was, "Have you ever read
'Udolpho,' Mr. Thorpe?"

"'Udolpho'! O Lord! not I: I never read novels; I have something else to

Catherine, humbled and ashamed, was going to apologize for her question;
but he prevented her by saying, "Novels are all so full of nonsense and
stuff! there has not been a tolerable decent one come out since 'Tom
Jones,' except the 'Monk'; I read that t'other day: but as for all the
others, they are the stupidest things in creation."

"I think you must like 'Udolpho,' if you were to read it: it is so very

"Not I, faith! No, if I read any, it shall be Mrs. Radcliffe's; her
novels are amusing enough: they are worth reading; some fun and nature
in _them_.

"'Udolpho' was written by Mrs. Radcliffe," said Catherine, with some
hesitation, from the fear of mortifying him.

"No, sure; was it? Ay, I remember, so it was; I was thinking of that
other stupid book, written by that woman they made such a fuss about;
she who married the French emigrant."

"I suppose you mean 'Camilla'?"

"Yes, that's the book: such unnatural stuff! An old man playing at
see-saw: I took up the first volume once, and looked it over, but I soon
found it would not do; indeed, I guessed what sort of stuff it must be
before I saw it; as soon as I heard she had married an emigrant, I was
sure I should never be able to get through it."

"I have never read it."

"You have no loss, I assure you; it is the horridest nonsense you can
imagine: there is nothing in the world in it but an old man's playing at
see-saw and learning Latin; upon my soul, there is not."

This critique, the justness of which was unfortunately lost on poor
Catherine, brought them to the door of Mrs. Thorpe's lodgings, and the
feelings of the discerning and unprejudiced reader of 'Camilla' gave way
to the feelings of the dutiful and affectionate son, as they met Mrs.
Thorpe, who had descried them from above, in the passage. "Ah, mother,
how do you do?" said he, giving her a hearty shake of the hand; "where
did you get that quiz of a hat? it makes you look like an old witch.
Here is Morland and I come to stay a few days with you; so you must look
out for a couple of good beds somewhere near." And this address seemed
to satisfy all the fondest wishes of the mother's heart, for she
received him with the most delighted and exulting affection. On his two
younger sisters he then bestowed an equal portion of his fraternal
tenderness, for he asked each of them how they did, and observed that
they both looked very ugly.


From 'Emma'

While they were thus comfortably occupied, Mr. Woodhouse was enjoying a
full flow of happy regrets and tearful affection with his daughter.

"My poor, dear Isabella," said he, fondly taking her hand, and
interrupting for a few moments her busy labors for some one of her five
children, "how long it is, how terribly long since you were here! And
how tired you must be after your journey! You must go to bed early, my
dear,--and I recommend a little gruel to you before you go. You and I
will have a nice basin of gruel together. My dear Emma, suppose we all
have a little gruel."

Emma could not suppose any such thing, knowing as she did that both the
Mr. Knightleys were as unpersuadable on that article as herself, and two
basins only were ordered. After a little more discourse in praise of
gruel, with some wondering at its not being taken every evening by
everybody, he proceeded to say, with an air of grave reflection:--

"It was an awkward business, my dear, your spending the autumn at South
End instead of coming here. I never had much opinion of the sea air."

"Mr. Wingfield most strenuously recommended it, sir, or we should not
have gone. He recommended it for all the children, but particularly for
the weakness in little Bella's throat,--both sea air and bathing."

"Ah, my dear, but Perry had many doubts about the sea doing her any
good; and as to myself, I have been long perfectly convinced, though
perhaps I never told you so before, that the sea is very rarely of use
to anybody. I am sure it almost killed me once."

"Come, come," cried Emma, feeling this to be an unsafe subject, "I must
beg you not to talk of the sea. It makes me envious and miserable; I who
have never seen it! South End is prohibited, if you please. My dear
Isabella, I have not heard you make one inquiry after Mr. Perry yet; and
he never forgets you."

"Oh, good Mr. Perry, how is he, sir?"

"Why, pretty well; but not quite well. Poor Perry is bilious, and he has
not time to take care of himself; he tells me he has not time to take
care of himself--which is very sad--but he is always wanted all round
the country. I suppose there is not a man in such practice anywhere. But
then, there is not so clever a man anywhere."

"And Mrs. Perry and the children, how are they? Do the children grow? I
have a great regard for Mr. Perry. I hope he will be calling soon. He
will be so pleased to see my little ones."

"I hope he will be here to-morrow, for I have a question or two to ask
him about myself of some consequence. And, my dear, whenever he comes,
you had better let him look at little Bella's throat."

"Oh, my dear sir, her throat is so much better that I have hardly any
uneasiness about it. Either bathing has been of the greatest service to
her, or else it is to be attributed to an excellent embrocation of Mr.
Wingfield's, which we have been applying at times ever since August."

"It is not very likely, my dear, that bathing should have been of use to
her; and if I had known you were wanting an embrocation, I would have
spoken to--"

"You seem to me to have forgotten Mrs. and Miss Bates," said Emma: "I
have not heard one inquiry after them."

"Oh, the good Bateses--I am quite ashamed of myself; but you mention
them in most of your letters. I hope they are quite well. Good old Mrs.
Bates. I will call upon her to-morrow, and take my children. They are
always so pleased to see my children. And that excellent Miss
Bates!--such thorough worthy people! How are they, sir?"

"Why, pretty well, my dear, upon the whole. But poor Mrs. Bates had a
bad cold about a month ago."

"How sorry I am! but colds were never so prevalent as they have been
this autumn. Mr. Wingfield told me that he had never known them more
general or heavy, except when it has been quite an influenza."

"That has been a good deal the case, my dear, but not to the degree you
mention. Perry says that colds have been very general, but not so heavy
as he has very often known them in November. Perry does not call it
altogether a sickly season."

"No, I do not know that Mr. Wingfield considers it _very_ sickly,

"Ah, my poor, dear child, the truth is, that in London it is always a
sickly season. Nobody is healthy in London, nobody can be. It is a
dreadful thing to have you forced to live there;--so far off!--and the
air so bad!"

"No, indeed, _we_ are not at all in a bad air. Our part of London is so
very superior to most others. You must not confound us with London in
general, my dear sir. The neighborhood of Brunswick Square is very
different from almost all the rest. We are so very airy! I should be
unwilling, I own, to live in any other part of the town; there is hardly
any other that I could be satisfied to have my children in: but _we_ are
so remarkably airy! Mr. Wingfield thinks the vicinity of Brunswick
Square decidedly the most favorable as to air."

"Ah, my dear, it is not like Hartfield. You make the best of it--but
after you have been a week at Hartfield, you are all of you different
creatures; you do not look like the same. Now, I cannot say that I think
you are any of you looking well at present."

"I am sorry to hear you say so, sir; but I assure you, excepting those
little nervous headaches and palpitations which I am never entirely free
from anywhere, I am quite well myself; and if the children were rather
pale before they went to bed, it was only because they were a little
more tired than usual from their journey and the happiness of coming. I
hope you will think better of their looks to-morrow; for I assure you
Mr. Wingfield told me that he did not believe he had ever sent us off,
altogether, in such good case. I trust at least that you do not think
Mr. Knightley looking ill," turning her eyes with affectionate anxiety
toward her husband.

"Middling, my dear; I cannot compliment you. I think Mr. John Knightley
very far from looking well."

"What is the matter, sir? Did you speak to me?" cried Mr. John
Knightley, hearing his own name.

"I am sorry to find, my love, that my father does not think you looking
well; but I hope it is only from being a little fatigued. I could have
wished, however, as you know, that you had seen Mr. Wingfield before you
left home."

"My dear Isabella," exclaimed he hastily, "pray do not concern yourself
about my looks. Be satisfied with doctoring and coddling yourself and
the children, and let me look as I choose."

"I did not thoroughly understand what you were telling your brother,"
cried Emma, "about your friend Mr. Graham's intending to have a bailiff
from Scotland to look after his new estate. But will it answer? Will not
the old prejudice be too strong?"

And she talked in this way so long and successfully that, when forced to
give her attention again to her father and sister, she had nothing worse
to hear than Isabella's kind inquiry after Jane Fairfax; and Jane
Fairfax, though no great favorite with her in general, she was at that
moment very happy to assist in praising.

"That sweet, amiable Jane Fairfax!" said Mrs. John Knightley. "It is so
long since I have seen her, except now and then for a moment
accidentally in town. What happiness it must be to her good old
grandmother and excellent aunt when she comes to visit them! I always
regret excessively, on dear Emma's account, that she cannot be more at
Highbury; but now their daughter is married I suppose Colonel and Mrs.
Campbell will not be able to part with her at all. She would be such a
delightful companion for Emma."

Mr. Woodhouse agreed to it all, but added:--

"Our little friend Harriet Smith, however, is just such another pretty
kind of young person. You will like Harriet. Emma could not have a
better companion than Harriet."

"I am most happy to hear it; but only Jane Fairfax one knows to be so
very accomplished and superior, and exactly Emma's age."

This topic was discussed very happily, and others succeeded of similar
moment, and passed away with similar harmony; but the evening did not
close without a little return of agitation. The gruel came and supplied
a great deal to be said--much praise and many comments--undoubting
decision of its wholesomeness for every constitution, and pretty severe
philippies upon the many houses where it was never met with tolerably;
but unfortunately, among the failures which the daughter had to
instance, the most recent and therefore most prominent was in her own
cook at South End, a young woman hired for the time, who never had been
able to understand what she meant by a basin of nice smooth gruel, thin,
but not too thin. Often as she had wished for and ordered it, she had
never been able to get anything tolerable. Here was a dangerous opening.

"Ah," said Mr. Woodhouse, shaking his head, and fixing his eyes on her
with tender concern. The ejaculation in Emma's ear expressed, "Ah, there
is no end of the sad consequences of your going to South End. It does
not bear talking of." And for a little while she hoped he would not talk
of it, and that a silent rumination might suffice to restore him to the
relish of his own smooth gruel. After an interval of some minutes,
however, he began with--

"I shall always be very sorry that you went to the sea this autumn,
instead of coming here."

"But why should you be sorry, sir? I assure you it did the children a
great deal of good."

"And moreover, if you must go to the sea, it had better not have been to
South End. South End is an unhealthy place. Perry was surprised to hear
you had fixed upon South End."

"I know there is such an idea with many people, but indeed it is quite
a mistake, sir. We all had our health perfectly well there, never found
the least inconvenience from the mud, and Mr. Wingfield says it is
entirely a mistake to suppose the place unhealthy; and I am sure he may
be depended on, for he thoroughly understands the nature of the air, and
his own brother and family have been there repeatedly."

"You should have gone to Cromer, my dear, if you went anywhere. Perry
was a week at Cromer once, and he holds it to be the best of all the
sea-bathing places. A fine open sea, he says, and very pure air. And by
what I understand, you might have had lodgings there quite away from the
sea--a quarter of a mile off--very comfortable. You should have
consulted Perry."

"But my dear sir, the difference of the journey: only consider how great
it would have been. A hundred miles, perhaps, instead of forty."

"Ah, my dear, as Perry says, where health is at stake, nothing else
should be considered; and if one is to travel, there is not much to
choose between forty miles and a hundred. Better not move at all, better
stay in London altogether than travel forty miles to get into a worse
air. This is just what Perry said. It seemed to him a very
ill-judged measure."

Emma's attempts to stop her father had been vain; and when he had
reached such a point as this, she could not wonder at her
brother-in-law's breaking out.

"Mr. Perry," said he, in a voice of very strong displeasure, "would do
as well to keep his opinion till it is asked for. Why does he make it
any business of his to wonder at what I do at my taking my family to one
part of the coast or another? I may be allowed, I hope, the use of my
judgment as well as Mr. Perry. I want his directions no more than his
drugs." He paused, and growing cooler in a moment, added, with only
sarcastic dryness, "If Mr. Perry can tell me how to convey a wife and
five children a distance of a hundred and thirty miles with no greater
expense or inconvenience than a distance of forty, I should be as
willing to prefer Cromer to South End as he could himself."

"True, true," cried Mr. Knightley, with most ready interposition, "very
true. That's a consideration, indeed. But, John, as to what I was
telling you of my idea of moving the path to Langham, of turning it more
to the right that it may not cut through the home meadows, I cannot
conceive any difficulty. I should not attempt it, if it were to be the
means of inconvenience to the Highbury people, but if you call to mind
exactly the present light of the path--The only way of proving it,
however, will be to turn to our maps. I shall see you at the Abbey
to-morrow morning, I hope, and then we will look them over, and you
shall give me your opinion."

Mr. Woodhouse was rather agitated by such harsh reflections on his
friend Perry, to whom he had in fact, though unconsciously, been
attributing many of his own feelings and expressions; but the soothing
attentions of his daughters gradually removed the present evil, and the
immediate alertness of one brother, and better recollections of the
other, prevented any renewal of it.


From 'Mansfield Park'

As her [Fanny Price's] appearance and spirits improved, Sir Thomas and
Mrs. Norris thought with greater satisfaction of their benevolent plan;
and it was pretty soon decided between them, that though far from
clever, she showed a tractable disposition, and seemed likely to give
them little trouble. A mean opinion of her abilities was not confined to
_them_. Fanny could read, work, and write, but she had been taught
nothing more; and as her cousins found her ignorant of many things with
which they had been long familiar, they thought her prodigiously stupid,
and for the first two or three weeks were continually bringing some
fresh report of it into the drawing-room.

"Dear mamma, only think, my cousin cannot put the map of Europe
together"--or "my cousin cannot tell the principal rivers in Russia"--or
"she never heard of Asia Minor"--or "she does not know the difference
between water-colors and crayons! How strange! Did you ever hear
anything so stupid?"

"My dear," their aunt would reply, "it is very bad, but you must not
expect everybody to be as quick at learning as yourself."

"But, aunt, she is really so very ignorant! Do you know, we asked her
last night which way she would go to get to Ireland; and she said she
should cross to the Isle of Wight. She thinks of nothing but the Isle of
Wight, and she calls it _the Island_, as if there were no other island
in the world. I am sure I should have been ashamed of myself, if I had
not known better long before I was so old as she is. I cannot remember
the time when I did not know a great deal that she has not the least
notion of yet. How long ago it is, aunt, since we used to repeat the
chronological order of the kings of England, with the dates of their
accession, and most of the principal events of their reigns!"

"Yes," added the other; "and of the Roman emperors as low as Severus;
besides a great deal of the heathen mythology, and all the metals,
semi-metals, planets, and distinguished philosophers."

"Very true, indeed, my dears, but you are blessed with wonderful
memories, and your poor cousin has probably none at all. There is a vast
deal of difference in memories, as well as in everything else; and
therefore you must make allowance for your cousin, and pity her
deficiency. And remember that if you are ever so forward and clever
yourselves, you should always be modest, for, much as you know already,
there is a great deal more for you to learn."

"Yes, I know there is, till I am seventeen. But I must tell you another
thing of Fanny, so odd and so stupid. Do you know, she says she does not
want to learn either music or drawing?"

"To be sure, my dear, that is very stupid indeed, and shows a great want
of genius and emulation. But, all things considered, I do not know
whether it is not as well that it should be so: for though you know
(owing to me) your papa and mamma are so good as to bring her up with
you, it is not at all necessary that she should be as accomplished as
you are; on the contrary, it is much more desirable that there should be
a difference."

Such were the counsels by which Mrs. Norris assisted to form her nieces'
minds; and it is not very wonderful that, with all their promising
talents and early information, they should be entirely deficient in the
less common acquirements of self-knowledge, generosity, and humility. In
everything but disposition, they were admirably taught. Sir Thomas did
not know what was wanting, because, though a truly anxious father, he
was not outwardly affectionate, and the reserve of his manner repressed
all the flow of their spirits before him.


From 'Mansfield Park'

Fanny looked on and listened, not unamused to observe the selfishness
which, more or less disguised, seemed to govern them all, and wondering
how it would end.

Three of the characters were now cast, besides Mr. Rushworth, who was
always answered for by Maria as willing to do anything; when Julia,
meaning, like her sister, to be Agatha, began to be scrupulous on Miss
Crawford's account.

"This is not behaving well by the absent," said she. "Here are not women
enough. Amelia and Agatha may do for Maria and me, but here is nothing
for your sister, Mr. Crawford."

Mr. Crawford desired _that_ might not be thought of; he was very sure
his sister had no wish of acting but as she might be useful, and that
she would not allow herself to be considered in the present case. But
this was immediately opposed by Tom Bertram, who asserted the part of
Amelia to be in every respect the property of Miss Crawford, if she
would accept it. "It falls as naturally as necessarily to her," said he,
"as Agatha does to one or other of my sisters. It can be no sacrifice on
their side, for it is highly comic."

A short silence followed. Each sister looked anxious; for each felt the
best claim to Agatha, and was hoping to have it pressed on her by the
rest. Henry Crawford, who meanwhile had taken up the play, and with
seeming carelessness was turning over the first act, soon settled
the business.

"I must entreat Miss _Julia_ Bertram," said he, "not to engage in the
part of Agatha, or it will be the ruin of all my solemnity. You must
not, indeed you must not [turning to her]. I could not stand your
countenance dressed up in woe and paleness. The many laughs we have had
together would infallibly come across me, and Frederick and his knapsack
would be obliged to run away."

Pleasantly, courteously, it was spoken; but the manner was lost in the
matter to Julia's feelings. She saw a glance at Maria, which confirmed
the injury to herself: it was a scheme, a trick; she was slighted, Maria
was preferred; the smile of triumph which Maria was trying to suppress
showed how well it was understood: and before Julia could command
herself enough to speak, her brother gave his weight against her too,
by saying, "Oh yes! Maria must be Agatha. Maria will be the best Agatha.
Though Julia fancies she prefers tragedy, I would not trust her in it.
There is nothing of tragedy about her. She has not the look of it. Her
features are not tragic features, and she walks too quick, and speaks
too quick, and would not keep her countenance. She had better do the old
countrywoman--the Cottager's wife; you had, indeed, Julia. Cottager's
wife is a very pretty part, I assure you. The old lady relieves the
high-flown benevolence of her husband with a good deal of spirit. You
shall be the Cottager's wife."

"Cottager's wife!" cried Mr. Yates. "What are you talking of? The most
trivial, paltry, insignificant part; the merest commonplace; not a
tolerable speech in the whole. Your sister do that! It is an insult to
propose it. At Ecclesford the governess was to have done it. We all
agreed that it could not be offered to anybody else. A little more
justice, Mr. Manager, if you please. You do not deserve the office if
you cannot appreciate the talents of your company a little better."

"Why, as to _that_, my good friends, till I and my company have really
acted, there must be some guesswork; but I mean no disparagement to
Julia. We cannot have two Agathas, and we must have one Cottager's wife;
and I am sure I set her the example of moderation myself in being
satisfied with the old Butler. If the part is trifling she will have
more credit in making something of it: and if she is so desperately bent
against everything humorous, let her take Cottager's speeches instead of
Cottager's wife's, and so change the parts all through; _he_ is solemn
and pathetic enough, I am sure. It could make no difference in the play;
and as for Cottager himself, when he has got his wife's speeches, _I_
would undertake him with all my heart."

"With all your partiality for Cottager's wife," said Henry Crawford, "it
will be impossible to make anything of it fit for your sister, and we
must not suffer her good nature to be imposed on. We must not _allow_
her to accept the part. She must not be left to her own complaisance.
Her talents will be wanted in Amelia. Amelia is a character more
difficult to be well represented than even Agatha. I consider Amelia as
the most difficult character in the whole piece. It requires great
powers, great nicety, to give her playfulness and simplicity without
extravagance. I have seen good actresses fail in the part. Simplicity,
indeed, is beyond the reach of almost every actress by profession. It
requires a delicacy of feeling which they have not. It requires a
gentlewoman--a Julia Bertram. You _will_ undertake it, I hope?" turning
to her with a look of anxious entreaty, which softened her a little; but
while she hesitated what to say, her brother again interposed with Miss
Crawford's better claim.

"No, no, Julia must not be Amelia. It is not at all the part for her.
She would not like it. She would not do well. She is too tall and
robust. Amelia should be a small, light, girlish, skipping figure. It is
fit for Miss Crawford, and Miss Crawford only. She looks the part, and I
am persuaded will do it admirably."

Without attending to this, Henry Crawford continued his supplication.
"You must oblige us," said he, "indeed you must. When you have studied
the character I am sure you will feel it suits you. Tragedy may be your
choice, but it will certainly appear that comedy chooses _you_. You will
have to visit me in prison with a basket of provisions; you will not
refuse to visit me in prison? I think I see you coming in with
your basket."

The influence of his voice was felt. Julia wavered; but was he only
trying to soothe and pacify her, and make her overlook the previous
affront? She distrusted him. The slight had been most determined. He
was, perhaps, but at treacherous play with her. She looked suspiciously
at her sister; Maria's countenance was to decide it; if she were vexed
and alarmed--but Maria looked all serenity and satisfaction, and Julia
well knew that on this ground Maria could not be happy but at her
expense. With hasty indignation, therefore, and a tremulous voice, she
said to him, "You do not seem afraid of not keeping your countenance
when I come in with a basket of provisions--though one might have
supposed--but it is only as Agatha that I was to be so overpowering!"
She stopped, Henry Crawford looked rather foolish, and as if he did not
know what to say. Tom Bertram began again:--

"Miss Crawford must be Amelia. She will be an excellent Amelia."

"Do not be afraid of _my_ wanting the character," cried Julia, with
angry quickness: "I am _not_ to be Agatha, and I am sure I will do
nothing else; and as to Amelia, it is of all parts in the world the
most disgusting to me. I quite detest her. An odious little, pert,
unnatural, impudent girl. I have always protested against comedy, and
this is comedy in its worst form." And so saying, she walked hastily out
of the room, leaving awkward feelings to more than one, but exciting
small compassion in any except Fanny, who had been a quiet auditor of
the whole, and who could not think of her as under the agitations of
_jealousy_ without great pity....

The inattention of the two brothers and the aunt to Julia's
discomposure, and their blindness to its true cause, must be imputed to
the fullness of their own minds. They were totally preoccupied. Tom was
engrossed by the concerns of his theatre, and saw nothing that did not
immediately relate to it. Edmund, between his theatrical and his real
part--between Miss Crawford's claims and his own conduct--between love
and consistency, was equally unobservant: and Mrs. Norris was too busy
in contriving and directing the general little matters of the company,
superintending their various dresses with economical expedients, for
which nobody thanked her, and saving, with delighted integrity,
half-a-crown here and there to the absent Sir Thomas, to have leisure
for watching the behavior, or guarding the happiness, of his daughters.


From 'Mansfield Park'

These were the circumstances and the hopes which gradually brought their
alleviation to Sir Thomas, deadening his sense of what was lost, and in
part reconciling him to himself; though the anguish arising from the
conviction of his own errors in the education of his daughters was never
to be entirely done away.

Too late he became aware how unfavorable to the character of any young
people must be the totally opposite treatment which Maria and Julia had
been always experiencing at home, where the excessive indulgence and
flattery of their aunt had been continually contrasted with his own
severity. He saw how ill he had judged, in expecting to counteract what
was wrong in Mrs. Norris by its reverse in himself, clearly saw that he
had but increased the evil, by teaching them to repress their spirits
in his presence so as to make their real disposition unknown to him,
and sending them for all their indulgences to a person who had been able
to attach them only by the blindness of her affection and the excess of
her praise.

Here had been grievous mismanagement; but, bad as it was, he gradually
grew to feel that it had not been the most direful mistake in his plan
of education. Something must have been wanting _within_, or time would
have worn away much of its ill effect. He feared that principle, active
principle, had been wanting; that they had never been properly taught to
govern their inclinations and tempers, by that sense of duty which can
alone suffice. They had been instructed theoretically in their religion,
but never required to bring it into daily practice. To be distinguished
for elegance and accomplishments--the authorized object of their
youth--could have had no useful influence that way, no moral effect on
the mind. He had meant them to be good, but his cares had been directed
to the understanding and manners, not the disposition; and of the
necessity of self-denial and humility, he feared they had never heard
from any lips that could profit them.

Bitterly did he deplore a deficiency which now he could scarcely
comprehend to have been possible. Wretchedly did he feel, that with all
the cost and care of an anxious and expensive education, he had brought
up his daughters without their understanding their first duties, or his
being acquainted with their character and temper.

The high spirit and strong passions of Mrs. Rushworth especially were
made known to him only in their sad result. She was not to be prevailed
on to leave Mr. Crawford. She hoped to marry him, and they continued
together till she was obliged to be convinced that such hope was vain,
and till the disappointment and wretchedness arising from the conviction
rendered her temper so bad, and her feelings for him so like hatred, as
to make them for a while each other's punishment, and then induce a
voluntary separation.

She had lived with him to be reproached as the ruin of all his happiness
in Fanny, and carried away no better consolation in leaving him, than
that she _had_ divided them. What can exceed the misery of such a mind
in such a situation!

Mr. Rushworth had no difficulty in procuring a divorce; and so ended a
marriage contracted under such circumstances as to make any better end
the effect of good luck, not to be reckoned on. She had despised him,
and loved another--and he had been very much aware that it was so. The
indignities of stupidity, and the disappointments of selfish passion,
can excite little pity. His punishment followed his conduct, as did a
deeper punishment the deeper guilt of his wife. _He_ was released from
the engagement, to be mortified and unhappy till some other pretty girl
could attract him into matrimony again, and he might set forward on a
second, and it is to be hoped more prosperous trial of the state--if
duped, to be duped at least with good humor and good luck; while _she_
must withdraw with infinitely stronger feelings, to a retirement and
reproach which could allow no second spring of hope or character.

Where she could be placed, became a subject of most melancholy and
momentous consultation. Mrs. Norris, whose attachment seemed to augment
with the demerits of her niece, would have had her received at home and
countenanced by them all. Sir Thomas would not hear of it; and Mrs.
Norris's anger against Fanny was so much the greater, from considering
_her_ residence there as the motive. She persisted in placing his
scruples to _her_ account, though Sir Thomas very solemnly assured her
that had there been no young woman in question, had there been no young
person of either sex belonging to him, to be endangered by the society
or hurt by the character of Mrs. Rushworth, he would never have offered
so great an insult to the neighborhood as to expect it to notice her. As
a daughter--he hoped a penitent one--she should be protected by him, and
secured in every comfort and supported by every encouragement to do
right which their relative situations admitted; but farther than _that_
he would not go. Maria had destroyed her own character; and he would
not, by a vain attempt to restore what never could be restored, be
affording his sanction to vice, or, in seeking to lessen its disgrace,
be anywise accessory to introducing such misery in another man's family
as he had known himself....

Henry Crawford, ruined by early independence and bad domestic example,
indulged in the freaks of a cold-blooded vanity a little too long. Once
it had, by an opening undesigned and unmerited, led him into the way of
happiness. Could he have been satisfied with the conquest of one amiable
woman's affections, could he have found sufficient exultation in
overcoming the reluctance, in working himself into the esteem and
tenderness of Fanny Price, there would have been every probability of
success and felicity for him. His affection had already done something.
Her influence over him had already given him some influence over her.
Would he have deserved more, there can be no doubt that more would have
been obtained; especially when that marriage had taken place, which
would have given him the assistance of her conscience in subduing her
first inclination, and brought them very often together. Would he have
persevered, and uprightly, Fanny must have been his reward--and a reward
very voluntarily bestowed--within a reasonable period from Edmund's
marrying Mary. Had he done as he intended, and as he knew he ought, by
going down to Everingham after his return from Portsmouth, he might have
been deciding his own happy destiny. But he was pressed to stay for Mrs.
Fraser's party: his staying was made of flattering consequence, and he
was to meet Mrs. Rushworth there. Curiosity and vanity were both
engaged, and the temptation of immediate pleasure was too strong for a
mind unused to make any sacrifice to right; he resolved to defer his
Norfolk journey, resolved that writing should answer the purpose of it,
or that its purpose was unimportant--and staid. He saw Mrs. Rushworth,
was received by her with a coldness which ought to have been repulsive,
and have established apparent indifference between them for ever: but he
was mortified, he could not bear to be thrown off by the woman whose
smiles had been so wholly at his command; he must exert himself to
subdue so proud a display of resentment: it was anger on Fanny's
account; he must get the better of it, and make Mrs. Rushworth Maria
Bertram again in her treatment of himself.

In this spirit he began the attack; and by animated perseverance had
soon re-established the sort of familiar intercourse--of gallantry--of
flirtation--which bounded his views: but in triumphing over the
discretion, which, though beginning in anger, might have saved them
both, he had put himself in the power of feelings on her side more
strong than he had supposed. She loved him; there was no withdrawing
attentions avowedly dear to her. He was entangled by his own vanity,
with as little excuse of love as possible, and without the smallest
inconstancy of mind towards her cousin. To keep Fanny and the Bertrams
from a knowledge of what was passing became his first object. Secrecy
could not have been more desirable for Mrs. Rushworth's credit than he
felt it for his own. When he returned from Richmond, he would have been
glad to see Mrs. Rushworth no more. All that followed was the result of
her imprudence; and he went off with her at last because he could not
help it, regretting Fanny even at the moment, but regretting her
infinitely more when all the bustle of the intrigue was over, and a very
few months had taught him, by the force of contrast, to place a yet
higher value on the sweetness of her temper, the purity of her mind, and
the excellence of her principles.

That punishment, the public punishment of disgrace, should in a just
measure attend _his_ share of the offense, is, we know, not one of the
barriers which society gives to virtue. In this world, the penalty is
less equal than could be wished; but without presuming to look forward
to a juster appointment hereafter, we may fairly consider a man of
sense, like Henry Crawford, to be providing for himself no small portion
of vexation and regret--vexation that must rise sometimes to
self-reproach, and regret to wretchedness--in having so requited
hospitality, so injured family peace, so forfeited his best, most
estimable, and endeared acquaintance, and so lost the woman whom he had
rationally as well as passionately loved.



Averroës (Abu 'l Walid Muhammad, ibn Achmad, ibn Muhammad, IBN RUSHD; or
more in English, Abu 'l Walid Muhammed, the son of Achmet, the son of
Muhammed, the son of Rushd) was born in 1126 at Cordova, Spain. His
father and grandfather, the latter a celebrated jurist and canonist, had
been judges in that city. He first studied theology and canon law, and
later medicine and philosophy; thus, like Faust, covering the whole
field of mediæal science. His life was cast in the most brilliant period
of Western Muslim culture, in the splendor of that rationalism which
preceded the great darkness of religious fanaticism. As a young man, he
was introduced by Ibn Tufail (Abubacer), author of the famous 'Hayy
al-Yukdhan,' a philosophical 'Robinson Crusoe,' to the enlightened
Khalif Abu Ya'kub Yusuf (1163-84), as a fit expounder of the then
popular philosophy of Aristotle. This position he filled with so much
success as to become a favorite with the Prince, and finally his private
physician. He likewise filled the important office of judge, first at
Seville, later at Cordova.

He enjoyed even greater consideration under the next Khalif, Ya'kub
al-Mansur, until the year 1195, when the jealousy of his rivals and the
fanaticism of the Berbers led to his being accused of championing
philosophy to the detriment of religion. Though Averroës always
professed great respect for religion, and especially for Islam, as a
valuable popular substitute for science and philosophy, the charge could
hardly be rebutted (as will be shown later), and the Amir of the
Faithful could scarcely afford openly to favor a heretic. Averroës was
accordingly deprived of his honors, and banished to Lacena, a Jewish
settlement near Cordova--a fact which gives coloring to the belief that
he was of Jewish descent. To satisfy his fanatical subjects for the
moment, the Khalif published severe edicts not only against Averroës,
but against all learned men and all learning as hostile to religion. For
a time the poor philosopher could not appear in public without being
mobbed; but after two years, a less fanatical party having come into
power, the Prince revoked his edicts, and Averroës was restored to
favor. This event he did not long survive. He died on 10th December
1198, in Marocco. Here too he was buried; but his body was afterward
transported to Cordova, and laid in the tomb of his fathers. He left
several sons, more than one of whom came to occupy important positions.

Averroës was the last great Muslim thinker, summing up and carrying to
its conclusions the thought of four hundred years. The philosophy of
Islam, which flourished first in the East, in Basra and Bagdad
(800-1100), and then in the West, Cordova, Toledo, etc. (1100-1200), was
a mixture of Aristotelianism and Neo-Platonism, borrowed, under the
earlier Persianizing Khalifs, from the Christian (mainly Nestorian)
monks of Syria and Mesopotamia, being consequently a naturalistic
system. In it God was acknowledged only as the supreme abstraction;
while eternal matter, law, and impersonal intelligence played the
principal part. It was necessarily irreconcilable with Muslim orthodoxy,
in which a crudely conceived, intensely personal God is all in all.
While Persian influence was potent, philosophy flourished, produced some
really great scholars and thinkers, made considerable headway against
Muslim fatalism and predestination, and seemed in a fair way to bring
about a free and rational civilization, eminent in science and art. But
no sooner did the fanatical or scholastic element get the upper hand
than philosophy vanished, and with it all hope of a great Muslim
civilization in the East. This change was marked by Al-Ghazzali, and his
book 'The Destruction of the Philosophers.' He died in A.D. 1111, and
then the works of Al-Farabi, Ibn-Sina, and the "Brothers of Purity,"
wandered out to the far West, to seek for appreciation among the Muslim,
Jews, and Christians of Spain. And for a brief time they found it there,
and in the twelfth century found also eloquent expounders at the
mosque-schools of Cordova, Toledo, Seville, and Saragossa. Of these the
most famous were Ibn Baja, Ibn Tufail, and Ibn Rushd (Averroës).

During its progress, Muslim philosophy had gradually been eliminating
the Neo-Platonic, mystic element, and returning to pure Aristotelianism.
In Averroës, who professed to be merely a commentator on Aristotle, this
tendency reached its climax; and though he still regarded the
pseudo-Aristotelian works as genuine, and did not entirely escape their
influence, he is by far the least mystic of Muslim thinkers. The two
fundamental doctrines upon which he always insisted, and which long made
his name famous, not to say notorious, the eternity of matter and of the
world (involving a denial of the doctrine of creation), and the oneness
of the active intellect in all men (involving the mortality of the
individual soul and the impossibility of resurrection and judgment), are
both of Aristotelian origin. It was no wonder that he came into conflict
with the orthodox Muslim; for in the warfare between Arab prophetism,
with its shallow apologetic scholasticism, and Greek philosophy, with
its earnest endeavor to find truth, and its belief in reason as the sole
revealer thereof, he unhesitatingly took the side of the latter. He held
that man is made to discover truth, and that the serious study of God
and his works is the noblest form of worship.

However little one may agree with his chief tenets, there can be no
doubt that he was the most enlightened man of the entire Middle Age, in
Europe at least; and if his spirit and work had been continued, Western
Islâm might have become a great permanent civilizing power. But here
again, after a brief period of extraordinary philosophic brilliancy,
fanaticism got the upper hand. With the death of Averroës the last hope
of a beneficent Muslim civilization came to an end. Since then, Islam
has been a synonym for blind fanaticism and cruel bigotry. In many parts
of the Muslim world, "philosopher" is a term of reproach, like

But though Islam rejected its philosopher, Averroës's work was by no
means without its effect. It was through his commentaries on Aristotle
that the thought of that greatest of ancient thinkers became known to
the western world, both Jewish and Christian. Among the Jews, his
writings soon acquired almost canonical authority. His system found
expression in the works of the best known of Hebrew thinkers,
Maimonides (1135-1204), "the second Moses" works which, despite all
orthodox opposition, dominated Jewish thought for nearly three hundred
years, and made the Jews during that time the chief promoters of
rationalism. When Muslim persecution forced a large number of Jews to
leave Spain and settle in Southern France, the works of Averroës and
Maimonides were translated into Hebrew, which thenceforth became the
vehicle of Jewish thought; and thus Muslim Aristotelianism came into
direct contact with Christianity.

Among the Christians, the works of Averroës, translated by Michael
Scott, "wizard of dreaded fame," Hermann the German, and others, acted
at once like a mighty solvent. Heresy followed in their track, and shook
the Church to her very foundations. Recognizing that her existence was
at stake, she put forth all her power to crush the intruder. The Order
of Preachers, initiated by St. Dominic of Calahorra (1170-1221), was
founded; the Inquisition was legalized (about 1220). The writings of
Aristotle and his Arab commentators were condemned to the flames (1209,
1215, 1231). Later, when all this proved unavailing, the best intellects
in Christendom, such as Albertus Magnus (1193-1280), and Thomas Aquinas
(1227-74), undertook to repel the new doctrine with its own weapons;
that is, by submitting the thought of Aristotle and his Arab
commentators to rational discussion. Thus was introduced the second or
palmy period of Christian Scholasticism, whose chief industry, we may
fairly say, was directed to the refutation of the two leading doctrines
of Averroës. Aiming at this, Thomas Aquinas threw the whole dogmatic
system of the Church into the forms of Aristotle, and thus produced that
colossal system of theology which still prevails in the Roman Catholic
world; witness the Encyclical _Æterni Patris_ of Leo XIII., issued
in 1879.

By the great thinkers of the thirteenth century, Averroës, though
regarded as heretical and dangerous in religion, was looked up to as an
able thinker, and the commentator _par excellence_; so much so that St.
Thomas borrowed from him the very form of his own Commentaries, and
Dante assigned him a distinguished place, beside Plato and Aristotle, in
the limbo of ancient sages ('Inferno,' iv. 143). But in the following
century--mainly, no doubt, because he was chosen as the patron of
certain strongly heretical movements, such as those instigated by the
arch-rationalist Frederic II--he came to be regarded as the precursor of
Antichrist, if not that personage himself: being credited with the awful
blasphemy of having spoken of the founders of the three current
religions--Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad--as "the three impostors."
Whatever truth there may be in this, so much is certain, that
infidelity, in the sense of an utter disbelief in Christianity as a
revealed religion, or in any sense specially true, dates from the
thirteenth century, and is due in large measure to the influence of
Averroës. Yet he was a great favorite with the Franciscans, and for a
time exercised a profound influence on the universities of Paris and
Oxford, finding a strong admirer even in Roger Bacon. His thought was
also a powerful element in the mysticism of Meister Eckhart and his
followers; a mysticism which incurred the censure of the Church.

Thus both the leading forms of heresy which characterized the thirteenth
century--naturalism with its tendency to magic, astrology, alchemy,
etc., etc., and mysticism with its dreams of beatific visions, its
self-torture and its lawlessness (see Görres, 'Die Christliche
Mystik')--were due largely to Averroës. In spite of this, his
commentaries on Aristotle maintained their credit, their influence being
greatest in the fourteenth century, when his doctrines were openly
professed. After the invention of printing, they appeared in numberless
editions,--several times in connection with the text of Aristotle. As
the age of the Renaissance and of Protestantism approached, they
gradually lost their prestige. The chief humanists, like Petrarch, as
well as the chief reformers, were bitterly hostile to them.
Nevertheless, they contributed important elements to both movements.

Averroism survived longest in Northern Italy, especially in the
University of Padua, where it was professed until the seventeenth
century, and where, as a doctrine hostile to supernaturalism, it paved
the way for the study of nature and the rise of modern science. Thus
Averroës may fairly be said to have had a share in every movement toward
freedom, wise and unwise, for the last seven hundred years. In truth,
free thought in Europe owes more to him than to any other man except
Abélard. His last declared follower was the impetuous Lucilio Vanini,
who was burned for atheism at Toulouse in 1619.

The best work on Averroës is Renan's 'Averroës et l'Averroïsme' (fourth
edition, Paris, 1893). This contains, on pages 58-79, a complete list
both of his commentaries and his original writings.


(From about B.C. Sixth Century)


Avesta, or Zend-Avesta, an interesting monument of antiquity, is the
Bible of Zoroaster, the sacred book of ancient Iran, and holy scripture
of the modern Parsis. The exact meaning of the name "Avesta" is not
certain; it may perhaps signify "law," "text," or, more doubtfully,
"wisdom," "revelation." The modern familiar designation of the book as
Zend-Avesta is not strictly accurate; if used at all, it should rather
be Avesta-Zend, like "Bible and Commentary," as _zand_ signifies
"explanation," "commentary," and _Avesta u Zand_ is employed in some
Persian allusions to the Zoroastrian scriptures as a designation
denoting the text of the Avesta accompanied by the Pahlavi version or

The story of the recovery of the Avesta, or rather the discovery of the
Avesta, by the enthusiastic young French scholar Anquetil du Perron, who
was the first to open to the western world the ancient records of
Zoroastrianism, reads almost like a romance. Du Perron's own account of
his departure for India in 1754, of his experiences with the _dasturs_
(or priests) during a seven years' residence among them, of his various
difficulties and annoyances, setbacks and successes, is entertainingly
presented in the introductory volume of his work 'Zend-Avesta, Ouvrage
de Zoroastre' (3 Vols., Paris, 1771). This was the first translation of
the ancient Persian books published in a European language. Its
appearance formed one of those epochs which are marked by an addition to
the literary, religious, or philosophical wealth of our time; a new
contribution was added to the riches of the West from the treasures of
the East. The field thus thrown open, although worked imperfectly at
first, has yielded abundant harvests to the hands of later gleaners.


Facsimile of a Page of the AVESTA; from the oldest preserved manuscript
containing the YAÇNA. A. D. 1325. In the Royal Library at Copenhagen.

The Zend-Avesta--more properly the Avesta-Zend, i.e., "Text and
Commentary" is the "Bible" of the Persians. The four parts into which it
is divided are called Yaçna, Vispered, Vendidad, and Khordah-Avesta.


With the growth of our knowledge of the language of the sacred texts, we
have now a clear idea also of the history of Zoroastrian literature and
of the changes and chances through which with varying fortunes the
scriptures have passed. The original Zoroastrian Avesta, according to
tradition, was in itself a literature of vast dimensions. Pliny, in his
'Natural History,' speaks of two million verses of Zoroaster; to which
may be added the Persian assertion that the original copy of the
scriptures was written upon twelve thousand parchments, with gold
illuminated letters, and was deposited in the library at Persepolis. But
what was the fate of this archetype? Parsi tradition has an answer.
Alexander the Great--"the accursed Iskander," as he is called--is
responsible for its destruction. At the request of the beautiful Thais,
as the story goes, he allowed the palace of Persepolis to be burned, and
the precious treasure perished in the flames. Whatever view we may take
of the different sides of this story, one thing cannot be denied: the
invasion of Alexander and the subjugation of Iran was indirectly or
directly the cause of a certain religious decadence which followed upon
the disruption of the Persian Empire, and was answerable for the fact
that a great part of the scriptures was forgotten or fell into disuse.
Persian tradition lays at the doors of the Greeks the loss of another
copy of the original ancient texts, but does not explain in what manner
this happened; nor has it any account to give of copies of the prophet's
works which Semitic writers say were translated into nearly a dozen
different languages. One of these versions was perhaps Greek, for it is
generally acknowledged that in the fourth century B.C. the philosopher
Theopompus spent much time in giving in his own tongue the contents of
the sacred Magian books.

Tradition is unanimous on one point at least: it is that the original
Avesta comprised twenty-one _Nasks_, or books, a statement which there
is no good reason to doubt. The same tradition which was acquainted with
the general character of these Nasks professes also to tell exactly how
many of them survived the inroad of Alexander; for although the sacred
text itself was destroyed, its contents were lost only in part, the
priests preserving large portions of the precious scriptures. These met
with many vicissitudes in the five centuries that intervened between the
conquest of Alexander and the great restoration of Zoroastrianism in the
third century of our era, under the Sassanian dynasty. At this period
all obtainable Zoroastrian scriptures were collected, the compilation
was codified, and a detailed notice made of the contents of each of the
original Nasks compared with the portions then surviving. The original
Avesta was, it would appear, a sort of encyclopaedic work; not of
religion alone, but of useful knowledge relating to law, to the arts,
science, the professions, and to every-day life. If we may judge from
the existing table of contents of these Nasks, the zealous Sassanians,
even in the time of the collecting (A. D. 226-380), were able to restore
but a fragment of the archetype, perhaps a fourth part of the original
Avesta. Nor was this remnant destined to escape misfortune. The
Mohammedan invasion, in the seventh century of our era added a final and
crushing blow. Much of the religion that might otherwise have been
handed down to us, despite "the accursed Iskander's" conquest, now
perished through the sword and the Koran. Its loss, we must remember, is
in part compensated by the Pahlavi religious literature of
Sassanian days.

Fragmentary and disjointed as are the remnants of the Avesta, we are
fortunate in possessing even this moiety of the Bible of Zoroaster,
whose compass is about one tenth that of our own sacred book. A grouping
of the existing texts is here presented:--1. Yasna (including Gathas).
2. Visperad. 3. Yashts. 4. Minor Texts. 5. Vendidad. 6. Fragments.

Even these texts no single manuscript in our time contains complete. The
present collection is made by combining various Avestan codexes. In
spite of the great antiquity of the literature, all the existing
manuscripts are comparatively young. None is older than the thirteenth
century of our own era, while the direct history of only one or two can
be followed back to about the tenth century. This mere external
circumstance has of course no bearing on the actual early age of the
Zoroastrian scriptures. It must be kept in mind that Zoroaster lived at
least six centuries before the birth of Christ.

Among the six divisions of our present Avesta, the Yasna, Visperad, and
Vendidad are closely connected. They are employed in the daily ritual,
and they are also accompanied by a version or interpretation in the
Pahlavi language, which serves at the same time as a sort of commentary.
The three divisions are often found combined into a sort of prayer-book,
called Vendidad-Sadah (Vendidad Pure); i.e., Avesta text without the
Pahlavi rendering. The chapters in this case are arranged with special
reference to liturgical usage.

Some idea of the character of the Avesta as it now exists may be derived
from the following sketch of its contents and from the illustrative
selections presented:--

1. _Yasna_ (sacrifice, worship), the chief liturgical work of the sacred
canon. It consists mainly of ascriptions of praise and of prayer, and
corresponds nearly to our idea of a prayer-book. The Yasna comprises
seventy-two chapters; these fall into three nearly equal parts. The
middle, or oldest part, is the section of Gathas below described.

The meaning of the word _yasna_ as above gives at once some conception
of the nature of the texts. The Yasna chapters were recited at the
sacrifice: a sacrifice that consisted not in blood-offerings, but in an
offering of praise and thanksgiving, accompanied by ritual observances.
The white-robed priest, girt with the sacred cord and wearing a veil,
the _paitidana_, before his lips in the presence of the holy fire,
begins the service by an invocation of Ahura Mazda (Ormazd) and the
heavenly hierarchy; he then consecrates the _zaothra_ water, the
_myazda_ or oblation, and the _baresma_ or bundle of sacred twigs. He
and his assistant now prepare the _haoma_ (the _soma_ of the Hindus), or
juice of a sacred plant, the drinking of which formed part of the
religious rite. At the ninth chapter of the book, the rhythmical
chanting of the praises of Haoma is begun. This deified being, a
personification of the consecrated drink, is supposed to have appeared
before the prophet himself, and to have described to him the blessings
which the _haoma_ bestows upon its pious worshiper. The lines are
metrical, as in fact they commonly are in the older parts of the Avesta,
and the rhythm somewhat recalls the Kalevala verse of Longfellow's
'Hiawatha.' A specimen is here presented in translation:--

     At the time of morning-worship
     Haoma came to Zoroaster,
     Who was serving at the Fire
     And the holy Psalms intoning.

     "What man art thou (asked the Prophet),
     Who of all the world material
     Art the fairest I have e'er seen
     In my life, bright and immortal?"

The image of the sacred plant responds, and bids the priest prepare the
holy extract.

     Haoma then to me gave answer,
     Haoma righteous, death-destroying:--
     "Zoroaster, I am Haoma,
     Righteous Haoma, death-destroying.
     Do thou gather me, Spitama,
     And prepare me as a potion;
     Praise me, aye as shall hereafter
     In their praise the Saviors praise me."

Zoroaster again inquires, wishing to know of the pious men of old who
worshiped Haoma and obtained blessings for their religious zeal. Among
these, as is learned from Haoma, one was King Yima, whose reign was the
time of the Golden Age; those were the happy days when a father looked
as young as his children.

     In the reign of princely Yima,
     Heat there was not, cold there was not,
     Neither age nor death existed,
     Nor disease the work of Demons;

     Son and father walked together
     Fifteen years old, each in figure,
     Long as Vivanghvat's son Yima,
     The good Shepherd, ruled as sovereign.

For two chapters more, Haoma is extolled. Then follows the Avestan Creed
(Yasna 12), a prose chapter that was repeated by those who joined in
the early Zoroastrian faith, forsook the old marauding and nomadic
habits that still characterize the modern Kurds, and adopted an
agricultural habit of life, devoting themselves peaceably to
cattle-raising, irrigation, and cultivation of the fields. The greater
part of the Yasna book is of a liturgic or ritualistic nature, and need
not here be further described. Special mention, however, must be made of
the middle section of the Yasna, which is constituted by "the Five
Gathas" (hymns, psalms), a division containing the seventeen sacred
psalms, sayings, sermons, or teachings of Zoroaster himself. These
Gathas form the oldest part of the entire canon of the Avesta. In them
we see before our eyes the prophet of the new faith speaking with the
fervor of the Psalmist of the Bible. In them we feel the thrill of ardor
that characterizes a new and struggling religious band; we are warmed by
the burning zeal of the preacher of a church militant. Now, however,
comes a cry of despondency, a moment of faint-heartedness at the present
triumph of evil, at the success of the wicked and the misery of the
righteous; but this gives way to a clarion burst of hopefulness, the
trumpet note of a prophet filled with the promise of ultimate victory,
the triumph of good over evil. The end of the world cannot be far away;
the final overthrow of Ahriman (Anra Mainyu) by Ormazd (Ahura Mazda) is
assured; the establishment of a new order of things is certain; at the
founding of this "kingdom" the resurrection of the dead will take place
and the life eternal will be entered upon.

The third Gatha, Yasna 30, may be chosen by way of illustration. This is
a sort of Mazdian Sermon on the Mount. Zoroaster preaches the doctrine
of dualism, the warfare of good and evil in the world, and exhorts the
faithful to choose aright and to combat Satan. The archangels Good
Thought (Vohu Manah), Righteousness (Asha), Kingdom (Khshathra), appear
as the helpers of Man (Maretan); for whose soul, as in the old English
morality play, the Demons (Dævas) are contending. Allusions to the
resurrection and final judgment, and to the new dispensation, are easily
recognized in the spirited words of the prophet. A prose rendering of
this metrical psalm is here attempted; the verse order, however, is
preserved, though without rhythm.


     Now shall I speak of things which ye who seek them shall bear
     in mind, Namely, the praises of Ahura Mazda and the worship
     of Good Thought, And the joy of [_lit_. through]
     Righteousness which is manifested through Light.


     Hearken with your ears to what is best; with clear
     understanding perceive it.

     Awakening to our advising every man, personally, of the
     distinction Between the two creeds, before the Great Event
     [i.e., the Resurrection].


     Now, Two Spirits primeval there were twins which became known
     through their activity,

     To wit, the Good and the Evil, in thought, word, and deed.
     The wise have rightly distinguished between these two; not so
     the unwise.


     And, now, when these Two Spirits first came together, they
     established Life and destruction, and ordained how the world
     hereafter shall be, To wit, the Worst World [Hell] for the
     wicked, but the Best Thought [Heaven] for the righteous.


     The Wicked One [Ahriman] of these Two Spirits chose to do
     evil, The Holiest Spirit [Ormazd]--who wears the solid
     heavens as a robe--chose Righteousness [Asha], And [so also
     those] who zealously gratified Ormazd by virtuous deeds.


     Not rightly did the Demons distinguish these Two Spirits; for
     Delusion came Upon them, as they were deliberating, so that
     they chose the Worst Thought [Hell]. And away they rushed to
     Wrath [the Fiend] in order to corrupt the life of Man


     And to him [i.e., to Gaya Maretan] came Khshathra [Kingdom],
     Vohu Manah [Good Thought] and Asha [Righteousness], And
     Armaiti [Archangel of Earth] gave [to him] bodily endurance
     unceasingly; Of these, Thy [creatures], when Thou earnest
     with Thy creations, he [i.e., Gaya Maretan] was the first.


     But when the retribution of the sinful shall come to pass,
     Then shall Good Thought distribute Thy Kingdom, Shall fulfill
     it for those who shall deliver Satan [Druj] into the hand of
     Righteousness [Asha].


     And so may we be such as make the world renewed, And may
     Ahura Mazda and Righteousness lend their aid, That our
     thoughts may there be [set] where Faith is abiding.


     For at the [final] Dispensation, the blow of annihilation to
     Satan shall come to pass; But those who participate in a good
     report [in the Life Record] shall meet together In the happy
     home of Good Thought, and of Mazda, and of Righteousness.


     If, O ye men, ye mark these doctrines which Mazda gave, And
     [mark] the weal and the woe--namely, the long torment of the
     wicked, And the welfare of the righteous--then in accordance
     with these [doctrines] there will be happiness hereafter.

The _Visperad_ (all the masters) is a short collection of prosaic
invocations and laudations of sacred things. Its twenty-four sections
form a supplement to the Yasna. Whatever interest this division of the
Avesta possesses lies entirely on the side of the ritual, and not in the
field of literature. In this respect it differs widely from the book of
the Yashts, which is next to be mentioned.

The _Yashts_ (praises of worship) form a poetical book of twenty-one
hymns in which the angels of the religion, "the worshipful ones"
(_Yazatas, Izads_), are glorified, and the heroes of former days. Much
of the material of the Yashts is evidently drawn from pre-Zoroastrian
sagas which have been remodeled and adopted, worked over and modified,
and incorporated into the canon of the new-founded religion. There is a
mythological and legendary atmosphere about the Yashts, and Firdausi's
'Shah Nameh' serves to throw light on many of the events portrayed in
them, or allusions that would otherwise be obscure. All the longer
Yashts are in verse, and some of them have poetic merit. Chiefly to be
mentioned among the longer ones are: first, the one in praise of Ardvi
Sura Anahita, or the stream celestial (Yt. 5); second, the Yasht which
exalts the star Tishtrya and his victory over the demon of drought (Yt.
8); then the one devoted to the Fravashis or glorified souls of the
righteous (Yt. 13) as well as the Yasht in honor of Verethraghna, the
incarnation of Victory (Yt. 14). Selections from the others, Yt. 10 and
Yt. 19, which are among the noblest, are here given.

The first of the two chosen (Yt. 10) is dedicated to the great divinity
Mithra, the genius who presides over light, truth, and the sun (Yt.
10, 13).

     Foremost he, the celestial angel,
     Mounts above Mount Hara (Alborz)
     In advance of the sun immortal
     Which is drawn by fleeting horses;
     He it is, in gold adornment
     First ascends the beauteous summits
     Thence beneficent he glances
     Over all the abode of Aryans.

As the god of light and of truth and as one of the judges of the dead,
he rides out in lordly array to the battle and takes an active part in
the conflict, wreaking vengeance upon those who at any time in their
life have spoken falsely, belied their oath, or broken their pledge. His
war-chariot and panoply are described in mingled lines of verse and
prose, which may thus be rendered (Yt. 10, 128-132):--

     By the side of Mithra's chariot,
     Mithra, lord of the wide pastures,
     Stand a thousand bows well-fashioned
     (The bow has a string of cowgut).

By his chariot also are standing a thousand vulture-feathered,
gold-notched, lead-poised, well-fashioned arrows (the barb is of iron);
likewise a thousand spears well-fashioned and sharp-piercing, and a
thousand steel battle-axes, two-edged and well-fashioned; also a
thousand bronze clubs well-fashioned.

     And by Mithra's chariot also
     Stands a mace, fair and well-striking,
     With a hundred knobs and edges,
     Dashing forward, felling heroes;
     Out of golden bronze 'tis molded.

The second illustrative extract will be taken from Yasht 19, which
magnifies in glowing strains the praises of the Kingly Glory. This
"kingly glory" (_kavaem hvareno_) is a sort of halo, radiance, or mark
of divine right, which was believed to be possessed by the kings and
heroes of Iran in the long line of its early history. One hero who bore
the glory was the mighty warrior Thraetaona (Feridun), the vanquisher of
the serpent-monster Azhi Dahaka (Zohak), who was depopulating the world
by his fearful daily banquet of the brains of two children. The victory
was a glorious triumph for Thraetaona (Yt. 19, 37):--

     He who slew Azhi Dahaka,
     Three-jawed monster, triple-headed,
     With six eyes and myriad senses,
     Fiend demoniac, full of power,
     Evil to the world, and wicked.
     This fiend full of power, the Devil
     Anra Mainyu had created,
     Fatal to the world material,
     Deadly to the world of Righteousness.

Of equal puissance was another noble champion, the valiant Keresaspa,
who dispatched a raging demon who, though not yet grown to man's estate,
was threatening the world. The monster's thrasonical boasting is thus
given (Yt. 19, 43):--

     I am yet only a stripling,
     But if ever I come to manhood
     I shall make the earth my chariot
     And shall make a wheel of heaven.
     I shall drive the Holy Spirit
     Down from out the shining heaven,
     I shall rout the Evil Spirit
     Up from out the dark abysm;
     They as steeds shall draw my chariot,
     God and Devil yoked together.

Passing over a collection of shorter petitions, praises, and blessings
which may conveniently be grouped together as 'Minor Prayers,' for they
answer somewhat to our idea of a daily manual of morning devotion, we
may turn to the Vendidad (law against the demons), the Iranian
Pentateuch. Tradition asserts that in the Vendidad we have preserved a
specimen of one of the original Nasks. This may be true, but even the
superficial student will see that it is in any case a fragmentary
remnant. Interesting as the Vendidad is to the student of early rites,
observances, manners, and customs, it is nevertheless a barren field for
the student of literature, who will find in it little more than
wearisome prescriptions like certain chapters of Leviticus, Numbers, and
Deuteronomy. It need only be added that at the close of the colloquy
between Zoroaster and Ormazd given in Vend. 6, he will find the origin
of the modern Parsi "Towers of Silence."

Among the Avestan Fragments, attention might finally be called to one
which we must be glad has not been lost. It is an old metrical bit
(Frag. 4, 1-3) in praise of the Airyama Ishya Prayer (Yt. 54, 1). This
is the prayer that shall be intoned by the Savior and his companions at
the end of the world, when the resurrection will take place; and it will
serve as a sort of last trump, at the sound of which the dead rise from
their graves and evil is banished from the world. Ormazd himself says to
Zoroaster (Frag. 4, 1-3):--

     The Airyama Ishya prayer, I tell thee,
     Upright, holy Zoroaster,
     Is the greatest of all prayers.
     Verily among all prayers
     It is this one which I gifted
     With revivifying powers.

     This prayer shall the Saoshyants, Saviors,
     Chant, and at the chanting of it
     I shall rule over my creatures,
     I who am Ahura Mazda.
     Not shall Ahriman have power,
     Anra Mainyu, o'er my creatures,
     He (the fiend) of foul religion.
     In the earth shall Ahriman hide,
     In the earth the demons hide.
     Up the dead again shall rise,
     And within their lifeless bodies
     Incorporate life shall be restored.

Inadequate as brief extracts must be to represent the sacred books of a
people, the citations here given will serve to show that the Avesta
which is still recited in solemn tones by the white-robed priests of
Bombay, the modern representatives of Zoroaster, the Prophet of ancient
days, is a survival not without value to those who appreciate whatever
has been preserved for us of the world's earlier literature. For readers
who are interested in the subject there are several translations of the
Avesta. The best (except for the Gathas, where the translation is weak)
is the French version by Darmesteter, 'Le Zend Avesta,' published in the
'Annales du Musée Guimet' (Paris, 1892-93). An English rendering by
Darmesteter and Mills is contained in the 'Sacred Books of the East,'
Vols. iv., xxiii., xxxi.

[Illustration: Signature: A.V. Williams Jackson]


This I ask Thee, O Ahura! tell me aright: when praise is to be offered,
how shall I complete the praise of the One like You, O Mazda? Let the
One like Thee declare it earnestly to the friend who is such as I, thus
through Thy Righteousness within us to offer friendly help to us, so
that the One like Thee may draw near us through Thy Good Mind within
the Soul.

2. This I ask Thee, O Ahura! tell me aright how, in pleasing Him, may
we serve the Supreme One of the better world; yea, how to serve that
chief who may grant us those blessings of his grace and who will seek
for grateful requitals at our hands; for He, bountiful as He is through
the Righteous Order, will hold off ruin from us all, guardian as He is
for both the worlds, O Spirit Mazda! and a friend.

3. This I ask Thee, O Ahura! tell me aright: Who by generation is the
first father of the Righteous Order within the world? Who gave the
recurring sun and stars their undeviating way? Who established that
whereby the moon waxes, and whereby she wanes, save Thee? These things,
O Great Creator! would I know, and others likewise still.

4. This I ask Thee, O Ahura! tell me aright: Who from beneath hath
sustained the earth and the clouds above that they do not fall? Who made
the waters and the plants? Who to the wind has yoked on the storm-clouds
the swift and fleetest two? Who, O Great Creator! is the inspirer of the
good thoughts within our souls?

5. This I ask Thee, O Ahura! tell me aright: Who, as a skillful artisan,
hath made the lights and the darkness? Who, as thus skillful, hath made
sleep and the zest of waking hours? Who spread the Auroras, the
noontides and midnight, monitors to discerning man, duty's true guides?

6. This I ask Thee, O Ahura! tell me aright these things which I shall
speak forth, if they are truly thus. Doth the Piety which we cherish in
reality increase the sacred orderliness within our actions? To these Thy
true saints hath she given the Realm through the Good Mind? For whom
hast thou made the Mother-kine, the produce of joy?

7. This I ask Thee, O Ahura! tell me aright: Who fashioned Aramaiti (our
piety) the beloved, together with Thy Sovereign Power? Who, through his
guiding wisdom, hath made the son revering the father? Who made him
beloved? With questions such as these, so abundant, O Mazda! I press
Thee, O bountiful Spirit, Thou maker of all!

Yasna xliv.: Translation of L.H. Mills.


We worship Sraosha [Obedience] the blessed, whom four racers draw in
harness, white and shining, beautiful and (27) powerful, quick to learn
and fleet, obeying before speech, heeding orders from the mind, with
their hoofs of horn gold-covered, (28) fleeter than [our] horses,
swifter than the winds, more rapid than the rain [drops as they fall];
yea, fleeter than the clouds, or well-winged birds, or the well-shot
arrow as it flies, (29) which overtake these swift ones all, as they fly
after them pursuing, but which are never overtaken when they flee, which
plunge away from both the weapons [hurled on this side and on that] and
draw Sraosha with them, the good Sraosha and the blessed; which from
both the weapons [those on this side and on that] bear the good
Obedience the blessed, plunging forward in their zeal, when he takes his
course from India on the East and when he lights down in the West.

Yasna lvii. 27-29: Translation of L.H. Mills.


I offer my sacrifice and homage to thee, the Fire, as a good offering,
and an offering with our hail of salvation, even as an offering of
praise with benedictions, to thee, the Fire, O Ahura, Mazda's son! Meet
for sacrifice art thou, and worthy of [our] homage. And as meet for
sacrifice, and thus worthy of our homage, may'st thou be in the houses
of men [who worship Mazda]. Salvation be to this man who worships thee
in verity and truth, with wood in hand and baresma [sacred twigs] ready,
with flesh in hand and holding too the mortar. 2. And mayst thou be
[ever] fed with wood as the prescription orders. Yea, mayst thou have
thy perfume justly, and thy sacred butter without fail, and thine
andirons regularly placed. Be of full age as to thy nourishment, of the
canon's age as to the measure of thy food. O Fire, Ahura, Mazda's son!
3. Be now aflame within this house; be ever without fail in flame; be
all ashine within this house: for long time be thou thus to the
furtherance of the heroic [renovation], to the completion of [all]
progress, yea, even till the good heroic [millennial] time when that
renovation shall have become complete. 4. Give me, O Fire, Ahura,
Mazda's son! a speedy glory, speedy nourishment and speedy booty and
abundant glory, abundant nourishment, abundant booty, an expanded mind,
and nimbleness of tongue and soul and understanding, even an
understanding continually growing in its largeness, and that never
wanders. Yasna lxii. 1-4: Translation of L.H. Mills.


Offer up a sacrifice unto this spring of mine, Ardvi Sura Anahita (the
exalted, mighty, and undefiled, image of the (128) stream celestial),
who stands carried forth in the shape of a maid, fair of body, most
strong, tall-formed, high-girded, pure, nobly born of a glorious race,
wearing a mantle fully embroidered with gold. 129. Ever holding the
baresma in her hand, according to the rules; she wears square golden
ear-rings on her ears bored, and a golden necklace around her beautiful
neck, she, the nobly born Ardvi Sura Anahita; and she girded her waist
tightly, so that her breasts may be well shaped, that they may be
tightly pressed. 128. Upon her head Ardvi Sura Anahita bound a golden
crown, with a hundred stars, with eight rays, a fine well-made crown,
with fillets streaming down. 129. She is clothed with garments of
beaver, Ardvi Sura Anahita; with the skin of thirty beavers, of those
that bear four young ones, that are the finest kind of beavers; for the
skin of the beaver that lives in water is the finest colored of all
skins, and when worked at the right time it shines to the eye with full
sheen of silver and gold. Yasht v. 126-129: Translation of J.


We worship the good, strong, beneficent Fravashis [guardian spirits] of
the faithful; with helms of brass, with weapons (45) of brass, with
armor of brass; who struggle in the fights for victory in garments of
light, arraying the battles and bringing them forwards, to kill
thousands of Dævas [demons]. 46. When the wind blows from behind them
and brings their breath unto men, then men know where blows the breath
of victory: and they pay pious homage unto the good, strong, beneficent
Fravashis of the faithful, with their hearts prepared and their arms
uplifted. 47. Whichever side they have been first worshiped in the
fulness of faith of a devoted heart, to that side turn the awful
Fravashis of the faithful along with Mithra [angel of truth and light]
and Rashnu [Justice] and the awful cursing thought of the wise and the
victorious wind.

Yasht xiii. 45-47: Translation of J. Darmesteter.


The manly-hearted Keresaspa was the sturdiest of the men of strength,
for Manly Courage clave unto him. We worship [this] Manly Courage, firm
of foot, unsleeping, quick to rise, and fully awake, that clave unto
Keresaspa [the hero], who killed the snake Srvara, the horse-devouring,
man-devouring, yellow poisonous snake, over which yellow poison flowed a
thumb's breadth thick. Upon him Kerasaspa was cooking his food in a
brass vessel, at the time of noon. The fiend felt the heat and darted
away; he rushed from under the brass vessel and upset the boiling water:
the manly-hearted Keresaspa fell back affrighted.

Yasht xix. 38-40: Translation of J. Darmesteter.


Verily I say it unto thee, O Spitama Zoroaster! the man who has a wife
is far above him who lives in continence; he who keeps a house is far
above him who has none; he who has children is far above the childless
man; he who has riches is far above him who has none.

And of two men, he who fills himself with meat receives in him good
spirit [Vohu Mano] much more than he who does not do so; the latter is
all but dead; the former is above him by the worth of a sheep, by the
worth of an ox, by the worth of a man.

It is this man that can strive against the onsets of death; that can
strive against the well-darted arrow; that can strive against the winter
fiend with thinnest garment on; that can strive against the wicked
tyrant and smite him on the head; it is this man that can strive against
the ungodly fasting Ashemaogha [the fiends and heretics who do not eat].

Vendidad iv. 47-49: Translation of J. Darmesteter.


"Come on, O clouds, along the sky, through the air, down on the earth,
by thousands of drops, by myriads of drops," thus say, O holy Zoroaster!
"to destroy sickness altogether, to destroy death altogether, to destroy
altogether the sickness made by the Gaini, to destroy altogether the
death made by Gaini, to destroy altogether Gadha and Apagadha.

"If death come at eve, may healing come at daybreak!

"If death come at daybreak, may healing come at night!

"If death come at night, may healing come at dawn!

"Let showers shower down new waters, new earth, new trees, new health,
and new healing powers."

Vendidad xxi. 2: Translation of J. Darmesteter.


Ahura Mazda spake unto Spitama Zoroaster, saying, "I, Ahura Mazda, the
Maker of all good things, when I made this mansion, the beautiful, the
shining, seen afar (there may I go up, there may I arrive)!"

Then the ruffian looked at me; the ruffian Anra Mainyu, the deadly,
wrought against me nine diseases and ninety, and nine hundred, and nine
thousand, and nine times ten thousand diseases. So mayest thou heal me,
O Holy Word, thou most glorious one!

Unto thee will I give in return a thousand fleet, swift-running steeds;
I offer thee up a sacrifice, O good Saoka, made by Mazda and holy.

Unto thee will I give in return a thousand fleet, high-humped camels; I
offer thee up a sacrifice, O good Saoka, made by Mazda and holy.

Unto thee will I give in return a thousand brown faultless oxen; I offer
thee up a sacrifice, O good Saoka, made by Mazda and holy.

Unto thee will I give in return a thousand young of all species of small
cattle; I offer thee up a sacrifice, O good Saoka, made by Mazda
and holy.

And I will bless thee with the fair blessing-spell of the righteous, the
friendly blessing-spell of the righteous, that makes the empty swell to
fullness and the full to overflowing, that comes to help him who was
sickening, and makes the sick man sound again. Vendidad xxii. 1-5:
Translation of J. Darmesteter.


All good thoughts, and all good words, and all good deeds are thought
and spoken and done with intelligence; and all evil thoughts and words
and deeds are thought and spoken and done with folly.

2. And let [the men who think and speak and do] all good thoughts and
words and deeds inhabit Heaven [as their home]. And let those who think
and speak and do evil thoughts and words and deeds abide in Hell. For to
all who think good thoughts, speak good words, and do good deeds,
Heaven, the best world, belongs. And this is evident and as of course.
Avesta, Fragment iii.: Translation of L.H. Mills.


(1028-? 1058)

Avicebron, or Avicebrol (properly Solomon ben Judah ibn Gabirol), one of
the most famous of Jewish poets, and the most original of Jewish
thinkers, was born at Cordova, in Spain, about A.D. 1028. Of the events
of his life we know little; and it was only in 1845 that Munk, in the
'Literaturblatt des Orient,' proved the Jewish poet Ibn Gabirol to be
one and the same person with Avicebron, so often quoted by the Schoolmen
as an Arab philosopher. He was educated at Saragossa, spent some years
at Malaga, and died, hardly thirty years old, about 1058. His
disposition seems to have been rather melancholy.

Of his philosophic works, which were written in Arabic, by far the most
important, and that which lent lustre to his name, was the 'Fountain of
Life'; a long treatise in the form of a dialogue between teacher and
pupil, on what was then regarded as the fundamental question in
philosophy, the nature and relations of Matter and Form. The original,
which seems never to have been popular with either Jews or Arabs, is not
known to exist; but there exists a complete Latin translation (the work
having found appreciation among Christians), which has recently been
edited with great care by Professor Bäumker of Breslau, under the title
'Avencebrolis Fons Vitae, ex Arabico in Latinum translatus ab Johanne
Hispano et Dominico Gundissalino' (Münster, 1895). There is also a
series of extracts from it in Hebrew. Besides this, he wrote a
half-popular work, 'On the Improvement of Character,' in which he brings
the different virtues into relation with the five senses. He is,
further, the reputed author of a work 'On the Soul,' and the reputed
compiler of a famous anthology, 'A Choice of Pearls,' which appeared,
with an English translation by B.H. Ascher, in London, in 1859. In his
poetry, which, like that of other mediæval Hebrew poets, Moses ben Ezra,
Judah Halévy, etc., is partly liturgical, partly worldly, he abandons
native forms, such as we find in the Psalms, and follows artificial
Arabic models, with complicated rhythms and rhyme, unsuited to Hebrew,
which, unlike Arabic, is poor in inflections. Nevertheless, many of his
liturgical pieces are still used in the services of the synagogue, while
his worldly ditties find admirers elsewhere. (See A. Geiger, 'Ibn
Gabirol und seine Dichtungen,' Leipzig, 1867.)

The philosophy of Ibn Gabirol is a compound of Hebrew monotheism and
that Neo-Platonic Aristotelianism which for two hundred years had been
current in the Muslim schools at Bagdad, Basra, etc., and which the
learned Jews were largely instrumental in carrying to the Muslims of
Spain. For it must never be forgotten that the great translators and
intellectual purveyors of the Middle Ages were the Jews. (See
Steinschneider, 'Die Hebräischen Uebersetzungen des Mittelalters, und
die Juden als Dolmetscher,' 2 vols., Berlin, 1893.)

The aim of Ibn Gabirol, like that of the other three noted Hebrew
thinkers, Philo, Maimonides, and Spinoza, was--given God, to account for
creation; and this he tried to do by means of Neo-Platonic
Aristotelianism, such as he found in the Pseudo-Pythagoras,
Pseudo-Empedocles, Pseudo-Aristotelian 'Theology' (an abstract from
Plotinus), and 'Book on Causes' (an abstract from Proclus's 'Institutio
Theologica'). It is well known that Aristotle, who made God a "thinking
of thinking," and placed matter, as something eternal, over against him,
never succeeded in bringing God into effective connection with the world
(see K. Elser, 'Die Lehredes Aristotles über das Wirken Gottes,'
Münster, 1893); and this defect the Greeks never afterward remedied
until the time of Plotinus, who, without propounding a doctrine of
emanation, arranged the universe as a hierarchy of existence, beginning
with the Good, and descending through correlated Being and Intelligence,
to Soul or Life, which produces Nature with all its multiplicity, and so
stands on "the horizon" between undivided and divided being. In the
famous encyclopaedia of the "Brothers of Purity," written in the East
about A.D. 1000, and representing Muslim thought at its best, the
hierarchy takes this form: God, Intelligence, Soul, Primal Matter,
Secondary Matter, World, Nature, the Elements, Material Things. (See
Dieterici, 'Die Philosophic der Araber im X. Jahrhundert n. Chr.,' 2
vols., Leipzig, 1876-79.) In the hands of Ibn Gabirol, this is
transformed thus: God, Will, Primal Matter, Form, Intelligence,
Soul--vegetable, animal, rational, Nature, the source of the visible
world. If we compare these hierarchies, we shall see that Ibn Gabirol
makes two very important changes: _first_, he introduces an altogether
new element, viz., the Will; _second_, instead of placing Intelligence
second in rank, next to God, he puts Will, Matter, and Form before it.
Thus, whereas the earliest thinkers, drawing on Aristotle, had sought
for an explanation of the world in Intelligence, he seeks for it in
Will, thus approaching the standpoint of Schopenhauer. Moreover, whereas
they had made Matter and Form originate in Intelligence, he includes the
latter, together with the material world, among things compounded of
Matter and Form. Hence, everything, save God and His Will, which is but
the expression of Him, is compounded of Matter and Form (cf. Dante,
'Paradiso,' i. 104 _seq_.). Had he concluded from this that God, in
order to occupy this exceptional position, must be pure matter (or
substance), he would have reached the standpoint of Spinoza. As it is,
he stands entirely alone in the Middle Age, in making the world the
product of Will, and not of Intelligence, as the Schoolmen and the
classical philosophers of Germany held.

The 'Fountain of Life' is divided into five books, whose subjects are as
follows:--I. Matter and Form, and their various kinds. II. Matter as the
bearer of body, and the subject of the categories. III. Separate
Substances, in the created intellect, standing between God and the
World. IV. Matter and Form in simple substances. V. Universal Matter and
Universal Form, with a discussion of the Divine Will, which, by
producing and uniting Matter and Form, brings being out of non-being,
and so is the 'Fountain of Life.' Though the author is influenced by
Jewish cosmogony, his system, as such, is almost purely Neo-Platonic. It
remains one of the most considerable attempts that have ever been made
to find in spirit the explanation of the world; not only making all
matter at bottom one, but also maintaining that while form is due to the
divine will, matter is due to the divine essence, so that both are
equally spiritual. It is especially interesting as showing us, by
contrast, how far Christian thinking, which rested on much the same
foundation with it, was influenced and confined by Christian dogmas,
especially by those of the Trinity and the Incarnation.

Ibn Gabirol's thought exerted a profound influence, not only on
subsequent Hebrew thinkers, like Joseph ben Saddig, Maimonides, Spinoza,
but also on the Christian Schoolmen, by whom he is often quoted, and on
Giordano Bruno. Through Spinoza and Bruno this influence has passed into
the modern world, where it still lives. Dante, though naming many Arab
philosophers, never alludes to Ibn Gabirol; yet he borrowed more of his
sublimest thoughts from the 'Fountain of Life' than from any other book.
(Cf. Ibn Gabirol's 'Bedeutung für die Geschichte der Philosophie,'
appendix to Vol. i. of M. Joël's 'Beiträge zur Gesch. der Philos.,'
Breslau, 1876.) If we set aside the hypostatic form in which Ibn Gabirol
puts forward his ideas, we shall find a remarkable similarity between
his system and that of Kant, not to speak of that of Schopenhauer. For
the whole subject, see J. Guttman's 'Die Philosophic des Salomon Ibn
Gabirol' (Göttingen, 1889).


From the 'Fountain of Life,' Fifth Treatise

Intelligence is finite in both directions: on the upper side, by reason
of will, which is above it; on the lower, by reason of matter, which is
outside of its essence. Hence, spiritual substances are finite with
respect to matter, because they differ through it, and distinction is
the cause of finitude; in respect to forms they are infinite on the
lower side, because one form flows from another. And we must bear in
mind that that part of matter which is above heaven, the more it ascends
from it to the principle of creation, becomes the more spiritual in
form, whereas that part which descends lower than the heaven toward
quiet will be more corporeal in form. Matter, intelligence, and soul
comprehend heaven, and heaven comprehends the elements. And just as, if
you imagine your soul standing at the extreme height of heaven, and
looking back upon the earth, the earth will seem but a point, in
comparison with the heaven, so are corporeal and spiritual substance in
comparison with the will. And first matter is stable in the knowledge of
God, as the earth in the midst of heaven. And the form diffused through
it is as the light diffused through the air....

We must bear in mind that the unity induced by the will (we might say,
the will itself) binds matter to form. Hence that union is stable, firm,
and perpetual from the beginning of its creation; and thus unity
sustains all things.

Matter is movable, in order that it may receive form, in conformity
with its appetite for receiving goodness and delight through the
reception of form. In like manner, everything that is, desires to move,
in order that it may attain something of the goodness of the primal
being; and the nearer anything is to the primal being, the more easily
it reaches this, and the further off it is, the more slowly and with the
longer motion and time it does so. And the motion of matter and other
substances is nothing but appetite and love for the mover toward which
it moves, as, for example, matter moves toward form, through desire for
the primal being; for matter requires light from that which is in the
essence of will, which compels matter to move toward will and to desire
it: and herein will and matter are alike. And because matter is
receptive of the form that has flowed down into it by the flux of
violence and necessity, matter must necessarily move to receive form;
and therefore things are constrained by will and obedience in turn.
Hence by the light which it has from will, matter moves toward will and
desires it; but when it receives form, it lacks nothing necessary for
knowing and desiring it, and nothing remains for it to seek for. For
example, in the morning the air has an imperfect splendor from the sun;
but at noon it has a perfect splendor, and there remains nothing for it
to demand of the sun. Hence the desire for the first motion is a
likeness between all substances and the first Maker, because it is
impressed upon all things to move toward the first; because particular
matter desires particular form, and the matter of plants and animals,
which, in generating, move toward the forms of plants and animals, are
also influenced by the particular form acting in them. In like manner
the sensible soul moves toward sensible forms, and the rational soul to
intelligible forms, because the particular soul, which is called the
first intellect, while it is in its principle, is susceptible of form;
but when it shall have received the form of universal intelligence,
which is the second intellect, and shall become intelligence, then it
will be strong to act, and will be called the second intellect; and
since particular souls have such a desire, it follows that universal
souls must have a desire for universal forms. The same thing must be
said of natural matter,--that is, the substance which sustains the nine
categories; because this matter moves to take on the first qualities,
then to the mineral form, then to the vegetable, then to the sensible,
then to the rational, then to the intelligible, until at last it is
united to the form of universal intelligence. And this primal matter
desires primal form; and all things that are, desire union and
commixture, that so they may be assimilated to their principle; and
therefore, genera, species, differentiae, and contraries are united
through something in singulars.

Thus, matter is like an empty schedule and a wax tablet; whereas form is
like a painted shape and words set down, from which the reader reaches
the end of science. And when the soul knows these, it desires to know
the wonderful painter of them, to whose essence it is impossible to
ascend. Thus matter and form are the two closed gates of intelligence,
which it is hard for intelligence to open and pass through, because the
substance of intelligence is below them, and made up of them. And when
the soul has subtilized itself, until it can penetrate them, it arrives
at the word, that is, at perfect will; and then its motion ceases, and
its joy remains.

An analogy to the fact that the universal will actualizes universal form
in the matter of intelligence is the fact that the particular will
actualizes the particular form in the soul without time, and life and
essential motion in the matter of the soul, and local motion and other
motions in the matter of nature. But all these motions are derived from
the will; and so all things are moved by the will, just as the soul
causes rest or motion in the body according to its will. And this motion
is different according to the greater or less proximity of things to the
will. And if we remove action from the will, the will will be identical
with the primal essence; whereas, with action, it is different from it.
Hence, will is as the painter of all forms; the matter of each thing as
a tablet; and the form of each thing as the picture on the tablet. It
binds form to matter, and is diffused through the whole of matter, from
highest to lowest, as the soul through the body; and as the virtue of
the sun, diffusing its light, unites with the light, and with it
descends into the air, so the virtue of the will unites with the form
which it imparts to all things, and descends with it. On this ground it
is said that the first cause is in all things, and that there is nothing
without it.

The will holds all things together by means of form; whence we likewise
say that form holds all things together. Thus, form is intermediate
between will and matter, receiving from will, and giving to matter. And
will acts without time or motion, through its own might. If the action
of soul and intelligence, and the infusion of light are instantaneous,
much more so is that of will.

Creation comes from the high creator, and is an emanation, like the
issue of water flowing from its source; but whereas water follows water
without intermission or rest, creation is without motion or time. The
sealing of form upon matter, as it flows in from the will, is like the
sealing or reflection of a form in a mirror, when it is seen. And as
sense receives the form of the felt without the matter, so everything
that acts upon another acts solely through its own form, which it simply
impresses upon that other. Hence genus, species, differentia, property,
accident, and all forms in matter are merely an impression made
by wisdom.

The created soul is gifted with the knowledge which is proper to it; but
after it is united to the body, it is withdrawn from receiving those
impressions which are proper to it, by reason of the very darkness of
the body, covering and extinguishing its light, and blurring it, just as
in the case of a clear mirror: when dense substance is put over it its
light is obscured. And therefore God, by the subtlety of his substance,
formed this world, and arranged it according to this most beautiful
order, in which it is, and equipped the soul with senses, wherein, when
it uses them, that which is hidden in it is manifested in act; and the
soul, in apprehending sensible things, is like a man who sees many
things, and when he departs from them, finds that nothing remains with
him but the vision of imagination and memory.

We must also bear in mind that, while matter is made by essence, form is
made by will. And it is said that matter is the seat of God, and that
will, the giver of form, sits on it and rests upon it. And through the
knowledge of these things we ascend to those things which are behind
them, that is, to the cause why there is anything; and this is a
knowledge of the world of deity, which is the greatest whole: whatever
is below it is very small in comparison with it.



This Scottish poet was born in his father's castle of Kinaldie, near St.
Andrews, Fifeshire, in 1570. He was descended from the Norman family of
De Vescy, a younger son of which settled in Scotland and received from
Robert Bruce the lands of Aytoun in Berwickshire. Kincardie came into
the family about 1539. Robert Aytoun was educated at St. Andrews, taking
his degree in 1588, traveled on the Continent like other wealthy
Scottish gentlemen, and studied law at the University of Paris.
Returning in 1603, he delighted James I. by a Latin poem congratulating
him on his accession to the English throne. Thereupon the poet received
an invitation to court as Groom of the Privy Chamber. He rose rapidly,
was knighted in 1612, and made Gentleman of the Bedchamber to King James
and private secretary to Queen Anne. When Charles I. ascended the
throne, Aytoun was retained, and held many important posts. According to
Aubrey, "he was acquainted with all the witts of his time in England."
Sir Robert was essentially a court poet, and belonged to the cultivated
circle of Scottish favorites that James gathered around him; yet there
is no mention of him in the gossipy diaries of the period, and almost
none in the State papers. He seems, however, to have been popular: Ben
Jonson boasts that Aytoun "loved me dearly." It is not surprising that
his mild verses should have faded in the glorious light of the
contemporary poets.

[Illustration: ROBERT AYTOUN]

He wrote in Greek and French, and many of his Latin poems were published
under the title 'Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum' (Amsterdam, 1637). His
English poems on such themes as a 'Love Dirge,' 'The Poet Forsaken,'
'The Lover's Remonstrance,' 'Address to an Inconstant Mistress,' etc.,
do not show depth of emotion. He says of himself:--

     "Yet have I been a lover by report,
       Yea, I have died for love as others do;
     But praised be God, it was in such a sort
       That I revived within an hour or two."

The lines beginning "I do confess thou'rt smooth and fair," quoted
below with their adaptation by Burns, do not appear in his MSS.,
collected by his heir Sir John Aytoun, nor in the edition of his works
with a memoir prepared by Dr. Charles Rogers, published in Edinburgh in
1844 and reprinted privately in 1871. Dean Stanley, in his 'Memorials of
Westminster Abbey,' accords to him the original of 'Auld Lang Syne,'
which Rogers includes in his edition. Burns's song follows the version
attributed to Francis Temple.

Aytoun passed his entire life in luxury, died in Whitehall Palace in
1638, and was the first Scottish poet buried in Westminster Abbey. His
memorial bust was taken from a portrait by Vandyke.


     I loved thee once, I'll love no more;
       Thine be the grief as is the blame:
     Thou art not what thou wast before,
       What reason I should be the same?
         He that can love unloved again,
         Hath better store of love than brain;
         God send me love my debts to pay,
         While unthrifts fool their love away.

     Nothing could have my love o'erthrown,
       If thou hadst still continued mine;
     Yea, if thou hadst remained thy own,
       I might perchance have yet been thine.
         But thou thy freedom didst recall,
         That it thou might elsewhere inthrall;
         And then how could I but disdain
         A captive's captive to remain?

     When new desires had conquered thee,
       And changed the object of thy will,
     It had been lethargy in me,
       Not constancy, to love thee still.
         Yea, it had been a sin to go
         And prostitute affection so;
         Since we are taught no prayers to say
         To such as must to others pray.

     Yet do thou glory in thy choice,
       Thy choice of his good fortune boast;
     I'll neither grieve nor yet rejoice
       To see him gain what I have lost.
         The height of my disdain shall be
         To laugh at him, to blush for thee;
         To love thee still, but go no more
         A-begging to a beggar's door.


     I do confess thou'rt smooth and fair,
       And I might have gone near to love thee,
     Had I not found the slightest prayer
       That lips could speak had power to move thee.
         But I can let thee now alone,
         As worthy to be loved by none.

     I do confess thou'rt sweet, yet find
       Thee such an unthrift of thy sweets,
     Thy favors are but like the wind
       Which kisseth everything it meets!
         And since thou canst love more than one,
         Thou'rt worthy to be loved by none.

     The morning rose that untouched stands,
       Armed with her briers, how sweet she smells!
     But plucked and strained through ruder hands,
       Her scent no longer with her dwells.
         But scent and beauty both are gone,
         And leaves fall from her one by one.

     Such fate ere long will thee betide,
       When thou hast handled been awhile,
     Like fair flowers to be thrown aside;
       And thou shalt sigh while I shall smile,
         To see thy love to every one
         Hath brought thee to be loved by none.


     I do confess thou art sae fair,
       I wad been ower the lugs in love
     Had I na found the slightest prayer
       That lips could speak, thy heart could move.
     I do confess thee sweet--but find
       Thou art sae thriftless o' thy sweets,
     Thy favors are the silly wind,
       That kisses ilka thing it meets.
     See yonder rosebud rich in dew,
       Among its native briers sae coy,
     How sune it tines its scent and hue
       When pu'd and worn a common toy.
     Sic fate, ere lang, shall thee betide,
       Tho' thou may gaily bloom awhile;
      Yet sune thou shalt be thrown aside
       Like any common weed and vile.



Aytoun the second, balladist, humorist, and Tory, in proportions of
about equal importance,--one of the group of wits and devotees of the
_status quo_ who made Blackwood's Magazine so famous in its early
days,--was born in Edinburgh, June 21st, 1813. He was the son of Roger
Aytoun, "writer to the Signet"; and a descendant of Sir Robert Aytoun
(1570-1638), the poet and friend of Ben Jonson, who followed James VI.
from Scotland and who is buried in Westminster Abbey. Both Aytoun's
parents were literary. His mother, who knew Sir Walter Scott, and who
gave Lockhart many details for his biography, helped the lad in his
poems. She seemed to him to know all the ballads ever sung. His earliest
verses were praised by Professor John Wilson ("Christopher North"), the
first editor of Blackwood's, whose daughter he married in 1849. At the
age of nineteen he published his 'Poland, Homer, and Other Poems'
(Edinburgh, 1832). After leaving the University of Edinburgh, he studied
law in London, visited Germany, and returning to Scotland, was called to
the bar in 1840. He disliked the profession, and used to say that though
he followed the law he never could overtake it.

While in Germany he translated the first part of 'Faust' in blank verse,
which was never published. Many of his translations from Uhland and
Homer appeared in Blackwood's from 1836 to 1840, and many of his early
writings were signed "Augustus Dunshunner." In 1844 he joined the
editorial staff of Blackwood's, to which for many years he contributed
political articles, verse, translations of Goethe, and humorous
sketches. In 1845 he became Professor of Rhetoric and Literature in the
University of Edinburgh, a place which he held until 1864. About 1841 he
became acquainted with Theodore Martin, and in association with him
wrote a series of light papers interspersed with burlesque verses,
which, reprinted from Blackwood's, became popular as the 'Bon Gaultier
Ballads.' Published in London in 1855, they reached their thirteenth
edition in 1877.

     "Some papers of a humorous kind, which I had published under
     the _nom de plume_ of Bon Gaultier," says Theodore Martin in
     his 'Memoir of Aytoun,' "had hit Aytoun's fancy; and when I
     proposed to go on with others in a similar vein, he fell
     readily into the plan, and agreed to assist in it. In this
     way a kind of a Beaumont-and-Fletcher partnership commenced
     in a series of humorous papers, which appeared in Tait's and
     Fraser's magazines from 1842 to 1844. In these papers, in
     which we ran a-tilt, with all the recklessness of youthful
     spirits, against such of the tastes or follies of the day as
     presented an opening for ridicule or mirth,--at the same time
     that we did not altogether lose sight of a purpose higher
     than mere amusement,--appeared the verses, with a few
     exceptions, which subsequently became popular, and to a
     degree we then little contemplated, as the 'Bon Gaultier
     Ballads.' Some of the best of these were exclusively
     Aytoun's, such as 'The Massacre of the McPherson,' 'The Rhyme
     of Sir Launcelot Bogle,' 'The Broken Pitcher,' 'The Red Friar
     and Little John,' 'The Lay of Mr. Colt,' and that best of all
     imitations of the Scottish ballad, 'The Queen in France.'
     Some were wholly mine, and the rest were produced by us
     jointly. Fortunately for our purpose, there were then living
     not a few poets whose style and manner of thought were
     sufficiently marked to make imitation easy, and sufficiently
     popular for a parody of their characteristics to be readily
     recognized. Macaulay's 'Lays of Rome' and his two other fine
     ballads were still in the freshness of their fame. Lockhart's
     'Spanish Ballads' were as familiar in the drawing-room as in
     the study. Tennyson and Mrs. Browning were opening up new
     veins of poetry. These, with Wordsworth, Moore, Uhland, and
     others of minor note, lay ready to our hands,--as Scott,
     Byron, Crabbe, Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Southey had done to
     James and Horace Smith in 1812, when writing the 'Rejected
     Addresses.' Never, probably, were verses thrown off with a
     keener sense of enjoyment."

With Theodore Martin he published also 'Poems and Ballads of Goethe'
(London, 1858). Mr. Aytoun's fame as a poet rests on his 'Lays of the
Cavaliers,' the themes of which are selected from stirring incidents of
Scottish history, ranging from Flodden Field to the Battle of Culloden.
The favorites in popular memory are 'The Execution of Montrose' and 'The
Burial March of Dundee.' This book, published in London and Edinburgh in
1849, has gone through twenty-nine editions.

His dramatic poem, 'Firmilian: a Spasmodic Tragedy,' written to ridicule
the style of Bailey, Dobell, and Alexander Smith, and published in 1854,
had so many excellent qualities that it was received as a serious
production instead of a caricature. Aytoun introduced this in
Blackwood's Magazine as a pretended review of an unpublished tragedy (as
with the 'Rolliad,' and as Lockhart had done in the case of "Peter's
Letters," so successfully that he had to write the book itself as a
"second edition" to answer the demand for it). This review was so
cleverly done that "most of the newspaper critics took the part of the
poet against the reviewer, never suspecting the identity of both, and
maintained the poetry to be fine poetry and the critic a dunce." The
sarcasm of 'Firmilian' is so delicate that only those familiar with the
school it is intended to satirize can fairly appreciate its qualities.
The drama opens showing Firmilian in his study, planning the composition
of 'Cain: a Tragedy'; and being infused with the spirit of the hero, he
starts on a career of crime. Among his deeds is the destruction of the
cathedral of Badajoz, which first appears in his mental vision thus:--

     "Methought I saw the solid vaults give way,
     And the entire cathedral rise in air,
     As if it leaped from Pandemonium's jaws."

To effect this he employs--

     "Some twenty barrels of the dusky grain
     The secret of whose framing in an hour
     Of diabolic jollity and mirth
     Old Roger Bacon wormed from Beelzebub."

When the horror is accomplished, at a moment when the inhabitants of
Badajoz are at prayer, Firmilian rather enjoys the scene:--

     "Pillars and altar, organ loft and screen,
     With a singed swarm of mortals intermixed,
     Whirling in anguish to the shuddering stars."

"'Firmilian,'" to quote from Aytoun's biographer again, "deserves to
keep its place in literature, if only as showing how easy it is for a
man of real poetic power to throw off, in sport, pages of sonorous and
sparkling verse, simply by ignoring the fetters of nature and
common-sense and dashing headlong on Pegasus through the wilderness of
fancy." Its extravagances of rhetoric can be imagined from the following
brief extract, somewhat reminiscent of Marlowe:--

     "And shall I then take Celsus for my guide,
     Confound my brain with dull Justinian tomes,
     Or stir the dust that lies o'er Augustine?
     Not I, in faith! I've leaped into the air,
     And clove my way through ether like a bird
     That flits beneath the glimpses of the moon,
     Right eastward, till I lighted at the foot
     Of holy Helicon, and drank my fill
     At the clear spout of Aganippe's stream;
     I've rolled my limbs in ecstasy along
     The selfsame turf on which old Homer lay
     That night he dreamed of Helen and of Troy:
     And I have heard, at midnight, the sweet strains
     Come quiring from the hilltop, where, enshrined
     In the rich foldings of a silver cloud,
     The Muses sang Apollo into sleep."

In 1856 was printed 'Bothwell,' a poetic monologue on Mary Stuart's
lover. Of Aytoun's humorous sketches, the most humorous are 'My First
Spec in the Biggleswades,' and 'How We Got Up the Glen Mutchkin
Railway'; tales written during the railway mania of 1845, which treat of
the folly and dishonesty of its promoters, and show many typical
Scottish characters. His 'Ballads of Scotland' was issued in 1858; it is
an edition of the best ancient minstrelsy, with preface and notes. In
1861 appeared 'Norman Sinclair,' a novel published first in Blackwood's,
and giving interesting pictures of society in Scotland and personal

After Professor Wilson's death, Aytoun was considered the leading man of
letters in Scotland; a rank which he modestly accepted by writing in
1838 to a friend:--"I am getting a kind of fame as the literary man of
Scotland. Thirty years ago, in the North countries, a fellow achieved an
immense reputation as 'The Tollman,' being the solitary individual
entitled by law to levy blackmail at a ferry." In 1860 he was made
Honorary President of the Associated Societies of the University of
Edinburgh, his competitor being Thackeray. This was the place held
afterward by Lord Lytton, Sir David Brewster, Carlyle, and Gladstone.
Aytoun wrote the 'The Life and Times of Richard the First' (London,
1840), and in 1863 a 'Nuptial Ode on the Marriage of the Prince
of Wales.'

Aytoun was a man of great charm and geniality in society; even to
Americans, though he detested America with the energy of fear--the fear
of all who see its prosperity sapping the foundations of their class
society. He died in 1865; and in 1867 his biography was published by Sir
Theodore Martin, his collaborator. Martin's definition of Aytoun's place
in literature is felicitous:--

       *       *       *       *       *

"Fashions in poetry may alter, but so long as the themes with which they
deal have an interest for his countrymen, his 'Lays' will find, as they
do now, a wide circle of admirers. His powers as a humorist were perhaps
greater than as a poet. They have certainly been more widely
appreciated. His immediate contemporaries owe him much, for he has
contributed largely to that kindly mirth without which the strain and
struggle of modern life would be intolerable. Much that is excellent in
his humorous writings may very possibly cease to retain a place in
literature from the circumstance that he deals with characters and
peculiarities which are in some measure local, and phases of life and
feeling and literature which are more or less ephemeral. But much will
certainly continue to be read and enjoyed by the sons and grandsons of
those for whom it was originally written; and his name will be coupled
with those of Wilson, Lockhart, Sydney Smith, Peacock, Jerrold, Mahony,
and Hood, as that of a man gifted with humor as genuine and original as
theirs, however opinions may vary as to the order of their
relative merits."

'The Modern Endymion,' from which an extract is given, is a parody on
Disraeli's earlier manner.


     From the 'Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers'


     Sound the fife and cry the slogan;
       Let the pibroch shake the air
     With its wild, triumphant music,
       Worthy of the freight we bear.
     Let the ancient hills of Scotland
       Hear once more the battle-song
     Swell within their glens and valleys
       As the clansmen march along!
     Never from the field of combat,
       Never from the deadly fray,
     Was a nobler trophy carried
       Than we bring with us to-day;
     Never since the valiant Douglas
       On his dauntless bosom bore
     Good King Robert's heart--the priceless--
       To our dear Redeemer's shore!
     Lo! we bring with us the hero--
       Lo! we bring the conquering Graeme,
     Crowned as best beseems a victor
       From the altar of his fame;
     Fresh and bleeding from the battle
       Whence his spirit took its flight,
     'Midst the crashing charge of squadrons,
       And the thunder of the fight!
     Strike, I say, the notes of triumph,
       As we march o'er moor and lea!
     Is there any here will venture
       To bewail our dead Dundee?
     Let the widows of the traitors
       Weep until their eyes are dim!
     Wail ye may full well for Scotland--
       Let none dare to mourn for him!
     See! above his glorious body
       Lies the royal banner's fold--
     See! his valiant blood is mingled
       With its crimson and its gold.
     See how calm he looks and stately,
       Like a warrior on his shield,
     Waiting till the flush of morning
       Breaks along the battle-field!
     See--oh, never more, my comrades,
       Shall we see that falcon eye
     Redden with its inward lightning,
       As the hour of fight drew nigh!
     Never shall we hear the voice that,
       Clearer than the trumpet's call,
     Bade us strike for king and country,
       Bade us win the field, or fall!


     On the heights of Killiecrankie
       Yester-morn our army lay:
     Slowly rose the mist in columns
       From the river's broken way;
     Hoarsely roared the swollen torrent,
       And the Pass was wrapped in gloom,
     When the clansmen rose together
       From their lair amidst the broom.
     Then we belted on our tartans,
       And our bonnets down we drew,
     As we felt our broadswords' edges,
       And we proved them to be true;
     And we prayed the prayer of soldiers,
       And we cried the gathering-cry,
     And we clasped the hands of kinsmen,
       And we swore to do or die!
     Then our leader rode before us,
       On his war-horse black as night--
     Well the Cameronian rebels
       Knew that charger in the fight!--
     And a cry of exultation
       From the bearded warrior rose;
     For we loved the house of Claver'se,
       And we thought of good Montrose.
     But he raised his hand for silence--
       "Soldiers! I have sworn a vow;
     Ere the evening star shall glisten
       On Schehallion's lofty brow,
     Either we shall rest in triumph,
       Or another of the Graemes
     Shall have died in battle-harness
       For his country and King James!
     Think upon the royal martyr--
       Think of what his race endure--
     Think on him whom butchers murdered
       On the field of Magus Muir[1]:
     By his sacred blood I charge ye,
       By the ruined hearth and shrine--
     By the blighted hopes of Scotland,
       By your injuries and mine--
     Strike this day as if the anvil
       Lay beneath your blows the while,
     Be they Covenanting traitors,
       Or the blood of false Argyle!
     Strike! and drive the trembling rebels
       Backwards o'er the stormy Forth;
     Let them tell their pale Convention
       How they fared within the North.
     Let them tell that Highland honor
       Is not to be bought nor sold;
     That we scorn their prince's anger,
       As we loathe his foreign gold.
     Strike! and when the fight is over,
       If you look in vain for me,
     Where the dead are lying thickest
       Search for him that was Dundee!"

     [Footnote 1: Archbishop Sharp, Lord Primate of Scotland.]


     Loudly then the hills re-echoed
       With our answer to his call,
     But a deeper echo sounded
       In the bosoms of us all.
     For the lands of wide Breadalbane,
       Not a man who heard him speak
     Would that day have left the battle.
       Burning eye and flushing cheek
     Told the clansmen's fierce emotion,
       And they harder drew their breath;
     For their souls were strong within them,
       Stronger than the grasp of Death.
     Soon we heard a challenge trumpet
       Sounding in the Pass below,
     And the distant tramp of horses,
       And the voices of the foe;
     Down we crouched amid the bracken,
       Till the Lowland ranks drew near,
     Panting like the hounds in summer,
       When they scent the stately deer.
     From the dark defile emerging,
       Next we saw the squadrons come,
     Leslie's foot and Leven's troopers
       Marching to the tuck of drum;
     Through the scattered wood of birches,
       O'er the broken ground and heath,
     Wound the long battalion slowly,
       Till they gained the field beneath;
     Then we bounded from our covert,--
       Judge how looked the Saxons then,
     When they saw the rugged mountain
       Start to life with armèd men!
     Like a tempest down the ridges
       Swept the hurricane of steel,
     Rose the slogan of Macdonald--
       Flashed the broadsword of Lochiel!
     Vainly sped the withering volley
       'Mongst the foremost of our band--
     On we poured until we met them
       Foot to foot and hand to hand.
     Horse and man went down like drift-wood
       When the floods are black at Yule,
     And their carcasses are whirling
       In the Garry's deepest pool.
     Horse and man went down before us--
       Living foe there tarried none
     On the field of Killiecrankie,
       When that stubborn fight was done!


     And the evening star was shining
       On Schehallion's distant head,
     When we wiped our bloody broadswords,
       And returned to count the dead.
     There we found him gashed and gory,
       Stretched upon the cumbered plain,
     As he told us where to seek him,
       In the thickest of the slain.
     And a smile was on his visage,
       For within his dying ear
     Pealed the joyful note of triumph
       And the clansmen's clamorous cheer:
     So, amidst the battle's thunder,
       Shot, and steel, and scorching flame,
     In the glory of his manhood
       Passed the spirit of the Graeme!


     Open wide the vaults of Athol,
       Where the bones of heroes rest--
     Open wide the hallowed portals
       To receive another guest!
     Last of Scots, and last of freemen--
       Last of all that dauntless race
     Who would rather die unsullied,
       Than outlive the land's disgrace!
     O thou lion-hearted warrior!
       Reck not of the after-time:
     Honor may be deemed dishonor,
       Loyalty be called a crime.
     Sleep in peace with kindred ashes
       Of the noble and the true,
     Hands that never failed their country,
       Hearts that never baseness knew.
     Sleep!--and till the latest trumpet
       Wakes the dead from earth and sea,
     Scotland shall not boast a braver
       Chieftain than our own Dundee!


     From 'Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers'

     Come hither, Evan Cameron!
       Come, stand beside my knee--
     I hear the river roaring down
       Toward the wintry sea.
     There's shouting on the mountain-side,
       There's war within the blast--
     Old faces look upon me,
       Old forms go trooping past.
     I hear the pibroch wailing
       Amidst the din of fight,
     And my dim spirit wakes again
       Upon the verge of night.

     'Twas I that led the Highland host
       Through wild Lochaber's snows,
     What time the plaided clans came down
       To battle with Montrose.
     I've told thee how the Southrons fell
       Beneath the broad claymore,
     And how we smote the Campbell clan
       By Inverlochy's shore;
     I've told thee how we swept Dundee,
       And tamed the Lindsays' pride:
     But never have I told thee yet
       How the great Marquis died.

     A traitor sold him to his foes;--
       A deed of deathless shame!
     I charge thee, boy, if e'er thou meet
       With one of Assynt's name,--
     Be it upon the mountain's side
       Or yet within the glen,
     Stand he in martial gear alone,
       Or backed by arméd men,--
     Face him, as thou wouldst face the man
       Who wronged thy sire's renown;
     Remember of what blood thou art,
       And strike the caitiff down!

     They brought him to the Watergate,
       Hard bound with hempen span,
     As though they held a lion there,
       And not a fenceless man.
     They set him high upon a cart,--
       The hangman rode below,--
     They drew his hands behind his back
       And bared his noble brow.
     Then, as a hound is slipped from leash,
       They cheered, the common throng,
     And blew the note with yell and shout,
       And bade him pass along.

     It would have made a brave man's heart
       Grow sad and sick that day,
     To watch the keen malignant eyes
       Bent down on that array.
     There stood the Whig West-country lords
       In balcony and bow;
     There sat their gaunt and withered dames,
       And their daughters all arow.
     And every open window
       Was full as full might be
     With black-robed Covenanting carles,
       That goodly sport to see!

     But when he came, though pale and wan,
       He looked so great and high,
     So noble was his manly front,
       So calm his steadfast eye,--
     The rabble rout forbore to shout,
       And each man held his breath,
     For well they knew the hero's soul
       Was face to face with death.
     And then a mournful shudder
       Through all the people crept,
     And some that came to scoff at him
       Now turned aside and wept.

     But onwards--always onwards,
       In silence and in gloom,
     The dreary pageant labored,
       Till it reached the house of doom.
     Then first a woman's voice was heard
       In jeer and laughter loud,
     And an angry cry and hiss arose
       From the heart of the tossing crowd;
     Then, as the Graeme looked upwards,
       He saw the ugly smile
     Of him who sold his king for gold--
       The master-fiend Argyle!

     The Marquis gazed a moment,
       And nothing did he say,
     But the cheek of Argyle grew ghastly pale,
       And he turned his eyes away.
     The painted harlot by his side,
       She shook through every limb,
     For a roar like thunder swept the street,
       And hands were clenched at him;
     And a Saxon soldier cried aloud,
       "Back, coward, from thy place!
     For seven long years thou hast not dared
       To look him in the face."

     Had I been there with sword in hand,
       And fifty Camerons by,
     That day through high Dunedin's streets
       Had pealed the slogan-cry.
     Not all their troops of trampling horse,
       Nor might of mailèd men--
     Not all the rebels in the South
       Had borne us backward then!
     Once more his foot on Highland heath
       Had trod as free as air,
     Or I, and all who bore my name,
       Been laid around him there!

     It might not be. They placed him next
       Within the solemn hall,
     Where once the Scottish kings were throned
       Amidst their nobles all.
     But there was dust of vulgar feet
       On that polluted floor,
     And perjured traitors filled the place
       Where good men sate before.
     With savage glee came Warriston
       To read the murderous doom;
     And then uprose the great Montrose
       In the middle of the room.

     "Now, by my faith as belted knight,
       And by the name I bear,
     And by the bright Saint Andrew's cross
       That waves above us there,--
     Yea, by a greater, mightier oath--
       And oh, that such should be!--By
     that dark stream of royal blood
       That lies 'twixt you and me,--
     have not sought in battle-field
       A wreath of such renown,
     Nor dared I hope on my dying day
       To win the martyr's crown.

     "There is a chamber far away
       Where sleep the good and brave,
     But a better place ye have named for me
       Than by my father's grave.
     For truth and right, 'gainst treason's might,
       This hand hath always striven,
     And ye raise it up for a witness still
       In the eye of earth and heaven.
     Then nail my head on yonder tower--
       Give every town a limb--And
     God who made shall gather them:
       I go from you to Him!"

     The morning dawned full darkly,
       The rain came flashing down,
     And the jagged streak of the levin-bolt
       Lit up the gloomy town.
     The thunder crashed across the heaven,
       The fatal hour was come;
     Yet aye broke in, with muffled beat,
       The larum of the drum.
     There was madness on the earth below
       And anger in the sky,
     And young and old, and rich and poor,
       Come forth to see him die.

     Ah, God! that ghastly gibbet!
       How dismal 'tis to see
     The great tall spectral skeleton,
       The ladder and the tree!
     Hark! hark! it is the clash of arms--
       The bells begin to toll--
     "He is coming! he is coming!
       God's mercy on his soul!"
     One long last peal of thunder--
       The clouds are cleared away,
     And the glorious sun once more looks down
       Amidst the dazzling day.

     "He is coming! he is coming!"
       Like a bridegroom from his room,
     Came the hero from his prison,
       To the scaffold and the doom.
     There was glory on his forehead,
       There was lustre in his eye,
     And he never walked to battle
       More proudly than to die;
     There was color in his visage,
       Though the cheeks of all were wan,
     And they marveled as they saw him pass,
       That great and goodly man!

     He mounted up the scaffold,
       And he turned him to the crowd;
     But they dared not trust the people,
       So he might not speak aloud.
     But looked upon the heavens
       And they were clear and blue,
     And in the liquid ether
       The eye of God shone through:
     Yet a black and murky battlement
       Lay resting on the hill,
     As though the thunder slept within--
       All else was calm and still.

     The grim Geneva ministers
       With anxious scowl drew near,
     As you have seen the ravens flock
       Around the dying deer.
     He would not deign them word nor sign,
       But alone he bent the knee,
     And veiled his face for Christ's dear grace
       Beneath the gallows-tree.
     Then radiant and serene he rose,
       And cast his cloak away;
     For he had ta'en his latest look
       Of earth and sun and day.

     A beam of light fell o'er him,
       Like a glory round the shriven,
     And he climbed the lofty ladder
       As it were the path to heaven.
     Then came a flash from out the cloud,
       And a stunning thunder-roll;
     And no man dared to look aloft,
       For fear was on every soul.
     There was another heavy sound,
       A hush and then a groan;
     And darkness swept across the sky--
       The work of death was done!


     From the 'Bon Gaultier Ballads'

     It was a Moorish maiden was sitting by a well,
     And what that maiden thought of, I cannot, cannot tell,
     When by there rode a valiant knight, from the town of Oviedo--
     Alphonso Guzman was he hight, the Count of Desparedo.

     "O maiden, Moorish maiden! why sitt'st thou by the spring?
     Say, dost thou seek a lover, or any other thing?
     Why gazest thou upon me, with eyes so large and wide,
     And wherefore doth the pitcher lie broken by thy side?"

     "I do not seek a lover, thou Christian knight so gay,
     Because an article like that hath never come my way;
     But why I gaze upon you, I cannot, cannot tell,
     Except that in your iron hose you look uncommon swell.

     "My pitcher it is broken, and this the reason is--
     A shepherd came behind me, and tried to snatch a kiss;
     I would not stand his nonsense, so ne'er a word I spoke,
     But scored him on the costard, and so the jug was broke.

     "My uncle, the Alcaydè, he waits for me at home,
     And will not take his tumbler until Zorayda come.
     I cannot bring him water,--the pitcher is in pieces;
     And so I'm sure to catch it, 'cos he wallops all his nieces.

     "O maiden, Moorish maiden! wilt thou be ruled by me?
     So wipe thine eyes and rosy lips, and give me kisses three;
     And I'll give thee my helmet, thou kind and courteous lady,
     To carry home the water to thy uncle, the Alcaydè."

     He lighted down from off his steed--he tied him to a tree--
     He bowed him to the maiden, and took his kisses three:
     "To wrong thee, sweet Zorayda, I swear would be a sin!"
     He knelt him at the fountain, and dipped his helmet in.

     Up rose the Moorish maiden--behind the knight she steals,
     And caught Alphonso Guzman up tightly by the heels;
     She tipped him in, and held him down beneath the bubbling water,--
     "Now, take thou that for venturing to kiss Al Hamet's daughter!"

     A Christian maid is weeping in the town of Oviedo;
     She waits the coming of her love, the Count of Desparedo.
     I pray you all in charity, that you will never tell
     How he met the Moorish maiden beside the lonely well.



     Halt! Shoulder arms! Recover! As you were!
       Right wheel! Eyes left! Attention! Stand at ease!
       O Britain! O my country! Words like these
     Have made thy name a terror and a fear
     To all the nations. Witness Ebro's banks,
       Assaye, Toulouse, Nivelle, and Waterloo,
       Where the grim despot muttered, _Sauve qui pent!_
     And Ney fled darkling.--Silence in the ranks!
     Inspired by these, amidst the iron crash
       Of armies, in the centre of his troop
     The soldier stands--unmovable, not rash--
       Until the forces of the foemen droop;
     Then knocks the Frenchmen to eternal smash,
       Pounding them into mummy. Shoulder, hoop!


From "The Modern Endymion"

'Twas a hot season in the skies. Sirius held the ascendant, and under
his influence even the radiant band of the Celestials began to droop,
while the great ball-room of Olympus grew gradually more and more
deserted. For nearly a week had Orpheus, the leader of the heavenly
orchestra, played to a deserted floor. The _élite_ would no longer
figure in the waltz.

Juno obstinately kept her room, complaining of headache and ill-temper.
Ceres, who had lately joined a dissenting congregation, objected
generally to all frivolous amusements; and Minerva had established, in
opposition, a series of literary soirees, at which Pluto nightly
lectured on the fine arts and phrenology, to a brilliant and fashionable
audience. The Muses, with Hebe and some of the younger deities, alone
frequented the assemblies; but with all their attractions there was
still a sad lack of partners. The younger gods had of late become
remarkably dissipated, messed three times a week at least with Mars in
the barracks, and seldom separated sober. Bacchus had been sent to
Coventry by the ladies, for appearing one night in the ball-room, after
a hard sederunt, so drunk that he measured his length upon the floor
after a vain attempt at a mazurka; and they likewise eschewed the
company of Pan, who had become an abandoned smoker, and always smelt
infamously of cheroots. But the most serious defection, as also the most
unaccountable, was that of the beautiful Diana, _par excellence_ the
belle of the season, and assuredly the most graceful nymph that ever
tripped along the halls of heaven. She had gone off suddenly to the
country, without alleging any intelligible excuse, and with her the last
attraction of the ball-room seemed to have disappeared. Even Venus, the
perpetual lady patroness, saw that the affair was desperate.

"Ganymede, _mon beau garcon_," said she, one evening at an unusually
thin assembly, "we must really give it up at last. Matters are growing
worse and worse, and in another week we shall positively not have enough
to get up a tolerable gallopade. Look at these seven poor Muses sitting
together on the sofa. Not a soul has spoken to them to-night, except
that horrid Silenus, who dances nothing but Scotch reels."

"_Pardieu!_" replied the young Trojan, fixing his glass in his eye.
"There may be a reason for that. The girls are decidedly _passées_, and
most inveterate blues. But there's dear little Hebe, who never wants
partners, though that clumsy Hercules insists upon his conjugal rights,
and keeps moving after her like an enormous shadow. 'Pon my soul, I've a
great mind--Do you think, _ma belle tante_, that anything might be done
in that quarter?"

"Oh fie, Ganymede--fie for shame!" said Flora, who was sitting close to
the Queen of Love, and overheard the conversation. "You horrid, naughty
man, how can you talk so?"

"_Pardon, ma chère_!" replied the exquisite with a languid smile. "You
must excuse my _badinage_; and indeed, a glance of your fair eyes were
enough at any time to recall me to my senses. By the way, what a
beautiful _bouquet_ you have there. _Parole d'honneur_, I am quite
jealous. May I ask who sent it?"

"What a goose you are!" said Flora, in evident confusion: "how should I
know? Some general admirer like yourself, I suppose."

"Apollo is remarkably fond of hyacinths, I believe," said Ganymede,
looking significantly at Venus. "Ah, well! I see how it is. We poor
detrimentals must break our hearts in silence. It is clear we have no
chance with the _preux chevalier_ of heaven."

"Really, Ganymede, you are very severe this evening," said Venus with a
smile; "but tell me, have you heard anything of Diana?"

"Ah! _la belle Diane_? They say she is living in the country somewhere
about Caria, at a place they call Latmos Cottage, cultivating her faded
roses--what a color Hebe has!--and studying the sentimental."

"_Tant pis_! She is a great loss to us," said Venus. "Apropos, you will
be at Neptune's _fête champétre_ to-morrow, _n'est ce pas?_ We shall
then finally determine about abandoning the assemblies. But I must go
home now. The carriage has been waiting this hour, and my doves may
catch cold. I suppose that boy Cupid will not be home till all hours of
the morning."

"Why, I believe the Rainbow Club _does_ meet to-night, after the
dancing," said Ganymede significantly. "This is the last oyster-night of
the season."

"Gracious goodness! The boy will be quite tipsy," said Venus. "Do, dear
Ganymede! try to keep him sober. But now, give me your arm to the

"_Volontiers_!" said the exquisite.

As Venus rose to go, there was a rush of persons to the further end of
the room, and the music ceased. Presently, two or three voices were
heard calling for Aesculapius.

"What's the row?" asked that learned individual, advancing leisurely
from the refreshment table, where he had been cramming himself with tea
and cakes.

"Leda's fainted!" shrieked Calliope, who rushed past with her
vinaigrette in hand.

"_Gammon_!" growled the Abernethy of heaven, as he followed her.

"Poor Leda!" said Venus, as her cavalier adjusted her shawl. "These
fainting fits are decidedly alarming. I hope it is nothing more serious
than the weather."

"I hope so, too," said Ganymede. "Let me put on the scarf. But people
will talk. Pray heaven it be not a second edition of that old scandal
about the eggs!"

"_Fi done_! You odious creature! How can you? But after all, stranger
things have happened. There now, have done. Good-night!" and she stepped
into her chariot.

"_Bon soir_" said the exquisite, kissing his hand as it rolled away.
"'Pon my soul, that's a splendid woman. I've a great mind--but there's
no hurry about that. _Revenons à nos oeufs._ I must learn something more
about this fainting fit." So saying, Ganymede re-ascended the stairs.


From "Norman Sinclair"

When summer came--for in Scotland, alas! there is no spring, winter
rolling itself remorselessly, like a huge polar bear, over what should
be the beds of the early flowers, and crushing them ere they
develop--when summer came, and the trees put on their pale-green
liveries, and the brakes were blue with the wood-hyacinth, and the ferns
unfolded their curl, what ecstasy it was to steal an occasional holiday,
and wander, rod in hand, by some quiet stream up in the moorlands,
inhaling health from every breeze, nor seeking shelter from the gentle
shower as it dropped its manna from the heavens! And then the long
holidays, when the town was utterly deserted--how I enjoyed these, as
they can only be enjoyed by the possess-ors of the double talisman of
strength and youth! No more care--no more trouble--no more task-work--no
thought even of the graver themes suggested by my later studies!
Look--standing on the Calton Hill, behold yon blue range of mountains to
the west--cannot you name each pinnacle from its form? Benledi,
Benvoirlich, Benlomond! Oh, the beautiful land, the elysium that lies
round the base of those distant giants! The forest of Glenfinlas, Loch
Achray with its weeping birches, the grand defiles of the Trosachs, and
Ellen's Isle, the pearl of the one lake that genius has forever
hallowed! Up, sluggard! Place your knapsack on your back; but stow it
not with unnecessary gear, for you have still further to go, and your
rod also must be your companion, if you mean to penetrate the region
beyond. Money? Little money suffices him who travels on foot, who can
bring his own fare to the shepherd's bothy where he is to sleep, and who
sleeps there better and sounder than the tourist who rolls from station
to station in his barouche, grumbling because the hotels are
overcrowded, and miserable about the airing of his sheets. Money? You
would laugh if you heard me mention the sum which has sufficed for my
expenditure during a long summer month; for the pedestrian, humble
though he be, has his own especial privileges, and not the least of
these is that he is exempted from all extortion. Donald--God bless
him!--has a knack of putting on the prices; and when an English family
comes posting up to the door of his inn, clamorously demanding every
sort of accommodation which a metropolitan hotel could afford, grumbling
at the lack of attendance, sneering at the quality of the food, and
turning the whole establishment upside down for their own selfish
gratification, he not unreasonably determines that the extra trouble
shall be paid for in that gold which rarely crosses his fingers except
during the short season when tourists and sportsmen abound. But Donald,
who is descended from the M'Gregor, does not make spoil of the poor. The
sketcher or the angler who come to his door, with the sweat upon their
brow and the dust of the highway or the pollen of the heather on their
feet, meet with a hearty welcome; and though the room in which their
meals are served is but low in the roof, and the floor strewn with sand,
and the attic wherein they lie is garnished with two beds and a
shake-down, yet are the viands wholesome, the sheets clean, and the
tariff so undeniably moderate that even parsimony cannot complain. So up
in the morning early, so soon as the first beams of the sun slant into
the chamber--down to the loch or river, and with a headlong plunge
scrape acquaintance with the pebbles at the bottom; then rising with a
hearty gasp, strike out for the islet or the further bank, to the
astonishment of the otter, who, thief that he is, is skulking back to
his hole below the old saugh-tree, from a midnight foray up the burns.
Huzza! The mallard, dozing among the reeds, has taken fright, and
tucking up his legs under his round fat rump, flies quacking to a
remoter marsh.

       "By the pricking of my thumbs,
     Something wicked this way comes,"

and lo! Dugald the keeper, on his way to the hill, is arrested by the
aquatic phenomenon, and half believes that he is witnessing the frolics
of an Urisk! Then make your toilet on the green-sward, swing your
knapsack over your shoulders, and cover ten good miles of road before
you halt before breakfast with more than the appetite of an ogre.

In this way I made the circuit of well-nigh the whole of the Scottish
Highlands, penetrating as far as Cape Wrath and the wild district of
Edderachylis, nor leaving unvisited the grand scenery of Loch Corruisk,
and the stormy peaks of Skye; and more than one delightful week did I
spend each summer, exploring Gameshope, or the Linns of Talla, where the
Covenanters of old held their gathering; or clambering up the steep
ascent by the Grey Mare's Tail to lonely and lovely Loch Skene, or
casting for trout in the silver waters of St. Mary's.



Massimo Taparelli, Marquis d'Azeglio, like his greater colleague and
sometime rival in the Sardinian Ministry, Cavour, wielded a graceful and
forcible pen, and might have won no slight distinction in the peaceful
paths of literature and art as well, had he not been before everything
else a patriot. Of ancient and noble Piedmontese stock, he was born at
Turin in October, 1798. In his fifteenth year the youth accompanied his
father to Rome, where the latter had been appointed ambassador, and thus
early he was inspired with the passion for painting and music which
never left him. In accordance with the paternal wish he entered on a
military career, but soon abandoned the service to devote himself to
art. But after a residence of eight years (1821-29) in the papal
capital, having acquired both skill and fame as a landscape painter,
D'Azeglio began to direct his thoughts to letters and politics.

After the death of his father in 1830 he settled in Milan, where he
formed the acquaintance of the poet and novelist Alessandro Manzoni,
whose daughter he married, and under whose influence he became deeply
interested in literature, especially in its relation to the political
events of those stirring times. The agitation against Austrian
domination was especially marked in the north of Italy, where Manzoni
had made himself prominent; and so it came to pass that Massimo
d'Azeglio plunged into literature with the ardent hope of stimulating
the national sense of independence and unity.

In 1833 he published, not without misgivings, 'Ettore Fieramosca,' his
first romance, in which he aimed to teach Italians how to fight for
national honor. The work achieved an immediate and splendid success, and
unquestionably served as a powerful aid to the awakening of Italy's
ancient patriotism. It was followed in 1841 by 'Nicolo de' Lapi,' a
story conceived in similar vein, with somewhat greater pretensions to
literary finish. D'Azeglio now became known as one of the foremost
representatives of the moderate party, and exerted the potent influence
of his voice as well as of his pen in diffusing liberal propaganda. In
1846 he published the bold pamphlet 'Gli Ultimi Casi di Romagna' (On the
Recent Events in Romagna), in which he showed the danger and utter
futility of ill-advised republican outbreaks, and the paramount
necessity of adopting thereafter a wiser and more practical policy to
gain the great end desired. Numerous trenchant political articles issued
from his pen during the next two years. The year 1849 found him a member
of the first Sardinian parliament, and in March of that year Victor
Emmanuel called him to the presidency of the Council with the portfolio
of Foreign Affairs. Obliged to give way three years later before the
rising genius of Cavour, he served his country with distinction on
several important diplomatic missions after the peace of Villafranca,
and died in his native city on the 15th of January, 1866.

In 1867 appeared D'Azeglio's autobiography, 'I Miei Ricordi,' translated
into English by Count Maffei under title of 'My Recollections' which is
undeniably the most interesting and thoroughly delightful product of his
pen. "He was a 'character,'" said an English critic at the time: "a man
of whims and oddities, of hobbies and crotchets.... This character of
individuality, which impressed its stamp on his whole life, is
charmingly revealed in every sentence of the memoirs which he has left
behind him; so that, more than any of his previous writings, their
mingled homeliness and wit and wisdom justify the epithet which I once
before ventured to give him when I described him as 'the Giusti of
Italian prose.'" As a polemic writer D'Azeglio was recognized as one of
the chief forces in molding public opinion. If he had not been both
patriot and statesman, this versatile genius, as before intimated, would
not improbably have gained an enviable reputation in the realm of art;
and although his few novels are--perhaps with justice--no longer
remembered, they deeply stirred the hearts of his countrymen in their
day, and to say the least are characterized by good sense, facility of
execution, and a refined imaginative power.


From 'My Recollections'

The distribution of our daily occupations was strictly laid down for
Matilde and me in black and white, and these rules were not to be broken
with impunity. We were thus accustomed to habits of order, and never to
make anybody wait for our convenience; a fault which is one of the most
troublesome that can be committed either by great people or small.

I remember one day that Matilde, having gone out with Teresa, came home
when we had been at dinner some time. It was winter, and snow was
falling. The two culprits sat down a little confused, and their soup was
brought them in two plates, which had been kept hot; but can you guess
where? On the balcony; so that the contents were not only below
freezing-point, but actually had a thick covering of snow!

At dinner, of course my sister and I sat perfectly silent, waiting our
turn, without right of petition or remonstrance. As to the other
proprieties of behavior, such as neatness, and not being noisy or
boisterous, we knew well that the slightest infraction would have
entailed banishment for the rest of the day at least. Our great anxiety
was to eclipse ourselves as much as possible; and I assure you that
under this system we never fancied ourselves the central points of
importance round which all the rest of the world was to revolve,--an
idea which, thanks to absurd indulgence and flattery, is often forcibly
thrust, I may say, into poor little brains, which if left to themselves
would never have lost their natural simplicity.

The lessons of 'Galateo' were not enforced at dinner only. Even at other
times we were forbidden to raise our voices or interrupt the
conversation of our elders, still more to quarrel with each other. If
sometimes as we went to dinner I rushed forward before Matilde, my
father would take me by the arm and make me come last, saying, "There is
no need to be uncivil because she is your sister." The old generation in
many parts of Italy have the habit of shouting and raising their voices
as if their interlocutor were deaf, interrupting him as if he had no
right to speak, and poking him in the ribs and otherwise, as if he could
only be convinced by sensations of bodily pain. The regulations observed
in my family were therefore by no means superfluous; and would to
Heaven they were universally adopted as the law of the land!

On another occasion my excellent mother gave me a lesson of humility,
which I shall never forget any more than the place where I received it.

In the open part of the Cascine, which was once used as a race-course,
to the right of the space where the carriages stand, there is a walk
alongside the wood. I was walking there one day with my mother, followed
by an old servant, a countryman of Pylades; less heroic than the latter,
but a very good fellow too. I forget why, but I raised a little cane I
had in my hand, and I am afraid I struck him. My mother, before all the
passers-by, obliged me to kneel down and beg his pardon. I can still see
poor Giacolin taking off his hat with a face of utter bewilderment,
quite unable to comprehend how it was that the Chevalier Massimo
Taparelli d'Azeglio came to be at his feet.

An indifference to bodily pain was another of the precepts most
carefully instilled by our father; and as usual, the lesson was made
more impressive by example whenever an opportunity presented itself. If,
for instance, we complained of any slight pain or accident, our father
used to say, half in fun, half in earnest, "When a Piedmontese has both
his arms and legs broken, and has received two sword-thrusts in the
body, he may be allowed to say, but not till then, 'Really, I almost
think I am not quite well.'"

The moral authority he had acquired over me was so great that in no case
would I have disobeyed him, even had he ordered me to jump out
of window.

I recollect that when my first tooth was drawn, I was in an agony of
fright as we went to the dentist; but outwardly I was brave enough, and
tried to seem as indifferent as possible. On another occasion my
childish courage and also my father's firmness were put to a more
serious test. He had hired a house called the Villa Billi, which stands
about half a mile from San Domenico di Fiesole, on the right winding up
toward the hill. Only two years ago I visited the place, and found the
same family of peasants still there, and my two old playmates, Nando and
Sandro,--who had both become even greater fogies than myself,--and we
had a hearty chat together about bygone times.

Whilst living at this villa, our father was accustomed to take us out
for long walks, which were the subject of special regulations. We were
strictly forbidden to ask, "Have we far to go?"--"What time is it?" or
to say, "I am thirsty; I am hungry; I am tired:" but in everything else
we had full liberty of speech and action. Returning from one of these
excursions, we one day found ourselves below Castel di Poggio, a rugged
stony path leading towards Vincigliata. In one hand I had a nosegay of
wild flowers, gathered by the way, and in the other a stick, when I
happened to stumble, and fell awkwardly. My father sprang forward to
pick me up, and seeing that one arm pained me, he examined it and found
that in fact the bone was broken below the elbow. All this time my eyes
were fixed upon him, and I could see his countenance change, and assume
such an expression of tenderness and anxiety that he no longer appeared
to be the same man. He bound up my arm as well as he could, and we then
continued our way homewards. After a few moments, during which my father
had resumed his usual calmness, he said to me:--

"Listen, Mammolino: your mother is not well. If she knows you are hurt
it will make her worse. You must be brave, my boy: to-morrow morning we
will go to Florence, where all that is needful can be done for you; but
this evening you must not show you are in pain. Do you understand?"

All this was said with his usual firmness and authority, but also with
the greatest affection. I was only too glad to have so important and
difficult a task intrusted to me. The whole evening I sat quietly in a
corner, supporting my poor little broken arm as best I could, and my
mother only thought me tired by the long walk, and had no suspicion of
the truth.

The next day I was taken to Florence, and my arm was set; but to
complete the cure I had to be sent to the Baths of Vinadio a few years
afterward. Some people may, in this instance, think my father was cruel.
I remember the fact as if it were but yesterday, and I am sure such an
idea never for one minute entered my mind. The expression of ineffable
tenderness which I had read in his eyes had so delighted me, it seemed
so reasonable to avoid alarming my mother, that I looked on the hard
task allotted me as a fine opportunity of displaying my courage. I did
so because I had not been spoilt, and good principles had been early
implanted within me: and now that I am an old man and have known the
world, I bless the severity of my father; and I could wish every Italian
child might have one like him, and derive more profit than I did,--in
thirty years' time Italy would then be the first of nations.

Moreover, it is a fact that children are much more observant than is
commonly supposed, and never regard as hostile a just but affectionate
severity. I have always seen them disposed to prefer persons who keep
them in order to those who constantly yield to their caprices; and
soldiers are just the same in this respect.

The following is another example to prove that my father did not deserve
to be called cruel:--

He thought it a bad practice to awaken children suddenly, or to let
their sleep be abruptly disturbed. If we had to rise early for a
journey, he would come to my bedside and softly hum a popular song, two
lines of which still ring in my ears:--

     "Chi vuol veder l'aurora
     Lasci le molli plume."

     (He who the early dawn would view
     Downy pillows must eschew.)

And by gradually raising his voice, he awoke me without the slightest
start. In truth, with all his severity, Heaven knows how I loved him.


From "My Recollections"

My occupations in Rome were not entirely confined to the domains of
poetry and imagination. It must not be forgotten that I was also a
diplomatist; and in that capacity I had social as well as official
duties to perform.

The Holy Alliance had accepted the confession and repentance of Murat,
and had granted him absolution; but as the new convert inspired little
confidence, he was closely watched, in the expectation--and perhaps the
hope--of an opportunity of crowning the work by the infliction
of penance.

The penance intended was to deprive him of his crown and sceptre, and to
turn him out of the pale. Like all the other diplomatists resident in
Rome, we kept our court well informed of all that could be known or
surmised regarding the intentions of the Neapolitan government; and I
had the lively occupation of copying page after page of incomprehensible
cipher for the newborn archives of our legation. Such was my life at
that time; and in spite of the cipher, I soon found it pleasant enough.
Dinner-parties, balls, routs, and fashionable society did not then
inspire me with the holy horror which now keeps me away from them.
Having never before experienced or enjoyed anything of the kind, I was
satisfied. But in the midst of my pleasure, our successor--Marquis San
Saturnino--made his appearance, and we had to prepare for our departure.
One consolation, however, remained. I had just then been appointed to
the high rank of cornet in the crack dragoon regiment "Royal Piedmont."
I had never seen its uniform, but I cherished a vague hope of being
destined by Fortune to wear a helmet; and the prospect of realizing this
splendid dream of my infancy prevented me from regretting my Roman
acquaintances overmuch.

The Society of Jesus had meanwhile been restored, and my brother was on
the eve of taking the vows. He availed himself of the last days left him
before that ceremony to sit for his portrait to the painter Landi. This
is one of that artist's best works, who, poor man, cannot boast of many;
and it now belongs to my nephew Emanuel.

The day of the ceremony at length arrived, and I accompanied my brother
to the Convent of Monte Cavallo, where it was to take place.

The Jesuits at that time were all greatly rejoicing at the revival of
their order; and as may be inferred, they were mostly old men, with only
a few young novices among them.

We entered an oratory fragrant with the flowers adorning the altar, full
of silver ornaments, holy images, and burning wax-lights, with
half-closed windows and carefully drawn blinds; for it is a certain,
although unexplained, fact that men are more devout in the dark than in
the light, at night than in the day-time, and with their eyes closed
rather than open. We were received by the General of the order, Father
Panizzoni, a little old man bent double with age, his eyes encircled
with red, half blind, and I believe almost in his dotage. He was
shedding tears of joy, and we all maintained the pious and serious
aspect suited to the occasion, until the time arrived for the novice to
step forward, when, lo! Father Panizzoni advanced with open arms toward
the place where I stood, mistaking me for my brother; a blunder which
for a moment imperiled the solemnity of the assembly.

Had I yielded to the embrace of Father Panizzoni, it would have been a
wonderful bargain both for him and me. But this was not the only
invitation I then received to enter upon a sacerdotal career. Monsignor
Morozzo, my great-uncle and god-father, then secretary to the bishops
and regular monks, one day proposed that I should enter the
Ecclesiastical Academy, and follow the career of the prelacy under his
patronage. The idea seemed so absurd that I could not help laughing
heartily, and the subject was never revived.

Had I accepted these overtures, I might in the lapse of time have long
since been a cardinal, and perhaps even Pope. And if so, I should have
drawn the world after me, as the shepherd entices a lamb with a lump of
salt. It was very wrong in me to refuse. Doubtless the habit of
expressing my opinion to every one, and on all occasions, would have led
me into many difficulties. I must either have greatly changed, or a very
few years would have seen an end of me.

We left Rome at last, in the middle of winter, in an open carriage, and
traveling chiefly by night, as was my father's habit. While the horses
are trotting on, I will sum up the impressions of Rome and the Roman
world which I was carrying away. The clearest idea present to my mind
was that the priests of Rome and their religion had very little in
common with my father and Don Andreis, or with the religion professed by
them and by the priests and the devout laity of Turin. I had not been
able to detect the slightest trace of that which in the language of
asceticism is called unction. I know not why, but that grave and
downcast aspect, enlivened only by a few occasional flashes of ponderous
clerical wit, the atmosphere depressing as the _plumbeus auster_ of
Horace, in which I had been brought up under the rule of my priest,--all
seemed unknown at Rome. There I never met with a monsignore or a priest
who did not step out with a pert and jaunty air, his head erect, showing
off a well-made leg, and daintily attired in the garb of a clerical
dandy. Their conversation turned upon every possible subject, and
sometimes upon _quibusdam aliis_, to such a degree that it was evident
my father was perpetually on thorns. I remember a certain prelate, whom
I will not name, and whose conduct was, I believe, sufficiently free and
easy, who at a dinner-party at a villa near Porta Pia related laughingly
some matrimonial anecdotes, which I at that time did not fully
understand. And I remember also my poor father's manifest distress, and
his strenuous endeavors to change the conversation and direct it into a
different channel.

The prelates and priests whom I used to meet in less orthodox companies
than those frequented by my father seemed to me still more free and
easy. Either in the present or in the past, in theory or in practice,
with more or less or even no concealment, they all alike were sailing or
had sailed on the sweet _fleuve du tendre_. For instance, I met one old
canon bound to a venerable dame by a tie of many years' standing. I also
met a young prelate with a pink-and-white complexion and eyes expressive
of anything but holiness; he was a desperate votary of the fair sex, and
swaggered about paying his homage right and left. Will it be believed,
this gay apostle actually told me, without circumlocution, that in the
monastery of Tor di Specchi there dwelt a young lady who was in love
with me? I, who of course desired no better, took the hint instantly,
and had her pointed out to me. Then began an interchange of silly
messages, of languishing looks, and a hundred absurdities of the same
kind; all cut short by the pair of post-horses which carried us out of
the Porta del Popolo....

The opinions of my father respecting the clergy and the Court of Rome
were certainly narrow and prejudiced; but with his good sense it was
impossible for him not to perceive what was manifest even to a blind
man. During our journey he kept insinuating (without appearing, however,
to attach much importance to it) that it was always advisable to speak
with proper respect of a country where we had been well received, even
if we had noticed a great many abuses and disorders. To a certain
extent, this counsel was well worthy of attention. He was doubtless much
grieved at the want of decency apparent in one section of that society,
or, to use a modern expression, at its absence of respectability; but he
consoled himself by thinking, like Abraham the Jew in the 'Decameron,'
that no better proof can be given of the truth of the religion professed
by Rome than the fact of its enduring in such hands.

This reasoning, however, is not quite conclusive; for if Boccaccio had
had patience to wait another forty years, he would have learnt, first
from John Huss, and then from Luther and his followers, that although in
certain hands things may last a while, it is only till they are worn
out. What Boccaccio and the Jew would say now if they came back, I do
not venture to surmise,


From 'My Recollections'

While striving to acquire a good artistic position in my new residence,
I had still continued to work at my 'Fieramosca,' which was now almost
completed. Letters were at that time represented at Milan by Manzoni,
Grossi, Torti, Pompeo Litta, etc. The memories of the period of Monti,
Parini, Foscolo, Porta, Pellico, Verri, Beccaria, were still fresh; and
however much the living literary and scientific men might be inclined to
lead a secluded life, intrenched in their own houses, with the shyness
of people who disliked much intercourse with the world, yet by a little
tact those who wished for their company could overcome their reserve. As
Manzoni's son-in-law, I found myself naturally brought into contact with
them. I knew them all; but Grossi and I became particularly intimate,
and our close and uninterrupted friendship lasted until the day of his
but too premature death. I longed to show my work to him, and especially
to Manzoni, and ask their advice; but fear this time, not artistic but
literary, had again caught hold of me. Still, a resolve was necessary,
and was taken at last. I disclosed my secret, imploring forbearance and
advice, but no _indulgence_. I wanted the truth, the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth. I preferred the blame of a couple of trusted
friends to that of the public. Both seemed to have expected something a
great deal worse than what they heard, to judge by their startled but
also approving countenances, when my novel was read to them. Manzoni
remarked with a smile, "We literary men have a strange profession
indeed--any one can take it up in a day. Here is Massimo: the whim of
writing a novel seizes him, and upon my word he does not do badly,
after all!"

This high approbation inspired me with leonine courage, and I set to
work again in earnest, so that in 1833 the work was ready for
publication. On thinking it over now, it strikes me that I was guilty of
great impertinence in thus bringing out and publishing with undaunted
assurance my little novel among all those literary big-wigs; I who had
never done or written anything before. But it was successful; and this
is an answer to every objection.

The day I carried my bundle of manuscript to San Pietro all' Orto, and,
as Berni expresses it,--

     Un che di stampar opere lavora,
     Dissi, Stampami questa alla malora!"

     Discovered one, a publisher by trade,
     'Print me this book, bad luck to it!' I said.)

I was in a still greater funk than on the two previous occasions. But I
had yet to experience the worst I ever felt in the whole course of my
life, and that was on the day of publication; when I went out in the
morning, and read my illustrious name placarded in large letters on the
street walls! I felt blinded by a thousand sparks. Now indeed _alea
jacta erat_, and my fleet was burnt to ashes.

This great fear of the public may, with good-will, be taken for modesty;
but I hold that at bottom it is downright vanity. Of course I am
speaking of people endowed with a sufficient dose of talent and
common-sense; with fools, on the contrary, vanity takes the shape of
impudent self-confidence. Hence all the daily published amount of
nonsense; which would convey a strange idea of us to Europe, if it were
not our good fortune that Italian is not much understood abroad. As
regards our internal affairs, the two excesses are almost equally
noxious. In Parliament, for instance, the first, those of the timidly
vain genus, might give their opinion a little oftener with general
advantage; while if the others, the impudently vain, were not always
brawling, discussions would be more brief and rational, and public
business better and more quickly dispatched. The same reflection applies
to other branches--to journalism, literature, society, etc.; for vanity
is the bad weed which chokes up our political field; and as it is a
plant of hardy growth, blooming among us all the year round, it is just
as well to be on our guard.

Timid vanity was terribly at work within me the day 'Fieramosca' was
published. For the first twenty-four hours it was impossible to learn
anything; for even the most zealous require at least a day to form some
idea of a book. Next morning, on first going out, I encountered a friend
of mine, a young fellow then and now a man of mature age, who has never
had a suspicion of the cruel blow he unconsciously dealt me. I met him
in Piazza San Fedele, where I lived; and after a few words, he said, "By
the by, I hear you have published a novel. Well done!" and then talked
away about something quite different with the utmost heedlessness. Not a
drop of blood was left in my veins, and I said to myself, "Mercy on me!
I am done for: not even a word is said about my poor 'Fieramosca!'" It
seemed incredible that he, who belonged to a very numerous family,
connected with the best society of the town, should have heard nothing,
if the slightest notice had been taken of it. As he was besides an
excellent fellow and a friend, it seemed equally incredible that if a
word had been said and heard, he should not have repeated it to me.
Therefore, it was a failure; the worst of failures, that of silence.
With a bitter feeling at heart, I hardly knew where I went; but this
feeling soon changed, and the bitterness was superseded by quite an
opposite sensation.

'Fieramosca' succeeded, and succeeded so well that I felt _abasourdi_,
as the French express it; indeed, I could say "Je n'aurais jamais cru
être si fort savant." My success went on in an increasing ratio: it
passed from the papers and from the masculine half to the feminine half
of society; it found its way to the studios and the stage. I became the
vade-mecum of every prima-donna and tenor, the hidden treat of
school-girls; I penetrated between the pillow and the mattress of
college, boys, of the military academy cadet; and my apotheosis reached
such a height that some newspapers asserted it to be Manzoni's work. It
is superfluous to add that only the ignorant could entertain such an
idea; those who were better informed would never have made such
a blunder.

My aim, as I said, was to take the initiative in the slow work of the
regeneration of national character. I had no wish but to awaken high and
noble sentiments in Italian hearts; and if all the literary men in the
world had assembled to condemn me in virtue of strict rules, I should
not have cared a jot, if, in defiance of all existing rules, I succeeded
in inflaming the heart of one single individual. And I will also add,
who can say that what causes durable emotion is unorthodox? It may be at
variance with some rules and in harmony with others; and those which
move hearts and captivate intellects do not appear to me to be
the worst.




The emperor Baber was sixth in descent from Tamerlane, who died in 1405.
Tamerlane's conquests were world-wide, but they never formed a
homogeneous empire. Even in his lifetime he parceled them out to sons
and grandsons. Half a century later Trans-oxiana was divided into many
independent kingdoms each governed by a descendant of the great

When Baber was born (1482), an uncle was King of Samarkand and Bokhara;
another uncle ruled Badakhshan; another was King of Kabul. A relative
was the powerful King of Khorasan. These princes were of the family of
Tamerlane, as was Baber's father,--Sultan Omer Sheikh Mirza, who was the
King of Ferghana. Two of Baber's maternal uncles, descendants of Chengiz
Khan, ruled the Moghul tribes to the west and north of Ferghana; and two
of their sisters had married the Kings of Samarkand and Badakhshan. The
third sister was Baber's mother, wife of the King of Ferghana.

The capitals of their countries were cities like Samarkand, Bokhara, and
Herat. Tamerlane's grandson--Ulugh Beg--built at Samarkand the chief
astronomical observatory of the world, a century and a half before Tycho
Brahe (1576) erected Uranibourg in Denmark. The town was filled with
noble buildings,--mosques, tombs, and colleges. Its walls were five
miles in circumference[2].

[Footnote 2: Paris was walled in 1358; so Froissart tells us.]

Its streets were paved (the streets of Paris were not paved till the
time of Henri IV.), and running water was distributed in pipes. Its
markets overflowed with fruits. Its cooks and bakers were noted for
their skill. Its colleges were full of learned men, poets[3], and
doctors of the law. The observatory counted more than a hundred
observers and calculators in its corps of astronomers. The products of
China, of India, and of Persia flowed to the bazaars.

[Footnote 3: "In Samarkand, the Odes of Baiesanghar Mirza are so
popular, that there is not a house in which a copy of them may not be
found."--Baber's. 'Memoirs.']

Bokhara has always been the home of learning. Herat was at that time the
most magnificent and refined city of the world[4]. The court was
splendid, polite, intelligent, and liberal. Poetry, history,
philosophy, science, and the arts of painting and music were cultivated
by noblemen and scholars alike. Baber himself was a poet of no mean
rank. The religion was that of Islam, and the sect the orthodox Sunni;
but the practice was less precise than in Arabia. Wine was drunk; poetry
was prized; artists were encouraged. The mother-language of Baber was
Turki (of which the Turkish of Constantinople is a dialect). Arabic was
the language of science and of theology. Persian was the accepted
literary language, though Baber's verses are in Turki as well.

[Footnote 4: Baber spent twenty days in visiting its various palaces,
towers, mosques, gardens, colleges--and gives a list of more than fifty
such sights.]

We possess Baber's 'Memoirs' in the original Turki and in Persian
translations also. In what follows, the extracts will be taken from
Erskine's translation[5], which preserves their direct and manly charm.

[Footnote 5: 'Memoirs of Baber, Emperor of Hindustan, written by
himself, and translated by Leyden and Erskine,' etc. London,
1826, quarto.]

To understand them, the foregoing slight introduction is necessary. A
connected sketch of Baber's life and a brief history of his conquests
can be found in 'The Mogul Emperors of Hindustan[6].' We are here more
especially concerned with his literary work. To comprehend it, something
of his history and surroundings must be known.

[Footnote 6: By Edward S. Holden, New York, 1895, 8vo, illustrated.]


In the month, of Ramzan, in the year 899 [A. D. 1494], and in the
twelfth year of my age, I became King of Ferghana.

The country of Ferghana is situated in the fifth climate, on the extreme
boundary of the habitable world. On the east it has Kashgar; on the
west, Samarkand; on the south, the hill country; on the north, in former
times there were cities, yet at the present time, in consequence of the
incursions of the Usbeks, no population remains. Ferghana is a country
of small extent, abounding in grain and fruits. The revenues may
suffice, without oppressing the country, to maintain three or four
thousand troops.

My father, Omer Sheikh Mirza, was of low stature, had a short, bushy
beard, brownish hair, and was very corpulent. As for his opinions and
habits, he was of the sect of Hanifah, and strict in his belief. He
never neglected the five regular and stated prayers. He read elegantly,
and he was particularly fond of reading the 'Shahnameh[7].' Though he
had a turn for poetry, he did not cultivate it. He was so strictly just,
that when the caravan from [China] had once reached the hill country to
the east of Ardejan, and the snow fell so deep as to bury it, so that
of the whole only two persons escaped; he no sooner received information
of the occurrence than he dispatched overseers to take charge of all the
property, and he placed it under guard and preserved it untouched, till
in the course of one or two years, the heirs coming from Khorasan, he
delivered back the goods safe into their hands. His generosity was
large, and so was his whole soul; he was of an excellent temper,
affable, eloquent, and sweet in his conversation, yet brave withal
and manly.

[Footnote 7: The 'Book of Kings,' by the Persian poet Firdausi.]

The early portion of Baber's 'Memoirs' is given to portraits of the
officers of his court and country. A few of these may be quoted.

Khosrou Shah, though a Turk, applied his attention to the mode of
raising his revenues, and he spent them liberally. At the death of
Sultan Mahmud Mirza, he reached the highest pitch of greatness, and his
retainers rose to the number of twenty thousand. Though he prayed
regularly and abstained from forbidden foods, yet he was black-hearted
and vicious, of mean understanding and slender talents, faithless and a
traitor. For the sake of the short and fleeting pomp of this vain world,
he put out the eyes of one and murdered another of the sons of the
benefactor in whose service he had been, and by whom he had been
protected; rendering himself accursed of God, abhorred of men, and
worthy of execration and shame till the day of final retribution. These
crimes he perpetrated merely to secure the enjoyment of some poor
worldly vanities; yet with all the power of his many and populous
territories, in spite of his magazines of warlike stores, he had not the
spirit to face a barnyard chicken. He will often be mentioned in
these memoirs.

Ali Shir Beg was celebrated for the elegance of his manners; and this
elegance and polish were ascribed to the conscious pride of high
fortune: but this was not the case; they were natural to him. Indeed,
Ali Shir Beg was an incomparable person. From the time that poetry was
first written in the Turki language, no man has written so much and so
well. He has also left excellent pieces of music; they are excellent
both as to the airs themselves and as to the preludes. There is not upon
record in history any man who was a greater patron and protector of men
of talent than he. He had no son nor daughter, nor wife nor family; he
passed through the world single and unincumbered.

Another poet was Sheikhem Beg. He composed a sort of verses, in which
both the words and the sense are terrifying and correspond with each
other. The following is one of his couplets:--

     _During my sorrows of the night, the whirlpool of my sighs bears
                  the firmament from its place;
     The dragons of the inundations of my tears bear down the four
                 quarters of the habitable world_!

It is well known that on one occasion, having repeated these verses to
Moulana Abdal Rahman Jami, the Mulla said, "Are you repeating poetry, or
are you terrifying folks?"

A good many men who wrote verses happened to be present. During the
party the following verse of Muhammed Salikh was repeated:--

     _What can one do to regulate his thoughts, with a mistress possessed
                    of every blandishment_?
     _Where you are, how is it possible for our thoughts to wander to

It was agreed that every one should make an extempore couplet to the
same rhyme and measure. Every one accordingly repeated his verse. As we
had been very merry, I repeated the following extempore
satirical verses:--

     _What can one do with a drunken sot like you?
     What can be done with one foolish as a she-ass?_

Before this, whatever had come into my head, good or bad, I had always
committed it to writing. On the present occasion, when I had composed
these lines, my mind led me to reflections, and my heart was struck with
regret that a tongue which could repeat the sublimest productions should
bestow any trouble on such unworthy verses; that it was melancholy that
a heart elevated to nobler conceptions should submit to occupy itself
with these meaner and despicable fancies. From that time forward I
religiously abstained from satirical poetry. I had not then formed my
resolution, nor considered how objectionable the practice was.


Having failed in repeated expeditions against Samarkand and Ardejan, I
once more returned to Khojend. Khojend is but a small place; and it is
difficult for one to support two hundred retainers in it. How then could
a [young] man, ambitious of empire, set himself down contentedly in so
insignificant a place? As soon as I received advice that the garrison of
Ardejan had declared for me, I made no delay. And thus, by the grace of
the Most High, I recovered my paternal kingdom, of which I had been
deprived nearly two years. An order was issued that such as had
accompanied me in my campaigns might resume possession of whatever part
of their property they recognized. Although the order seemed reasonable
and just in itself, yet it was issued with too much precipitation. It
was a senseless thing to exasperate so many men with arms in their
hands. In war and in affairs of state, though things may appear just and
reasonable at first sight, no matter ought to be finally decided without
being well weighed and considered in a hundred different lights. From my
issuing this single order without sufficient foresight, what commotions
and mutinies arose! This inconsiderate order of mine was in reality the
ultimate cause of my being a second time expelled from Ardejan.

       *       *       *       *       *

Baber's next campaign was most arduous, but in passing by a spring he
had the leisure to have these verses of Saadi inscribed on its brink:--

       _I have heard that the exalted Jemshid
       Inscribed on a stone beside a fountain:--
     "Many a man like us has rested by this fountain,
     And disappeared in the twinkling of an eye.
     Should we conquer the whole world by our manhood and strength,
     Yet could we not carry it with us to the grave."_

Of another fountain he says:--"I directed this fountain to be built
round with stone, and formed a cistern. At the time when the _Arghwan_
flowers begin to blow, I do not know that any place in the world is to
be compared to it." On its sides he engraved these verses:--

       _Sweet is the return of the new year;
         Sweet is the smiling spring;
       Sweet is the juice of the mellow grape;
         Sweeter far the voice of love.
     Strive, O Baber! to secure the joys of life,
     Which, alas! once departed, never more return._

From these flowers Baber and his army marched into the passes of the
high mountains.

His narrative goes on:--

It was at this time that I composed the following verses:--

     _There is no violence or injury of fortune that I have not
     This broken heart has endured them all. Alas! is there one left
                  that I have not encountered_?

For about a week we continued pressing down the snow without being able
to advance more than two or three miles. I myself assisted in trampling
down the snow. Every step we sank up to the middle or the breast, but we
still went on, trampling it down. As the strength of the person who went
first was generally exhausted after he had advanced a few paces, he
stood still, while another took his place. The ten, fifteen, or twenty
people who worked in trampling down the snow, next succeeded in dragging
on a horse without a rider. Drawing this horse aside, we brought on
another, and in this way ten, fifteen, or twenty of us contrived to
bring forward the horses of all our number. The rest of the troops, even
our best men, advanced along the road that had been beaten for them,
hanging their heads. This was no time for plaguing them or employing
authority. Every man who possesses spirit or emulation hastens to such
works of himself. Continuing to advance by a track which we beat in the
snow in this manner, we reached a cave at the foot of the Zirrin pass.
That day the storm of wind was dreadful. The snow fell in such
quantities that we all expected to meet death together. The cave seemed
to be small. I took a hoe and made for myself at the mouth of the cave a
resting-place about the size of a prayer-carpet. I dug down in the snow
as deep as my breast, and yet did not reach the ground. This hole
afforded me some shelter from the wind, and I sat down in it. Some
desired me to go into the cavern, but I would not go. I felt that for me
to be in a warm dwelling, while my men were in the, midst of snow and
drift,--for me to be within, enjoying sleep and ease, while my followers
were in trouble and distress,--would be inconsistent with what I owed
them, and a deviation from that society in suffering which was their
due. I continued, therefore, to sit in the drift.

     _Ambition admits not of inaction;
     The world is his who exerts himself;
     In wisdom's eye, every condition
     May find repose save royalty alone._

By leadership like this, the descendant of Tamerlane became the ruler of
Kabul. He celebrates its charms in verse:--

     _Its verdure and flowers render Kabul, in spring, a heaven._--

but this kingdom was too small for a man of Baber's stamp. He used it as
a stepping-stone to the conquest of India (1526).

     _Return a hundred thanks, O Baber! for the bounty of the merciful God
       Has given you Sind, Hind, and numerous kingdoms;
       If, unable to stand the heat, you long for cold,
       You have only to recollect the frost and cold of Ghazni._

In spite of these verses, Baber did not love India, and his monarchy was
an exile to him. Let the last extract from his memoirs be a part of a
letter written in 1529 to an old and trusted friend in Kabul. It is an
outpouring of the griefs of his inmost heart to his friend. He says:--

     My solicitude to visit my western dominions (Kabul) is
     boundless and great beyond expression. I trust in Almighty
     Allah that the time is near at hand when everything will be
     completely settled in this country. As soon as matters are
     brought to that state, I shall, with the permission of Allah,
     set out for your quarters without a moment's delay. How is it
     possible that the delights of those lands should ever be
     erased from the heart? How is it possible to forget the
     delicious melons and grapes of that pleasant region? They
     very recently brought me a single muskmelon from Kabul. While
     cutting it up, I felt myself affected with a strong feeling
     of loneliness and a sense of my exile from my native country,
     and I could not help shedding tears. [He gives long
     instructions on the military and political matters to be
     attended to, and continues without a break:--] At the
     southwest of Besteh I formed a plantation of trees; and as
     the prospect from it was very fine, I called it Nazergah [the
     view]. You must there plant some beautiful trees, and all
     around sow beautiful and sweet-smelling flowers and shrubs.
     [And he goes straight on:--] Syed Kasim will accompany the
     artillery. [After more details of the government he quotes
     fondly a little trivial incident of former days and friends,
     and says:--] Do not think amiss of me for deviating into

     The 'Memoirs' of Baber deserve a place beside the writings of
     the greatest of generals and conquerors. He is not unworthy
     to be classed with Caesar as a general and as a man of
     letters. His character was more human, more frank, more
     lovable, more ardent. His fellow in our western world is not
     Caesar, but Henri IV. of France and Navarre.

[Illustration: Signature: Edward S. Holden]


(First Century A.D.)

     Babrius, also referred to as Babrias and Gabrias, was the
     writer of that metrical version of the folk-fables, commonly
     referred to Aesop, which delights our childhood. Until the
     time of Richard Bentley he was commonly thought of merely as
     a fabulist whose remains had been preserved by a few
     grammarians. Bentley, in the first draft (1697) of the part
     of his famous 'Dissertation' treating of the fables of Aesop,
     speaks thus of Babrius, and goes not far out of his way to
     give a rap at Planudes, a late Greek, who turned works of
     Ovid, Cato, and Caesar into Greek:--

     "... came one Babrius, that gave a new turn of the fables
     into choliambics. Nobody that I know of mentions him but
     Suidas, Avienus, and Tzetzes. There's one Gabrias, indeed,
     yet extant, that has comprised each fable in four sorry
     iambics. But our Babrius is a writer of another size and
     quality; and were his book now extant, it might justly be
     opposed, if not preferred, to the Latin of Phaedrus. There's
     a whole fable of his yet preserved at the end of Gabrias, of
     'The Swallow and the Nightingale.' Suidas brings many
     citations out of him, all which show him an excellent
     poet.... There are two parcels of the present fables; the
     one, which are the more ancient, one hundred and thirty-six
     in number, were first published out of the Heidelberg Library
     by Neveletus, 1610. The editor himself well observed that
     they were falsely ascribed to Aesop, because they mention
     holy monks. To which I will add another remark,--that there
     is a sentence out of Job.... Thus I have proved one-half of
     the fables now extant that carry the name of Aesop to be
     above a thousand years more recent than he. And the other
     half, that were public before Neveletus, will be found yet
     more modern, and the latest of all.... This collection,
     therefore, is more recent than that other; and, coming first
     abroad with Aesop's 'Life,' written by Planudes, 'tis justly
     believed to be owing to the same writer. That idiot of a monk
     has given us a book which he calls 'The Life of Aesop,' that
     perhaps cannot be matched in any language for ignorance and
     nonsense. He had picked up two or three true stories,--that
     Aesop was a slave to a Xanthus, carried a burthen of bread,
     conversed with Croesus, and was put to death at Delphi; but
     the circumstances of these and all his other tales are pure
     invention.... But of all his injuries to Aesop, that which
     can least be forgiven him is the making such a monster of him
     for ugliness,--an abuse that has found credit so universally
     that all the modern painters since the time of Planudes have
     drawn him in the worst shapes and features that fancy could
     invent. 'Twas an old tradition among the Greeks that Aesop
     revived again and lived a second life. Should he revive once
     more and see the picture before the book that carries his
     name, could he think it drawn for himself?--or for the
     monkey, or some strange beast introduced in the 'Fables'? But
     what revelation had this monk about Aesop's deformity? For he
     must have it by dream or vision, and not by ordinary methods
     of knowledge. He lived about two thousand years after him,
     and in all that tract of time there's not a single author
     that has given the least hint that Aesop was ugly."

Thus Bentley; but to return to Babrius. Tyrwhitt, in 1776, followed this
calculation of Bentley by collecting the remains of Babrius. A
publication in 1809 of fables from a Florentine manuscript foreran the
collection (1832) of all the fables which could be entirely restored. In
1835 a German scholar, Knoch, published whatever had up to that time
been written on Babrius, or as far as then known by him. So much had
been accomplished by modern scholarship. The calculation was not unlike
the mathematical computation that a star should, from an apparent
disturbance, be in a certain quarter of the heavens at a certain time.
The manuscript of Babrius, it became clear, must have existed. In 1842
M. Mynas, a Greek, who had already discovered the 'Philosophoumena' of
Hippolytus, came upon the parchment in the convent of St. Lama on Mount
Athos. He was employed by the French government, and the duty of giving
the new ancient to the world fell to French scholars. The date of the
manuscript they referred to the tenth century. There were contained in
it one hundred and twenty-three of the supposed one hundred and sixty
fables, the arrangement being alphabetical and ending with the letter O.
Again, in 1857 M. Mynas announced another discovery. Ninety-four fables
and a prooemium were still in a convent at Mount Athos; but the monks,
who made difficulty about parting with the first parchment, refused to
let the second go abroad. M. Mynas forwarded a transcript which he sold
to the British Museum. It was after examination pronounced to be the
work of a forger, and not even what it purported to be--the tinkering of
a writer who had turned the original of Babrius into barbarous Greek
and halting metre. Suggestions were made that the forger was Mynas
himself. And there were scholars who accounted the manuscript
as genuine.

The discovery of the first part added substantially to the remains which
we have of the poetry of ancient Greece. The terseness, simplicity, and
humor of the poems belong to the popular classic all the world over, in
whatever tongue it appears; and the purity of the Greek shows that
Babrius lived at a time when the influence of the classical age was
still vital. He is placed at various times. Bergk fixes him so far back
as B.C. 250, while others place him at the same number of years in our
own era. Both French and German criticism has claimed that he was a
Roman. There is no trace of his fables earlier than the Emperor Julian,
and no metrical version of the Aesopean fables existed before the
writing of Babrius. Socrates tried his hand at a version or two. But
when such Greek writers as Xenophon and Aristotle refer to old
folk-tales and legends, it is always in their own words. His fables are
written in choliambic verse; that is, imperfect iambic which has a
spondee in the last foot and is fitted for the satire for which it was
originally used.

The fables of Babrius have been edited, with an interesting and valuable
introduction, by W.G. Rutherford (1883), and by F.G. Schneidewin (1880).
They have been turned into English metre by James Davies, M.A. (1860).
The reader is also referred to the article 'Aesop' in the present work.


     Betwixt the North wind and the Sun arose
     A contest, which would soonest of his clothes
     Strip a wayfaring clown, so runs the tale.
     First, Boreas blows an almost Thracian gale,
     Thinking, perforce, to steal the man's capote:
     He loosed it not; but as the cold wind smote
     More sharply, tighter round him drew the folds,
     And sheltered by a crag his station holds.
     But now the Sun at first peered gently forth,
     And thawed the chills of the uncanny North;
     Then in their turn his beams more amply plied,
     Till sudden heat the clown's endurance tried;
     Stripping himself, away his cloak he flung:
     The Sun from Boreas thus a triumph wrung.

     The fable means, "My son, at mildness aim:
     Persuasion more results than force may claim."


     A baby-show with prizes Jove decreed
     For all the beasts, and gave the choice due heed.
     A monkey-mother came among the rest;
     A naked, snub-nosed pug upon her breast
     She bore, in mother's fashion. At the sight
     Assembled gods were moved to laugh outright.
     Said she, "Jove knoweth where his prize will fall!
     I know my child's the beauty of them all."

     This fable will a general law attest,
     That each one deems that what's his own, is best.


     A mouse into a lidless broth-pot fell;
     Choked with the grease, and bidding life farewell,
     He said, "My fill of meat and drink have I
     And all good things: 'Tis time that I should die."

     Thou art that dainty mouse among mankind,
     If hurtful sweets are not by thee declined.


     There hung some bunches of the purple grape
     On a hillside. A cunning fox, agape
     For these full clusters, many times essayed
     To cull their dark bloom, many vain leaps made.
     They were quite ripe, and for the vintage fit;
     But when his leaps did not avail a whit,
     He journeyed on, and thus his grief composed:--
     "The bunch was sour, not ripe, as I supposed."


     A carter from the village drove his wain:
     And when it fell into a rugged lane,
     Inactive stood, nor lent a helping hand;
     But to that god, whom of the heavenly band
     He really honored most, Alcides, prayed:
     "Push at your wheels," the god appearing said,
     "And goad your team; but when you pray again,
     Help yourself likewise, or you'll pray in vain."


     Two Tanagraean cocks a fight began;
     Their spirit is, 'tis said, as that of man:
     Of these the beaten bird, a mass of blows,
     For shame into a corner creeping goes;
     The other to the housetop quickly flew,
     And there in triumph flapped his wings and crew.
     But him an eagle lifted from the roof,
     And bore away. His fellow gained a proof
     That oft the wages of defeat are best,--
     None else remained the hens to interest.

     WHEREFORE, O man, beware of boastfulness:
     Should fortune lift thee, others to depress,
     Many are saved by lack of her caress.


     An Arab, having heaped his camel's back,
     Asked if he chose to take the upward track
     Or downward; and the beast had sense to say
     "Am I cut off then from the level way?"


     Far from men's fields the swallow forth had flown,
     When she espied amid the woodlands lone
     The nightingale, sweet songstress. Her lament
     Was Itys to his doom untimely sent.
     Each knew the other through the mournful strain,
     Flew to embrace, and in sweet talk remain.
     Then said the swallow, "Dearest, liv'st thou still?
     Ne'er have I seen thee, since thy Thracian ill.
     Some cruel fate hath ever come between;
     Our virgin lives till now apart have been.
     Come to the fields; revisit homes of men;
     Come dwell with me, a comrade dear, again,
     Where thou shalt charm the swains, no savage brood:
     Dwell near men's haunts, and quit the open wood:
     One roof, one chamber, sure, can house the two,
     Or dost prefer the nightly frozen dew,
     And day-god's heat? a wild-wood life and drear?
     Come, clever songstress, to the light more near."
     To whom the sweet-voiced nightingale replied:--
     "Still on these lonesome ridges let me bide;
     Nor seek to part me from the mountain glen:--
     I shun, since Athens, man, and haunts of men;
     To mix with them, their dwelling-place to view,
     Stirs up old grief, and opens woes anew."

     Some consolation for an evil lot
     Lies in wise words, in song, in crowds forgot.
     But sore the pang, when, where you once were great,
     Again men see you, housed in mean estate.


     Thin nets a farmer o'er his furrows spread,
     And caught the cranes that on his tillage fed;
     And him a limping stork began to pray,
     Who fell with them into the farmer's way:--
     "I am no crane: I don't consume the grain:
     That I'm a stork is from my color plain;
     A stork, than which no better bird doth live;
     I to my father aid and succor give."
     The man replied:--"Good stork, I cannot tell
     Your way of life: but this I know full well,
     I caught you with the spoilers of my seed;
     With them, with whom I found you, you must bleed."

     Walk with the bad, and hate will be as strong
     'Gainst you as them, e'en though you no man wrong.


     Some woodmen, bent a forest pine to split,
     Into each fissure sundry wedges fit,
     To keep the void and render work more light.
     Out groaned the pine, "Why should I vent my spite
     Against the axe which never touched my root,
     So much as these cursed wedges, mine own fruit;
     Which rend me through, inserted here and there!"

     A fable this, intended to declare
     That not so dreadful is a stranger's blow
     As wrongs which men receive from those they know.


     A very careful dame, of busy way,
     Kept maids at home, and these, ere break of day,
     She used to raise as early as cock-crow.
     They thought 'twas hard to be awakened so,
     And o'er wool-spinning be at work so long;
     Hence grew within them all a purpose strong
     To kill the house-cock, whom they thought to blame
     For all their wrongs. But no advantage came;
     Worse treatment than the former them befell:
     For when the hour their mistress could not tell
     At which by night the cock was wont to crow,
     She roused them earlier, to their work to go.
     A harder lot the wretched maids endured.

     Bad judgment oft hath such results procured.


     A lamp that swam with oil, began to boast
     At eve, that it outshone the starry host,
     And gave more light to all. Her boast was heard:
     Soon the wind whistled; soon the breezes stirred,
     And quenched its light. A man rekindled it,
     And said, "Brief is the faint lamp's boasting fit,
     But the starlight ne'er needs to be re-lit."


     To the shy hare the tortoise smiling spoke,
     When he about her feet began to joke:
     "I'll pass thee by, though fleeter than the gale."
     "Pooh!" said the hare, "I don't believe thy tale.
     Try but one course, and thou my speed shalt know."
     "Who'll fix the prize, and whither we shall go?"
     Of the fleet-footed hare the tortoise asked.
     To whom he answered, "Reynard shall be tasked
     With this; that subtle fox, whom thou dost see."
     The tortoise then (no hesitater she!)
     Kept jogging on, but earliest reached the post;
     The hare, relying on his fleetness, lost
     Space, during sleep, he thought he could recover
     When he awoke. But then the race was over;
     The tortoise gained her aim, and slept _her_ sleep.

     From negligence doth care the vantage reap.




The startling contrasts of splendor and humiliation which marked the
life of Bacon, and the seemingly incredible inconsistencies which hasty
observers find in his character, have been the themes of much rhetorical
declamation, and even of serious and learned debate. From Ben Jonson in
his own day, to James Spedding the friend of Tennyson, he has not lacked
eminent eulogists, who look up to him as not only the greatest and
wisest, but as among the noblest and most worthy of mankind: while the
famous epigram of Pope, expanded by Macaulay into a stately and eloquent
essay, has impressed on the popular mind the lowest estimate of his
moral nature; and even such careful scholars as Charles de Rémusat and
Dean Church, who have devoted careful and instructive volumes to the
survey of Bacon's career and works, insist that with all his
intellectual supremacy, he was a servile courtier, a false friend, and a
corrupt judge. Yet there are few important names in human history of men
who have left us so complete materials for a just judgment of their
conduct; and it is only a lover of paradox who can read these and still
regard Bacon's character as an unsolved problem.

Mr. Spedding has given a long life of intelligent labor to the
collection of every fact and document throwing light upon the motives,
aims, and thoughts of the great "Chancellor of Nature," from the cradle
to the grave. The results are before us in the seven volumes of 'The
Letters and the Life of Francis Bacon,' which form perhaps the most
complete biography ever written. It is a book of absolute candor as well
as infinite research, giving with equal distinctness all the evidence
which makes for its hero's dishonor and that which tends to justify the
writer's reverence for him. Another work by Mr. Spedding, 'Evenings with
a Reviewer,' in two volumes, is an elaborate refutation, from the
original and authentic records, of the most damning charges brought by
Lord Macaulay against Bacon's good fame. It is a complete and
overwhelming exposure of false coloring, of rhetorical artifices, and of
the abuse of evidence, in the famous essay. As one of the most
entertaining and instructive pieces of controversy in our literature, it
deserves to be widely read. The unbiased reader cannot accept the
special pleading by which, in his comments, Spedding makes every failing
of Bacon "lean to virtue's side"; but will form upon the unquestioned
facts presented a clear conception of him, will come to know him as no
other man of an age so remote is known, and will find in his many-sided
and magnificent nature a full explanation of the impressions which
partial views of it have made upon his worshipers and his detractors.

It is only in his maturity, indeed, that we are privileged to enter into
his mind and read his heart. But enough is known of the formative period
of his life to show us the sources of his weaknesses and of his
strength. The child whom high authorities have regarded as endowed with
the mightiest intellect of the human race was born at York House, on the
Strand, in the third year of Elizabeth's reign, January 22d, 1561. He
was the son of the Queen's Lord Keeper of the Seals, Sir Nicholas Bacon,
and his second wife Anne, daughter of Sir Anthony Cook, formerly tutor
of King Edward VI. Mildred, an elder daughter of the same scholar, was
the wife of William Cecil, Lord Burghley, who for the first forty years
of her reign was Elizabeth's chief minister. As a child Bacon was a
favorite at court, and tradition represents him as something of a pet of
the Queen, who called him "my young Lord Keeper." His mother was among
the most learned women of an age when, among women of rank, great
learning was as common and as highly prized as great beauty; and her
influence was a potent intellectual stimulus to the boy, although he
revolted in early youth from the narrow creed which her fierce Puritan
zeal strove to impose on her household. Outside of the nursery, the
atmosphere of his world was that of craft, all directed to one end; for
the Queen was the source of honor, power, and wealth, and advancement in
life meant only a share in the grace distributed through her ministers
and favorites. Apart from the harsh and forbidding religious teachings
of his mother, young Francis had before him neither precept nor example
of an ambition more worthy than that of courting the smiles of power.

[Illustration: SIR FRANCIS BACON.]

At the age of twelve he entered Trinity College, Cambridge (April,
1573), and left it before he was fifteen (Christmas, 1575); the
institution meanwhile having been broken up for more than half a year
(August, 1574, to March, 1575) by the plague, so that his intermittent
university career summed up less than fourteen months. There is no
record of his studies, and the names of his teachers are unknown; for
though Bacon in later years called himself a pupil of Whitgift, and his
biographers assumed that the relation was direct and personal, yet that
great master of Trinity had certainly ended his teaching days before
Bacon went to Cambridge, and had entered as Dean of Lincoln on his
splendid ecclesiastical career. University life was very different from
that of our times. The statutes of Cambridge forbade a student, under
penalties, to use in conversation with another any language but
Latin, Greek, or Hebrew, unless in his private apartments and in hours
of leisure. It was a regular custom at Trinity to bring before the
assembled undergraduates every Thursday evening at seven o'clock such
junior students as had been detected in breaches of the rules during the
week, and to flog them. It would be interesting to know in what
languages young Bacon conversed, and what experiences of discipline
befell him; but his subsequent achievements at least suggest that
Cambridge in the sixteenth century may have afforded more efficient
educational influences than our knowledge of its resources and methods
can explain. For it is certain that, at an age when our most promising
youths are beginning serious study, Bacon's mind was already formed, his
habits and modes of research were fixed, the universe of knowledge was
an open field before him. Thenceforth he was no man's pupil, but in
intellectual independence and solitude he rapidly matured into the
supreme scholar of his age.

After registering as a student of law at Gray's Inn, apparently for the
purpose of a nominal connection with a profession which might aid his
patrons in promoting him at court, Bacon was sent in June, 1576, to
France in the train of the British Ambassador, Sir Amyas Paulet; and for
nearly three years followed the roving embassy around the great cities
of that kingdom. The massacre of St. Bartholomew had taken place four
years before, and the boy's recorded observations on the troubled
society of France and of Europe show remarkable insight into the
character of princes and the sources of political movements. Sir
Nicholas had hitherto directed his son's education and associations with
the purpose of making him an ornament of the court, and had set aside a
fund to provide Francis at the proper time with a handsome estate. But
he died suddenly, February 20th, 1579, without giving legal effect to
this provision, and the sum designed for the young student was divided
equally among the five children, while Francis was excluded from a share
in the rest of the family fortune; and was thus called home to England
to find himself a poor man.

He made himself a bachelor's home at Gray's Inn, and devoted his
energies to the law, with such success that he was soon recognized as
one of the most promising members of the profession. In 1584 he entered
Parliament for Melcombe Regis in Somersetshire, and two years later sat
for Liverpool. During these years the schism between his inner and his
outer life continued to widen. Drawing his first breath in the
atmosphere of the court, bred in the faith that honor and greatness come
from princes' favor, with a native taste for luxury and magnificence
which was fostered by delicate health, he steadily looked for
advancement through the influence of Burghley and the smiles of the
Queen. But Burghley had no sympathy with speculative thought, and
distrusted him for his confidences concerning his higher studies, while
he probably feared in Bacon a dangerous rival of his own son; so that
with expressions of kind interest, he refrained from giving his nephew
practical aid. Elizabeth, too, suspected that a young man who knew so
many things could not be trusted to know his own business well, and
preferred for important professional work others who were lawyers and
nothing besides. Thus Bacon appeared to the world as a disappointed and
uneasy courtier, struggling to keep up a certain splendor of appearance
and associations under a growing load of debt, and servile to a Queen on
whose caprice his prospects of a career must depend. His unquestioned
power at the bar was exercised only in minor causes; his eloquence and
political dexterity found slow recognition in Parliament, where they
represented only themselves; and the question whether he would ever be a
man of note in the kingdom seemed for twenty-five years to turn upon
what the Crown might do for its humble suitor.

Meanwhile this laborious advocate and indefatigable courtier, whose
labors at the bar and in attendance upon his great friends were enough
to fill the days of two ordinary men, led his real life in secret,
unknown to the world, and uncomprehended even by the few in whom he had
divined a capacity for great thought, and whom he had selected for his
confidants. From his childhood at the university, where he felt the
emptiness of the Aristotelian logic, the instrument for attaining truth
which traditional learning had consecrated, he had gradually formed the
conception of a more fruitful process. He had become convinced that the
learning of all past ages was but a poor result of the intellectual
capacities and labors which had been employed upon it; that the human
mind had never yet been properly used; that the methods hitherto adopted
in research were but treadmill work, returning upon itself, or at best
could produce but fragmentary and accidental additions to the sum of
knowledge. All nature is crammed with truth, he believed, which it
concerns man to discover; the intellect of man is constructed for its
discovery, and needs but to be purged of errors of every kind, and
directed in the most efficient employment of its faculties, to make sure
that all the secrets of nature will be revealed, and its powers made
tributary to the health, comfort, enjoyment, and progressive improvement
of mankind.

This stupendous conception, of a revolution which should transform the
world, seems to have taken definite form in Bacon's mind as early as his
twenty-fifth year, when he embodied the outline of it in a Latin
treatise; which he destroyed in later life, unpublished, as immature,
and partly no doubt because he came to recognize in it an unbecoming
arrogance of tone, for its title was 'Temporis Partus Maximus' (The
Greatest Birth of Time.) But six years later he defines these "vast
contemplative ends" in his famous letter to Burghley, asking for
preferment which will enable him to prosecute his grand scheme and to
employ other minds in aid of it. "For I have taken all knowledge to be
my province," he says, "and if I could purge it of two sorts of rovers,
whereof the one with frivolous disputations, confutations, and
verbosities, the other with blind experiments and auricular traditions
and impostures, hath committed so many spoils, I hope I should bring in
industrious observations, grounded conclusions, and profitable
inventions and discoveries: the best state of that province. This,
whether it be curiosity or vain glory, or nature, or (if one take it
favorably) _philanthropia_ is so fixed in my mind as it cannot
be removed."

This letter reveals the secret of Bacon's life, and all that we know of
him, read in the light of it, forms a consistent and harmonious whole.
He was possessed by his vast scheme, for a reformation of the
intellectual world, and through it, of the world of human experience, as
fully as was ever apostle by his faith. Implicitly believing in his own
ability to accomplish it, at least in its grand outlines, and to leave
at his death the community of mind at work, by the method and for the
purposes which he had defined, with the perfection of all science in
full view, he subordinated every other ambition to this; and in seeking
and enjoying place, power, and wealth, still regarded them mainly as
aids in prosecuting his master purpose, and in introducing it to the
world. With this clearly in mind, it is easy to understand his
subsequent career. Its external details may be read in any of the score
of biographies which writers of all grades of merit and demerit have
devoted to him, and there is no space for them here. For our purpose it
is necessary to refer only to the principal crises in his public life.

Until the death of Elizabeth, Bacon had no place in the royal service
worthy of his abilities as a lawyer. Many who, even in the narrowest
professional sense, were far inferior to him, were preferred before him.
Yet he obtained a position recognized by all, and second only in legal
learning to his lifelong rival and constant adversary, Sir Edward Coke.
To-day, it is probable that if the two greatest names in the history of
the common law were to be selected by the suffrages of the profession,
the great majority would be cast for Coke and Bacon. As a master of the
intricacies of precedent and an authority upon the detailed formulas of
"the perfection of reason," the former is unrivaled still; but in the
comprehensive grasp of the law as a system for the maintenance of social
order and the protection of individual rights, Bacon rose far above him.
The cherished aim of his professional career was to survey the whole
body of the laws of England, to produce a digest of them which should
result in a harmonious code, to do away with all that was found obsolete
or inconsistent with the principles of the system, and thus to adapt the
living, progressive body of the law to the wants of the growing nation.
This magnificent plan was beyond the power of any one man, had his life
no other task, but he suggested the method and the aim; and while for
six generations after these legal giants passed away, the minute,
accurate, and profound learning of Coke remained the acknowledged chief
storehouse of British traditional jurisprudence, the seventh generation
took up the work of revision and reform, and from the time of Bentham
and Austin the progress of legal science has been toward codification.
The contest between the aggregation of empirical rules and formulated
customs which Coke taught as the common law, and the broad, harmonious
application of scientific reason to the definition and enforcement of
rights, still goes on; but with constant gains on the side of the
reformers, all of whom with one consent confess that no general and
complete reconstruction of legal doctrine as a science is possible,
except upon the lines laid down by Bacon.

The most memorable case in which Bacon was employed to represent the
Crown during Elizabeth's life was the prosecution of the Earl of Essex
for treason. Essex had been Bacon's friend, patron, and benefactor; and
as long as the earl remained faithful to the Queen and retained her
favor, Bacon served him with ready zeal and splendid efficiency, and
showed himself the wisest and most sincere of counselors. When Essex
rejected his advice, forfeited the Queen's confidence by the follies
from which Bacon had earnestly striven to deter him, and finally plunged
into wanton and reckless rebellion, Bacon, with whom loyalty to his
sovereign had always been the supreme duty, accepted a retainer from the
Crown, and assisted Coke in the prosecution. The crime of Essex was the
greatest of which a subject was capable; it lacked no circumstance of
aggravation; if the most astounding instance of ingratitude and
disloyalty to friendship ever known is to be sought in that age, it will
be found in the conduct of Essex to Bacon's royal mistress. Yet writers
of eloquence have exhausted their rhetorical powers in denouncing
Bacon's faithlessness to his friend. But no impartial reader of the full
story in the documents of the time can doubt that throughout these
events Bacon did his duty and no more, and that in doing it he not
merely made a voluntary sacrifice of his popularity, but a far more
painful sacrifice of his personal feelings.

In 1603 James I. came to the throne, and in spite of the efforts of his
most trusted ministers to keep Bacon in obscurity, soon discovered in
him a man whom he needed. In 1607 he was made Solicitor-General; in
1613 Attorney-General; in March 1617, on the death of Lord Ellesmere, he
received the seals as Lord Keeper; and in January following was made
Lord Chancellor of England. In July 1618 he was raised to the permanent
peerage as Baron Verulam, and in January 1621 received the title of
Viscount St. Albans. During these three years he was the first subject
in the kingdom in dignity, and ought to have been the first in
influence. His advice to the King, and to the Duke of Buckingham who was
the King's king, was always judicious. In certain cardinal points of
policy, it was of the highest statesmanship; and had it been followed,
the history of the Stuart dynasty would have been different, and the
Crown and the Parliament would have wrought together for the good and
the honor of the nation, at least through a generation to come. But the
upstart Buckingham was supreme. He had studied Bacon's strength and
weakness, had laid him under great obligations, had at the same time
attached him by the strongest tie of friendship to his person, and
impressed upon his consciousness the fact that the fate of Bacon was at
all times in his hands. The new Chancellor had entered on his great
office with a fixed purpose to reform its abuses, to speed and cheapen
justice, to free its administration from every influence of wealth and
power. In the first three months of service he brought up the large
arrears of business, tried every cause, heard every petition, and
acquired a splendid reputation as an upright and diligent judge. But
Buckingham was his evil angel. He was without sense of the sanctity of
the judicial character; and regarded the bench, like every other public
office, as an instrument of his own interests and will. On the other
hand, to Bacon the voice of Buckingham was the voice of the King, and he
had been taught from infancy as the beginning of his political creed
that the king can do no wrong. Buckingham began at once to solicit from
Bacon favors for his friends and dependants, and the Chancellor was weak
enough to listen and to answer him. There is no evidence that in any one
instance the favorite asked for the violation of law or the perversion
of justice; much less that Bacon would or did accede to such a request.
But the Duke demanded for one suitor a speedy hearing, for another a
consideration of facts which might not be in evidence, for a third all
the favor consistent with law; and Bacon reported to him the result, and
how far he had been able to oblige him. This persistent tampering with
the source of justice was a disturbing influence in the Chancellor's
court, and unquestionably lowered the dignity of his attitude and
weakened his judicial conscience.

Notwithstanding this, when the Lord Chancellor opened the Parliament in
January, 1621, with a speech in praise of his King and in honor of the
nation, he seemed to be at the summit of earthly prosperity. No voice
had been lifted to question his purity and worth. He was the friend of
the King, one of the chief supports of the throne, a champion indeed of
high prerogative, but an orator of power, a writer of fame, whose
advancement to the highest dignities had been welcomed by public
opinion. Four months later he was a convicted criminal, sentenced for
judicial corruption to imprisonment at the King's pleasure, to a fine of
£40,000, and to perpetual incapacity for any public employment.
Vicissitudes of fortune are commonplaces of history. Many a man once
seemingly pinnacled on the top of greatness has "shot from the zenith
like a falling star," and become a proverb of the fickleness of fate.
Some are torn down by the very traits of mind, passion, or temper, which
have raised them: ambition which overleaps itself, rashness which
hazards all on chances it cannot control, vast abilities not great
enough to achieve the impossible. The plunge of Icarus into the sea, the
murder of Caesar, the imprisonment of Coeur de Lion, the abdication of
Napoleon, the apprehension as a criminal of Jefferson Davis, each was a
startling and impressive contrast to the glory which it followed, yet
each was the natural result of causes which lay in the character and
life of the sufferer, and made his story a consistent whole. But the
pathos of Bacon's fall is the sudden moral ruin of a life which had been
built up in honor for sixty years. An intellect of the first rank, which
from boyhood to old age had been steadfast in the pursuit of truth and
in the noblest services to mankind, which in a feeble body had been
sustained in vigor by all the virtues of prudence and self-reverence; a
genial nature, winning the affection and admiration of associates,
hardly paralleled in the industry with which its energies were devoted
to useful work, a soul exceptional among its contemporaries for piety
and philanthropy--this man is represented to us by popular writers as
having habitually sold justice for money, and as having become in office
"the meanest of mankind."

But this picture, as so often drawn, and as seemingly fixed in the
popular mind, is not only impossible, but is demonstrably false. To
review all the facts which correct it in detail would lead us far beyond
our limits. It must suffice to refer to the great work of Spedding, in
which the entire records of the case are found, and which would long ago
have made the world just to Bacon's fame, but that the author's comment
on his own complete and fair record is itself partial and extravagant.
But the materials for a final judgment are accessible to all in
Spedding's volumes, and a candid reading of them solves the enigma.
Bacon was condemned without a trial, on his own confession, and this
confession was consistent with the tenor of his life. Its substance was
that he had failed to put a stop effectually to the immemorial custom
in his court of receiving presents from suitors, but that he had never
deviated from justice in his decrees. There was no instance in which he
was accused of yielding to the influence of gifts, or passing judgment
for a bribe. No act of his as Chancellor was impeached as illegal, or
reversed as corrupt. Suitors complained that they had sent sums of money
or valuable presents to his court, and had been disappointed in the
result; but no one complained of injustice in a decision. Bacon was a
conspicuous member of the royal party; and when the storm of popular
fury broke in Parliament upon the court, the King and the ministry
abandoned him. He had stood all his life upon the royal favor as the
basis of his strength and hope; and when it was gone from under him, he
sank helplessly, and refused to attempt a defense. But he still in his
humiliation found comfort in the reflection that his ruin would put an
end to "anything that is in the likeness of corruption" among the
judges. And he wrote, in the hour of his deepest distress, that he had
been "the justest Chancellor that hath been in the five changes that
have been since Sir Nicholas Bacon's time." Nor did any man of his time
venture to contradict him, when in later years he summed up his case in
the words, "I was the justest judge that was in England these fifty
years. But it was the justest censure in Parliament that was these two
hundred years."

No revolution of modern times has been more complete than that which the
last two centuries have silently wrought in the customary morality of
British public life, and in the standards by which it is judged. Under
James I. every office of state was held as the private property of its
occupant. The highest places in the government were conferred only on
condition of large payments to the King. He openly sold the honors and
dignities of which he was the source. "The making of a baron," that is,
the right to sell to some rich plebeian a patent of nobility, was a
common grant to favorites, and was actually bestowed on Bacon, to aid
him in maintaining the state of his office. We have the testimony of
James himself that all the lawyers, of whom the judges of the realm were
made, were "so bred and nursed in corruption that they cannot leave it."
But the line between what the King called corruption and that which he
and all his ministers practiced openly and habitually, as part of the
regular work of government, is dim and hard to define. The mind of the
community had not yet firmly grasped the conception of public office as
a trust for the public good, and the general opinion which stimulates
and sustains the official conscience in holding this trust sacred was
still unformed. The courts of justice were the first branch of the
government to feel the pressure of public opinion, and to respond to
the demand for impersonal and impartial right. But this process had only
begun when Bacon, who had never before served as judge, was called to
preside in Chancery. The Chancellor's office was a gradual development:
originally political and administrative rather than judicial, and with
no salary or reward for hearing causes, save the voluntary presents of
suitors who asked its interference with the ordinary courts, it step by
step became the highest tribunal of the equity which limits and corrects
the routine of law, and still the custom of gifts was unchecked. A
careful study of Bacon's career shows that in this, as every other
branch of thought, his theoretic convictions were in advance of his age;
and in his advice to the King and in his inaugural promises as
Chancellor, he foreshadows all the principles on which the wisest
reformers of the public service now insist. But he failed to apply them
with that heroic self-sacrifice which alone would have availed him, and
the forces of custom and example continually encroached upon his views
of duty. Having through a long life sought advancement and wealth for
the purpose of using leisure and independence to carry out his
beneficent plans on the largest scale, he eagerly accepted the
traditional emoluments of his new position, in the conviction that they
would become in his hands the means of vast good to mankind. It was only
the public exposure which fully awakened him to a sense of the
inconsistency and wrong of his conduct; and then he was himself his
severest judge, and made every reparation in his power, by the most
unreserved confession, by pointing out the danger to society of such
weakness as his own in language to whose effectiveness nothing could be
added, and by devoting the remainder of his life to the noblest work
for humanity.

During the years of Bacon's splendor as a member of the government and
as spokesman for the throne, his real life as a thinker, inspired by the
loftiest ambition which ever entered the mind of man, that of creating a
new and better civilization, was not interrupted. It was probably in
1603 that he wrote his fragmentary 'Prooemium de Interpretatione
Naturae,' or 'Preface to a Treatise on Interpreting Nature,' which is
the only piece of autobiography he has left us. It was found among his
papers after his death; and its candor, dignity, and enthusiasm of tone
are in harmony with the imaginative grasp and magnificent suggestiveness
of its thought. Commending the original Latin to all who can appreciate
its eloquence, we cite the first sentences of it in English:--

     "Believing that I was born for the service of mankind, and
     regarding the care of the Commonwealth as a kind of common
     property which, like the air and water, belongs to everybody,
     I set myself to consider in what way mankind might be best
     served, and what service I was myself best fitted by nature
     to perform.

     "Now, among all the benefits that could be conferred upon
     mankind, I found none so great as the discovery of new arts
     for the bettering of human life. For I saw that among the
     rude people of early times, inventors and discoverers were
     reckoned as gods. It was seen that the works of founders of
     States, law-givers, tyrant-destroyers, and heroes cover but
     narrow spaces and endure but for a time; while the work of
     the inventor, though of less pomp, is felt everywhere and
     lasts forever. But above all, if a man could, I do not say
     devise some invention, however useful, but kindle a light in
     nature--a light which, even in rising, should touch and
     illuminate the borders of existing knowledge, and spreading
     further on should bring to light all that is most
     secret--that man, in my view, would be indeed the benefactor
     of mankind, the extender of man's empire over nature, the
     champion of freedom, the conqueror of fate.

     "For myself, I found that I was fitted for nothing so well as
     for the study of Truth: as having a mind nimble and versatile
     enough to discern resemblances in things (the main point),
     and yet steady enough to distinguish the subtle differences
     in them; as being endowed with zeal to seek, patience to
     doubt, love of meditation, slowness of assertion, readiness
     to reconsider, carefulness to arrange and set in order; and
     as being a man that affects not the new nor admires the old,
     but hates all imposture. So I thought my nature had a certain
     familiarity and kindred with Truth."

During the next two years he applied himself to the composition of the
treatise on the 'Advancement of Learning,' the greatest of his English
writings, and one which contains the seed-thoughts and outline
principles of all his philosophy. From the time of its publication in
1605 to his fall in 1621, he continued to frame the plan of his 'Great
Instauration' of human knowledge, and to write out chapters, books,
passages, sketches, designed to take their places in it as essential
parts. It was to include six great divisions: first, a general survey of
existing knowledge; second, a guide to the use of the intellect in
research, purging it of sources of error, and furnishing it with the new
instrument of inductive logic by which all the laws of nature might be
ascertained; third, a structure of the phenomena of nature, included in
one hundred and thirty particular branches of natural history, as the
materials for the new logic; fourth, a series of types and models of the
entire mental process of discovering truth, "selecting various and
remarkable instances"; fifth, specimens of the new philosophy, or
anticipations of its results, in fragmentary contributions to the sixth
and crowning division, which was to set forth the new philosophy in its
completeness, comprehending the truths to be discovered by a perfected
instrument of reasoning, in interpreting all the phenomena of the world.
Well aware that the scheme, especially in its concluding part, was far
beyond the power and time of any one man, he yet hoped to be the
architect of the final edifice of science, by drawing its plans and
making them intelligible, leaving their perfect execution to an
intellectual world which could not fail to be moved to its supreme
effort by a comprehension of the work before it. The 'Novum Organum,'
itself but a fragment of the second division of the 'Instauration,' the
key to the use of the intellect in the discovery of truth, was published
in Latin at the height of his splendor as Lord Chancellor, in 1620, and
is his most memorable achievement in philosophy. It contains a multitude
of suggestive thoughts on the whole field of science, but is mainly the
exposition of the fallacies by which the intellect is deceived and
misled, and from which it must be purged in order to attain final truth,
and of the new doctrine of "prerogative instances," or crucial
observations and experiments in the work of discovery.

In short, Bacon's entire achievement in science is a plan for an
impossible universe of knowledge. As far as he attempted to advance
particular sciences by applying his method to their detailed phenomena,
he wrought with imperfect knowledge of what had been done, and with
cumbrous and usually misdirected efforts to fill the gaps he recognized.
In a few instances, by what seems an almost superhuman instinct for
truth, rather than the laborious process of investigation which he
taught, he anticipated brilliant discoveries of later centuries. For
example, he clearly pointed out the necessity of regarding heat as a
form of motion in the molecules of matter, and thus foreshadowed,
without any conception of the means of proving it, that which, for
investigators of the nineteenth century, has proved the most direct way
to the secrets of nature. But the testimony of the great teachers of
science is unanimous, that Bacon was not a skilled observer of
phenomena, nor a discoverer of scientific inductions; that he
contributed no important new truth, in the sense of an established law,
to any department of knowledge; and that his method of research and
reasoning is not, in its essential features, that which is fruitfully
pursued by them in extending the boundaries of science, nor was his mind
wholly purged of those "idols of the cave," or forms of personal bias,
whose varying forms as hindrances to the "dry light" of sound reason he
was the first to expose. He never appreciated the mathematics as the
basis of physics, but valued their elements mainly as a mental
discipline. Astronomy meant little to him, since he failed to connect it
directly with human well-being and improvement; to the system of
Copernicus, the beginning of our insight into the heavens, he was
hostile, or at least indifferent; and the splendid discoveries
successively made by Tycho Brahe, Galileo, and Kepler, and brought to
his ears while the 'Great Instauration' filled his mind and heart, met
with but a feeble welcome with him, or none. Why is it, then, that
Bacon's is the foremost name in the history of English, and perhaps, as
many insist, of all modern thought? Why is it that "the Baconian
philosophy" is another phrase, in all the languages of Europe, for that
splendid development of the study and knowledge of the visible universe
which since his time has changed the life of mankind?

A candid answer to these questions will expose an error as wide in the
popular estimate of Bacon's intellectual greatness as that which has
prevailed so generally regarding his character. He is called the
inventor of inductive reasoning, the reformer of logic, the lawgiver of
the world of thought; but he was no one of these. His grasp of the
inductive method was defective; his logic was clumsy and impractical;
his plan for registering all phenomena and selecting and generalizing
from them, making the discovery of truth almost a mechanical process,
was worthless. In short, it is not as a philosopher nor as a man of
science that Bacon has carved his name in the high places of enduring
fame, but rather as a man of letters; as on the whole the greatest
writer of the modern world, outside of the province of imaginative art;
as the Shakespeare of English prose. Does this seem a paradox to the
reader who remembers that Bacon distrusted all modern languages, and
thought to make his 'Advancement of Learning' "live, and be a citizen of
the world," by giving it a Latin form? That his lifelong ambition was to
reconstruct methods of thought, and guide intellect in the way of work
serviceable to comfort and happiness? That the books in which his
English style appears in its perfection, the 'History of Henry VII.,'
the 'Essays,' and the papers on public affairs, were but incidents and
avocations of a life absorbed by a master purpose?

But what is literature? It is creative mind, addressing itself in worthy
expression to the common receptive mind of mankind. Its note is
universality, as distinguished from all that is technical, limited, and
narrow. Thought whose interest is as broad as humanity, suitably clothed
in the language of real life, and thus fitted for access to the general
intelligence, constitutes true literature, to the exclusion of that
which, by its nature or by its expression, appeals only to a special
class or school. The 'Opus Anglicanum' of Duns Scotus, Newton's
'Principia,' Lavoisier's treatise 'Sur la Combustion,' Kant's 'Kritik
der Reinen Vernunft' (Critique of Pure Reason), each made an epoch in
some vast domain of knowledge or belief; but none of them is literature.
Yet the thoughts they, through a limited and specially trained class of
students, introduced to the world, were gradually taken up into the
common stock of mankind, and found their broad, effective, complete
expression in the literature of after generations. If we apply this
test to Bacon's life work, we shall find sufficient justification for
honoring him above all special workers in narrower fields, as next to
Shakespeare the greatest name in the greatest period of English

It was not as an experimenter, investigator, or technical teacher, but
as a thinker and a writer, that he rendered his great service to the
world. This consisted essentially in the contribution of two magnificent
ideas to the common stock of thought: the idea of the utility of
science, as able to subjugate the forces of nature to the use of man;
and the idea of continued and boundless progress in the comfort and
happiness of the individual life, and in the order and dignity of human
society. It has been shown how, from early manhood, he was inspired by
the conception of infinite resources in the material world, for the
discovery and employment of which the human mind is adapted. He never
wearied of pointing out the imperfection and fruitlessness of the
methods of inquiry and of invention hitherto in use, and the splendid
results which could be rapidly attained if a combined and systematic
effort were made to enlarge the boundaries of knowledge. This led him
directly to the conception of an improved and advancing civilization; to
the utterance, in a thousand varied, impressive, and fascinating forms,
of that idea of human progress which is the inspiration, the
characteristic, and the hope of the modern world. Bacon was the first of
men to grasp these ideas in all their comprehensiveness as feasible
purposes, as practical aims; to teach the development of them as the
supreme duty and ambition of his contemporaries, and to look forward
instead of behind him for the Golden Age. Enforcing and applying these
thoughts with a wealth of learning, a keenness of wit, a soundness of
judgment, and a suggestiveness of illustration unequaled by any writer
before him, he became the greatest literary power of modern times to
stimulate minds in every department of life to their noblest efforts and
their worthiest achievements.

Literature has a twofold aspect: its ideal is pure truth, which is the
noblest thought embodied in perfect beauty of form. It is the union of
science and art, the final wedding in which are merged the knowledge
worthy to be known and the highest imagination presenting it. There is a
school calling itself that of pure art, to which substance is nothing
and form is everything. Its measure of merit is applied to the manner
only; and the meanest of subjects, the most trivial and even the most
degraded of ideas or facts, is welcomed to its high places if clothed in
a satisfying garb. But this school, though arrogant in the other arts of
expression, has not yet been welcomed to the judgment-seat in
literature, where indeed it is passing even now to contempt and
oblivion. Bacon's instinct was for substance. His strongest passion was
for utility. The artistic side of his nature was receptive rather than
creative. Splendid passages in the 'Advancement' and 'De Augmentis' show
his profound appreciation of all the arts of expression, but show
likewise his inability to glorify them above that which they express. In
his mind, language is subordinate to thought, and the painting to the
picture, just as the frame is to the painting or the binding to the
book. He writes always in the grand style. He reminds us of "the large
utterance of the early gods." His sentences are weighted with thought,
as suggestive as Plato, as condensed as Thucydides. Full of wit, keen in
discerning analogies, rich in intellectual ornament, he is yet too
concentrated in his attention to the idea to care for the melody of
language. He decorates with fruits, not with flowers. For metrical
movement, for rhythmic harmony, he has no ear nor sense. Inconceivable
as it is that Shakespeare could have written one aphorism of the 'Novum
Organum,' it would be far more absurd to imagine Bacon writing a line of
the Sonnets. With the loftiest imagination, the liveliest fancy, the
keenest sense of precision and appropriateness in words, he lacks the
special gift of poetic form, the faculty divine which finds new
inspiration in the very limitations of measured language, and whose
natural expression is music alike to the ear and to the mind. His powers
were cramped by the fetters of metre, and his attempts to versify even
rich thought and deep feeling were puerile. But his prose is by far the
weightiest, the most lucid, effective, and pleasing of his day. The poet
Sprat justly says:--

     "He was a man of strong, clear, and powerful imaginations;
     his genius was searching and inimitable; and of this I need
     give no other proof than his style itself, which as for the
     most part it describes men's minds as well as pictures do
     their bodies, so it did his above all men living."

And Ben Jonson, who knew him well, describes his eloquence in terms
which are confirmed by all we know of his Parliamentary career:--

     "One, though he be excellent and the chief, is not to be
     imitated alone; for no imitator ever grew up to his author:
     likeness is always on this side truth. Yet there happened in
     my time one noble speaker, who was full of gravity in his
     speaking. His language (when he could spare or pass by a
     jest) was nobly censorious. No man ever spake more neatly,
     more rightly, more weightily, or suffered less emptiness,
     less idleness in what he uttered. No member of his speech but
     consisted of his own graces. His hearers could not cough or
     look aside from him without loss. He commanded when he spoke,
     and had his judges angry and pleased at his devotion. No man
     had their affections more in his power. The fear of every man
     that heard him was lest he should make an end."

The speeches of Bacon are almost wholly lost, his philosophy is an
undeciphered heap of fragments, the ambitions of his life lay in ruins
about his dishonored old age; yet his intellect is one of the great
moving and still vital forces of the modern world, and he remains, for
all ages to come, in the literature which is the final storehouse of the
chief treasures of mankind, one of

     "The dead yet sceptered sovereigns who still rule
     Our spirits from their urns."


From the 'Essays'

What is Truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer.
Certainly there be that delight in giddiness; and count it a bondage to
fix a belief; affecting free-will in thinking, as well as in acting. And
though the sects of philosophers of that kind be gone, yet there remain
certain discoursing wits, which are of the same veins, though there be
not so much blood in them as was in those of the ancients. But it is not
only the difficulty and labor which men take in finding out of truth,
nor again, that when it is found it imposeth upon men's thoughts, that
doth bring lies in favor: but a natural though corrupt love of the lie
itself. One of the later school of the Grecians examineth the matter,
and is at a stand to think what should be in it, that men should love
lies, where neither they make for pleasure as with poets, nor for
advantage as with the merchant; but for the lie's sake. But I cannot
tell: this same truth is a naked and open daylight, that doth not show
the masks and mummeries and triumphs of the world half so stately and
daintily as candle-lights. Truth may perhaps come to the price of a
pearl, that showeth best by day; but it will not rise to the price of a
diamond or carbuncle, that showeth best in varied lights. A mixture of a
lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any man doubt, that if there were taken
out of men's minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations,
imaginations as one would, and the like, but it would leave the minds
of a number of men poor shrunken things, full of melancholy and
indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves? One of the fathers, in
great severity, called poesy _vinum doemonum,_ because it filleth the
imagination, and yet it is but with the shadow of a lie. But it is not
the lie that passeth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in and
settleth in it, that doth the hurt; such as we spake of before. But
howsoever these things are thus in men's depraved judgments and
affections, yet truth, which only doth judge itself, teacheth that the
inquiry of truth, which is the love-making or wooing of it, the
knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of
truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human
nature. The first creature of God, in the works of the days, was the
light of the sense; the last was the light of reason; and his Sabbath
work ever since is the illumination of his Spirit.... The poet that
beautified the sect that was otherwise inferior to the rest, saith yet
excellently well:--"It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see
ships tossed upon the sea; a pleasure to stand in the window of a
castle, and to see a battle and the adventures thereof below; but no
pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of Truth"
(a hill not to be commanded, and where the air is always clear and
serene). "and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and
tempests, in the vale below:" so always that this prospect be with pity,
and not with swelling or pride. Certainly, it is heaven upon earth, to
have a man's mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the
poles of truth.

To pass from theological and philosophical truth to the truth of civil
business: it will be acknowledged even by those that practice it not,
that clear and round dealing is the honor of man's nature, and that
mixture of falsehood is like alloy in coin of gold and silver, which may
make the metal work the better, but it embaseth it. For these winding
and crooked courses are the goings of the serpent; which goeth basely
upon the belly, and not upon the feet. There is no vice that doth so
cover a man with shame as to be found false and perfidious; and
therefore Montaigne saith prettily, when he inquired the reason why the
word of the lie should be such a disgrace and such an odious charge.
Saith he, "If it be well weighed, to say that a man lieth, is as much as
to say that he is brave toward God and a coward toward men." For a lie
faces God, and shrinks from man. Surely the wickedness of falsehood and
breach of faith cannot possibly be so highly expressed, as in that it
shall be the last peal to call the judgments of God upon the generations
of men; it being foretold, that when Christ cometh, "he shall not find
faith upon the earth."


From the 'Essays'

Revenge is a kind of wild justice; which the more man's nature runs to,
the more ought law to weed it out. For as for the first wrong, it doth
but offend the law; but the revenge of that wrong putteth the law out of
office. Certainly, in taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy;
but in passing it over, he is superior: for it is a prince's part to
pardon, and Solomon, I am sure, saith, "It is the glory of a man to pass
by an offense." That which is past is gone and irrevocable, and wise men
have enough to do with things present and to come; therefore, they do
but trifle with themselves that labor in past matters. There is no man
doth a wrong for the wrong's sake; but thereby to purchase himself
profit, or pleasure, or honor, or the like. Therefore, why should I be
angry with a man for loving himself better than me? And if any man
should do wrong merely out of ill-nature, why yet it is but like the
thorn or brier, which prick and scratch because they can do no other.
The most tolerable sort of revenge is for those wrongs which there is no
law to remedy; but then, let a man take heed the revenge be such as
there is no law to punish, else a man's enemy is still beforehand, and
it is two for one. Some, when they take revenge, are desirous the party
should know whence it cometh. This is the more generous; for the delight
seemeth to be not so much in doing the hurt as in making the party
repent. But base and crafty cowards are like the arrow that flieth in
the dark. Cosmus, Duke of Florence, had a desperate saying against
perfidious or neglecting friends, as if those wrongs were unpardonable.
"You shall read," saith he, "that we are commanded to forgive our
enemies; but you never read that we are commanded to forgive our
friends." But yet the spirit of Job was in a better tune: "Shall we,"
saith he, "take good at God's hands, and not be content to take evil
also?" And so of friends in a proportion. This is certain, that a man
that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would
heal and do well. Public revenges are for the most part fortunate: as
that for the death of Caesar; for the death of Pertinax; for the death
of Henry the Third of France; and many more. But in private revenges it
is not so. Nay, rather vindictive persons live the life of witches; who,
as they are mischievous, so end they infortunate.


From the 'Essays'

Dissimulation is but a faint kind of policy or wisdom; for it asketh a
strong wit and a strong heart to know when to tell truth, and to do it.
Therefore it is the weaker sort of politicians that are the great

Tacitus saith, "Livia sorted well with the arts of her husband and
dissimulation of her son;" attributing arts of policy to Augustus, and
dissimulation to Tiberius. And again, when Mucianus encourageth
Vespasian to take arms against Vitellius, he saith, "We rise not against
the piercing judgment of Augustus, nor the extreme caution or closeness
of Tiberius." These properties of arts or policy, and dissimulation or
closeness, are indeed habits and faculties several, and to be
distinguished. For if a man have that penetration of judgment as he can
discern what things are to be laid open, and what to be secreted, and
what to be showed at half-lights, and to whom and when, (which indeed
are arts of state and arts of life, as Tacitus well calleth them,) to
him a habit of dissimulation is a hindrance and a poorness. But if a man
cannot obtain to that judgment, then it is left to him generally to be
close, and a dissembler. For where a man cannot choose or vary in
particulars, there it is good to take the safest and wariest way in
general; like the going softly, by one that cannot well see. Certainly
the ablest men that ever were, have had all an openness and frankness of
dealing, and a name of certainty and veracity: but then they were like
horses well managed, for they could tell passing well when to stop or
turn; and at such times when they thought the case indeed required
dissimulation, if then they used it, it came to pass that the former
opinion spread abroad of their good faith and clearness of dealing made
them almost invisible.

There be three degrees of this hiding and veiling of a man's self. The
first, Closeness, Reservation, and Secrecy; when a man leaveth himself
without observation, or without hold to be taken, what he is. The
second, Dissimulation, in the negative; when a man lets fall signs and
arguments, that he is not that he is. And the third, Simulation, in the
affirmative; when a man industriously and expressly feigns and pretends
to be that he is not.

For the first of these, Secrecy: it is indeed the virtue of a confessor.
And assuredly the secret man heareth many confessions; for who will open
himself to a blab or a babbler? But if a man be thought secret, it
inviteth discovery, as the more close air sucketh in the more open; and
as in confession the revealing is not for worldly use, but for the ease
of a man's heart, so secret men come to the knowledge of many things in
that kind: while men rather discharge their minds than impart their
minds. In few words, mysteries are due to secrecy. Besides (to say
truth), nakedness is uncomely, as well in mind as body; and it addeth no
small reverence to men's manners and actions, if they be not altogether
open. As for talkers and futile persons, they are commonly vain and
credulous withal; for he that talketh what he knoweth, will also talk
what he knoweth not. Therefore set it down, that a habit of secrecy is
both politic and moral. And in this part it is good that a man's face
give his tongue leave to speak; for the discovery of a man's self by the
tracts of his countenance is a great weakness and betraying, by how much
it is many times more marked and believed than a man's words.

For the second, which is Dissimulation: it followeth many times upon
secrecy by a necessity; so that he that will be secret must be a
dissembler in some degree. For men are too cunning to suffer a man to
keep an indifferent carriage between both, and to be secret, without
swaying the balance on either side. They will so beset a man with
questions, and draw him on, and pick it out of him, that without an
absurd silence, he must show an inclination one way; or if he do not,
they will gather as much by his silence as by his speech. As for
equivocations, or oraculous speeches, they cannot hold out long. So that
no man can be secret, except he give himself a little scope of
dissimulation; which is, as it were, but the skirts or train of secrecy.

But for the third degree, which is Simulation and false profession:
that I hold more culpable and less politic, except it be in great and
rare matters. And therefore a general custom of simulation (which is
this last degree) is a vice rising either of a natural falseness or
fearfulness, or of a mind that hath some main faults; which because a
man must needs disguise, it maketh him practice simulation in other
things, lest his hand should be out of use.

The great advantages of simulation and dissimulation are three. First,
to lay asleep opposition, and to surprise; for where a man's intentions
are published, it is an alarum to call up all that are against them. The
second is, to reserve to a man's self a fair retreat; for if a man
engage himself by a manifest declaration, he must go through or take a
fall. The third is, the better to discover the mind of another; for to
him that opens himself men will hardly show themselves adverse, but will
fair let him go on, and turn their freedom of speech to freedom of
thought. And therefore it is a good shrewd proverb of the Spaniard,
"Tell a lie and find a troth;" as if there were no way of discovery but
by simulation. There be also three disadvantages to set it even. The
first, that simulation and dissimulation commonly carry with them a show
of fearfulness; which in any business doth spoil the feathers of round
flying up to the mark. The second, that it puzzleth and perplexeth the
conceits of many that perhaps would otherwise co-operate with him, and
makes a man walk almost alone to his own ends. The third and greatest
is, that it depriveth a man of one of the most principal instruments for
action; which is trust and belief. The best composition and temperature
is, to have openness in fame and opinion; secrecy in habit;
dissimulation in seasonable use; and a power to feign if there be
no remedy.


From the 'Essays'

Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a
part of experience. He that traveleth into a country before he hath some
entrance into the language, goeth to school, and not to travel. That
young men travel under some tutor or grave servant, I allow well: so
that he be such a one that hath the language, and hath been in the
country before; whereby he may be able to tell them what things are
worthy to be seen in the country where they go, what acquaintances they
are to seek, what exercises or discipline the place yielded. For else
young men shall go hooded, and look abroad little. It is a strange
thing, that in sea voyages, where there is nothing to be seen but sky
and sea, men should make diaries; but in land travel, wherein so much is
to be observed, for the most part they omit it; as if chance were fitter
to be registered than observation. Let diaries therefore be brought in
use. The things to be seen and observed are, the courts of princes,
specially when they give audience to ambassadors; the courts of justice,
while they sit and hear causes; and so of consistories ecclesiastic; the
churches and monasteries, with the monuments which are therein extant;
the walls and fortifications of cities and towns, and so the havens and
harbors; antiquities and ruins; libraries; colleges, disputations, and
lectures, where any are; shipping and navies; houses and gardens of
state and pleasure, near great cities; armories; arsenals; magazines;
exchanges; burses; warehouses; exercises of horsemanship, fencing,
training of soldiers, and the like; comedies, such whereunto the better
sort of persons do resort; treasuries of jewels and robes; cabinets and
rarities: and, to conclude, whatsoever is memorable in the places where
they go. After all which the tutors or servants ought to make diligent
inquiry. As for triumphs, masks, feasts, weddings, funerals, capital
executions, and such shows, men need not to be put in mind of them: yet
are they not to be neglected. If you will have a young man to put his
travel into a little room, and in short time to gather much, this you
must do. First, as was said, he must have some entrance into the
language before he goeth. Then he must have such a servant or tutor as
knoweth the country, as was likewise said. Let him carry with him also
some card or book, describing the country where he traveleth, which will
be a good key to his inquiry. Let him keep also a diary. Let him not
stay long in one city or town; more or less as the place deserveth, but
not long: nay, when he stayeth in one city or town, let him change his
lodging from one end and part of the town to another; which is a great
adamant of acquaintance. Let him sequester himself from the company of
his countrymen, and diet in such places where there is good company of
the nation where he traveleth. Let him upon his removes from one place
to another, procure recommendation to some person of quality residing
in the place whither he removeth; that he may use his favor in those
things he desireth to see or know. Thus he may abridge his travel with
much profit.

As for the acquaintance which is to be sought in travel: that which is
most of all profitable, is acquaintance with the secretaries and
employed men of ambassadors; for so in traveling in one country he shall
suck the experience of many. Let him also see and visit eminent persons
in all kinds, which are of great name abroad; that he may be able to
tell how the life agreeth with the fame. For quarrels, they are with
care and discretion to be avoided. They are commonly for mistresses,
healths, place, and words. And let a man beware how he keepeth company
with choleric and quarrelsome persons; for they will engage him into
their own quarrels. When a traveler returneth home, let him not leave
the countries where he hath traveled altogether behind him, but maintain
a correspondence by letters with those of his acquaintance which are of
most worth. And let his travel appear rather in his discourse than in
his apparel or gesture; and in his discourse let him be rather advised
in his answers, than forward to tell stories; and let it appear that he
doth not change his country manners for those of foreign parts; but only
prick in some flowers of that he hath learned abroad into the customs of
his own country.


From the 'Essays'

It had been hard for him that spake it to have put more truth and
untruth together in few words than in that speech, "Whosoever is
delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god." For it is most
true that a natural and secret hatred and aversion toward society in any
man hath somewhat of the savage beast; but it is most untrue that it
should have any character at all of the divine nature, except it
proceed, not out of a pleasure in solitude, but out of a love and desire
to sequester a man's self for a higher conversation: such as is found to
have been falsely and feignedly in some of the heathen, as Epimenides
the Candian, Numa the Roman, Empedocles the Sicilian, and Apollonius of
Tyana; and truly and really in divers of the ancient hermits and holy
fathers of the Church. But little do men perceive what solitude is, and
how far it extendeth. For a crowd is not company; and faces are but a
gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no
love. The Latin adage meeteth with it a little: "Magna civitas, magna
solitudo;" because in a great town friends are scattered, so that there
is not that fellowship, for the most part, which is in less
neighborhoods. But we may go further, and affirm most truly that it is a
mere and miserable solitude to want true friends, without which the
world is but a wilderness; and even in this sense also of solitude,
whosoever in the frame of his nature and affections is unfit for
friendship, he taketh it of the beast, and not from humanity.

A principal fruit of friendship is the ease and discharge of the
fullness and swellings of the heart, which passions of all kinds do
cause and induce. We know diseases of stoppings and suffocations are the
most dangerous in the body; and it is not much otherwise in the mind.
You may take sarza to open the liver, steel to open the spleen, flower
of sulphur for the lungs, castoreum for the brain: but no receipt
openeth the heart but a true friend; to whom you may impart griefs,
joys, fears, hopes, suspicions, counsels, and whatsoever lieth upon the
heart to oppress it, in a kind of civil shrift or confession.

It is a strange thing to observe how high a rate great kings and
monarchs do set upon this fruit of friendship whereof we speak; so
great, as they purchase it many times at the hazard of their own safety
and greatness. For princes, in regard of the distance of their fortune
from that of their subjects and servants, cannot gather this fruit,
except (to make themselves capable thereof) they raise some persons to
be as it were companions and almost equals to themselves; which many
times sorteth to inconvenience. The modern languages give unto such
persons the name of favorites, or privadoes; as if it were matter of
grace or conversation. But the Roman name attaineth the true use and
cause thereof, naming them "participes curarum"; for it is that which
tieth the knot. And we see plainly that this hath been done, not by weak
and passionate princes only, but by the wisest and most politic that
ever reigned; who have oftentimes joined to themselves some of their
servants, whom both themselves have called friends, and allowed others
likewise to call them in the same manner, using the word which is
received between private men.

L. Sylla, when he commanded Rome, raised Pompey (after surnamed the
Great) to that height that Pompey vaunted himself for Sylla's overmatch.
For when he had carried the consulship for a friend of his against the
pursuit of Sylla, and that Sylla did a little resent thereat, and began
to speak great, Pompey turned upon him again, and in effect bade him be
quiet; "for that more men adored the sun rising than the sun setting."
With Julius Caesar, Decimus Brutus had obtained that interest, as he set
him down in his testament for heir in remainder after his nephew; and
this was the man that had power with him to draw him forth to his death.
For when Caesar would have discharged the Senate in regard of some ill
presages, and specially a dream of Calpurnia, this man lifted him gently
by the arm out of his chair, telling him he hoped he would not dismiss
the Senate till his wife had dreamt a better dream. And it seemeth his
favor was so great as Antonius, in a letter which is recited verbatim in
one of Cicero's Philippics, calleth him "venefica"--"witch"; as if he
had enchanted Caesar. Augustus raised Agrippa (though of mean birth) to
that height as, when he consulted with Maecenas about the marriage of
his daughter Julia, Maecenas took the liberty to tell him, "that he must
either marry his daughter to Agrippa or take away his life: there was no
third way, he had made him so great." With Tiberius Caesar, Sejanus had
ascended to that height as they two were termed and reckoned as a pair
of friends. Tiberius in a letter to him saith, "Haec pro amicitia nostra
non occultavi" [these things, from our friendship, I have not concealed
from you]; and the whole Senate dedicated an altar to Friendship, as to
a goddess, in respect of the great dearness of friendship between them
two. The like, or more, was between Septimius Severus and Plautianus.
For he forced his eldest son to marry the daughter of Plautianus; and
would often maintain Plautianus in doing affronts to his son; and did
write also, in a letter to the Senate, by these words: "I love the man
so well, as I wish he may over-live me." Now, if these princes had been
as a Trajan or a Marcus Aurelius, a man might have thought that this had
proceeded of an abundant goodness of nature; but being men so wise, of
such strength and severity of mind, and so extreme lovers of themselves,
as all these were, it proveth most plainly that they found their own
felicity (though as great as ever happened to mortal men) but as an
half-piece, except they might have a friend to make it entire: and yet,
which is more, they were princes that had wives, sons, nephews; and yet
all these could not supply the comfort of friendship.

It is not to be forgotten what Comineus observeth of his first master,
Duke Charles the Hardy; namely, that he would communicate his secrets
with none, and least of all those secrets which troubled him most.
Whereupon he goeth on and saith, that toward his latter time "that
closeness did impair and a little perish his understanding." Surely
Comineus mought have made the same judgment also, if it had pleased him,
of his second master Louis the Eleventh, whose closeness was indeed his
tormentor. The parable of Pythagoras is dark, but true: "Cor ne
edito,"--"Eat not the heart." Certainly, if a man would give it a hard
phrase, those that want friends to open themselves unto are cannibals of
their own hearts. But one thing is most admirable (wherewith I will
conclude this first fruit of friendship), which is, that this
communicating of a man's self to his friend works two contrary effects;
for it redoubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in halves. For there is no
man that imparteth his joys to his friend, but he joyeth the more; and
no man that imparteth his griefs to his friend, but he grieveth the
less. So that it is, in truth, of operation upon a man's mind of like
virtue as the alchymists use to attribute to their stone for man's body;
that it worketh all contrary effects, but still to the good and benefit
of nature. But yet without praying in aid of alchymists, there is a
manifest image of this in the ordinary course of nature: for in bodies,
union strengtheneth and cherisheth any natural action, and on the other
side, weakeneth and dulleth any violent impression; and even so it is
of minds.

The second fruit of friendship is healthful and sovereign for the
understanding, as the first is for the affections. For friendship maketh
indeed a fair day in the affections, from storm and tempests, but it
maketh daylight in the understanding, out of darkness and confusion of
thoughts. Neither is this to be understood only of faithful counsel,
which a man receiveth from his friend; but before you come to that,
certain it is that whosoever hath his mind fraught with many thoughts,
his wits and understanding do clarify and break up in the communicating
and discoursing with another; he tosseth his thoughts more easily; he
marshaleth them more orderly; he seeth how they look when they are
turned into words; finally, he waxeth wiser than himself; and that more
by an hour's discourse than by a day's meditation. It was well said by
Themistocles to the King of Persia, "That speech was like cloth of
Arras, opened and put abroad; whereby the imagery doth appear in figure:
whereas in thoughts they lie but as in packs." Neither is this second
fruit of friendship, in opening the understanding, restrained only to
such friends as are able to give a man counsel (they indeed are best);
but even without that, a man learneth of himself, and bringeth his own
thoughts to light, and whetteth his wits as against a stone, which
itself cuts not. In a word, a man were better relate himself to a statue
or picture, than to suffer his thoughts to pass in smother.

Add now, to make this second fruit of friendship complete, that other
point which lieth more open, and falleth within vulgar observation;
which is faithful counsel from a friend. Heraclitus saith well in one of
his enigmas, "Dry light is ever the best;" and certain it is, that the
light that a man receiveth by counsel from another, is drier and purer
than that which cometh from his own understanding and judgment; which is
ever infused and drenched in his affections and customs. So as there is
as much difference between the counsel that a friend giveth, and that a
man giveth himself, as there is between the counsel of a friend and of a
flatterer; for there is no such flatterer as is a man's self, and there
is no such remedy against flattery of a man's self as the liberty of a
friend. Counsel is of two sorts: the one concerning manners, the other
concerning business. For the first, the best preservative to keep the
mind in health is the faithful admonition of a friend. The calling of a
man's self to a strict account is a medicine sometimes too piercing and
corrosive; reading good books of morality is a little flat and dead;
observing our faults in others is sometimes improper for our case: but
the best receipt (best I say to work and best to take) is the admonition
of a friend. It is a strange thing to behold what gross errors and
extreme absurdities many (especially of the greater sort) do commit for
want of a friend to tell them of them, to the great damage both of their
fame and fortune: for, as St. James saith, they are as men "that look
sometimes into a glass, and presently forget their own shape and favor."
As for business, a man may think, if he will, that two eyes see no more
than one; or, that a gamester seeth always more than a looker-on; or,
that a man in anger is as wise as he that hath said over the
four-and-twenty letters; or, that a musket may be shot off as well upon
the arm as upon a rest; and such other fond and high imaginations, to
think himself all in all: but when all is done, the help of good counsel
is that which setteth business straight: and if any man think that he
will take counsel, but it shall be by pieces; asking counsel in one
business of one man, and in another business of another man, it is well
(that is to say, better, perhaps, than if he asked none at all); but he
runneth two dangers: one, that he shall not be faithfully counseled; for
it is a rare thing, except it be from a perfect and entire friend, to
have counsel given, but such as shall be bowed and crooked to some ends
which he hath that giveth it: the other, that he shall have counsel
given, hurtful and unsafe (though with good meaning), and mixed partly
of mischief, and partly of remedy; even as if you would call a
physician, that is thought good for the cure of the disease you complain
of, but is unacquainted with your body; and therefore may put you in a
way for a present cure, but overthroweth your health in some other kind,
and so cure the disease and kill the patient: but a friend that is
wholly acquainted with a man's estate will beware, by furthering any
present business, how he dasheth upon the other inconvenience. And
therefore, rest not upon scattered counsels: they will rather distract
and mislead, than settle and direct.

After these two noble fruits of friendship (peace in the affections, and
support of the judgment), followeth the last fruit, which is like the
pomegranate, full of many kernels; I mean aid, and bearing a part in all
actions and occasions. Here the best way to represent to life the
manifold use of friendship, is to cast and see how many things there are
which a man cannot do himself: and then it will appear that it was a
sparing speech of the ancients to say, "that a friend is another
himself;" for that a friend is far more than himself. Men have their
time, and die many times in desire of some things which they principally
take to heart; the bestowing of a child, the finishing of a work, or the
like. If a man have a true friend, he may rest almost secure that the
care of those things will continue after him; so that a man hath, as it
were, two lives in his desires. A man hath a body, and that body is
confined to a place; but where friendship is, all offices of life are,
as it were, granted to him and his deputy; for he may exercise them by
his friend. How many things are there, which a man cannot, with any face
or comeliness, say or do himself; A man can scarce allege his own
merits with modesty, much less extol them; a man cannot sometimes brook
to supplicate, or beg, and a number of the like: but all these things
are graceful in a friend's mouth, which are blushing in a man's own. So
again, a man's person hath many proper relations which he cannot put
off. A man cannot speak to his son but as a father; to his wife but as a
husband; to his enemy but upon terms: whereas a friend may speak as the
case requires, and not as it sorteth with the person: but to enumerate
these things were endless; I have given the rule, where a man cannot
fitly play his own part, if he have not a friend he may quit the stage.


From 'The Advancement of Learning' (Book ii.)

Amongst so many great foundations of colleges in Europe, I find it
strange that they are all dedicated to professions, and none left free
to arts and sciences at large. For if men judge that learning should be
referred to action, they judge well: but in this they fall into the
error described in the ancient fable, in which the other parts of the
body did suppose the stomach had been idle, because it neither performed
the office of motion, as the limbs do, nor of sense, as the head doth;
but yet notwithstanding it is the stomach that digesteth and
distributeth to all the rest. So if any man think philosophy and
universality to be idle studies, he doth not consider that all
professions are from thence served and supplied. And this I take to be a
great cause that hath hindered the progression of learning, because
these fundamental knowledges have been studied but in passage. For if
you will have a tree bear more fruit than it hath used to do, it is not
anything you can do to the boughs, but it is the stirring of the earth
and putting new mold about the roots that must work it. Neither is it to
be forgotten, that this dedicating of foundations and dotations to
professory learning hath not only had a malign aspect and influence upon
the growth of sciences, but hath also been prejudicial to States and
governments. For hence it proceedeth that princes find a solitude in
regard of able men to serve them in causes of estate, because there is
no education collegiate which is free; where such as were so disposed
mought give themselves to histories, modern languages, books of policy
and civil discourse, and other the like enablements unto service
of estate.

And because founders of colleges do plant, and founders of lectures do
water, it followeth well in order to speak of the defect which is in
public lectures; namely, in the smallness and meanness of the salary or
reward which in most places is assigned unto them; whether they be
lectures of arts, or of professions For it is necessary to the
progression of sciences that readers be of the most able and sufficient
men; as those which are ordained for generating and propagating of
sciences, and not for transitory use. This cannot be, except their
condition and endowment be such as may content the ablest man to
appropriate his whole labor and continue his whole age in that function
and attendance; and therefore must have a proportion answerable to that
mediocrity or competency of advancement, which may be expected from a
profession or the practice of a profession. So as, if you will have
sciences flourish, you must observe David's military law, which was,
"That those which staid with the carriage should have equal part with
those which were in the action"; else will the carriages be ill
attended. So readers in sciences are indeed the guardians of the stores
and provisions of sciences whence men in active courses are furnished,
and therefore ought to have equal entertainment with them; otherwise if
the fathers in sciences be of the weakest sort or be ill maintained,

     "Et patrum invalidi referent jejunia nati:"

[Weakness of parents will show in feebleness of offspring.]

Another defect I note, wherein I shall need some alchemist to help me,
who call upon men to sell their books and to build furnaces; quitting
and forsaking Minerva and the Muses as barren virgins, and relying upon
Vulcan. But certain it is, that unto the deep, fruitful, and operative
study of many sciences, specially natural philosophy and physic, books
be not only the instrumentals; wherein also the beneficence of men hath
not been altogether wanting. For we see spheres, globes, astrolabes,
maps, and the like, have been provided as appurtenances to astronomy and
cosmography, as well as books. We see likewise that some places
instituted for physic have annexed the commodity of gardens for simples
of all sorts, and do likewise command the use of dead bodies for
anatomies. But these do respect but a few things. In general, there
will hardly be any main proficience in the disclosing of nature, except
there be some allowance for expenses about experiments; whether they be
experiments appertaining to Vulcanus or Daedalus, furnace or engine, or
any other kind. And therefore, as secretaries and spials of princes and
states bring in bills for intelligence, so you must allow the spials and
intelligencers of nature to bring in their bills; or else you shall be
ill advertised.

And if Alexander made such a liberal assignation to Aristotle of
treasure for the allowance of hunters, fowlers, fishers, and the like,
that he mought compile an history of nature, much better do they deserve
it that travail in arts of nature.

Another defect which I note, is an intermission or neglect in those
which are governors in universities of consultation, and in princes or
superior persons of visitation; to enter into account and consideration,
whether the readings, exercises, and other customs appertaining unto
learning, anciently begun and since continued, be well instituted or no;
and thereupon to ground an amendment or reformation in that which shall
be found inconvenient. For it is one of your Majesty's own most wise and
princely maxims, "that in all usages and precedents, the times be
considered wherein they first began; which if they were weak or
ignorant, it derogateth from the authority of the usage, and leaveth it
for suspect." And therefore inasmuch as most of the usages and orders of
the universities were derived from more obscure times, it is the more
requisite they be re-examined. In this kind I will give an instance or
two, for example's sake, of things that are the most obvious and
familiar. The one is a matter, which, though it be ancient and general,
yet I hold to be an error; which is, that scholars in universities come
too soon and too unripe to logic and rhetoric, arts fitter for graduates
than children and novices. For these two, rightly taken, are the gravest
of sciences, being the arts of arts; the one for judgment, the other for
ornament. And they be the rules and directions how to set forth and
dispose matter: and therefore for minds empty and unfraught with matter,
and which have not gathered that which Cicero calleth _sylva_ and
_supellex_, stuff and variety, to begin with those arts (as if one
should learn to weigh or to measure or to paint the wind) doth work but
this effect, that the wisdom of those arts, which is great and
universal, is almost made contemptible, and is degenerate into childish
sophistry and ridiculous affectation. And further, the untimely learning
of them hath drawn on by consequence the superficial and unprofitable
teaching and writing of them, as fitteth indeed to the capacity of
children. Another is a lack I find in the exercises used in the
universities, which do make too great a divorce between invention and
memory. For their speeches are either premeditate, in _verbis
conceptis_, where nothing is left to invention, or merely extemporal,
where little is left to memory; whereas in life and action there is
least use of either of these, but rather of intermixtures of
premeditation and invention, notes and memory. So as the exercise
fitteth not the practice, nor the image the life; and it is ever a true
rule in exercises, that they be framed as near as may be to the life of
practice; for otherwise they do pervert the motions and faculties of the
mind, and not prepare them. The truth whereof is not obscure, when
scholars come to the practices of professions, or other actions of civil
life; which when they set into, this want is soon found by themselves,
and sooner by others. But this part, touching the amendment of the
institutions and orders of universities, I will conclude with the clause
of Caesar's letter to Oppius and Balbus, "Hoc quem admodum fieri possit,
nonnulla mihi in mentem veniunt, et multa reperiri possunt: de iis rebus
rogo vos ut cogitationem suscipiatis." [How this may be done, some ways
come to my mind and many may be devised; I ask you to take these things
into consideration.]

Another defect which I note ascendeth a little higher than the
precedent. For as the proficience of learning consisteth much in the
orders and institutions of universities in the same States and kingdoms,
so it would be yet more advanced, if there were more intelligence mutual
between the universities of Europe than now there is. We see there be
many orders and foundations, which though they be divided under several
sovereignties and territories, yet they take themselves to have a kind
of contract, fraternity, and correspondence one with the other, insomuch
as they have Provincials and Generals. And surely as nature createth
brotherhood in families, and arts mechanical contract brotherhoods in
communalties, and the anointment of God superinduceth a brotherhood in
kings and bishops; so in like manner there cannot but be a fraternity in
learning and illumination, relating to that paternity which is
attributed to God, who is called the Father of illuminations or lights.

The last defect which I will note is, that there hath not been, or very
rarely been, any public designation of writers or inquirers concerning
such parts of knowledge as may appear not to have been already
sufficiently labored or undertaken; unto which point it is an inducement
to enter into a view and examination what parts of learning have been
prosecuted, and what omitted. For the opinion of plenty is amongst the
causes of want, and the great quantity of books maketh a show rather of
superfluity than lack; which surcharge nevertheless is not to be
remedied by making no more books, but by making more good books, which,
as the serpent of Moses, mought devour the serpents of the enchanters.

The removing of all the defects formerly enumerated, except the last,
and of the active part also of the last (which is the designation of
writers), are _opera basilica_ [kings' works]; towards which the
endeavors of a private man may be but as an image in a cross-way, that
may point at the way, but cannot go it. But the inducing part of the
latter (which is the survey of learning) may be set forward by private
travail. Wherefore I will now attempt to make a general and faithful
perambulation of learning, with an inquiry what parts thereof lie fresh
and waste, and not improved and converted by the industry of man; to the
end that such a plot made and recorded to memory, may both minister
light to any public designation, and also serve to excite voluntary
endeavors. Wherein nevertheless my purpose is at this time to note only
omissions and deficiencies, and not to make any redargution of errors or
incomplete prosecutions. For it is one thing to set forth what ground
lieth unmanured, and another thing to correct ill husbandry in that
which is manured.

In the handling and undertaking of which work I am not ignorant what it
is that I do now move and attempt, nor insensible of mine own weakness
to sustain my purpose. But my hope is, that if my extreme love to
learning carry me too far, I may obtain the excuse of affection; for
that "it is not granted to man to love and to be wise." But I know well
I can use no other liberty of judgment than I must leave to others; and
I, for my part, shall be indifferently glad either to perform myself, or
accept from another, that duty of humanity, "Nam qui erranti comiter
monstrat viam," etc. [To kindly show the wanderer the path.] I do
foresee likewise that of those things which I shall enter and register
as deficiencies and omissions, many will conceive and censure that some
of them are already done and extant; others to be but curiosities, and
things of no great use; and others to be of too great difficulty and
almost impossibility to be compassed and effected. But for the two
first, I refer myself to the particulars For the last, touching
impossibility, I take it those things are to be held possible which may
be done by some person, though not by every one; and which may be done
by many, though not by any one; and which may be done in the succession
of ages, though not within the hour-glass of one man's life; and which
may be done by public designation, though not by private endeavor. But
notwithstanding, if any man will take to himself rather that of Solomon,
"Dicit piger, Leo est in via" [the sluggard says there is a lion in the
path], than that of Virgil, "Possunt quia posse videntur" [they can,
because they think they can], I shall be content that my labors be
esteemed but as the better sort of wishes, for as it asketh some
knowledge to demand a question not impertinent, so it requireth some
sense to make a wish not absurd.


From 'Letters and Life,' by James Spedding

_My Lord:_

With as much confidence as mine own honest and faithful devotion unto
your service and your honorable correspondence unto me and my poor
estate can breed in a man, do I commend myself unto your Lordship. I wax
now somewhat ancient; one and thirty years is a great deal of sand in
the hour-glass. My health, I thank God, I find confirmed; and I do not
fear that action shall impair it, because I account my ordinary course
of study and meditation to be more painful than most parts of action
are. I ever bare a mind (in some middle place that I could discharge) to
serve her Majesty; not as a man born under Sol, that loveth honor; nor
under Jupiter, that loveth business (for the contemplative planet
carrieth me away wholly); but as a man born under an excellent
Sovereign, that deserveth the dedication of all men's abilities.
Besides, I do not find in myself so much self-love, but that the greater
parts of my thoughts are to deserve well (if I were able) of my friends,
and namely of your Lordship; who being the Atlas of this commonwealth,
the honor of my house, and the second founder of my poor estate, I am
tied by all duties, both of a good patriot and of an unworthy kinsman,
and of an obliged servant, to employ whatsoever I am to do you service.
Again, the meanness of my estate does somewhat move me; for though I
cannot excuse myself that I am either prodigal or slothful, yet my
health is not to spend, nor my course to get. Lastly, I confess that I
have as vast contemplative ends as I have moderate civil ends: for I
have taken all knowledge to be my province; and if I could purge it of
two sorts of rovers, whereof the one with frivolous disputations,
confutations, and verbosities, the other with blind experiments and
auricular traditions and impostures, hath committed so many spoils, I
hope I should bring in industrious observations, grounded conclusions,
and profitable inventions and discoveries; the best state of that
province. This, whether it be curiosity, or vain glory, or nature, or
(if one take it favorably) _philanthropia_, is so fixed in my mind as it
cannot be removed. And I do easily see, that place of any reasonable
countenance doth bring commandment of more wits than of a man's own;
which is the thing I greatly affect. And for your Lordship, perhaps you
shall not find more strength and less encounter in any other. And if
your Lordship shall find now, or at any time, that I do seek or affect
any place whereunto any that is nearer unto your Lordship shall be
concurrent, say then that I am a most dishonest man. And if your
Lordship will not carry me on, I will not do as Anaxagoras did, who
reduced himself with contemplation unto voluntary poverty: but this I
will do; I will sell the inheritance that I have, and purchase some
lease of quick revenue, or some office of gain that shall be executed by
deputy, and so give over all care of service, and become some sorry
book-maker, or a true pioneer in that mine of truth, which (he said) lay
so deep. This which I have writ unto your Lordship is rather thoughts
than words, being set down without all art, disguising, or reservation.
Wherein I have done honor both to your Lordship's wisdom, in judging
that that will be best believed of your Lordship which is truest, and to
your Lordship's good nature, in retaining nothing from you. And even so
I wish your Lordship all happiness, and to myself means and occasion to
be added to my faithful desire to do you service. From my lodging at
Gray's Inn.


From 'Letters and Life,' by James Spedding

Silence were the best celebration of that which I mean to commend; for
who would not use silence, where silence is not made, and what crier can
make silence in such a noise and tumult of vain and popular opinions?

My praise shall be dedicated to the mind itself. The mind is the man and
the knowledge of the mind. A man is but what he knoweth. The mind itself
is but an accident to knowledge; for knowledge is a double of that which
is; the truth of being and the truth of knowing is all one.

Are not the pleasures of the affections greater than the pleasures of
the senses? And are not the pleasures of the intellect greater than the
pleasures of the affections? Is not knowledge a true and only natural
pleasure, whereof there is no satiety? Is it not knowledge that doth
alone clear the mind of all perturbation? How many things are there
which we imagine not? How many things do we esteem and value otherwise
than they are! This ill-proportioned estimation, these vain
imaginations, these be the clouds of error that turn into the storms of
perturbation. Is there any such happiness as for a man's mind to be
raised above the confusion of things, where he may have the prospect of
the order of nature and the error of men?

But is this a vein only of delight, and not of discovery? of
contentment, and not of benefit? Shall he not as well discern the riches
of nature's warehouse, as the benefit of her shop? Is truth ever barren?
Shall he not be able thereby to produce worthy effects, and to endow the
life of man with infinite commodities?

But shall I make this garland to be put upon a wrong head? Would anybody
believe me, if I should verify this upon the knowledge that is now in
use? Are we the richer by one poor invention, by reason of all the
learning that hath been these many hundred years? The industry of
artificers maketh some small improvement of things invented; and chance
sometimes in experimenting maketh us to stumble upon somewhat which is
new; but all the disputation of the learned never brought to light one
effect of nature before unknown. When things are known and found out,
then they can descant upon them, they can knit them into certain
causes, they can reduce them to their principles. If any instance of
experience stand against them, they can range it in order by some
distinctions. But all this is but a web of the wit, it can work nothing.
I do not doubt but that common notions, which we call reason, and the
knitting of them together, which we call logic, are the art of reason
and studies. But they rather cast obscurity than gain light to the
contemplation of nature. All the philosophy of nature which is now
received, is either the philosophy of the Grecians, or that other of the
Alchemists. That of the Grecians hath the foundations in words, in
ostentation, in confutation, in sects, in schools, in disputations. The
Grecians were (as one of themselves saith), "you Grecians, ever
children." They knew little antiquity; they knew (except fables) not
much above five hundred years before themselves; they knew but a small
portion of the world. That of the Alchemists hath the foundation in
imposture, in auricular traditions and obscurity; it was catching hold
of religion, but the principle of it is, "Populus vult decipi." So that
I know no great difference between these great philosophies, but that
the one is a loud-crying folly, and the other is a whispering folly. The
one is gathered out of a few vulgar observations, and the other out of a
few experiments of a furnace. The one never faileth to multiply words,
and the other ever faileth to multiply gold. Who would not smile at
Aristotle, when he admireth the eternity and invariableness of the
heavens, as there were not the like in the bowels of the earth? Those be
the confines and borders of these two kingdoms, where the continual
alteration and incursion are. The superficies and upper parts of the
earth are full of varieties. The superficies and lower part of the
heavens (which we call the middle region of the air) is full of variety.
There is much spirit in the one part that cannot be brought into mass.
There is much massy body in the other place that cannot be refined to
spirit. The common air is as the waste ground between the borders. Who
would not smile at the astronomers? I mean not these new carmen which
drive the earth about, but the ancient astronomers, which feign the moon
to be the swiftest of all planets in motion, and the rest in order, the
higher the slower; and so are compelled to imagine a double motion;
whereas how evident is it, that that which they call a contrary motion
is but an abatement of motion. The fixed stars overgo Saturn, and so in
them and the rest all is but one motion, and the nearer the earth the
slower; a motion also whereof air and water do participate, though much

But why do I in a conference of pleasure enter into these great matters,
in sort that pretending to know much, I should forget what is
seasonable? Pardon me, it was because all [other] things may be endowed
and adorned with speeches, but knowledge itself is more beautiful than
any apparel of words that can be put upon it.

And let not me seem arrogant, without respect to these great reputed
authors. Let me so give every man his due, as I give Time his due, which
is to discover truth. Many of these men had greater wits, far above mine
own, and so are many in the universities of Europe at this day. But
alas, they learn nothing there but to believe: first to believe that
others know that which they know not; and after [that] themselves know
that which they know not. But indeed facility to believe, impatience to
doubt, temerity to answer, glory to know, doubt to contradict, end to
gain, sloth to search, seeking things in words, resting in part of
nature; these, and the like, have been the things which have forbidden
the happy match between the mind of man and the nature of things, and in
place thereof have married it to vain notions and blind experiments. And
what the posterity and issue of so honorable a match may be, it is not
hard to consider. Printing, a gross invention; artillery, a thing that
lay not far out of the way; the needle, a thing partly known before;
what a change have these three made in the world in these times; the one
in state of learning, the other in state of the war, the third in the
state of treasure, commodities, and navigation. And those, I say, were
but stumbled upon and lighted upon by chance. Therefore, no doubt the
sovereignty of man lieth hid in knowledge; wherein many things are
reserved, which kings with their treasure cannot buy, nor with their
force command; their spials and intelligencers can give no news of them,
their seamen and discoverers cannot sail where they grow. Now we govern
nature in opinions, but we are thrall unto her in necessity; but if we
would be led by her in invention, we should command her in action.


From 'Letters and Life,' by James Spedding

_It may please your good Lordship:_

Some late act of his Majesty, referred to some former speech which I
have heard from your Lordship, bred in me a great desire, and by
strength of desire a boldness to make an humble proposition to your
Lordship, such as in me can be no better than a wish: but if your
Lordship should apprehend it, may take some good and worthy effect. The
act I speak of, is the order given by his Majesty, as I understand, for
the erection of a tomb or monument for our late sovereign Lady Queen
Elizabeth: wherein I may note much, but this at this time; that as her
Majesty did always right to his Highness's hopes, so his Majesty doth in
all things right to her memory; a very just and princely retribution.
But from this occasion, by a very easy ascent, I passed furder, being
put in mind, by this Representative of her person, of the more true and
more firm Representative, which is of her life and government. For as
Statuaes and Pictures are dumb histories, so histories are speaking
Pictures. Wherein if my affection be not too great, or my reading too
small, I am of this opinion, that if Plutarch were alive to write lives
by parallels, it would trouble him for virtue and fortune both to find
for her a parallel amongst women. And though she was of the passive sex,
yet her government was so active, as, in my simple opinion, it made more
impression upon the several states of Europe, than it received from
thence. But I confess unto your Lordship I could not stay here, but went
a little furder into the consideration of the times which have passed
since King Henry the 8th; wherein I find the strangest variety that in
like number of successions of any hereditary monarchy hath ever been
known. The reign of a child; the offer of an usurpation (though it were
but as a Diary Ague); the reign of a lady married to a foreign Prince;
and the reign of a lady solitary and unmarried. So that as it cometh to
pass in massive bodies, that they have certain trepidations and
waverings before they fix and settle; so it seemeth that by the
providence of God this monarchy, before it was to settle in his Majesty
and his generations (in which I hope it is now established for ever), it
had these prelusive changes in these barren princes. Neither could I
contain myself here (as it is easier to produce than to stay a wish),
but calling to remembrance the unworthiness of the history of England
(in the main continuance thereof), and the partiality and obliquity of
that of Scotland, in the latest and largest author that I have seen: I
conceived it would be honor for his Majesty, and a work very memorable,
if this island of Great Britain, as it is now joined in Monarchy for the
ages to come, so were joined in History for the times past; and that one
just and complete History were compiled of both nations. And if any man
think it may refresh the memory of former discords, he may satisfy
himself with the verse, "olim haec meminisse juvabit:" for the case
being now altered, it is matter of comfort and gratulation to remember
former troubles.

Thus much, if it may please your Lordship, was in the optative mood. It
is true that I did look a little in the potential; wherein the hope
which I conceived was grounded upon three observations. The first, of
the times, which do flourish in learning, both of art and language;
which giveth hope not only that it may be done, but that it may be well
done. For when good things are undertaken in ill times, it turneth but
to loss; as in this very particular we have a fresh example of Polydore
Vergile, who being designed to write the English History by K. Henry the
8th (a strange choice to chuse a stranger), and for his better
instruction having obtained into his hands many registers and memorials
out of the monasteries, did indeed deface and suppress better things
than those he did collect and reduce. Secondly, I do see that which all
the world seeth in his Majesty, both a wonderful judgment in learning
and a singular affection towards learning, and the works of true honor
which are of the mind and not of the hand. For there cannot be the like
honor sought in the building of galleries, or the planting of elms along
highways, and the like manufactures, things rather of magnificence than
of magnanimity, as there is in the uniting of states, pacifying of
controversies, nourishing and augmenting of learning and arts, and the
particular actions appertaining unto these; of which kind Cicero judged
truly, when he said to Caesar, "Quantum operibus tuis detrahet vetustas,
tantum addet laudibus." And lastly, I called to mind, that your Lordship
at sometimes hath been pleased to express unto me a great desire, that
something of this nature should be performed; answerably indeed to your
other noble and worthy courses and actions, wherein your Lordship
sheweth yourself not only an excellent Chancellor and Counselor, but
also an exceeding favorer and fosterer of all good learning and virtue,
both in men and matters, persons and actions: joining and adding unto
the great services towards his Majesty, which have, in small compass of
time, been accumulated upon your Lordship, many other deservings both of
the Church and Commonwealth and particulars; so as the opinion of so
great and wise a man doth seem unto me a good warrant both of the
possibility and worth of this matter. But all this while I assure
myself, I cannot be mistaken by your Lordship, as if I sought an office
or employment for myself. For no man knoweth better than your Lordship,
that (if there were in me any faculty thereunto, as I am most unable),
yet neither my fortune nor profession would permit it. But because there
be so many good painters both for hand and colors, it needeth but
encouragement and instructions to give life and light unto it.

So in all humbleness I conclude my presenting to your good Lordship this
wish: that if it perish it is but a loss of that which is not. And thus
craving pardon that I have taken so much time from your Lordship, I
always remain

     Your Lps. very humbly and much bounden


GRAY'S INN, this 2d of April, 1605.


From 'Letters and Life,' by James Spedding


I have sent you now your patent of creation of Lord Blechly of Blechly,
and of Viscount Villiers. Blechly is your own, and I like the sound of
the name better than Whaddon; but the name will be hid, for you will be
called Viscount Villiers. I have put them both in a patent, after the
manner of the patents of Earls where baronies are joined; but the chief
reason was, because I would avoid double prefaces which had not been
fit; nevertheless the ceremony of robing and otherwise must be double.

And now, because I am in the country, I will send you some of my country
fruits; which with me are good meditations; which when I am in the city
are choked with business.

After that the King shall have watered your new dignities with his
bounty of the lands which he intends you, and that some other things
concerning your means which are now likewise in intention shall be
settled upon you; I do not see but you may think your private fortunes
established; and, therefore, it is now time that you should refer your
actions chiefly to the good of your sovereign and your country. It is
the life of an ox or beast always to eat, and never to exercise; but men
are born (and especially Christian men), not to cram in their fortunes,
but to exercise their virtues; and yet the other hath been the unworthy,
and (thanks be to God) sometimes the unlucky humor of great persons in
our times. Neither will your further fortune be the further off: for
assure yourself that fortune is of a woman's nature, that will sooner
follow you by slighting than by too much wooing. And in this dedication
of yourself to the public, I recommend unto you principally that which I
think was never done since I was born; and which not done hath bred
almost a wilderness and solitude in the King's service; which is, that
you countenance, and encourage, and advance able men and virtuous men,
and meriting men in all kinds, degrees, and professions. For in the time
of the Cecils, the father and the son, able men were by design and of
purpose suppressed; and though of late choice goeth better both in
church and commonwealth, yet money, and turn-serving, and cunning
canvasses, and importunity prevail too much. And in places of moment
rather make able and honest men yours, than advance those that are
otherwise because they are yours. As for cunning and corrupt men, you
must (I know) sometimes use them; but keep them at a distance; and let
it appear that you make use of them, rather than that they lead you.
Above all, depend wholly (next to God) upon the King; and be ruled (as
hitherto you have been) by his instructions; for that is best for
yourself. For the King's care and thoughts concerning you are according
to the thoughts of a great King; whereas your thoughts concerning
yourself are and ought to be according to the thoughts of a modest man.
But let me not weary you. The sum is that you think goodness the best
part of greatness; and that you remember whence your rising comes, and
make return accordingly.

God ever keep you.

GORHAMBURY, August 12th, 1616


From 'Letters and Life,' by James Spedding

_Mr. Serjeant Hutton_:

The King's most excellent Majesty, being duly informed of your learning,
integrity, discretion, experience, means, and reputation in your
country, hath thought fit not to leave you these talents to be employed
upon yourself only, but to call you to serve himself and his people, in
the place of one of his Justices of the court of common pleas.

The court where you are to serve, is the local centre and heart of the
laws of this realm. Here the subject hath his assurance by fines and
recoveries. Here he hath his fixed and invariable remedies by
_praecipes_ and writs of right. Here Justice opens not by a by-gate of
privilege, but by the great gate of the King's original writs out of the
Chancery. Here issues process of outlawry; if men will not answer law in
this centre of law, they shall be cast out of the circle of law. And
therefore it is proper for you by all means with your wisdom and
fortitude to maintain the laws of the realm. Wherein, nevertheless, I
would not have you head-strong, but heart-strong; and to weigh and
remember with yourself, that the twelve Judges of the realm are as the
twelve lions under Solomon's throne; they must be lions, but yet lions,
under the throne; they must shew their stoutness in elevating and
bearing up the throne.

     To represent unto you the lines and portraitures of a good
     judge:--The first is, That you should draw your learning out
     of your books, not out of your brain.

     2. That you should mix well the freedom of your own opinion
     with the reverence of the opinion of your fellows.

     3. That you should continue the studying of your books, and
     not to spend on upon the old stock.

     4. That you should fear no man's face, and yet not turn
     stoutness into bravery.

     5. That you should be truly impartial, and not so as men may
     see affection through fine carriage.

     6. That you be a light to jurors to open their eyes, but not
     a guide to lead them by the noses.

     7. That you affect not the opinion of pregnancy and
     expedition by an impatient and catching hearing of the
     counselors at the bar.

     8. That your speech be with gravity, as one of the sages of
     the law; and not talkative, nor with impertinent flying out
     to show learning.

     9. That your hands, and the hands of your hands (I mean those
     about you), be clean, and uncorrupt from gifts, from meddling
     in titles, and from serving of turns, be they of great ones
     or small ones.

     10. That you contain the jurisdiction of the court within the
     ancient merestones, without removing the mark.

     11. Lastly, That you carry such a hand over your ministers
     and clerks, as that they may rather be in awe of you, than
     presume upon you.

These and the like points of the duty of a Judge, I forbear to enlarge;
for the longer I have lived with you, the shorter shall my speech be to
you; knowing that you come so furnished and prepared with these good
virtues, as whatsoever I shall say cannot be new unto you. And therefore
I will say no more unto you at this time, but deliver you your patent.


From 'Letters and Life,' by James Spedding

Most gracious Lord God, my merciful Father, from my youth up, my
Creator, my Redeemer, my Comforter. Thou (O Lord) soundest and searchest
the depths and secrets of all hearts; thou knowledgest the upright of
heart, thou judgest the hypocrite, thou ponderest men's thoughts and
doings as in a balance, thou measurest their intentions as with a line,
vanity and crooked ways cannot be hid from thee.

Remember (O Lord) how thy servant hath walked before thee: remember what
I have first sought, and what hath been principal in mine intentions. I
have loved thy assemblies, I have mourned for the divisions of thy
Church, I have delighted in the brightness of thy sanctuary. This vine
which thy right hand hath planted in this nation, I have ever prayed
unto thee that it might have the first and the latter rain; and that it
might stretch her branches to the seas and to the floods. The state and
bread of the poor and oppressed have been precious in mine eyes: I have
hated all cruelty and hardness of heart: I have (though in a despised
weed) procured the good of all men. If any have been mine enemies, I
thought not of them; neither hath the sun almost set upon my
displeasure; but I have been as a dove, free from superfluity of
maliciousness. Thy creatures have been my books, but thy Scriptures much
more. I have sought thee in the courts, fields, and gardens, but I have
found thee in thy temples.

Thousands have been my sins, and ten thousand my transgressions; but thy
sanctifications have remained with me, and my heart, through thy grace,
hath been an unquenched coal upon thy altar. O Lord, my strength, I have
since my youth met with thee in all my ways, by thy fatherly
compassions, by thy comfortable chastisements, and by thy most visible
providence. As thy favors have increased upon me, so have thy
corrections; so as thou hast been alway near me, O Lord; and ever as my
worldly blessings were exalted, so secret darts from thee have pierced
me; and when I have ascended before men, I have descended in humiliation
before thee.

And now when I thought most of peace and honor, thy hand is heavy upon
me, and hath humbled me, according to thy former loving-kindness,
keeping me still in thy fatherly school, not as a bastard, but as a
child. Just are thy judgments upon me for my sins, which are more in
number than the sands of the sea, but have no proportion to thy mercies;
for what are the sands of the sea, to the sea, earth, heavens? and all
these are nothing to thy mercies.

Besides my innumerable sins, I confess before thee, that I am debtor to
thee for the gracious talent of thy gifts and graces which I have
neither put into a napkin, nor put it (as I ought) to exchangers, where
it might have made best profit; but mis-spent it in things for which I
was least fit; so as I may truly say, my soul hath been a stranger in
the course of my pilgrimage. Be merciful into me (O Lord) for my
Saviour's sake, and receive me unto thy bosom, or guide me in thy ways.


My Lo. of Essex, at the succor of Rhoan, made twenty-four knights, which
at that time was a great matter. Divers (7.) of those gentlemen were of
weak and small means; which when Queen Elizabeth heard, she said, "My
Lo. mought have done well to have built his alms-house before he made
his knights."

21. Many men, especially such as affect gravity, have a manner after
other men's speech to shake their heads. Sir Lionel Cranfield would say,
"That it was as men shake a bottle, to see if there was any wit in their
head or no."

33. Bias was sailing, and there fell out a great tempest, and the
mariners, that were wicked and dissolute fellows, called upon the gods;
but Bias said to them, "Peace, let them not know ye are here."

42. There was a Bishop that was somewhat a delicate person, and bathed
twice a day. A friend of his said to him, "My lord, why do you bathe
twice a day?" The Bishop answered, "Because I cannot conveniently
bathe thrice."

55. Queen Elizabeth was wont to say of her instructions to great
officers, "That they were like to garments, strait at the first putting
on, but did by and by wear loose enough."

64. Sir Henry Wotton used to say, "That critics are like brushers of
noblemen's clothes."

66. Mr. Savill was asked by my lord of Essex his opinion touching poets;
who answered my lord, "He thought them the best writers, next to those
that write prose."

85. One was saying, "That his great-grandfather and grandfather and
father died at sea." Said another that heard him, "And I were as you, I
would never come at sea." "Why, (saith he) where did your
great-grandfather and grandfather and father die?" He answered, "Where
but in their beds." Saith the other, "And I were as you, I would never
come in bed."

97. Alonso of Arragon was wont to say, in commendation of age, That age
appeared to be best in four things: "Old wood best to burn; old wine to
drink; old friends to trust; and old authors to read."

119. One of the fathers saith, "That there is but this difference
between the death of old men and young men: that old men go to death,
and death comes to young men."


     From 'Works,' Vol. xiv.

     Whenas we sat all sad and desolate,
       By Babylon upon the river's side,
     Eased from the tasks which in our captive state
       We were enforcèd daily to abide,
         Our harps we had brought with us to the field,
         Some solace to our heavy souls to yield.

     But soon we found we failed of our account,
       For when our minds some freedom did obtain,
     Straightways the memory of Sion Mount
       Did cause afresh our wounds to bleed again;
         So that with present gifts, and future fears,
         Our eyes burst forth into a stream of tears.

     As for our harps, since sorrow struck them dumb,
       We hanged them on the willow-trees were near;
     Yet did our cruel masters to us come,
       Asking of us some Hebrew songs to hear:
         Taunting us rather in our misery,
         Than much delighting in our melody.

     Alas (said we) who can once force or frame
       His grievèd and oppressèd heart to sing
     The praises of Jehovah's glorious name,
       In banishment, under a foreign king?
         In Sion is his seat and dwelling-place,
         Thence doth he shew the brightness of his face.

     Hierusalem, where God his throne hath set,
       Shall any hour absent thee from my mind?
     Then let my right hand quite her skill forget,
       Then let my voice and words no passage find;
         Nay, if I do not thee prefer in all
         That in the compass of my thoughts can fall.

     Remember thou, O Lord, the cruel cry
       Of Edom's children, which did ring and sound,
     Inciting the Chaldean's cruelty,
       "Down with it, down with it, even unto the ground."
         In that good day repay it unto them,
         When thou shalt visit thy Hierusalem.

     And thou, O Babylon, shalt have thy turn
       By just revenge, and happy shall he be,
     That thy proud walls and towers shall waste and burn,
       And as thou didst by us, so do by thee.
         Yea, happy he that takes thy children's bones,
         And dasheth them against the pavement stones.


     From 'Works,' Vol. xiv.

     The world's a bubble, and the life of man
                         less than a span;
     In his conception wretched, from the womb
                         so to the tomb:
     Curst from the cradle, and brought up to years
                         with cares and fears.
     Who then to frail mortality shall trust,
     But limns the water, or but writes in dust.

     Yet since with sorrow here we live opprest,
                         what life is best?
     Courts are but only superficial schools
                         to dandle fools.
     The rural parts are turned into a den
                         of savage men.
     And where's the city from all vice so free,
     But may be termed the worst of all the three?

     Domestic cares afflict the husband's bed,
                         or pains his head.
     Those that live single take it for a curse,
                         or do things worse.
     Some would have children; those that have them moan,
                         or wish them gone.
     What is it then to have or have no wife,
     But single thraldom, or a double strife?

     Our own affections still at home to please
                         is a disease:
     To cross the seas to any foreign soil
                         perils and toil.
     Wars with their noise affright us: when they cease,
                         we are worse in peace.
     What then remains, but that we still should cry
     Not to be born, or being born to die.




Walter Bagehot was born February 3d, 1826, at Langport, Somersetshire,
England; and died there March 24th, 1877. He sprang on both sides from,
and was reared in, a nest of wealthy bankers and ardent Liberals,
steeped in political history and with London country houses where
leaders of thought and politics resorted; and his mother's
brother-in-law was Dr. Prichard the ethnologist. This heredity,
progressive by disposition and conservative by trade, and this
entourage, produced naturally enough a mind at once rapid of insight and
cautious of judgment, devoted almost equally to business action and
intellectual speculation, and on its speculative side turned toward the
fields of political history and sociology.

[Illustration: WALTER BAGEHOT]

But there were equally important elements not traceable. His freshness
of mental vision, the strikingly novel points of view from which he
looked at every subject, was marvelous even in a century so fertile of
varied independences: he complained that "the most galling of yokes is
the tyranny of your next-door neighbor," the obligation of thinking as
he thinks. He had a keen, almost reckless wit and delicious buoyant
humor, whose utterances never pall by repetition; few authors so abound
in tenaciously quotable phrases and passages of humorous
intellectuality. What is rarely found in connection with much humor, he
had a sensitive dreaminess of nature, strongly poetic in feeling, whence
resulted a large appreciation of the subtler classes of poetry; of which
he was an acute and sympathizing critic. As part of this temperament, he
had a strong bent toward mysticism,--in one essay he says flatly that
"mysticism is true,"--which gave him a rare insight into the religious
nature and some obscure problems of religious history; though he was too
cool, scientific, and humorous to be a great theologian.

Above all, he had that instinct of selective art, in felicity of words
and salience of ideas, which elevates writing into literature; which
long after a thought has merged its being and use in those of wider
scope, keeps it in separate remembrance and retains for its creator his
due of credit through the artistic charm of the shape he gave it.

The result of a mixture of traits popularly thought incompatible, and
usually so in reality,--a great relish for the driest business facts and
a creative literary gift,--was absolutely unique. Bagehot explains the
general sterility of literature as a guide to life by the fact that "so
few people who can write know anything;" and began a reform in his own
person, by applying all his highest faculties--the best not only of his
thought but of his imagination and his literary skill--to the theme of
his daily work, banking and business affairs and political economy.
There have been many men of letters who were excellent business men and
hard bargainers, sometimes indeed merchants or bankers, but they have
held their literature as far as possible off the plane of their
bread-winning; they have not used it to explain and decorate the latter
and made that the motive of art. Bagehot loved business not alone as the
born trader loves it, for its profit and its gratification of innate
likings,--"business is really pleasanter than pleasure, though it does
not look so," he says in substance,--but as an artist loves a
picturesque situation or a journalist a murder; it pleased his literary
sense as material for analysis and composition. He had in a high degree
that union of the practical and the musing faculties which in its (as
yet) highest degree made Shakespeare; but even Shakespeare did not write
dramas on how to make theatres pay, or sonnets on real-estate

Bagehot's career was determined, as usual, partly by character and
partly by circumstances. He graduated at London University in 1848, and
studied for and was called to the bar; but his father owned an interest
in a rich old provincial bank and a good shipping-business, and instead
of the law he joined in their conduct. He had just before, however,
passed a few months in France, including the time of Louis Napoleon's
_coup d'état_ in December, 1851; and from Paris he wrote to the London
Inquirer (a Unitarian weekly) a remarkable series of letters on that
event and its immediate sequents, defending the usurpation vigorously
and outlining his political creed, from whose main lines he swerved but
little in after life. Waiving the question whether the defense was
valid,--and like all first-rate minds, Bagehot is even more instructive
when he is wrong than when he is right, because the wrong is sure to be
almost right and the truth on its side neglected,--the letters are full
of fresh, acute, and even profound ideas, sharp exposition of those
primary objects of government which demagogues and buncombe legislators
ignore, racy wit, sarcasm, and description (in one passage he rises for
a moment into really blood-stirring rhetoric), and proofs of his
capacity thus early for reducing the confused cross-currents of daily
life to the operation of great embracing laws. No other writing of a
youth of twenty-five on such subjects--or almost none--is worth
remembering at all for its matter; while this is perennially wholesome
and educative, as well as capital reading.

From this on he devoted most of his spare time to literature: that he
found so much spare time, and produced so much of a high grade while
winning respect as a business manager, proves the excellent quality of
his business brain. He was one of the editors of the National Review, a
very able and readable English quarterly, from its foundation in 1854 to
its death in 1863, and wrote for it twenty literary, biographical, and
theological papers, which are among his best titles to enduring
remembrance, and are full of his choicest flavors, his wealth of
thought, fun, poetic sensitiveness, and deep religious feeling of the
needs of human nature. Previous to this, he had written some good
articles for the Prospective Review, and he wrote some afterwards for
the Fortnightly Review (including the series afterwards gathered into
'Physics and Politics'), and other periodicals.

But his chief industry and most peculiar work was determined by his
marriage in 1858 to the daughter of James Wilson, an ex-merchant who had
founded the Economist as a journal of trade, banking, and investment,
and made it prosperous and rather influential. Mr. Wilson was engaging
in politics, where he rose to high office and would probably have ended
in the Cabinet; but being sent to India to regulate its finances, died
there in 1860. Bagehot thereupon took control of the paper, and _was_
the paper until his death in 1877; and the position he gave it was as
unique as his own. On banking, finance, taxation, and political economy
in general his utterances had such weight that Chancellors of the
Exchequer consulted him as to the revenues, and the London business
world eagerly studied the paper for guidance. But he went far beyond
this, and made it an unexampled force in politics and governmental
science, personal to himself. For the first time a great political
thinker applied his mind week by week to discussing the problems
presented by passing politics, and expounding the drift and meaning of
current events in his nation and the others which bore closest on it, as
France and America. That he gained such a hearing was due not alone to
his immense ability, and to a style carefully modeled on the
conversation of business men with each other, but to his cool moderation
and evident aloofness from party as party. He dissected each like a man
of science: party was to him a tool and not a religion. He gibed at the
Tories; but the Tories forgave him because he was half a Tory at
heart,--he utterly distrusted popular instincts and was afraid of
popular ignorance. He was rarely warm for the actual measures of the
Liberals; but the Liberals knew that he intensely despised the
pig-headed obstructiveness of the typical Tory, and had no kinship with
the blind worshipers of the _status quo_. To natives and foreigners
alike for many years the paper was single and invaluable: in it one
could find set forth acutely and dispassionately the broad facts and the
real purport of all great legislative proposals, free from the rant and
mendacity, the fury and distortion, the prejudice and counter-prejudice
of the party press.

An outgrowth of his treble position as banker, economic writer, and
general littérateur, was his charming book 'Lombard Street.' Most
writers know nothing about business, he sets forth, most business men
cannot write, therefore most writing about business is either unreadable
or untrue: he put all his literary gifts at its service, and produced a
book as instructive as a trade manual and more delightful than most
novels. Its luminous, easy, half-playful "business talk" is irresistibly
captivating. It is a description and analysis of the London money market
and its component parts,--the Bank of England, the joint-stock banks,
the private banks, and the bill-brokers. It will live, however, as
literature and as a picture, not as a banker's guide; as the vividest
outline of business London, of the "great commerce" and the fabric of
credit which is the basis of modern civilization and of which London is
the centre, that the world has ever known.

Previous to this, the most widely known of his works--'The English
Constitution,' much used as a text-book--had made a new epoch in
political analysis, and placed him among the foremost thinkers and
writers of his time. Not only did it revolutionize the accepted mode of
viewing that governmental structure, but as a treatise on government in
general its novel types of classification are now admitted commonplaces.
Besides its main themes, the book is a great store of thought and
suggestion on government, society, and human nature,--for as in all his
works, he pours on his nominal subject a flood of illumination and
analogy from the unlikeliest sources; and a piece of eminently
pleasurable reading from end to end. Its basic novelty lay in what seems
the most natural of inquiries, but which in fact was left for Bagehot's
original mind even to think of,--the actual working of the governmental
system in practice, as distinguished from legal theory. The result of
this novel analysis was startling: old powers and checks went to the
rubbish heap, and a wholly new set of machinery and even new springs of
force and life were substituted. He argued that the actual use of the
English monarchy is not to do the work of government, but through its
roots in the past to gain popular loyalty and support for the real
government, which the masses would not obey if they realized its
genuine nature; that "it raises the army though it does not win the
battle." He showed that the function of the House of Peers is not as a
co-ordinate power with the Commons (which is the real government), but
as a revising body and an index of the strength of popular feeling.
Constitutional governments he divides into Cabinet, where the people can
change the government at any time, and therefore follow its acts and
debates eagerly and instructedly; and Presidential, where they can only
change it at fixed terms, and are therefore apathetic and ill-informed
and care little for speeches which can effect nothing.

Just before 'Lombard Street' came his scientific masterpiece, 'Physics
and Politics'; a work which does for human society what the 'Origin of
Species' does for organic life, expounding its method of progress from
very low if not the lowest forms to higher ones. Indeed, one of its main
lines is only a special application of Darwin's "natural selection" to
societies, noting the survival of the strongest (which implies in the
long run the best developed in all virtues that make for social
cohesion) through conflict; but the book is so much more than that, in
spite of its heavy debt to all scientific and institutional research,
that it remains a first-rate feat of original constructive thought. It
is the more striking from its almost ludicrous brevity compared with the
novelty, variety, and pregnancy of its ideas. It is scarcely more than a
pamphlet; one can read it through in an evening: yet there is hardly any
book which is a master-key to so many historical locks, so useful a
standard for referring scattered sociological facts to, so clarifying to
the mind in the study of early history. The work is strewn with fertile
and suggestive observations from many branches of knowledge. Its leading
idea of the needs and difficulties of early societies is given in one of
the citations.

The unfinished 'Economic Studies' are partially a re-survey of the same
ground on a more limited scale, and contain in addition a mass of the
nicest and shrewdest observations on modern trade and society, full of
truth and suggestiveness. All the other books printed under his name are
collections either from the Economist or from outside publications.

As a thinker, Bagehot's leading positions may be roughly summarized
thus: in history, that reasoning from the present to the past is
generally wrong and frequently nonsense; in politics, that abstract
systems are foolish, that a government which does not benefit its
subjects has no rights against one that will, that the masses had much
better let the upper ranks do the governing than meddle with it
themselves, that all classes are too eager to act without thinking and
ought not to attempt so much; in society, that democracy is an evil
because it leaves no specially trained upper class to furnish models
for refinement. But there is vastly more besides this, and his value
lies much more in the mental clarification afforded by his details than
in the new principles of action afforded by his generalizations. He
leaves men saner, soberer, juster, with a clearer sense of perspective,
of real issues, that more than makes up for a slight diminution of zeal.

As pure literature, the most individual trait in his writings sprang
from his scorn of mere word-mongering divorced from actual life. "A man
ought to have the right of being a Philistine if he chooses," he tells
us: "there is a sickly incompleteness in men too fine for the world and
too nice to work their way through it." A great man of letters, no one
has ever mocked his craft so persistently. A great thinker, he never
tired of humorously magnifying the active and belittling the
intellectual temperament. Of course it was only half-serious: he admits
the force and utility of colossal visionaries like Shelley, constructive
scholars like Gibbon, ascetic artists like Milton, even light dreamers
like Hartley Coleridge; indeed, intellectually he appreciates all
intellectual force, and scorns feeble thought which has the effrontery
to show itself, and those who are "cross with the agony of a new idea."
But his heart goes out to the unscholarly Cavalier with his dash and his
loyalty, to the county member who "hardly reads two books per
existence," and even to the rustic who sticks to his old ideas and whom
"it takes seven weeks to comprehend an atom of a new one." A petty
surface consistency must not be exacted from the miscellaneous
utterances of a humorist: all sorts of complementary half-truths are
part of his service. His own quite just conception of humor, as meaning
merely full vision and balanced judgment, is his best defense: "when a
man has attained the deep conception that there is such a thing as
nonsense," he says, "you may be sure of him for ever after." At bottom
he is thoroughly consistent: holding that the masses should work in
contented deference to their intellectual guides, but those guides
should qualify themselves by practical experience of life, that poetry
is not an amusement for lazy sybarites but the most elevating of
spiritual influences, that religions cut the roots of their power by
trying to avoid supernaturalism and cultivate intelligibility, and that
the animal basis of human life is a screen expressly devised to shut off
direct knowledge of God and make character possible.

To make his acquaintance first is to enter upon a store of high and fine
enjoyment, and of strong and vivifying thought, which one must be either
very rich of attainment or very feeble of grasp to find unprofitable or


From 'Letters on the French Coup d'État'

I fear you will laugh when I tell you what I conceive to be about the
most essential mental quality for a free people whose liberty is to be
progressive, permanent, and on a large scale: it is much stupidity. Not
to begin by wounding any present susceptibilities, let me take the Roman
character; for with one great exception,--I need not say to whom I
allude,--they are the great political people of history. Now, is not a
certain dullness their most visible characteristic? What is the history
of their speculative mind? a blank; what their literature? a copy. They
have left not a single discovery in any abstract science, not a single
perfect or well-formed work of high imagination. The Greeks, the
perfection of human and accomplished genius, bequeathed to mankind the
ideal forms of self-idolizing art, the Romans imitated and admired; the
Greeks explained the laws of nature, the Romans wondered and despised;
the Greeks invented a system of numerals second only to that now in use,
the Romans counted to the end of their days with the clumsy apparatus
which we still call by their name; the Greeks made a capital and
scientific calendar, the Romans began their month when the Pontifex
Maximus happened to spy out the new moon. Throughout Latin literature,
this is the perpetual puzzle:--Why are we free and they slaves, we
praetors and they barbers? why do the stupid people always win and the
clever people always lose? I need not say that in real sound stupidity
the English are unrivaled: you'll hear more wit and better wit in an
Irish street row than would keep Westminster Hall in humor for
five weeks.

       *       *       *       *       *

In fact, what we opprobriously call "stupidity," though not an
enlivening quality in common society, is nature's favorite resource for
preserving steadiness of conduct and consistency of opinion; it enforces
concentration: people who learn slowly, learn only what they must. The
best security for people's doing their duty is, that they should not
know anything else to do; the best security for fixedness of opinion is,
that people should be incapable of comprehending what is to be said on
the other side. These valuable truths are no discoveries of mine: they
are familiar enough to people whose business it is to know them. Hear
what a douce and aged attorney says of your peculiarly promising
barrister:--"Sharp? Oh, yes! he's too sharp by half. He is not _safe_,
not a minute, isn't that young man." I extend this, and advisedly
maintain that nations, just as individuals, may be too clever to be
practical and not dull enough to be free....

And what I call a proper stupidity keeps a man from all the defects of
this character: it chains the gifted possessor mainly to his old ideas,
it takes him seven weeks to comprehend an atom of a new one; it keeps
him from being led away by new theories, for there is nothing which
bores him so much; it restrains him within his old pursuits, his
well-known habits, his tried expedients, his verified conclusions, his
traditional beliefs. He is not tempted to levity or impatience, for he
does not see the joke and is thick-skinned to present evils.
Inconsistency puts him out: "What I says is this here, as I was a-saying
yesterday," is his notion of historical eloquence and habitual
discretion. He is very slow indeed to be excited,--his passions, his
feelings, and his affections are dull and tardy strong things, falling
in a certain known direction, fixed on certain known objects, and for
the most part acting in a moderate degree and at a sluggish pace. You
always know where to find his mind. Now, this is exactly what (in
politics at least) you do not know about a Frenchman.


From 'The First Edinburgh Reviewers'

Review writing exemplifies the casual character of modern literature:
everything about it is temporary and fragmentary. Look at a railway
stall: you see books of every color,--blue, yellow, crimson,
"ring-streaked, speckled, and spotted,"--on every subject, in every
style, of every opinion, with every conceivable difference, celestial or
sublunary, maleficent, beneficent--but all small. People take their
literature in morsels, as they take sandwiches on a journey....

And the change in appearance of books has been accompanied--has been
caused--by a similar change in readers. What a transition from the
student of former ages! from a grave man with grave cheeks and a
considerate eye, who spends his life in study, has no interest in the
outward world, hears nothing of its din and cares nothing for its
honors, who would gladly learn and gladly teach, whose whole soul is
taken up with a few books of 'Aristotle and his Philosophy,'--to the
merchant in the railway, with a head full of sums, an idea that tallow
is "up," a conviction that teas are "lively," and a mind reverting
perpetually from the little volume which he reads to these mundane
topics, to the railway, to the shares, to the buying and bargaining
universe. We must not wonder that the outside of books is so different,
when the inner nature of those for whom they are written is so changed.

In this transition from ancient writing to modern, the review-like essay
and the essay-like review fill a large space. Their small bulk, their
slight pretension to systematic completeness,--their avowal, it might be
said, of necessary incompleteness,--the facility of changing the
subject, of selecting points to attack, of exposing only the best corner
for defense, are great temptations. Still greater is the advantage of
"our limits." A real reviewer always spends his first and best pages on
the parts of a subject on which he wishes to write, the easy comfortable
parts which he knows. The formidable difficulties which he acknowledges,
you foresee by a strange fatality that he will only reach two pages
before the end; to his great grief, there is no opportunity for
discussing them. As a young gentleman at the India House examination
wrote "Time up" on nine unfinished papers in succession, so you may
occasionally read a whole review, in every article of which the
principal difficulty of each successive question is about to be reached
at the conclusion. Nor can any one deny that this is the suitable skill,
the judicious custom of the craft.


From 'The First Edinburgh Reviewers'

As for Lord Eldon, it is the most difficult thing in the world to
believe that there ever was such a man; it only shows how intense
historical evidence is, that no one really doubts it. He believed in
everything which it is impossible to believe in,--in the danger of
Parliamentary Reform, the danger of Catholic Emancipation, the danger of
altering the Court of Chancery, the danger of altering the courts of
law, the danger of abolishing capital punishment for trivial thefts,
the danger of making land-owners pay their debts, the danger of making
anything more, the danger of making anything less. It seems as if he
maturely thought, "Now, I know the present state of things to be
consistent with the existence of John Lord Eldon; but if we begin
altering that state, I am sure I do not know that it will be
consistent." As Sir Robert Walpole was against all committees of inquiry
on the simple ground, "If they once begin that sort of thing, who knows
who will be safe?" so that great Chancellor (still remembered in his own
scene) looked pleasantly down from the woolsack, and seemed to observe,
"Well, it _is_ a queer thing that I should be here, and here I mean
to stay."


From 'Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Browning'

There is a most formidable and estimable _insane_ taste. The will has
great though indirect power over the taste, just as it has over the
belief. There are some horrid beliefs from which human nature revolts,
from which at first it shrinks, to which at first no effort can force
it. But if we fix the mind upon them, they have a power over us, just
because of their natural offensiveness. They are like the sight of human
blood. Experienced soldiers tell us that at first, men are sickened by
the smell and newness of blood, almost to death and fainting; but that
as soon as they harden their hearts and stiffen their minds, as soon as
they _will_ bear it, then comes an appetite for slaughter, a tendency to
gloat on carnage, to love blood (at least for the moment) with a deep,
eager love. It is a principle that if we put down a healthy instinctive
aversion, nature avenges herself by creating an unhealthy insane
attraction. For this reason, the most earnest truth-seeking men fall
into the worst delusions. They will not let their mind alone; they force
it toward some ugly thing, which a crotchet of argument, a conceit of
intellect recommends: and nature punishes their disregard of her warning
by subjection to the ugly one, by belief in it. Just so, the most
industrious critics get the most admiration. They think it unjust to
rest in their instinctive natural horror; they overcome it, and angry
nature gives them over to ugly poems and marries them to
detestable stanzas.


From 'Shakespeare, the Man,' etc.

The reason why so few good books are written is, that so few people that
can write know anything. In general, an author has always lived in a
room, has read books, has cultivated science, is acquainted with the
style and sentiments of the best authors, but he is out of the way of
employing his own eyes and ears. He has nothing to hear and nothing to
see. His life is a vacuum. The mental habits of Robert Southey, which
about a year ago were so extensively praised in the public journals, are
the type of literary existence, just as the praise bestowed on them
shows the admiration excited by them among literary people. He wrote
poetry (as if anybody could) before breakfast; he read during breakfast.
He wrote history until dinner; he corrected proof-sheets between dinner
and tea; he wrote an essay for the Quarterly afterwards; and after
supper, by way of relaxation, composed 'The Doctor'--a lengthy and
elaborate jest. Now, what can any one think of such a life?--except how
clearly it shows that the habits best fitted for communicating
information, formed with the best care, and daily regulated by the best
motives, are exactly the habits which are likely to afford a man the
least information to communicate. Southey had no events, no experiences.
His wife kept house and allowed him pocket-money, just as if he had been
a German professor devoted to accents, tobacco, and the dates of
Horace's amours....

The critic in the 'Vicar of Wakefield' lays down that you should
_always_ say that the picture would have been better if the painter had
taken more pains; but in the case of the practiced literary man, you
should often enough say that the writings would have been much better if
the writer had taken less pains. He says he has devoted his life to the
subject; the reply is, "Then you have taken the best way to prevent your
making anything of it. Instead of reading studiously what Burgersdicius
and Aenesidemus said men were, you should have gone out yourself and
seen (if you can see) what they are." But there is a whole class of
minds which prefer the literary delineation of objects to the actual
eyesight of them. Such a man would naturally think literature more
instructive than life. Hazlitt said of Mackintosh, "He might like to
read an _account_ of India; but India itself, with its burning, shining
face, would be a mere blank, an endless waste to him. Persons of this
class have no more to say to a matter of fact staring them in the face,
without a label in its mouth, than they would to a hippopotamus."...

After all, the original way of writing books may turn out to be the
best. The first author, it is plain, could not have taken anything from
books, since there were no books for him to copy from; he looked at
things for himself. Anyhow the modern system fails, for where are the
amusing books from voracious students and habitual writers?

Moreover, in general, it will perhaps be found that persons devoted to
mere literature commonly become devoted to mere idleness. They wish to
produce a great work, but they find they cannot. Having relinquished
everything to devote themselves to this, they conclude on trial that
this is impossible; they wish to write, but nothing occurs to them:
therefore they write nothing and they do nothing. As has been said, they
have nothing to do; their life has no events, unless they are very poor;
with any decent means of subsistence, they have nothing to rouse them
from an indolent and musing dream. A merchant must meet his bills, or he
is civilly dead and uncivilly remembered; but a student may know nothing
of time, and be too lazy to wind lip his watch.


From 'William Cowper'

If there be any truly painful fact about the world now tolerably well
established by ample experience and ample records, it is that an
intellectual and indolent happiness is wholly denied to the children of
men. That most valuable author, Lucretius, who has supplied us and
others with an almost inexhaustible supply of metaphors on this topic,
ever dwells on the life of his gods with a sad and melancholy feeling
that no such life was possible on a crude and cumbersome earth. In
general, the two opposing agencies are marriage and lack of money;
either of these breaks the lot of literary and refined inaction at once
and forever. The first of these, as we have seen, Cowper had escaped;
his reserved and negligent reveries were still free, at least from the
invasion of affection. To this invasion, indeed, there is commonly
requisite the acquiescence or connivance of mortality; but all men are
born--not free and equal, as the Americans maintain, but, in the Old
World at least--basely subjected to the yoke of coin. It is in vain that
in this hemisphere we endeavor after impecuniary fancies. In bold and
eager youth we go out on our travels: we visit Baalbec and Paphos and
Tadmor and Cythera,--ancient shrines and ancient empires, seats of eager
love or gentle inspiration; we wander far and long; we have nothing to
do with our fellow-men,--what are we, indeed, to diggers and counters?
we wander far, we dream to wander forever--but we dream in vain. A surer
force than the subtlest fascination of fancy is in operation; the
purse-strings tie us to our kind. Our travel coin runs low, and we must
return, away from Tadmor and Baalbec, back to our steady, tedious
industry and dull work, to "la vieille Europe" (as Napoleon said), "qui
m'ennuie." It is the same in thought: in vain we seclude ourselves in
elegant chambers, in fascinating fancies, in refined reflections.


From 'Edward Gibbon'

In school work Gibbon had uncommon difficulties and unusual
deficiencies; but these were much more than counterbalanced by a habit
which often accompanies a sickly childhood, and is the commencement of a
studious life,--the habit of desultory reading. The instructiveness of
this is sometimes not comprehended. S. T. Coleridge used to say that he
felt a great superiority over those who had not read--and fondly
read--fairy tales in their childhood: he thought they wanted a sense
which he possessed, the perception, or apperception--we do not know
which he used to say it was--of the unity and wholeness of the universe.
As to fairy tales, this is a hard saying; but as to desultory reading,
it is certainly true. Some people have known a time in life when there
was no book they could not read. The fact of its being a book went
immensely in its favor. In early life there is an opinion that the
obvious thing to do with a horse is to ride it; with a cake, to eat it;
with sixpence, to spend it. A few boys carry this further, and think
the natural thing to do with a book is to read it. There is an argument
from design in the subject: if the book was not meant for that purpose,
for what purpose was it meant? Of course, of any understanding of the
works so perused there is no question or idea. There is a legend of
Bentham, in his earliest childhood, climbing to the height of a huge
stool, and sitting there evening after evening, with two candles,
engaged in the perusal of Rapin's history; it might as well have been
any other book. The doctrine of utility had not then dawned on its
immortal teacher; _cui bono_ was an idea unknown to him. He would have
been ready to read about Egypt, about Spain, about coals in Borneo, the
teak-wood in India, the current in the River Mississippi, on natural
history or human history, on theology or morals, on the state of the
Dark Ages or the state of the Light Ages, on Augustulus or Lord Chatham,
on the first century or the seventeenth, on the moon, the millennium, or
the whole duty of man. Just then, reading is an end in itself. At that
time of life you no more think of a future consequence--of the remote,
the very remote possibility of deriving knowledge from the perusal of a
book, than you expect so great a result from spinning a peg-top. You
spin the top, and you read the book; and these scenes of life are
exhausted. In such studies, of all prose, perhaps the best is history:
one page is so like another, battle No. 1 is so much on a par with
battle No. 2. Truth may be, as they say, stranger than fiction,
abstractedly; but in actual books, novels are certainly odder and more
astounding than correct history.

It will be said, What is the use of this? why not leave the reading of
great books till a great age? why plague and perplex childhood with
complex facts remote from its experience and inapprehensible by its
imagination? The reply is, that though in all great and combined facts
there is much which childhood cannot thoroughly imagine, there is also
in very many a great deal which can only be truly apprehended for the
first time at that age. Youth has a principle of consolidation; we begin
with the whole. Small sciences are the labors of our manhood; but the
round universe is the plaything of the boy. His fresh mind shoots out
vaguely and crudely into the infinite and eternal. Nothing is hid from
the depth of it; there are no boundaries to its vague and wandering
vision. Early science, it has been said, begins in utter nonsense; it
would be truer to say that it starts with boyish fancies. How absurd
seem the notions of the first Greeks! Who could believe now that air or
water was the principle, the pervading substance, the eternal material
of all things? Such affairs will never explain a thick rock. And what a
white original for a green and sky-blue world! Yet people disputed in
these ages not whether it was either of those substances, but which of
them it was. And doubtless there was a great deal, at least in quantity,
to be said on both sides. Boys are improved; but some in our own day
have asked, "Mamma, I say, what did God make the world of?" and several,
who did not venture on speech, have had an idea of some one gray
primitive thing, felt a difficulty as to how the red came, and wondered
that marble could _ever_ have been the same as moonshine. This is in
truth the picture of life. We begin with the infinite and eternal, which
we shall never apprehend; and these form a framework, a schedule, a set
of co-ordinates to which we refer all which we learn later. At first,
like the old Greek, "We look up to the whole sky, and are lost in the
one and the all;" in the end we classify and enumerate, learn each star,
calculate distances, draw cramped diagrams on the unbounded sky, write a
paper on a Cygni and a treatise on e Draconis, map special facts upon
the indefinite void, and engrave precise details on the infinite and
everlasting. So in history: somehow the whole comes in boyhood, the
details later and in manhood. The wonderful series, going far back to
the times of old patriarchs with their flocks and herds, the keen-eyed
Greek, the stately Roman, the watching Jew, the uncouth Goth, the horrid
Hun, the settled picture of the unchanging East, the restless shifting
of the rapid West, the rise of the cold and classical civilization, its
fall, the rough impetuous Middle Ages, the vague warm picture of
ourselves and home,--when did we learn these? Not yesterday nor to-day:
but long ago, in the first dawn of reason, in the original flow of
fancy. What we learn afterwards are but the accurate littlenesses of the
great topic, the dates and tedious facts. Those who begin late learn
only these; but the happy first feel the mystic associations and the
progress of the whole.

However exalted may seem the praises which we have given to loose and
unplanned reading, we are not saying that it is the sole ingredient of a
good education. Besides this sort of education, which some boys will
voluntarily and naturally give themselves, there needs, of course,
another and more rigorous kind, which must be impressed upon them from
without. The terrible difficulty of early life--the _use_ of pastors and
masters really is, that they compel boys to a distinct mastery of that
which they do not wish to learn. There is nothing to be said for a
preceptor who is not dry. Mr. Carlyle describes, with bitter satire, the
fate of one of his heroes who was obliged to acquire whole systems of
information in which he, the hero, saw no use, and which he kept, as far
as might be, in a vacant corner of his mind. And this is the very point:
dry language, tedious mathematics, a thumbed grammar, a detested slate
form gradually an interior separate intellect, exact in its information,
rigid in its requirements, disciplined in its exercises. The two grow
together; the early natural fancy touching the far extremities of the
universe, lightly playing with the scheme of all things; the precise,
compacted memory slowly accumulating special facts, exact habits, clear
and painful conceptions. At last, as it were in a moment, the cloud
breaks up, the division sweeps away; we find that in fact these
exercises which puzzled us, these languages which we hated, these
details which we despised, are the instruments of true thought; are the
very keys and openings, the exclusive access to the knowledge which
we loved.

Photogravure from a Painting by F. Vinea.



From 'Thomas Babington Macaulay'

What historian has ever estimated the Cavalier character? There is
Clarendon, the grave, rhetorical, decorous lawyer, piling words,
congealing arguments; very stately, a little grim. There is Hume, the
Scotch metaphysician, who has made out the best case for such people as
never were, for a Charles who never died, for a Strafford who would
never have been attainted; a saving, calculating North-country man, fat,
impassive, who lived on eightpence a day. What have these people to do
with an enjoying English gentleman? It is easy for a doctrinaire to bear
a post-mortem examination,--it is much the same whether he be alive or
dead; but not so with those who live during their life, whose essence is
existence, whose being is in animation. There seem to be some characters
who are not made for history, as there are some who are not made for old
age. A Cavalier is always young. The buoyant life arises before us,
rich in hope, strong in vigor, irregular in action; men young and
ardent, "framed in the prodigality of nature"; open to every enjoyment,
alive to every passion, eager, impulsive; brave without discipline,
noble without principle; prizing luxury, despising danger; capable of
high sentiment, but in each of whom the

     "Addiction was to courses vain,
     His companies unlettered, rude, and shallow,
     His hours filled up with riots, banquets, sports,
     And never noted in him any study,
     Any retirement, any sequestration
     From open haunts and popularity."

We see these men setting forth or assembling to defend their king or
church, and we see it without surprise; a rich daring loves danger, a
deep excitability likes excitement. If we look around us, we may see
what is analogous: some say that the battle of the Alma was won by the
"uneducated gentry"; the "uneducated gentry" would be Cavaliers now. The
political sentiment is part of the character; the essence of Toryism is
enjoyment. Talk of the ways of spreading a wholesome conservatism
throughout this country! Give painful lectures, distribute weary tracts
(and perhaps this is as well,--you may be able to give an argumentative
answer to a few objections, you may diffuse a distinct notion of the
dignified dullness of politics); but as far as communicating and
establishing your creed are concerned, try a little pleasure. The way to
keep up old customs is to enjoy old customs; the way to be satisfied
with the present state of things is to enjoy that state of things. Over
the "Cavalier" mind this world passes with a thrill of delight; there is
an exaltation in a daily event, zest in the "regular thing," joy at an
old feast.


From 'Bishop Butler'

The moral principle (whatever may be said to the contrary by complacent
thinkers) is really and to most men a principle of fear. The delights of
a good conscience may be reserved for better things, but few men who
know themselves will say that they have often felt them by vivid and
actual experience; a sensation of shame, of reproach, of remorse, of sin
(to use the word we instinctively shrink from because it expresses the
meaning), is what the moral principle really and practically thrusts on
most men. Conscience is the condemnation of ourselves; we expect a
penalty. As the Greek proverb teaches, "where there is shame there is
fear"; where there is the deep and intimate anxiety of guilt,--the
feeling which has driven murderers and other than murderers forth to
wastes and rocks and stones and tempests,--we see, as it were, in a
single complex and indivisible sensation, the pain and sense of guilt
and the painful anticipation of its punishment. How to be free from
this, is the question; how to get loose from this; how to be rid of the
secret tie which binds the strong man and cramps his pride, and makes
him angry at the beauty of the universe,--which will not let him go
forth like a great animal, like the king of the forest, in the glory of
his might, but restrains him with an inner fear and a secret foreboding
that if he do but exalt himself he shall be abased, if he do but set
forth his own dignity he will offend ONE who will deprive him of it.
This, as has often been pointed out, is the source of the bloody rites
of heathendom. You are going to battle, you are going out in the bright
sun with dancing plumes and glittering spear; your shield shines, and
your feathers wave, and your limbs are glad with the consciousness of
strength, and your mind is warm with glory and renown; with coming glory
and unobtained renown: for who are you to hope for these; who are _you_
to go forth proudly against the pride of the sun, with your secret sin
and your haunting shame and your real fear? First lie down and abase
yourself; strike your back with hard stripes; cut deep with a sharp
knife, as if you would eradicate the consciousness; cry aloud; put ashes
on your head; bruise yourself with stones,--then perhaps God may pardon
you. Or, better still (so runs the incoherent feeling), give him
something--your ox, your ass, whole hecatombs if you are rich enough;
anything, it is but a chance,--you do not know what will please him; at
any rate, what you love best yourself,--that is, most likely, your
first-born son. Then, after such gifts and such humiliation, he may be
appeased, he may let you off; he may without anger let you go forth,
Achilles-like, in the glory of your shield; he may _not_ send you home
as he would else, the victim of rout and treachery, with broken arms and
foul limbs, in weariness and humiliation. Of course, it is not this kind
of fanaticism that we impute to a prelate of the English Church; human
sacrifices are not respectable, and Achilles was not rector of Stanhope.
But though the costume and circumstances of life change, the human heart
does not; its feelings remain. The same anxiety, the same consciousness
of personal sin which led in barbarous times to what has been described,
show themselves in civilized life as well. In this quieter period, their
great manifestation is scrupulosity: a care about the ritual of life; an
attention to meats and drinks, and "cups and washings." Being so
unworthy as we are, feeling what we feel, abased as we are abased, who
shall say that those are beneath us? In ardent, imaginative youth they
may seem so; but let a few years come, let them dull the will or
contract the heart or stain the mind; then the consequent feeling will
be, as all experience shows, not that a ritual is too mean, too low, too
degrading for human nature, but that it is a mercy we have to do no
more,--that we have only to wash in Jordan, that we have not even to go
out into the unknown distance to seek for Abana and Pharpar, rivers of
Damascus. We have no right to judge; we cannot decide; we must do what
is laid down for us,--we fail daily even in this; we must never cease
for a moment in our scrupulous anxiety to omit by no tittle and to
exceed by no iota.


From 'Sir Robert Peel'

It might be said that this [necessity for newspapers and statesmen of
following the crowd] is only one of the results of that tyranny of
commonplace which seems to accompany civilization. You may talk of the
tyranny of Nero and Tiberius; but the real tyranny is the tyranny of
your next-door neighbor. What law is so cruel as the law of doing what
he does? What yoke is so galling as the necessity of being like him?
What espionage of despotism comes to your door so effectually as the eye
of the man who lives at your door? Public opinion is a permeating
influence, and it exacts obedience to itself; it requires us to think
other men's thoughts, to speak other men's words, to follow other men's
habits. Of course, if we do not, no formal ban issues; no corporeal
pain, no coarse penalty of a barbarous society is inflicted on the
offender; but we are called "eccentric"; there is a gentle murmur of
"most unfortunate ideas," "singular young man," "well-intentioned, I
dare say; but unsafe, sir, quite unsafe."

Whatever truth there may be in these splenetic observations might be
expected to show itself more particularly in the world of politics:
people dread to be thought unsafe in proportion as they get their living
by being thought to be safe. Those who desire a public career must look
to the views of the living public; an immediate exterior influence is
essential to the exertion of their faculties. The confidence of others
is your _fulcrum:_ you cannot--many people wish you could--go into
Parliament to represent yourself; you must conform to the opinions of
the electors, and they, depend on it, will not be original. In a word,
as has been most wisely observed, "under free institutions it is
necessary occasionally to defer to the opinions of other people; and as
other people are obviously in the wrong, this is a great hindrance to
the improvement of our political system and the progress of
our species."


From 'Bolingbroke'

It is very natural that brilliant and vehement men should depreciate
Harley; for he had nothing which they possess, but had everything which
they commonly do not possess. He was by nature a moderate man. In that
age they called such a man a "trimmer," but they called him ill: such a
man does not consciously shift or purposely trim his course,--he firmly
believes that he is substantially consistent. "I do not wish in this
House," he would say in our age, "to be a party to any extreme course.
Mr. Gladstone brings forward a great many things which I cannot
understand; I assure you he does. There is more in that bill of his
about tobacco than he thinks; I am confident there is. Money is a
serious thing, a _very_ serious thing. And I am sorry to say Mr.
Disraeli commits the party very much: he avows sentiments which are
injudicious; I cannot go along with him, nor can Sir John. He was not
taught the catechism; I know he was not. There is a want in him of sound
and sober religion,--and Sir John agrees with me,--which would keep him
from distressing the clergy, who are very important. Great orators are
very well; but as I said, how is the revenue? And the point is, not be
led away, and to be moderate, and not to go to an extreme. As soon as it
seems _very_ clear, then I begin to doubt. I have been many years in
Parliament, and that is my experience." We may laugh at such speeches,
but there have been plenty of them in every English Parliament. A great
English divine has been described as always leaving out the principle
upon which his arguments rested; even if it was stated to him, he
regarded it as far-fetched and extravagant. Any politician who has this
temper of mind will always have many followers; and he may be nearly
sure that all great measures will be passed more nearly as he wishes
them to be passed than as great orators wish. Nine-tenths of mankind are
more afraid of violence than of anything else; and inconsistent
moderation is always popular, because of all qualities it is most
opposite to violence,--most likely to preserve the present safe


From 'The English Constitution'

The conditions of fitness are two: first, you must get a good
legislature; and next, you must keep it good. And these are by no means
so nearly connected as might be thought at first sight. To keep a
legislature efficient, it must have a sufficient supply of substantial
business: if you employ the best set of men to do nearly nothing, they
will quarrel with each other about that nothing; where great questions
end, little parties begin. And a very happy community, with few new laws
to make, few old bad laws to repeal, and but simple foreign relations to
adjust, has great difficulty in employing a legislature,--there is
nothing for it to enact and nothing for it to settle. Accordingly, there
is great danger that the legislature, being debarred from all other
kinds of business, may take to quarreling about its elective business;
that controversies as to ministries may occupy all its time, and yet
that time be perniciously employed; that a constant succession of feeble
administrations, unable to govern and unfit to govern, may be
substituted for the proper result of cabinet government, a sufficient
body of men long enough in power to evince their sufficiency. The exact
amount of non-elective business necessary for a parliament which is to
elect the executive cannot, of course, be formally stated,--there are no
numbers and no statistics in the theory of constitutions; all we can say
is, that a parliament with little business, which is to be as efficient
as a parliament with much business, must be in all other respects much
better. An indifferent parliament may be much improved by the steadying
effect of grave affairs; but a parliament which has no such affairs must
be intrinsically excellent, or it will fail utterly.

But the difficulty of keeping a good legislature is evidently secondary
to the difficulty of first getting it. There are two kinds of nations
which can elect a good parliament. The first is a nation in which the
mass of the people are intelligent, and in which they are comfortable.
Where there is no honest poverty, where education is diffused and
political intelligence is common, it is easy for the mass of the people
to elect a fair legislature. The ideal is roughly realized in the North
American colonies of England, and in the whole free States of the Union:
in these countries there is no such thing as honest poverty,--physical
comfort, such as the poor cannot imagine here, is there easily
attainable by healthy industry; education is diffused much, and is fast
spreading,--ignorant emigrants from the Old World often prize the
intellectual advantages of which they are themselves destitute, and are
annoyed at their inferiority in a place where rudimentary culture is so
common. The greatest difficulty of such new communities is commonly
geographical: the population is mostly scattered; and where population
is sparse, discussion is difficult. But in a country very large as we
reckon in Europe, a people really intelligent, really educated, really
comfortable, would soon form a good opinion. No one can doubt that the
New England States, if they were a separate community, would have an
education, a political capacity, and an intelligence such as the
numerical majority of no people equally numerous has ever possessed: in
a State of this sort, where all the community is fit to choose a
sufficient legislature, it is possible, it is almost easy, to create
that legislature. If the New England States possessed a cabinet
government as a separate nation, they would be as renowned in the world
for political sagacity as they now are for diffused happiness.


From 'Physics and Politics'

I believe the general description in which Sir John Lubbock sums up his
estimate of the savage mind suits the patriarchal mind: "Savages," he
says, "have the character of children with the passions and strength
of men."...

And this is precisely what we should expect. "An inherited drill,"
science says, "makes modern nations what they are; their born structure
bears the trace of the laws of their fathers:" but the ancient nations
came into no such inheritance,--they were the descendants of people who
did what was right in their own eyes; they were born to no tutored
habits, no preservative bonds, and therefore they were at the mercy of
every impulse and blown by every passion....

Again, I at least cannot call up to myself the loose conceptions (as
they must have been) of morals which then existed. If we set aside all
the element derived from law and polity which runs through our current
moral notions, I hardly know what we shall have left. The residuum was
somehow and in some vague way intelligible to the ante-political man;
but it must have been uncertain, wavering, and unfit to be depended
upon. In the best cases it existed much as the vague feeling of beauty
now exists in minds sensitive but untaught,--a still small voice of
uncertain meaning, an unknown something modifying everything else and
higher than anything else, yet in form so indistinct that when you
looked for it, it was gone; or if this be thought the delicate fiction
of a later fancy, then morality was at least to be found in the wild
spasms of "wild justice," half punishment, half outrage: but anyhow,
being unfixed by steady law, it was intermittent, vague, and hard for us
to imagine....

To sum up:--_Law_--rigid, definite, concise law--is the primary want of
early mankind; that which they need above anything else, that which is
requisite before they can gain anything else. But it is their greatest
difficulty as well as their first requisite; the thing most out of their
reach as well as that most beneficial to them if they reach it. In later
ages, many races have gained much of this discipline quickly though
painfully,--a loose set of scattered clans has been often and often
forced to substantial settlement by a rigid conqueror; the Romans did
half the work for above half Europe. But where could the first ages find
Romans or a conqueror? men conquer by the power of government, and it
was exactly government which then was not. The first ascent of
civilization was at a steep gradient, though when now we look down upon
it, it seems almost nothing.

How the step from no polity to polity was made, distinct history does
not record.... But when once polities were begun, there is no difficulty
in explaining why they lasted. Whatever may be said against the
principle of "natural selection" in other departments, there is no doubt
of its predominance in early human history: the strongest killed out the
weakest as they could. And I need not pause to prove that any form of
polity is more efficient than none; that an aggregate of families owning
even a slippery allegiance to a single head would be sure to have the
better of a set of families acknowledging no obedience to any one, but
scattering loose about the world and fighting where they stood. Homer's
Cyclops would be powerless against the feeblest band; so far from its
being singular that we find no other record of that state of man, so
unstable and sure to perish was it that we should rather wonder at even
a single vestige lasting down to the age when for picturesqueness it
became valuable in poetry.

But though the origin of polity is dubious, we are upon the _terra
firma_ of actual records when we speak of the preservation of polities.
Perhaps every young Englishman who comes nowadays to Aristotle or Plato
is struck with their conservatism: fresh from the liberal doctrines of
the present age, he wonders at finding in those recognized teachers so
much contrary teaching. They both, unlike as they are, hold with
Xenophon so unlike both, that man is "the hardest of all animals to
govern." Of Plato it might indeed be plausibly said that the adherents
of an intuitive philosophy, being "the Tories of speculation," have
commonly been prone to conservatism in government; but Aristotle, the
founder of the experience philosophy, ought according to that doctrine
to have been a Liberal if any one ever was a Liberal. In fact, both of
these men lived when men "had not had time to forget" the difficulties
of government: we have forgotten them altogether. We reckon as the basis
of our culture upon an amount of order, of tacit obedience, of
prescriptive governability, which these philosophers hoped to get as a
principal result of their culture; we take without thought as a _datum_
what they hunted as a _quaesitum_.

In early times the quantity of government is much more important than
its quality. What you want is a comprehensive rule binding men together,
making them do much the same things, telling them what to expect of each
other,--fashioning them alike and keeping them so: what this rule is,
does not matter so much. A good rule is better than a bad one, but any
rule is better than none; while, for reasons which a jurist will
appreciate, none can be very good. But to gain that rule, what may be
called the "impressive" elements of a polity are incomparably more
important than its useful elements. How to get the obedience of men, is
the hard problem; what you do with that obedience is less critical.

To gain that obedience, the primary condition is the identity--not the
union, but the sameness--of what we now call "church" and "state."... No
division of power is then endurable without danger, probably without
destruction: the priest must not teach one thing and the king another;
king must be priest and prophet king,--the two must say the same because
they are the same. The idea of difference between spiritual penalties
and legal penalties must never be awakened,--indeed, early Greek thought
or early Roman thought would never have comprehended it; there was a
kind of rough public opinion, and there were rough--very rough--hands
which acted on it. We now talk of "political penalties" and
"ecclesiastical prohibition" and "the social censure"; but they were all
one then. Nothing is very like those old communities now, but perhaps a
trades-union is as near as most things: to work cheap is thought to be a
"wicked" thing, and so some Broadhead puts it down.

The object of such organizations is to create what may be called a
_cake_ of custom. All the actions of life are to be submitted to a
single rule for a single object,--that gradually created "hereditary
drill" which science teaches to be essential, and which the early
instinct of men saw to be essential too. That this _régime_ forbids free
thought is not an evil,--or rather, though an evil, it is the necessary
basis for the greatest good; it is necessary for making the mold of
civilization and hardening the soft fibre of early man.


From 'Physics and Politics'

In this manner polities of discussion broke up the old bonds of custom
which were now strangling mankind, though they had once aided and helped
it; but this is only one of the many gifts which those polities have
conferred, are conferring, and will confer on mankind. I am not going to
write a eulogium on liberty, but I wish to set down three points which
have not been sufficiently noticed.

Civilized ages inherit the human nature which was victorious in
barbarous ages, and that nature is in many respects not at all suited to
civilized circumstances. A main and principal excellence in the early
times of the human races is the impulse to action. The problems before
men are then plain and simple: the man who works hardest, the man who
kills the most deer, the man who catches the most fish--even later on,
the man who tends the largest herds or the man who tills the largest
field--is the man who succeeds; the nation which is quickest to kill its
enemies or which kills most of its enemies is the nation which succeeds.
All the inducements of early society tend to foster immediate action,
all its penalties fall on the man who pauses; the traditional wisdom of
those times was never weary of inculcating that "delays are dangerous,"
and that the sluggish man--the man "who roasteth not that which he took
in hunting"--will not prosper on the earth, and indeed will very soon
perish out of it: and in consequence an inability to stay quiet, an
irritable desire to act directly, is one of the most conspicuous
failings of mankind.

Pascal said that most of the evils of life arose from "man's being
unable to sit still in a room"; and though I do not go that length, it
is certain that we should have been a far wiser race than we are if we
had been readier to sit quiet,--we should have known much better the way
in which it was best to act when we came to act. The rise of physical
science, the first great body of practical truth provable to all men,
exemplifies this in the plainest way: if it had not been for quiet
people who sat still and studied the sections of the cone, if other
quiet people had not sat still and studied the theory of infinitesimals,
or other quiet people had not sat still and worked out the doctrine of
chances (the most "dreamy moonshine," as the purely practical mind
would consider, of all human pursuits), if "idle star-gazers" had not
watched long and carefully the motions of the heavenly bodies,--our
modern astronomy would have been impossible, and without our astronomy
"our ships, our colonies, our seamen," all which makes modern life
modern life, could not have existed. Ages of sedentary, quiet, thinking
people were required before that noisy existence began, and without
those pale preliminary students it never could have been brought into
being. And nine-tenths of modern science is in this respect the same: it
is the produce of men whom their contemporaries thought dreamers, who
were laughed at for caring for what did not concern them, who as the
proverb went "walked into a well from looking at the stars," who were
believed to be useless if any one could be such. And the conclusion is
plain that if there had been more such people, if the world had not
laughed at those there were, if rather it had encouraged them, there
would have been a great accumulation of proved science ages before there
was. It was the irritable activity, the "wish to be doing something,"
that prevented it,--most men inherited a nature too eager and too
restless to be quiet and find out things: and even worse, with their
idle clamor they "disturbed the brooding hen"; they would not let those
be quiet who wished to be so, and out of whose calm thought much good
might have come forth.

If we consider how much science has done and how much it is doing for
mankind, and if the over-activity of men is proved to be the cause why
science came so late into the world and is so small and scanty still,
that will convince most people that our over-activity is a very great
evil; but this is only part and perhaps not the greatest part, of the
harm that over-activity does. As I have said, it is inherited from times
when life was simple, objects were plain, and quick action generally led
to desirable ends: if A kills B before B kills A, then A survives, and
the human race is a race of A's. But the issues of life are plain no
longer: to act rightly in modern society requires a great deal of
previous study, a great deal of assimilated information, a great deal of
sharpened imagination; and these prerequisites of sound action require
much time, and I was going to say much "lying in the sun," a long period
of "mere passiveness."

[Argument to show that the same vice of impatience damages war,
philanthropy, commerce, and even speculation.]

But it will be said, What has government by discussion to do with these
things? will it prevent them, or even mitigate them? It can and does do
both, in the very plainest way. If you want to stop instant and
immediate action, always make it a condition that the action shall not
begin till a considerable number of persons have talked over it and have
agreed on it. If those persons be people of different temperaments,
different ideas, and different educations, you have an almost infallible
security that nothing or almost nothing will be done with excessive
rapidity. Each kind of persons will have their spokesman; each spokesman
will have his characteristic objection and each his characteristic
counter-proposition: and so in the end nothing will probably be done, or
at least only the minimum which is plainly urgent. In many cases this
delay may be dangerous, in many cases quick action will be preferable; a
campaign, as Macaulay well says, cannot be directed by a "debating
society," and many other kinds of action also require a single and
absolute general: but for the purpose now in hand--that of preventing
hasty action and insuring elaborate consideration--there is no device
like a polity of discussion.

The enemies of this object--the people who want to act quickly--see this
very distinctly: they are forever explaining that the present is "an age
of committees," that the committees do nothing, that all evaporates in
talk. Their great enemy is parliamentary government: they call it, after
Mr. Carlyle, the "national palaver"; they add up the hours that are
consumed in it and the speeches which are made in it, and they sigh for
a time when England might again be ruled, as it once was, by a
Cromwell,--that is, when an eager absolute man might do exactly what
other eager men wished, and do it immediately. All these invectives are
perpetual and many-sided; they come from philosophers each of whom wants
some new scheme tried, from philanthropists who want some evil abated,
from revolutionists who want some old institution destroyed, from
new-eraists who want their new era started forthwith: and they all are
distinct admissions that a polity of discussion is the greatest
hindrance to the inherited mistake of human nature,--to the desire to
act promptly, which in a simple age is so excellent, but which in a
later and complex time leads to so much evil.

The same accusation against our age sometimes takes a more general form:
it is alleged that our energies are diminishing, that ordinary and
average men have not the quick determination nowadays which they used to
have when the world was younger, that not only do not committees and
parliaments act with rapid decisiveness, but that no one now so acts;
and I hope that in fact this is true, for according to me it proves that
the hereditary barbaric impulse is decaying and dying out. So far from
thinking the quality attributed to us a defect, I wish that those who
complain of it were far more right than I much fear they are. Still,
certainly, eager and violent action _is_ somewhat diminished, though
only by a small fraction of what it ought to be; and I believe that this
is in great part due, in England at least, to our government by
discussion, which has fostered a general intellectual tone, a diffused
disposition to weigh evidence, a conviction that much may be said on
every side of everything which the elder and more fanatic ages of the
world wanted. This is the real reason why our energies seem so much less
than those of our fathers. When we have a definite end in view, which we
know we want and which we think we know how to obtain, we can act well
enough: the campaigns of our soldiers are as energetic as any campaigns
ever were; the speculations of our merchants have greater promptitude,
greater audacity, greater vigor than any such speculations ever had
before. In old times a few ideas got possession of men and communities,
but this is happily now possible no longer: we see how incomplete these
old ideas were; how almost by chance one seized on one nation and
another on another; how often one set of men have persecuted another set
for opinions on subjects of which neither, we now perceive, knew
anything. It might be well if a greater number of effectual
demonstrations existed among mankind: but while no such demonstrations
exist, and while the evidence which completely convinces one man seems
to another trifling and insufficient, let us recognize the plain
position of inevitable doubt; let us not be bigots with a doubt and
persecutors without a creed. We are beginning to see this, and we are
railed at for so beginning: but it is a great benefit, and it is to the
incessant prevalence of detective discussion that our doubts are due;
and much of that discussion is due to the long existence of a government
requiring constant debates, written and oral.


From 'Lombard Street'

In the last century, a favorite subject of literary ingenuity was
"conjectural history," as it was then called: upon grounds of
probability, a fictitious sketch was made of the possible origin of
things existing. If this kind of speculation were now applied to
banking, the natural and first idea would be that large systems of
deposit banking grew up in the early world just as they grow up now in
any large English colony. As soon as any such community becomes rich
enough to have much money, and compact enough to be able to lodge its
money in single banks, it at once begins so to do. English colonists do
not like the risk of keeping their money, and they wish to make an
interest on it; they carry from home the idea and the habit of banking,
and they take to it as soon as they can in their new world. Conjectural
history would be inclined to say that all banking began thus; but such
history is rarely of any value,--the basis of it is false. It assumes
that what works most easily when established is that which it would be
the most easy to establish, and that what seems simplest when familiar
would be most easily appreciated by the mind though unfamiliar; but
exactly the contrary is true,--many things which seem simple, and which
work well when firmly established, are very hard to establish among new
people and not very easy to explain to them. Deposit banking is of this
sort. Its essence is, that a very large number of persons agree to trust
a very few persons, or some one person: banking would not be a
profitable trade if bankers were not a small number, and depositors in
comparison an immense number. But to get a great number of persons to do
exactly the same thing is always very difficult, and nothing but a very
palpable necessity will make them on a sudden begin to do it; and there
is no such palpable necessity in banking.

If you take a country town in France, even now, you will not find any
such system of banking as ours: check-books are unknown, and money kept
on running account by bankers is rare: people store their money in a
_caisse_ at their houses. Steady savings, which are waiting for
investment and which are sure not to be soon wanted, may be lodged with
bankers; but the common floating cash of the community is kept by the
community themselves at home,--they prefer to keep it so, and it would
not answer a banker's purpose to make expensive arrangements for keeping
it otherwise. If a "branch," such as the National Provincial Bank opens
in an English country town, were opened in a corresponding French one,
it would not pay its expenses: you could not get any sufficient number
of Frenchmen to agree to put their money there.

And so it is in all countries not of British descent, though in various
degrees. Deposit banking is a very difficult thing to begin, because
people do not like to let their money out of their sight; especially, do
not like to let it out of sight without security; still more, cannot all
at once agree on any single person to whom they are content to trust it
unseen and unsecured. Hypothetical history, which explains the past by
what is simplest and commonest in the present, is in banking, as in most
things, quite untrue.

The real history is very different. New wants are mostly supplied by
adaptation, not by creation or foundation; something having been created
to satisfy an extreme want, it is used to satisfy less pressing wants or
to supply additional conveniences. On this account, political
government, the oldest institution in the world, has been the hardest
worked: at the beginning of history, we find it doing everything which
society wants done and forbidding everything which society does _not_
wish done. In trade, at present, the first commerce in a new place is a
general shop, which, beginning with articles of real necessity, comes
shortly to supply the oddest accumulation of petty comforts. And the
history of banking has been the same: the first banks were not founded
for our system of deposit banking, or for anything like it; they were
founded for much more pressing reasons, and having been founded, they or
copies from them were applied to our modern uses.

[Gives a sketch of banks started as finance companies to make or float
government loans, and to give good coin; and sketches their function of
remitting money.]

These are all uses other than those of deposit banking, which banks
supplied that afterwards became in our English sense deposit banks: by
supplying these uses, they gained the credit that afterwards enabled
them to gain a living as deposit banks; being trusted for one purpose,
they came to be trusted for a purpose quite different,--ultimately far
more important, though at first less keenly pressing. But these wants
only affect a few persons, and therefore bring the bank under the notice
of a few only. The real introductory function which deposit banks at
first perform is much more popular; and it is only when they can perform
this most popular kind of business that deposit banking ever spreads
quickly and extensively.

This function is the supply of the paper circulation to the country; and
it will be observed that I am not about to overstep my limits and
discuss this as a question of currency. In what form the best paper
currency can be supplied to a country is a question of economical theory
with which I do not meddle here: I am only narrating unquestionable
history, not dealing with an argument where every step is disputed; and
part of this certain history is, that the best way to diffuse banking in
a community is to allow the banker to issue bank notes of small amount
that can supersede the metal currency. This amounts to a subsidy to each
banker to enable him to keep open a bank till depositors choose to
come to it....

The reason why the use of bank paper commonly precedes the habit of
making deposits in banks is very plain: it is a far easier habit to
establish. In the issue of notes the banker, the person to be most
benefited, can do something,--he can pay away his own "promises" in
loans, in wages, or in payment of debts,--but in the getting of deposits
he is passive; his issues depend on himself, his deposits on the favor
of others. And to the public the change is far easier too: to collect a
great mass of deposits with the same banker, a great number of persons
must agree to do something; but to establish a note circulation, a large
number of persons need only _do nothing_,--they receive the banker's
notes in the common course of their business, and they have only _not_
to take those notes to the banker for payment. If the public refrain
from taking trouble, a paper circulation is immediately in existence. A
paper circulation is begun by the banker, and requires no effort on the
part of the public,--on the contrary, it needs an effort of the public
to be rid of notes once issued; but deposit banking cannot be begun by
the banker, and requires a spontaneous and consistent effort in the
community: and therefore paper issue is the natural prelude to
deposit banking.



Jens Baggesen was born in the little Danish town Korsör in 1764, and
died in exile in the year 1826. Thus he belonged to two centuries and to
two literary periods. He had reached manhood when the French Revolution
broke out; he witnessed Napoleon's rise, his victories, and his fall. He
was a full contemporary of Goethe, who survived him only six years; he
saw English literature glory in men like Byron and Moore, and lived to
hear of Byron's death in Greece. In his first works he stood a true
representative of the culture and literature of the eighteenth century,
and was hailed as its exponent by the Danish poet Herman Wessel; towards
the end of the century he was acknowledged to be the greatest of living
Danish poets. Then with the new age came the Norwegian, Henrik Steffens,
with his enthusiastic lectures on German romanticism, calling out the
genius of Oehlenschläger, and the eighteenth century was doomed;
Baggesen nevertheless greeted Oehlenschläger with sincere admiration,
and when the 'Aladdin' of that poet appeared, Baggesen sent him his
rhymed letter 'From Nureddin-Baggesen to Aladdin-Oehlenschläger.'

[Illustration: Jens Baggesen.]

Baggesen was the son of poor people, and strangers helped him to his
scientific education. When his first works were recognized he became the
friend and protégé of the Duke of Augustenborg, who provided him with
the means for an extended journey through the Continent, during which he
met the greatest men of his time. The Duke of Augustenborg meanwhile
secured him several positions, which could not hold him for any length
of time, nor keep him at home in Denmark. He went abroad a second time
to study pedagogics, literature, and philosophy, came home again,
wandered forth once more, returned a widower, was for some time director
of the National Theatre in Copenhagen; but found no rest, married again,
and in 1800 went to France to live. Eleven years later he was professor
in Kiel, returning thence to Copenhagen, where meanwhile his fame had
been eclipsed by the genius of Oehlenschläger. Secure in the knowledge
of his powers, Oehlenschläger had carelessly published two or three
dramatic poems not worthy of his pen, and Baggesen entered on a violent
controversy with him in which he stood practically by himself against
the entire reading public, whose sympathies were with Oehlenschläger.
Alone and misunderstood, restless and unhappy, he left Denmark in 1820,
never to return. Six years later he died, longing to see his country
again, but unable to reach it.

His first poetry was published in 1785, a volume of 'Comic Tales,' which
made its mark at once. The following year appeared in quick succession
satires, rhymed epistles, and elegies, which, adding to his fame, added
also to the purposeless ferment and unrest which had taken possession of
him. He considered tragedy his proper field, yet had allowed himself to
appear as humorist and satirist.

When the great historic events of the time took place, and over-threw
all existing conditions, this inner restlessness drove him to and fro
without purpose or will. One day he was enthusiastic over Voss's idyls,
the next he was carried away by Robespierre's wildest speeches. One year
he adopted Kant's Christian name Immanuel in transport over his works,
the next he called the great philosopher "an empty nut, and moreover
hard to crack." The romanticism in Denmark as well as in Germany reduced
him to a state of utter confusion; but in spite of this he continued a
child of the old order, which was already doomed. And with all his
unrest and discord he remained nevertheless the champion of "form," "the
poet of the graces," as he has been called.

This gift of form has given him his literary importance. He built a
bridge from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century; and when the new
romantic school overstepped its privileges, it was he who called it to
order. The most conspicuous act of his literary life was the controversy
with Oehlenschläger, and the wittiest product of his pen is the reckless
criticism of Oehlenschläger's opera 'Ludlam's Cave.' Johann Ludvig
Heiberg, the greatest analytical critic of whom Denmark can boast,
remained Baggesen's ardent admirer; and Heiberg's influential although
not always just criticism of Oehlenschläger as a poet was no doubt
called forth by Baggesen's attack. Some years later Henrik Hertz made
Baggesen his subject. In 1830 appeared 'Letters from Ghosts,' poetic
epistles from Paradise. Nobody knew that Hertz was the author. It was
Baggesen's voice from beyond the grave, Baggesen's criticism upon the
literature of 1830. It was one of the wittiest, and in versification one
of the best, books in Danish literature.

Baggesen's most important prose work is 'The Labyrinth,' afterwards
called 'The Wanderings of a Poet.' It is a poetic description of his
journeys, unique in its way, rich in impressions and full of striking
remarks, written in a piquant, graceful, and easy style.

As long as Danish literature remains, Baggesen's name will be known;
though his writings are not now widely read, and are important chiefly
because of their influence on the literary spirit of his own time. His
familiar poem 'There was a time when I was very little,' during the
controversy with Oehlenschläger, was seized upon by Paul Möller,
parodied, and changed into 'There was a time when Jens was much bigger.'
Equally well known is his 'Ode to My Country,' with the
familiar lines:--

     "Alas, in no place is the thorn as tiny,
       Alas, in no place blooms as red a rose,
     Alas, in no place is there couch as downy
       As where we little children found repose."


From 'The Labyrinth'

Forster, a little nervous, alert, and piquant man, with gravity written
on his forehead, perspicacity in his eye, and love around his lips,
conquered me completely. I spoke to him of everything except his
journeys; but the traveler showed himself full of unmistakable humanity.
He seemed to me the cosmopolitan spirit personified. It was as if the
world were present when I was alone with him.

We talked about his friend Jacobi, about the late King of Prussia, about
the literature of Germany, and about the present Pole-high standard of
taste. I was much pleased to find in him the art critic I sought. He
said that we must admire everything which is good and beautiful, whether
it originates West, East, South, or North. The taste of the bee is the
true one. Difference in language and climate, difference of nationality,
must not affect my interest in fair and noble things. The unknown repels
the animal, but should not repel the human creature. Suppose you say
that Voltaire is animal in comparison with Shakespeare or Klopstock, or
that they are animal in comparison with him: it is a blunder to demand
pears of an apple-tree, as it is ridiculous to throw away the apple
because it is not a pear. The entire world of nature teaches us this
aesthetic tolerance, and yet we have as little acquired it as we have
freedom of conscience. We plant white and red roses in the same bed, but
who puts the 'Messiah' and the 'Henriade' on the same shelf? He only
who reads neither the one nor the other. True religion worships God;
true taste worships the beautiful without regard of person or nation.
German? French? Italian? or English? All the same! But nothing mediocre.

I was flushed with pleasure; I gave him my hand. "That may be said of
other things than poetry!" I said.--"Of all art!" he answered.--"Of all
that is human!" we both concluded.

Deplorable indolence which clothes our mind in the first heavy cloak
ready to hand, so that all the sunbeams of the world cannot persuade us
to throw it off, much less to assume another! The man who is exclusively
a nationalist is a snail forever chained to his house. Psyche had wings
given her for a never-ending, eternal flight. We may not imprison her,
be the cage ever so large.

He considered that Lessing had wronged the great representative of the
French language; and the remark of Claudius, "Voltaire says he weeps,
and Shakespeare does weep," appeared to him like the saying, "Much that
is new and beautiful has M. Arouet said; but it is a pity that the
beautiful is not new and the new not beautiful,"--more witty than true.
The English think that Shakespeare, as the Germans think that Lessing,
really weeps; the French think the same of Voltaire. But the first weeps
for the whole world, it is said, the last only for his own people. What
the French call "Le Nord" is, to be sure, rather a large territory, but
not the entire world! France calls "whimpering" in one case and
"blubbering" in another what we call weeping. The general mistake is
that we do not understand the nature of the people and the language, in
which and for whom the weeping is done.

We must be English when we read Shakespeare, German when we read
Klopstock, French when we read Voltaire. The man whose soul cannot shed
its national costume and don that of other nations ought not to read,
much less to judge, their masterpieces. He will be looking at the moon
by day and at the sun by night, and see the first without lustre and the
last not at all.


From 'The Labyrinth'

Caillard was a man of experience, taste, and knowledge. He told me the
story of his life from beginning to end, he confided to me his
principles and his affairs, and I took him to be the happiest man in the
world. "I have everything," he said, "all that I have wished for or can
wish for: health, riches, domestic peace (being unmarried), a tolerably
good conscience, books--and as much sense as I need to enjoy them. I
experience only one single want, lack only one single pleasure in this
world; but that one is enough to embitter my life and class me with
other unfortunates."

I could not guess what might yet be wanting to such a man under such
conditions, "It cannot be liberty," I said, "for how can a rich merchant
in a free town lack this?"

"No! Heaven save me--I neither would nor could live one single day
without liberty."

"You do not happen to be in love with some cruel or unhappy princess?"

"That is still less the case."

"Ah!--now I have it, no doubt--your soul is consumed with a thirst for
truth, for a satisfactory answer to the many questions which are but
philosophic riddles. You are seeking what so many brave men from
Anaxagoras to Spinoza have sought in vain--the corner-stone of
philosophy, the foundation of the structure of our ideas."

He assured me that in this respect he was quite at ease. "Then, in spite
of your good health, you must be subject to that miserable thing, a cold
in the head?" I said.

     "Uno minor--Jove, dives
     Liber, honoratus, pulcher rex denique regum,
     Praecipue sanus--nisi cum pituita molesta est."


When he denied this too, I gave up trying to solve the meaning of his
dark words.

O happiness! of all earthly chimeras thou art the most chimerical! I
would rather seek dry figs on the bottom of the sea and fresh ones on
this heath,--I would rather seek liberty, or truth itself, or the
philosopher's stone, than to run after thee, most deceitful of lights,
will-o'-the-wisp of our human life!

I thought that at last I had found a perfectly happy, an enviable man;
and now--behold! though I have not the ten-thousandth part of his
wealth, though I have not the tenth part of his health, though I may not
have a third of his intellect, although I have all the wants which he
has not and the one want under which he suffers, yet I would not change
places with him!

From this moment he was the object of my sincerest pity. But what did
this awful curse prove to be? Listen and tremble!

"Of what use is it all to me?" he said: "coffee, which I love more than
all the wines of this earth and more than all the women of this earth,
coffee which I love madly--coffee is forbidden me!"

Laugh who lists! Inasmuch as everything in this world, viewed in a
certain light, is tragic, it would be excusable to weep: but inasmuch as
everything viewed in another light is comic, a little laughter could not
be taken amiss; only beware of laughing at the sigh with which my happy
man pronounced these words, for it might be that in laughing at
him you laugh at yourself, your father, your grandfather, your
great-grandfather, your great-great-grandfather, and so on, including
your entire family as far back as Adam.

If, in laughing at such discontent, you laugh in advance at your son,
your son's son's son, and so forth to the last descendant of your entire
family, this is a matter which I do not decide. It will depend upon the
road humanity chooses to take. If it continues as it is going, some
coffee-want or other will forever strew it with thorns.

Had he said, "Chocolate is forbidden me," or tea, or English ale, or
madeira, or strawberries, you would have found his misery
equally absurd.

The great Alexander is said to have wept because he found no more worlds
to conquer. The man who bemoans the loss of a world and the man who
bemoans the loss of coffee are to my mind equally unbalanced and equally
in need of forgiveness. The desire for a cup of coffee and the desire
for a crown, the hankering after the flavor or even the fragrance of the
drink and the hankering after fame, are equally mad and equally--human.

If history is to be believed, Adam possessed all the advantages and
comforts, all the necessities and luxuries a first man could reasonably
demand.... Lord of all living things, and sharing his dominion with his
beloved, what did he lack?

Among ten thousand pleasures, the fruit of one single tree was forbidden
him. Good-by content and peace! Good-by forever all his bliss!

I acknowledge that I should have yielded to the same temptation; and he
who does not see that this fate would have overtaken his entire family,
past and to come, may have studied all things from the Milky Way in the
sky to the milky way in his kitchen, may have studied all stones,
plants, and animals, and all folios and quartos dealing therewith, but
never himself or man.

As we do not know the nature of the fruit which Adam could not do
without, it may as well have been coffee as any other. That it was
pleasant to the eyes means no more than that it was forbidden. Every
forbidden thing is pleasant to the eyes.

"Of what use is it all to me?" said Adam, looking around him in Eden, at
the rising sun, the blushing hills, the light-green forest, the glorious
waterfall, the laden fruit-trees, and, most beautiful of all, the
smiling woman--"of what use is it all to me, when I dare not taste
this--coffee bean?"

"And of what use is it all to me?" said Mr. Caillard, and looked around
him on the Lüneburg heath: "coffee is forbidden me; one single cup of
coffee would kill me."

"If it will be any comfort to you," I said, "I may tell you that I am in
the same case." "And you do not despair at times?"--"No," I replied,
"for it is not my only want. If like you I had everything else in life,
I also might despair."


     There was a time, when I, an urchin slender,
         Could hardly boast of having any height.
       Oft I recall those days with feelings tender;
         With smiles, and yet the tear-drops dim my sight.

     Within my tender mother's arms I sported,
       I played at horse upon my grandsire's knee;
     Sorrow and care and anger, ill-reported,
       As little known as gold or Greek, to me.

     The world was little to my childish thinking,
       And innocent of sin and sinful things;
     I saw the stars above me flashing, winking--
       To fly and catch them, how I longed for wings!

     I saw the moon behind the hills declining,
       And thought, O were I on yon lofty ground,
     I'd learn the truth; for here there's no divining
       How large it is, how beautiful, how round!

     In wonder, too, I saw God's sun pursuing
       His westward course, to ocean's lap of gold;
     And yet at morn the East he was renewing
       With wide-spread, rosy tints, this artist old.

     Then turned my thoughts to God the Father gracious,
       Who fashioned me and that great orb on high,
     And the night's jewels, decking heaven spacious;
       From pole to pole its arch to glorify.

     With childish piety my lips repeated
       The prayer learned at my pious mother's knee:
     Help me remember, Jesus, I entreated,
       That I must grow up good and true to Thee!

     Then for the household did I make petition,
       For kindred, friends, and for the town's folk, last;
     The unknown King, the outcast, whose condition
       Darkened my childish joy, as he slunk past.

     All lost, all vanished, childhood's days so eager!
       My peace, my joy with them have fled away;
     I've only memory left: possession meagre;
       Oh, never may that leave me, Lord, I pray.



In Bailey we have a striking instance of the man whose reputation is
made suddenly by a single work, which obtains an amazing popularity, and
which is presently almost forgotten except as a name. When in 1839 the
long poem 'Festus' appeared, its author was an unknown youth, who had
hardly reached his majority. Within a few months he was a celebrity.
That so dignified and suggestive a performance should have come from so
young a poet was considered a marvel of precocity by the literary world,
both English and American.

The author of 'Festus' was born at Basford, Nottinghamshire, England,
April 22nd, 1816. Educated at the public schools of Nottingham, and at
Glasgow University, he studied law, and at nineteen entered Lincoln's
Inn. In 1840 he was admitted to the bar. But his vocation in life
appears to have been metaphysical and spiritual rather than legal.

His 'Festus: a Poem,' containing fifty-five episodes or successive
scenes,--some thirty-five thousand lines,--was begun in his twentieth
year. Three years later it was in the hands of the English reading
public. Like Goethe's 'Faust' in pursuing the course of a human soul
through influences emanating from the Supreme Good and the Supreme Evil;
in having Heaven and the World as its scene; in its inclusion of God and
the Devil, the Archangels and Angels, the Powers of Perdition, and
withal many earthly types in its action,--it is by no means a mere
imitation of the great German. Its plan is wider. It incorporates even
more impressive spiritual material than 'Faust' offers. Not only is its
mortal hero, Festus, conducted through an amazing pilgrimage, spiritual
and redeemed by divine Love, but we have in the poem a conception of
close association with Christianity, profound ethical suggestions, a
flood of theology and philosophy, metaphysics and science, picturing
Good and Evil, love and hate, peace and war, the past, the present, and
the future, earth, heaven, and hell, heights and depths, dominions,
principalities, and powers, God and man, the whole of being and of
not-being,--all in an effort to unmask the last and greatest secrets of
Infinity. And more than all this, 'Festus' strives to portray the
sufficiency of Divine Love and of the Divine Atonement to dissipate,
even to annihilate, Evil. For even Lucifer and the hosts of darkness are
restored to purity and to peace among the Sons of God, the Children of
Light! The Love of God is set forth as limitless. We have before us the
birth of matter at the Almighty's fiat; and we close the work with the
salvation and ecstasy--described as decreed from the Beginning--of
whatever creature hath been given a spiritual existence, and made a
spiritual subject and agency. There is in the doctrine of 'Festus' no
such thing as the "Son of Perdition" who shall be an ultimate castaway.

Few English poems have attracted more general notice from all
intelligent classes of readers than did 'Festus' on its advent.
Orthodoxy was not a little aghast at its theologic suggestions.
Criticism of it as a literary production was hampered not a little by
religious sensitiveness. The London Literary Gazette said of it:--"It is
an extraordinary production, out-Heroding Kant in some of its
philosophy, and out-Goetheing Goethe in the introduction of the Three
Persons of the Trinity as interlocutors in its wild plot. Most
objectionable as it is on this account, it yet contains so many
exquisite passages of genuine poetry, that our admiration of the
author's genius overpowers the feeling of mortification at its being
misapplied, and meddling with such dangerous topics." The advance of
liberal ideas within the churches has diminished such criticism, but the
work is still a stumbling-block to the less speculative of sectaries.

The poem is far too long, and its scope too vast for even a genius of
much higher and riper gifts than Bailey's. It is turgid, untechnical in
verse, wordy, and involved. Had Bailey written at fifty instead of at
twenty, it might have shown a necessary balance and felicity of style.
But, with all these shortcomings, it is not to be relegated to the
library of things not worth the time to know, to the list of bulky
poetic failures. Its author blossomed and fruited marvelously early; so
early and with such unlooked-for fruit that the unthinking world, which
first received him with exaggerated honor, presently assailed him with
undue dispraise. 'Festus' is not mere solemn and verbose commonplace.
Here and there it has passages of great force and even of high beauty.
The author's whole heart and brain were poured into it, and neither was
a common one. With all its ill-based daring and manifest crudities, it
was such a _tour de force_ for a lad of twenty as the world seldom sees.
Its sluggish current bears along remarkable knowledge, great reflection,
and the imagination of a fertile as well as a precocious brain. It is a
stream which carries with it things new and old, and serves to stir the
mind of the onlooker with unwonted thoughts. Were it but one fourth as
long, it would still remain a favorite poem. Even now it has passed
through numerous editions, and been but lately republished in sumptuous
form after fifty years of life; and in the catalogue of higher
metaphysico-religious poetry it will long maintain an honorable place.
It is cited here among the books whose fame rather than whose importance
_demand_ recognition.



     _Festus_--         Men's callings all
     Are mean and vain; their wishes more so: oft
     The man is bettered by his part or place.
     How slight a chance may raise or sink a soul!

     _Lucifer_--What men call accident is God's own part.
     He lets ye work your will--it is his own:
     But that ye mean not, know not, do not, he doth.

     _Festus_--What is life worth without a heart to feel
     The great and lovely harmonies which time
     And nature change responsive, all writ out
     By preconcertive hand which swells the strain
     To divine fulness; feel the poetry,
     The soothing rhythm of life's fore-ordered lay;
     The sacredness of things?--for all things are
     Sacred so far,--the worst of them, as seen
     By the eye of God, they in the aspect bide
     Of holiness: nor shall outlaw sin be slain,
     Though rebel banned, within the sceptre's length;
     But privileged even for service. Oh! to stand
     Soul-raptured, on some lofty mountain-thought,
     And feel the spirit expand into a view
     Millennial, life-exalting, of a day
     When earth shall have all leisure for high ends
     Of social culture; ends a liberal law
     And common peace of nations, blent with charge
     Divine, shall win for man, were joy indeed:
     Nor greatly less, to know what might be now,
     Worked will for good with power, for one brief hour.
     But look at these, these individual souls:
     How sadly men show out of joint with man!
     There are millions never think a noble thought;
     But with brute hate of brightness bay a mind
     Which drives the darkness out of them, like hounds.
     Throw but a false glare round them, and in shoals
     They rush upon perdition: that's the race.
     What charm is in this world-scene to such minds?
     Blinded by dust? What can they do in heaven,
     A state of spiritual means and ends?
     Thus must I doubt--perpetually doubt.

     _Lucifer_--Who never doubted never half believed.
     Where doubt, there truth is--'tis her shadow. I
     Declare unto thee that the past is not.
     I have looked over all life, yet never seen
     The age that had been. Why then fear or dream
     About the future? Nothing but what is, is;
     Else God were not the Maker that he seems,
     As constant in creating as in being.
     Embrace the present. Let the future pass.
     Plague not thyself about a future. That
     Only which comes direct from God, his spirit,
     Is deathless. Nature gravitates without
     Effort; and so all mortal natures fall
     Deathwards. All aspiration is a toil;
     But inspiration cometh from above,
     And is no labor. The earth's inborn strength
     Could never lift her up to yon stars, whence
     She fell; nor human soul, by native worth,
     Claim heaven as birthright, more than man may call
     Cloudland his home. The soul's inheritance,
     Its birth-place, and its death-place, is of earth;
     Until God maketh earth and soul anew;
     The one like heaven, the other like himself.
     So shall the new creation come at once;
     Sin, the dead branch upon the tree of life
     Shall be cut off forever; and all souls
     Concluded in God's boundless amnesty.

     _Festus_--Thou windest and unwindest faith at will.
     What am I to believe?

     _Lucifer_--      Thou mayest believe
     But that thou art forced to.

     _Festus_--      Then I feel, perforce,
     That instinct of immortal life in me,
     Which prompts me to provide for it.

     _Lucifer_--      Perhaps.
     _Festus_--Man hath a knowledge of a time to come--
     His most important knowledge: the weight lies
     Nearest the short end; and the world depends
     Upon what is to be. I would deny
     The present, if the future. Oh! there is
     A life to come, or all's a dream.

     _Lucifer_--And all
     May be a dream. Thou seest in thine, men, deeds,
     Clear, moving, full of speech and order; then
     Why may not all this world be but a dream
     Of God's? Fear not! Some morning God may waken.

     _Festus_--I would it were. This life's a mystery.
     The value of a thought cannot be told;
     But it is clearly worth a thousand lives
     Like many men's. And yet men love to live
     As if mere life were worth their living for.
     What but perdition will it be to most?
     Life's more than breath and the quick round of blood;
     It is a great spirit and a busy heart.
     The coward and the small in soul scarce do live.
     One generous feeling--one great thought--one deed
     Of good, ere night, would make life longer seem
     Than if each year might number a thousand days,
     Spent as is this by nations of mankind.
     We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
     In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
     We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
     Who thinks most--feels the noblest--acts the best.
     Life's but a means unto an end--that end
     Beginning, mean, and end to all things--God.
     The dead have all the glory of the world.
     Why will we live and not be glorious?
     We never can be deathless till we die.
     It is the dead win battles. And the breath
     Of those who through the world drive like a wedge,
     Tearing earth's empires up, nears Death so close
     It dims his well-worn scythe. But no! the brave
     Die never. Being deathless, they but change
     Their country's arms for more--their country's heart.
     Give then the dead their due: it is they who saved us.
     The rapid and the deep--the fall, the gulph,
     Have likenesses in feeling and in life.
     And life, so varied, hath more loveliness
     In one day than a creeping century
     Of sameness. But youth loves and lives on change,
     Till the soul sighs for sameness; which at last
     Becomes variety, and takes its place.
     Yet some will last to die out, thought by thought,
     And power by power, and limb of mind by limb,
     Like lamps upon a gay device of glass,
     Till all of soul that's left be dry and dark;
     Till even the burden of some ninety years
     Hath crashed into them like a rock; shattered
     Their system as if ninety suns had rushed
     To ruin earth--or heaven had rained its stars;
     Till they become like scrolls, unreadable,
     Through dust and mold. Can they be cleaned and read?
     Do human spirits wax and wane like moons?

     _Lucifer_--The eye dims, and the heart gets old and slow;
     The lithe limbs stiffen, and the sun-hued locks
     Thin themselves off, or whitely wither; still,
     Ages not spirit, even in one point,
     Immeasurably small; from orb to orb,
     Rising in radiance ever like the sun
     Shining upon the thousand lands of earth.


     Clara--True prophet mayst thou be. But list: that sound
     The passing-bell the spirit should solemnize;
     For, while on its emancipate path, the soul
     Still waves its upward wings, and we still hear
     The warning sound, it is known, we well may pray.

     _Festus_--But pray for whom?

     _Clara_--It means not. Pray for all.
     Pray for the good man's soul:

     He is leaving earth for heaven,
     And it soothes us to feel that the best
     May be forgiven.

     _Festus_--Pray for the sinful soul:
     It fleëth, we know not where;
     But wherever it be let us hope;
     For God is there.

     _Clara_--Pray for the rich man's soul:
     Not all be unjust, nor vain;
     The wise he consoled; and he saved
     The poor from pain.

     _Festus_--Pray for the poor man's soul:
     The death of this life of ours
     He hath shook from his feet; he is one
     Of the heavenly powers.

     Pray for the old man's soul:
     He hath labored long; through life
     It was battle or march. He hath ceased,
     Serene, from strife.

     _Clara_--Pray for the infant's soul:
     With its spirit crown unsoiled,
     He hath won, without war, a realm;
     Gained all, nor toiled.

     _Festus_--Pray for the struggling soul:
     The mists of the straits of death
     Clear off; in some bright star-isle
     It anchoreth.

     Pray for the soul assured:
     Though it wrought in a gloomy mine,
     Yet the gems it earned were its own,
     That soul's divine.

     _Clara_--Pray for the simple soul:
     For it loved, and therein was wise;
     Though itself knew not, but with heaven
     Confused the skies.

     _Festus_--Pray for the sage's soul:
     'Neath his welkin wide of mind
     Lay the central thought of God,
     Thought undefined.

     Pray for the souls of all
     To our God, that all may be
     With forgiveness crowned, and joy

     _Clara_--Hush! for the bell hath ceased;
     And the spirit's fate is sealed;
     To the angels known; to man
     Best unrevealed.


     FESTUS--Well, farewell, Mr. Student. May you never
     Regret those hours which make the mind, if they
     Unmake the body; for the sooner we
     Are fit to be all mind, the better. Blessed
     Is he whose heart is the home of the great dead,
     And their great thoughts. Who can mistake great thoughts
     They seize upon the mind; arrest and search,
     And shake it; bow the tall soul as by wind;
     Rush over it like a river over reeds,
     Which quaver in the current; turn us cold,
     And pale, and voiceless; leaving in the brain
     A rocking and a ringing; glorious,
     But momentary, madness might it last,
     And close the soul with heaven as with a seal!
     In lieu of all these things whose loss thou mournest,
     If earnestly or not I know not, use
     The great and good and true which ever live;
     And are all common to pure eyes and true.
     Upon the summit of each mountain-thought
     Worship thou God, with heaven-uplifted head
     And arms horizon-stretched; for deity is seen
     From every elevation of the soul.
     Study the light; attempt the high; seek out
     The soul's bright path; and since the soul is fire,
     Of heat intelligential, turn it aye
     To the all-Fatherly source of light and life;
     Piety purifies the soul to see
     Visions, perpetually, of grace and power,
     Which, to their sight who in ignorant sin abide,
     Are now as e'er incognizable. Obey
     Thy genius, for a minister it is
     Unto the throne of Fate. Draw towards thy soul,
     And centralize, the rays which are around
     Of the divinity. Keep thy spirit pure
     From worldly taint, by the repellent strength
     Of virtue. Think on noble thoughts and deeds,
     Ever. Count o'er the rosary of truth;
     And practice precepts which are proven wise,
     It matters not then what thou fearest. Walk
     Boldly and wisely in that light thou hast;--
     There is a hand above will help thee on.
     I am an omnist, and believe in all
     Religions; fragments of one golden world
     To be relit yet, and take its place in heaven,
     Where is the whole, sole truth, in deity.
     Meanwhile, his word, his law, writ soulwise here,
     Study; its truths love; practice its behests--
     They will be with thee when all else have gone.
     Mind, body, passion all wear out; not faith
     Nor truth. Keep thy heart cool, or rule its heat
     To fixed ends; waste it not upon itself.
     Not all the agony maybe of the damned
     Fused in one pang, vies with that earthquake throb
     Which wakens soul from life-waste, to let see
     The world rolled by for aye, and we must wait
     For our next chance the nigh eternity;
     Whether it be in heaven, or elsewhere.


     FESTUS--The dead of night: earth seems but seeming;
     The soul seems but a something dreaming.
     The bird is dreaming in its nest,
     Of song, and sky, and loved one's breast;
     The lap-dog dreams, as round he lies,
     In moonshine, of his mistress's eyes;
     The steed is dreaming, in his stall,
     Of one long breathless leap and fall;
     The hawk hath dreamed him thrice of wings
     Wide as the skies he may not cleave;
     But waking, feels them clipped, and clings
     Mad to the perch 'twere mad to leave:
     The child is dreaming of its toys;
     The murderer, of calm home joys;
     The weak are dreaming endless fears;
     The proud of how their pride appears;
     The poor enthusiast who dies,
     Of his life-dreams the sacrifice,
     Sees, as enthusiast only can,
     The truth that made him more than man;
     And hears once more, in visioned trance,
     That voice commanding to advance,
     Where wealth is gained--love, wisdom won,
     Or deeds of danger dared and done.
     The mother dreameth of her child;
     The maid of him who hath beguiled;
     The youth of her he loves too well;
     The good of God; the ill of hell;
     Who live of death; of life who die;
     The dead of immortality.
     The earth is dreaming back her youth;
     Hell never dreams, for woe is truth;
     And heaven is dreaming o'er her prime,
     Long ere the morning stars of time;
     And dream of heaven alone can I,
     My lovely one, when thou art nigh.


     From the Conclusion

     Father of goodness,
       Son of love,
       Spirit of comfort,
       Be with us!
     God who hast made us,
     God who hast saved,
     God who hast judged us,
        Thee we praise.
     Heaven our spirits,
     Hallow our hearts;
     Let us have God-light
     Ours is the wide world,
     Heaven on heaven;
     What have we done, Lord,
        Worthy this?
     Oh! we have loved thee;
        That alone
     Maketh our glory,
        Duty, meed.
     Oh! we have loved thee!
        Love we will
        Ever, and every
        Soul of us.
     God of the saved,
     God of the tried,
     God of the lost ones,
        Be with all!
     Let us be near thee
        Ever and aye;
     Oh! let us love thee



Joanna Baillie's early childhood was passed at Bothwell, Scotland, where
she was born in 1762. Of this time she drew a picture in her well-known
birthday lines to her sister:--

     "Dear Agnes, gleamed with joy, and dashed with tears, O'er us
     have glided almost sixty years Since we on Bothwell's bonny
     braes were seen, By those whose eyes long closed in death
     have been: Two tiny imps, who scarcely stooped to gather The
     slender harebell, or the purple heather; No taller than the
     foxglove's spiky stem, That dew of morning studs with silvery
     gem. Then every butterfly that crossed our view With joyful
     shout was greeted as it flew, And moth and lady-bird and
     beetle bright In sheeny gold were each a wondrous sight. Then
     as we paddled barefoot, side by side, Among the sunny
     shallows of the Clyde, Minnows or spotted par with twinkling
     fin, Swimming in mazy rings the pool within, A thrill of
     gladness through our bosoms sent Seen in the power of early

[Illustration: JOANNA BAILLIE]

When Joanna was six her father was appointed to the charge of the kirk
at Hamilton. Her early growth went on, not in books, but in the
fearlessness with which she ran upon the top of walls and parapets of
bridges and in all daring. "Look at Miss Jack," said a farmer, as she
dashed by: "she sits her horse as if it were a bit of herself." At
eleven she could not read well. "'Twas thou," she said in lines to
her sister--

     "'Twas thou who woo'dst me first to look
     Upon the page of printed book,
     That thing by me abhorred, and with address
     Didst win me from my thoughtless idleness,
     When all too old become with bootless haste
     In fitful sports the precious time to waste.
     Thy love of tale and story was the stroke
     At which my dormant fancy first awoke,
     And ghosts and witches in my busy brain
     Arose in sombre show, a motley train."

In 1776 Dr. James Baillie was made Professor of Divinity at Glasgow
University. During the two years the family lived in the college
atmosphere, Joanna first read 'Comus,' and, led by the delight it
awakened, the great epic of Milton. It was here that her vigor and
disputatious turn of mind "cast an awe" over her companions. After her
father's death she settled, in 1784, with her mother and brother and
sister in London.

She had made herself familiar with English literature, and above all she
had studied Shakespeare with enthusiasm. Circumscribed now by the brick
and mortar of London streets, in exchange for the fair views and
liberties of her native fruitlands, Joanna found her first expression in
a volume of 'Fugitive Verses,' published in 1790. The book caused so
little comment that the words of but one friendly hand are preserved:
that the poems were "truly unsophisticated representations of nature."

Joanna's walk was along calm and unhurried ways. She could have had a
considerable place in society and the world of "lions" if she had cared.
The wife of her uncle and name-father, the anatomist Dr. John Hunter,
was no other than the famous Mrs. Anne Hunter, a songwright of genius;
her poem 'The Son of Alknomook Shall Never Complain' is one of the
classics of English song, and the best rendering of the Indian spirit
ever condensed into so small a space. She was also a woman of grace and
dignity, a power in London drawing-rooms, and Haydn set songs of hers to
music. But the reserved Joanna was tempted to no light triumphs. Eight
years later was published her first volume of 'Plays on the Passions.'
It contained 'Basil,' a tragedy on love; 'The Trial,' a comedy on the
same subject; and 'De Montfort,' a tragedy on hatred.

The thought of essaying dramatic composition had burst upon the author
one summer afternoon as she sat sewing with her mother. She had a high
moral purpose in her plan of composition, she said in her preface,--that
purpose being the ultimate utterance of the drama. Plot and incident she
set little value upon, and she rejected the presentation of the most
splendid event if it did not appertain to the development of the
passion. In other words, what is and was commonly of secondary
consideration in the swift passage of dramatic action became in her
hands the stated and paramount object. Feeling and passion are _not_
precipitated by incident in her drama as in real life. The play 'De
Montfort' was presented at Drury Lane Theatre in 1800; but in spite of
every effort and the acting of John Kemble and Mrs. Siddons, it had a
run of but eleven nights.

In 1802 Miss Baillie published her second volume of 'Plays on the
Passions.' It contained a comedy on hatred; 'Ethwald,' a tragedy on
ambition; and a comedy on ambition. Her adherence to her old plan
brought upon her an attack from Jeffrey in the Edinburgh Review. He
claimed that the complexity of the moral nature of man made Joanna's
theory false and absurd, that a play was too narrow to show the complete
growth of a passion, and that the end of the drama is the entertainment
of the audience. He asserted that she imitated and plagiarized
Shakespeare; while he admitted her insight into human nature, her grasp
of character, and her devotion to her work.

About the time of the appearance of this volume, Joanna fixed her
residence with her mother and sister, among the lanes and fields of
Hampstead, where they continued throughout their lives. The first volume
of 'Miscellaneous Plays' came out in 1804. In the preface she stated
that her opinions set forth in her first preface were unchanged. But the
plays had a freer construction. "Miss Baillie," wrote Jeffrey in his
review, "cannot possibly write a tragedy, or an act of a tragedy,
without showing genius and exemplifying a more dramatic conception and
expression than any of her modern competitor" 'Constantine Palaeologus,'
which the volume contained, had the liveliest commendation and
popularity, and was several times put upon the stage with
spectacular effect.

In the year of the publication of Joanna's 'Miscellaneous Plays,' Sir
Walter Scott came to London, and seeking an introduction through a
common friend, made the way for a lifelong friendship between the two,
He had just brought out 'The Lay of the Last Minstrel.' Miss Baillie was
already a famous writer, with fast friends in Lucy Aikin, Mary Berry,
Mrs. Siddons, and other workers in art and literature; but the hearty
commendation of her countryman, which she is said to have come upon
unexpectedly when reading 'Marmion' to a group of friends, she valued
beyond other praise. The legend is that she read through the passage
firmly to the close, and only lost self-control in her sympathy with the
emotion of a friend:--

     "--The wild harp that silent hung
     By silver Avon's holy shore
     Till twice one hundred years rolled o'er,
        When she the bold enchantress came,
     From the pale willow snatched the treasure,
        With fearless hand and heart in flame,
     And swept it with a kindred measure;
     Till Avon's swans, while rung the grove
     With Montfort's hate and Basil's love,
     Awakening at the inspired strain,
     Deemed their own Shakespeare lived again."

The year 1810 saw 'The Family Legend,' a play founded on a tragic
history of the Campbell clan. Scott wrote a prologue and brought out the
play in the Edinburgh Theatre. "You have only to imagine," he told the
author, "all that you could wish to give success to a play, and your
conceptions will still fall short of the complete and decided triumph of
'The Family Legend.'"

The attacks which Jeffrey had made upon her verse were continued when
she published, in 1812, her third volume of 'Plays on the Passions.' His
voice, however, did not diminish the admiration for the
character-drawing with which the book was greeted, or for the lyric
outbursts occurring now and then in the dramas.

Joanna's quiet Hampstead life was broken in 1813 by a genial meeting in
London with the ambitious Madame de Staël, and again with the vivacious
little Irishwoman, Maria Edgeworth. She was keeping her promise of not
writing more; but during a visit to Sir Walter in 1820 her imagination
was touched by Scotch tales, and she published 'Metrical Legends' the
following year. In this vast Abbotsford she finally consented to meet
Jeffrey. The plucky little writer and the unshrinking critic at once
became friends, and thenceforward Jeffrey never went to London without
visiting her in Hampstead.

Her moral courage throughout life recalls the physical courage which
characterized her youth. She never concealed her religious convictions,
and in 1831 she published her ideas in 'A View of the General Tenor of
the New Testament Regarding the Nature and Dignity of Jesus Christ.' In
1836, having finally given up the long hope of seeing her plays become
popular upon the stage, she prepared a complete edition of her dramas
with the addition of three plays never before made public,--'Romiero,' a
tragedy, 'The Alienated Manor,' a comedy on jealousy, and 'Henriquez,' a
tragedy on remorse. The Edinburgh Review immediately put forth a
eulogistic notice of the collected edition, and at last admitted that
the reviewer had changed his judgment, and esteemed the author as a
dramatist above Byron and Scott.

"May God support both you and me, and give us comfort and consolation
when it is most wanted," wrote Miss Baillie to Mary Berry in 1837. "As
for myself, I do not wish to be one year younger than I am; and have no
desire, were it possible, to begin life again, even under the most
honorable circumstances. I have great cause for humble thankfulness, and
I am thankful."

In 1840 Jeffrey wrote:--"I have been twice out to Hampstead, and found
Joanna Baillie as fresh, natural, and amiable as ever, and as little
like a tragic muse." And again in 1842:--"She is marvelous in health and
spirit; not a bit deaf, blind, or torpid." About this time she published
her last book, a volume of 'Fugitive Verses.'

"A sweeter picture of old age was never seen," wrote Harriet Martineau.
"Her figure was small, light, and active; her countenance, in its
expression of serenity, harmonized wonderfully with her gay conversation
and her cheerful voice. Her eyes were beautiful, dark, bright, and
penetrating, with the full innocent gaze of childhood. Her face was
altogether comely, and her dress did justice to it. She wore her own
silvery hair and a mob cap, with its delicate lace border fitting close
around her face. She was well dressed, in handsome dark silks, and her
lace caps and collars looked always new. No Quaker was ever neater,
while she kept up with the times in her dress as in her habit of mind,
as far as became her years. In her whole appearance there was always
something for even the passing stranger to admire, and never anything
for the most familiar friend to wish otherwise." She died, "without
suffering, in the full possession of her faculties," in her ninetieth
year, 1851.

Her dramatic and poetical works are collected in one volume (1843). Her
Life, with selections from her songs, may be found in 'The Songstress of
Scotland,' by Sarah Tytler and J.L. Watson (1871).


     The bride she is winsome and bonny,
           Her hair it is snooded sae sleek,
         And faithfu' and kind is her Johnny,
       Yet fast fa' the tears on her cheek.
     New pearlins are cause of her sorrow,
       New pearlins and plenishing too:
     The bride that has a' to borrow.
       Has e'en right mickle ado.
         Woo'd and married and a'!
         Woo'd and married and a'!
       Isna she very weel aff
         To be woo'd and married at a'?

     Her mither then hastily spak:--
       "The lassie is glaikit wi' pride;
     In my pouch I had never a plack
       On the day when I was a bride.
     E'en tak' to your wheel and be clever,
       And draw out your thread in the sun;
     The gear that is gifted, it never
       Will last like the gear that is won.
         Woo'd and married and a'!
         Wi' havins and tocher sae sma'!
       I think ye are very weel aff
         To be woo'd and married at a'!"

     "Toot, toot!" quo' her gray-headed faither,
       "She's less o' a bride than a bairn;
     She's ta'en like a cout frae the heather,
       Wi' sense and discretion to learn.
     Half husband, I trow, and half daddy,
       As humor inconstantly leans,
     The chiel maun be patient and steady
       That yokes wi' a mate in her teens.
         A kerchief sae douce and sae neat,
         O'er her locks that the wind used to blaw!
       I'm baith like to laugh and to greet
         When I think o' her married at a'."

     Then out spak' the wily bridegroom,
       Weel waled were his wordies I ween:--
     "I'm rich, though my coffer be toom,
       Wi' the blinks o' your bonny blue e'en.
     I'm prouder o' thee by my side,
       Though thy ruffles or ribbons be few,
     Than if Kate o' the Croft were my bride,
       Wi' purfles and pearlins enow.
         Dear and dearest of ony!
         Ye're woo'd and buiket and a'!
       And do ye think scorn o' your Johnny,
         And grieve to be married at a'?"

     She turn'd, and she blush'd, and she smil'd,
       And she looket sae bashfully down;
     The pride o' her heart was beguil'd,
       And she played wi' the sleeves o' her gown;
     She twirlet the tag o' her lace,
       And she nippet her bodice sae blue,
     Syne blinket sae sweet in his face,
       And aff like a maukin she flew.
         Woo'd and married and a'!
         Wi' Johnny to roose her and a'!
       She thinks hersel' very weel aff
         To be woo'd and married at a'!


     It was on a morn when we were thrang,
        The kirn it croon'd, the cheese was making,
        And bannocks on the girdle baking,
     When ane at the door chapp't loud and lang.
     Yet the auld gudewife, and her mays sae tight,
       Of a' this bauld din took sma' notice I ween;
     For a chap at the door in braid daylight
       Is no like a chap that's heard at e'en.

     But the docksy auld laird of the Warlock glen,
        Wha waited without, half blate, half cheery,
        And langed for a sight o' his winsome deary,
     Raised up the latch and cam' crousely ben.
     His coat it was new, and his o'erlay was white,
       His mittens and hose were cozie and bien;
     But a wooer that comes in braid daylight
       Is no like a wooer that comes at e'en.

     He greeted the carline and lasses sae braw,
        And his bare lyart pow sae smoothly he straikit,
        And he looket about, like a body half glaikit,
     On bonny sweet Nanny, the youngest of a'.
     "Ha, laird!" quo' the carline, "and look ye that way?
       Fye, let na' sie fancies bewilder you clean:
     An elderlin man, in the noon o' the day,
       Should be wiser than youngsters that come at e'en.

     "Na, na," quo' the pawky auld wife, "I trow
        You'll no fash your head wi' a youthfu' gilly,
        As wild and as skeig as a muirland filly:
     Black Madge is far better and fitter for you."
     He hem'd and he haw'd, and he drew in his mouth,
       And he squeezed the blue bannet his twa hands between;
     For a wooer that comes when the sun's i' the south
       Is mair landward than wooers that come at e'en.

     "Black Madge is sae carefu'"--"What's that to me?"
        "She's sober and cydent, has sense in her noodle;
        She's douce and respeckit"--"I carena a bodle:
     Love winna be guided, and fancy's free."
     Madge toss'd back her head wi' a saucy slight,
       And Nanny, loud laughing, ran out to the green;
     For a wooer that comes when the sun shines bright
       Is no like a wooer that comes at e'en.

     Then away flung the laird, and loud mutter'd he,
        "A' the daughters of Eve, between Orkney and Tweed O!
        Black or fair, young or auld, dame or damsel or widow,
     May gang in their pride to the de'il for me!"
     But the auld gudewife, and her mays sae tight,
       Cared little for a' his stour banning, I ween;
     For a wooer that comes in braid daylight
       Is no like a wooer that comes at e'en.


     (An Auld Sang, New Buskit)

     Fy, let us a' to the wedding,
        For they will be lilting there;
       For Jock's to be married to Maggy,
     The lass wi' the gowden hair.

     And there will be jibing and jeering,
       And glancing of bonny dark een,
     Loud laughing and smooth-gabbit speering
       O' questions baith pawky and keen.

     And there will be Bessy the beauty,
       Wha raises her cockup sae hie,
     And giggles at preachings and duty,--
       Guid grant that she gang na' ajee!

     And there will be auld Geordie Taunner,
       Wha coft a young wife wi' his gowd;
     She'll flaunt wi' a silk gown upon her,
       But wow! he looks dowie and cow'd.

     And brown Tibbey Fouler the Heiress
       Will perk at the tap o' the ha',
     Encircled wi' suitors, wha's care is
       To catch up her gloves when they fa',--

     Repeat a' her jokes as they're cleckit,
       And haver and glower in her face,
     When tocherless mays are negleckit,--
       A crying and scandalous case.

     And Mysie, wha's clavering aunty
       Wud match her wi' Laurie the Laird,
     And learns the young fule to be vaunty,
       But neither to spin nor to caird.

     And Andrew, wha's granny is yearning
      To see him a clerical blade,
     Was sent to the college for learning,
      And cam' back a coof as he gaed.

     And there will be auld Widow Martin,
       That ca's hersel thritty and twa!
     And thraw-gabbit Madge, wha for certain
       Was jilted by Hab o' the Shaw.

     And Elspy the sewster sae genty,
       A pattern of havens and sense.
     Will straik on her mittens sae dainty,
       And crack wi' Mess John i' the spence.

     And Angus, the seer o' ferlies,
       That sits on the stane at his door,
     And tells about bogles, and mair lies
       Than tongue ever utter'd before.

     And there will be Bauldy the boaster
       Sae ready wi' hands and wi' tongue;
     Proud Paty and silly Sam Foster,
       Wha quarrel wi' auld and wi' young:

     And Hugh the town-writer, I'm thinking,
       That trades in his lawerly skill,
     Will egg on the fighting and drinking
       To bring after-grist to his mill;

     And Maggy--na, na! we'll be civil,
       And let the wee bridie a-be;
     A vilipend tongue is the devil,
       And ne'er was encouraged by me.

     Then fy, let us a' to the wedding,
       For they will be lilting there
     Frae mony a far-distant ha'ding,
       The fun and the feasting to share.

     For they will get sheep's head, and haggis,
       And browst o' the barley-mow;
     E'en he that comes latest, and lag is,
       May feast upon dainties enow.

     Veal florentines in the o'en baken,
       Weel plenish'd wi' raisins and fat;
     Beef, mutton, and chuckies, a' taken
       Het reeking frae spit and frae pat:

     And glasses (I trow 'tis na' said ill),
       To drink the young couple good luck,
     Weel fill'd wi' a braw beechen ladle
       Frae punch-bowl as big as Dumbuck.

     And then will come dancing and daffing,
       And reelin' and crossin' o' hans,
     Till even auld Lucky is laughing,
       As back by the aumry she stans.

     Sic bobbing and flinging and whirling,
       While fiddlers are making their din;
     And pipers are droning and skirling
       As loud as the roar o' the lin.

     Then fy, let us a' to the wedding,
       For they will be lilting there,
     For Jock's to be married to Maggy,
       The lass wi' the gowden hair.


         A young gudewife is in my house
             And thrifty means to be,
           But aye she's runnin' to the town
         Some ferlie there to see.
     The weary pund, the weary pund, the weary pund o' tow,
       I soothly think, ere it be spun, I'll wear a lyart pow.

         And when she sets her to her wheel
           To draw her threads wi' care,
         In comes the chapman wi' his gear,
           And she can spin nae mair.
                         The weary pund, etc.

         And she, like ony merry may,
           At fairs maun still be seen,
         At kirkyard preachings near the tent,
           At dances on the green.
                         The weary pund, etc.

         Her dainty ear a fiddle charms,
           A bagpipe's her delight,
         But for the crooning o' her wheel
           She disna care a mite.
                         The weary pund, etc.

         You spake, my Kate, of snaw-white webs,
           Made o' your linkum twine,
         But, ah! I fear our bonny burn
           Will ne'er lave web o' thine.
                         The weary pund, etc.

         Nay, smile again, my winsome mate;
           Sic jeering means nae ill;
         Should I gae sarkless to my grave,
           I'll lo'e and bless thee still.
                         The weary pund, etc.



_Moonlight. A wild path in a wood, shaded with trees. Enter _De Montfort_,
with a strong expression of disquiet, mixed with fear, upon his
face, looking behind him, and bending his ear to the ground, as if
he listened to something._

     De Montfort--How hollow groans the earth beneath my tread:
     Is there an echo here? Methinks it sounds
     As though some heavy footsteps followed me.
     I will advance no farther.
     Deep settled shadows rest across the path,
     And thickly-tangled boughs o'erhang this spot.
     O that a tenfold gloom did cover it,
     That 'mid the murky darkness I might strike!
     As in the wild confusion of a dream,
     Things horrid, bloody, terrible do pass,
     As though they passed not; nor impress the mind
     With the fixed clearness of reality.

           [_An owl is heard screaming near him._]

     [_Starting._] What sound is that?

           [_Listens, and the owl cries again._]

                             It is the screech-owl's cry.
     Foul bird of night! What spirit guides thee here?
     Art thou instinctive drawn to scenes of horror?
     I've heard of this.
          [_Pauses and listens._]
     How those fallen leaves so rustle on the path,
     With whispering noise, as though the earth around me
     Did utter secret things.
     The distant river, too, bears to mine ear
     A dismal wailing. O mysterious night!
     Thou art not silent; many tongues hast thou.
     A distant gathering blast sounds through the wood,
     And dark clouds fleetly hasten o'er the sky;
     Oh that a storm would rise, a raging storm;
     Amidst the roar of warring elements
     I'd lift my hand and strike! but this pale light,
     The calm distinctness of each stilly thing,
     Is terrible.--[_Starting._] Footsteps, and near me, too!
     He comes! he comes! I'll watch him farther on--
     I cannot do it here.

_Enter_ Rezenvelt, _and continues his way slowly from the bottom of the
stage; as he advances to the front, the owl screams, he stops and
listens, and the owl screams again._

     _Rezenvelt_--Ha! does the night-bird greet me on my way?
     How much his hooting is in harmony
     With such a scene as this! I like it well.
     Oft when a boy, at the still twilight hour,
     I've leant my back against some knotted oak,
     And loudly mimicked him, till to my call
     He answer would return, and through the gloom
     We friendly converse held.
     Between me and the star-bespangled sky,
     Those aged oaks their crossing branches wave,
     And through them looks the pale and placid moon.
     How like a crocodile, or winged snake,
     Yon sailing cloud bears on its dusky length!
     And now transformed by the passing wind,
     Methinks it seems a flying Pegasus.
     Ay, but a shapeless band of blacker hue
     Comes swiftly after.--
     A hollow murm'ring wind sounds through the trees;
     I hear it from afar; this bodes a storm.
     I must not linger here--

     [_A bell heard at some distance._] The convent bell.
     'Tis distant still: it tells their hour of prayer.
     It sends a solemn sound upon the breeze,
     That, to a fearful, superstitious mind,
     In such a scene, would like a death-knell come.


     Gifted of heaven! who hast, in days gone by,
     Moved every heart, delighted every eye;
     While age and youth, of high and low degree,
     In sympathy were joined, beholding thee,
     As in the Drama's ever-changing scene
     Thou heldst thy splendid state, our tragic queen!
     No barriers there thy fair domains confined,
     Thy sovereign sway was o'er the human mind;
     And in the triumph of that witching hour,
     Thy lofty bearing well became thy power.

     The impassioned changes of thy beauteous face,
     Thy stately form, and high imperial grace;
     Thine arms impetuous tossed, thy robe's wide flow,
     And the dark tempest gathered on thy brow;
     What time thy flashing eye and lip of scorn
     Down to the dust thy mimic foes have borne;
     Remorseful musings, sunk to deep dejection,
     The fixed and yearning looks of strong affection;
     The active turmoil a wrought bosom rending,
     When pity, love, and honor, are contending;--
     They who beheld all this, right well, I ween,
     A lovely, grand, and wondrous sight have seen.

     Thy varied accents, rapid, fitful, slow,
     Loud rage, and fear's snatched whisper, quick and low;
     The burst of stifled love, the wail of grief,
     And tones of high command, full, solemn, brief;
     The change of voice, and emphasis that threw
     Light on obscurity, and brought to view
     Distinctions nice, when grave or comic mood,
     Or mingled humors, terse and new, elude
     Common perception, as earth's smallest things
     To size and form the vesting hoar-frost brings,
     That seemed as if some secret voice, to clear
     The raveled meaning, whispered in thine ear,
     And thou hadst e'en with him communion kept,
     Who hath so long in Stratford's chancel slept;
     Whose lines, where nature's brightest traces shine,
     Alone were worthy deemed of powers like thine;--
     They who have heard all this, have proved full well
     Of soul-exciting sound the mightiest spell.
     But though time's lengthened shadows o'er thee glide,
     And pomp of regal state is cast aside,
     Think not the glory of thy course is spent,
     There's moonlight radiance to thy evening lent,
     That to the mental world can never fade,
     Till all who saw thee, in the grave are laid.
     Thy graceful form still moves in nightly dreams,
     And what thou wast, to the lulled sleeper seems;
     While feverish fancy oft doth fondly trace
     Within her curtained couch thy wondrous face.
     Yea; and to many a wight, bereft and lone,
     In musing hours, though all to thee unknown,
     Soothing his earthly course of good and ill,
     With all thy potent charm, thou actest still.
     And now in crowded room or rich saloon,
     Thy stately presence recognized, how soon
     On thee the glance of many an eye is cast,
     In grateful memory of pleasures past!
     Pleased to behold thee, with becoming grace,
     Take, as befits thee well, an honored place;
     Where blest by many a heart, long mayst thou stand,
     Among the virtuous matrons of our land!


     The gowan glitters on the sward,
       The lavrock's in the sky,
     And collie on my plaid keeps ward,
       And time is passing by.
         Oh no! sad and slow
           And lengthened on the ground,
         The shadow of our trysting bush
           It wears so slowly round!

     My sheep-bell tinkles frae the west,
       My lambs are bleating near,
     But still the sound that I lo'e best,
       Alack! I canna' hear.
         Oh no! sad and slow,
           The shadow lingers still,
         And like a lanely ghaist I stand
           And croon upon the hill.

     I hear below the water roar,
       The mill wi' clacking din,
     And Lucky scolding frae her door,
       To ca' the bairnies in.
         Oh no! sad and slow,
           These are na' sounds for me,
         The shadow of our trysting bush,
           It creeps so drearily!

     I coft yestreen, frae Chapman Tarn,
        A snood of bonny blue,
     And promised when our trysting cam',
        To tie it round her brow.
          Oh no! sad and slow,
           The mark it winna' pass;
         The shadow of that weary thorn
           Is tethered on the grass.

     Oh, now I see her on the way,
        She's past the witch's knowe,
     She's climbing up the Browny's brae,
        My heart is in a lowe!
          Oh no! 'tis no' so,
            'Tis glam'rie I have seen;
          The shadow of that hawthorn bush
            Will move na' mair till e'en.

     My book o' grace I'll try to read,
        Though conn'd wi' little skill,
     When collie barks I'll raise my head,
        And find her on the hill.
          Oh no! sad and slow,
            The time will ne'er be gane,
          The shadow of the trysting bush
            Is fixed like ony stane.


     For an old Scotch Air

     When my o'erlay was white as the foam o' the lin,
     And siller was chinkin my pouches within,
     When my lambkins were bleatin on meadow and brae,
     As I went to my love in new cleeding sae gay,
        Kind was she, and my friends were free,
        But poverty parts good company.

     How swift passed the minutes and hours of delight,
     When piper played cheerly, and crusie burned bright,
     And linked in my hand was the maiden sae dear,
     As she footed the floor in her holyday gear!
        Woe is me; and can it then be,
        That poverty parts sic company?

     We met at the fair, and we met at the kirk,
     We met i' the sunshine, we met i' the mirk;
     And the sound o' her voice, and the blinks o' her een,
     The cheerin and life of my bosom hae been.
        Leaves frae the tree at Martinmass flee,
        And poverty parts sweet company.

     At bridal and infare I braced me wi' pride,
     The broose I hae won, and a kiss o' the bride;
     And loud was the laughter good fellows among,
     As I uttered my banter or chorused my song;
        Dowie and dree are jestin and glee,
        When poverty spoils good company.

     Wherever I gaed, kindly lasses looked sweet,
     And mithers and aunties were unco discreet;
     While kebbuck and bicker were set on the board:
     But now they pass by me, and never a word!
        Sae let it be, for the worldly and slee
        Wi' poverty keep nae company.

     But the hope of my love is a cure for its smart,
     And the spae-wife has tauld me to keep up my heart;
     For, wi' my last saxpence, her loof I hae crost,
     And the bliss that is fated can never be lost,
        Though cruelly we may ilka day see
        How poverty parts dear company.


     Wanton droll, whose harmless play
     Beguiles the rustic's closing day,
     When, drawn the evening fire about,
     Sit aged crone and thoughtless lout,
     And child upon his three-foot stool,
     Waiting until his supper cool,
     And maid whose cheek outblooms the rose,
     As bright the blazing fagot glows,
     Who, bending to the friendly light,
     Plies her task with busy sleight,
     Come, show thy tricks and sportive graces,
     Thus circled round with merry faces:
     Backward coiled and crouching low,
     With glaring eyeballs watch thy foe,
     The housewife's spindle whirling round,
     Or thread or straw that on the ground
     Its shadow throws, by urchin sly
     Held out to lure thy roving eye;
     Then stealing onward, fiercely spring
     Upon the tempting, faithless thing.
     Now, wheeling round with bootless skill,
     Thy bo-peep tail provokes thee still,
     As still beyond thy curving side
     Its jetty tip is seen to glide;
     Till from thy centre starting far,
     Thou sidelong veer'st with rump in air
     Erected stiff, and gait awry,
     Like madam in her tantrums high;
     Though ne'er a madam of them all,
     Whose silken kirtle sweeps the hall,
     More varied trick and whim displays
     To catch the admiring stranger's gaze.
     Doth power in measured verses dwell,
     All thy vagaries wild to tell?
     Ah, no! the start, the jet, the bound,
     The giddy scamper round and round,
     With leap and toss and high curvet,
     And many a whirling somerset,
     (Permitted by the modern muse
     Expression technical to use)--These
     mock the deftest rhymester's skill,
     But poor in art, though rich in will.

     The featest tumbler, stage bedight,
     To thee is but a clumsy wight,
     Who every limb and sinew strains
     To do what costs thee little pains;
     For which, I trow, the gaping crowd
     Requite him oft with plaudits loud.

     But, stopped the while thy wanton play,
     Applauses too thy pains repay:
     For then, beneath some urchin's hand
     With modest pride thou takest thy stand,
     While many a stroke of kindness glides
     Along thy back and tabby sides.
     Dilated swells thy glossy fur,
     And loudly croons thy busy purr,
     As, timing well the equal sound,
     Thy clutching feet bepat the ground,
     And all their harmless claws disclose
     Like prickles of an early rose,
     While softly from thy whiskered cheek
     Thy half-closed eyes peer, mild and meek.

     But not alone by cottage fire
     Do rustics rude thy feats admire.
     The learned sage, whose thoughts explore
     The widest range of human lore,
     Or with unfettered fancy fly
     Through airy heights of poesy,
     Pausing smiles with altered air
     To see thee climb his elbow-chair,
     Or, struggling on the mat below,
     Hold warfare with his slippered toe.
     The widowed dame or lonely maid,
     Who, in the still but cheerless shade
     Of home unsocial, spends her age,
     And rarely turns a lettered page,
     Upon her hearth for thee lets fall
     The rounded cork or paper ball,
     Nor chides thee on thy wicked watch,
     The ends of raveled skein to catch,
     But lets thee have thy wayward will,
     Perplexing oft her better skill.

     E'en he whose mind, of gloomy bent,
     In lonely tower or prison pent,
     Reviews the coil of former days,
     And loathes the world and all its ways,
     What time the lamp's unsteady gleam
     Hath roused him from his moody dream,
     Feels, as thou gambol'st round his seat,
     His heart of pride less fiercely beat,
     And smiles, a link in thee to find
     That joins it still to living kind.

     Whence hast thou then, thou witless puss!
     The magic power to charm us thus?
     Is it that in thy glaring eye
     And rapid movements we descry--
     Whilst we at ease, secure from ill,
     The chimney corner snugly fill--
     A lion darting on his prey,
     A tiger at his ruthless play?
     Or is it that in thee we trace,
     With all thy varied wanton grace,
     An emblem, viewed with kindred eye
     Of tricky, restless infancy?
     Ah! many a lightly sportive child,
     Who hath like thee our wits beguiled,
     To dull and sober manhood grown,
     With strange recoil our hearts disown.

     And so, poor kit! must thou endure,
     When thou becom'st a cat demure,
     Full many a cuff and angry word,
     Chased roughly from the tempting board.
     But yet, for that thou hast, I ween,
     So oft our favored playmate been,
     Soft be the change which thou shalt prove!
     When time hath spoiled thee of our love,
     Still be thou deemed by housewife fat
     A comely, careful, mousing cat,
     Whose dish is, for the public good,
     Replenished oft with savory food,
     Nor, when thy span of life is past,
     Be thou to pond or dung-hill cast,
     But, gently borne on goodman's spade,
     Beneath the decent sod be laid;
     And children show with glistening eyes
     The place where poor old pussy lies.



That stirring period of the history of France which in certain of its
features has been made so familiar by Dumas through the 'Three
Musketeers' series and others of his fascinating novels, is that which
has been the theme of Dr. Baird in the substantial work to which so many
years of his life have been devoted. It is to the elucidation of one
portion only of the history of this period that he has given himself;
but although in this, the story of the Huguenots, nominally only a
matter of religious belief was involved, it in fact embraced almost the
entire internal politics of the nation, and the struggles for supremacy
of its ambitious families, as well as the effort to achieve
religious freedom.

[Illustration: HENRY M. BAIRD]

In these separate but related works the incidents of the whole
Protestant movement have been treated. The first of these, 'The History
of the Rise of the Huguenots in France' (1879), carries the story to the
time of Henry of Valois (1574), covering the massacre of St.
Bartholomew; the second, 'The Huguenots and Henry of Navarre' (1886),
covers the Protestant ascendancy and the Edict of Nantes, and ends with
the assassination of Henry in 1610; and the third, 'The Huguenots and
the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes' (1895), completes the main story,
and indeed brings the narrative down to a date much later than the title
seems to imply.

It may be said, perhaps, that Dr. Baird holds a brief for the plaintiff
in the case; but his work does not produce the impression of being that
of a violently prejudiced, although an interested, writer. He is cool
and careful, writing with precision, and avoiding even the effects which
the historian may reasonably feel himself entitled to produce, and of
which the period naturally offers so many.

Henry Martyn Baird was born in Philadelphia, January 17th, 1832, and was
educated at the University of the City of New York and the University of
Athens, and at Union and Princeton Theological Seminaries. In 1855 he
became a tutor at Princeton; and in the following year he published an
interesting volume on 'Modern Greece, a Narrative of Residence and
Travel.' In 1859 he was appointed to the chair of Greek Language and
Literature in the University of the City of New York.

In addition to the works heretofore named, he is the author of a
biography of his father, Robert Baird, D.D.


From 'The Huguenots and Henry of Navarre': Charles Scribner's Sons.

The battle began with a furious cannonade from the King's artillery, so
prompt that nine rounds of shot had been fired before the enemy were
ready to reply, so well directed that great havoc was made in the
opposing lines. Next, the light horse of M. de Rosne, upon the extreme
right of the Leaguers, made a dash upon Marshal d'Aumont, but were
valiantly received. Their example was followed by the German reiters,
who threw themselves upon the defenders of the King's artillery and upon
the light horse of Aumont, who came to their relief; then, after their
customary fashion, wheeled around, expecting to pass easily through the
gaps between the friendly corps of Mayenne and Egmont, and to reload
their firearms at their leisure in the rear, by way of preparation for a
second charge.

Owing to the blunder of Tavannes, however, they met a serried line of
horse where they looked for an open field; and the Walloon cavalry found
themselves compelled to set their lances in threatening position to ward
off the dangerous onset of their retreating allies. Another charge, made
by a squadron of the Walloon lancers themselves, was bravely met by
Baron Biron. His example was imitated by the Duke of Montpensier farther
down the field. Although the one leader was twice wounded, and the other
had his horse killed under him, both ultimately succeeded in repulsing
the enemy.

It was about this time that the main body of Henry's horse became
engaged with the gallant array of cavalry in their front. Mayenne had
placed upon the left of his squadron a body of four hundred mounted
carabineers. These, advancing first, rode rapidly toward the King's
line, took aim, and discharged their weapons with deadly effect within
twenty-five paces. Immediately afterward the main force of eighteen
hundred lancers presented themselves. The King had fastened a great
white plume to his helmet, and had adorned his horse's head with
another, equally conspicuous. "Comrades!" he now exclaimed to those
about him, "Comrades! God is for us! There are his enemies and ours! If
you lose sight of your standards, rally to my white plume; you will find
it on the road to victory and to honor." The Huguenots had knelt after
their fashion; again Gabriel d'Amours had offered for them a prayer to
the God of battles: but no Joyeuse dreamed of suspecting that they were
meditating surrender or flight. The King, with the brave Huguenot
minister's prediction of victory still ringing in his ears, plunged into
the thickest of the fight, two horses' length ahead of his companions.
That moment he forgot that he was King of France and general-in-chief,
both in one, and fought as if he were a private soldier. It was indeed a
bold venture. True, the enemy, partly because of the confusion induced
by the reiters, partly from the rapidity of the King's movements, had
lost in some measure the advantage they should have derived from their
lances, and were compelled to rely mainly upon their swords, as against
the firearms of their opponents. Still, they outnumbered the knights of
the King's squadron more than as two to one. No wonder that some of the
latter flinched and actually turned back; especially when the
standard-bearer of the King, receiving a deadly wound in the face, lost
control of his horse, and went riding aimlessly about the field, still
grasping the banner in grim desperation. But the greater number emulated
the courage of their leader. The white plume kept them in the road to
victory and to honor. Yet even this beacon seemed at one moment to fail
them. Another cavalier, who had ostentatiously decorated his helmet much
after the same fashion as the King, was slain in the hand-to-hand
conflict, and some, both of the Huguenots and of their enemies, for a
time supposed the great Protestant champion himself to have fallen.

But although fiercely contested, the conflict was not long. The troopers
of Mayenne wavered, and finally fled. Henry of Navarre emerged from the
confusion, to the great relief of his anxious followers, safe and sound,
covered with dust and blood not his own. More than once he had been in
great personal peril. On his return from the melée, he halted, with a
handful of companions, under the pear-trees indicated beforehand as a
rallying-point, when he was descried and attacked by three bands of
Walloon horse that had not yet engaged in the fight. Only his own valor
and the timely arrival of some of his troops saved the imprudent monarch
from death or captivity.

The rout of Mayenne's principal corps was quickly followed by the
disintegration of his entire army. The Swiss auxiliaries of the League,
though compelled to surrender their flags, were, as ancient allies of
the crown, admitted to honorable terms of capitulation. To the French,
who fell into the King's hands, he was equally clement. Indeed, he
spared no efforts to save their lives. But it was otherwise with the
German lansquenets. Their treachery at Arques, where they had pretended
to come over to the royal side only to turn upon those who had believed
their protestations and welcomed them to their ranks, was yet fresh in
the memory of all. They received no mercy at the King's hands.

Gathering his available forces together, and strengthened by the
accession of old Marshal Biron, who had been compelled, much against his
will, to remain a passive spectator while others fought, Henry pursued
the remnants of the army of the League many a mile to Mantes and the
banks of the Seine. If their defeat by a greatly inferior force had been
little to the credit of either the generals or the troops of the League,
their precipitate flight was still less decorous. The much-vaunted
Flemish lancers distinguished themselves, it was said, by not pausing
until they found safety beyond the borders of France; and Mayenne, never
renowned for courage, emulated or surpassed them in the eagerness he
displayed, on reaching the little town from which the battle took its
name, to put as many leagues as possible between himself and his
pursuers. "The enemy thus ran away," says the Englishman William Lyly,
who was an eye-witness of the battle; "Mayenne to Ivry, where the
Walloons and reiters followed so fast that there standing, hasting to
draw breath, and not able to speak, he was constrained to draw his sword
to strike the flyers to make place for his own flight."

The battle had been a short one. Between ten and eleven o'clock the
first attack was made; in less than an hour the army of the League was
routed. It had been a glorious action for the King and his old
Huguenots, and not less for the loyal Roman Catholics who clung to him.
None seemed discontented but old Marshal Biron, who, when he met the
King coming out of the fray with battered armor and blunted sword, could
not help contrasting the opportunity his Majesty had enjoyed to
distinguish himself with his own enforced inactivity, and exclaimed,
"Sire, this is not right! You have to-day done what Biron ought to have
done, and he has done what the King should have done." But even Biron
was unable to deny that the success of the royal arms surpassed all
expectation, and deserved to rank among the wonders of history. The
preponderance of the enemy in numbers had been great. There was no
question that the impetuous attacks of their cavalry upon the left wing
of the King were for a time almost successful. The official accounts
might conveniently be silent upon the point, but the truth could not be
disguised that at the moment Henry plunged into battle a part of his
line was grievously shaken, a part was in full retreat, and the prospect
was dark enough. Some of his immediate followers, indeed, at this time
turned countenance and were disposed to flee, whereupon he recalled them
to their duty with the words, "Look this way, in order that if you will
not fight, at least you may see me die." But the steady and determined
courage of the King, well seconded by soldiers not less brave, turned
the tide of battle. "The enemy took flight," says the devout Duplessis
Mornay, "terrified rather by God than by men; for it is certain that the
one side was not less shaken than the other." And with the flight of the
cavalry, Mayenne's infantry, constituting, as has been seen,
three-fourths of his entire army, gave up the day as lost, without
striking a blow for the cause they had come to support. How many men the
army of the League lost in killed and wounded it is difficult to say.
The Prince of Parma reported to his master the loss of two hundred and
seventy of the Flemish lancers, together with their commander, the Count
of Egmont. The historian De Thou estimates the entire number of deaths
on the side of the League, including the combatants that fell in the
battle and the fugitives drowned at the crossing of the river Eure, by
Ivry, at eight hundred. The official account, on the other hand, agrees
with Marshal Biron, in stating that of the cavalry alone more than
fifteen hundred died, and adds that four hundred were taken prisoners;
while Davila swells the total of the slain to the incredible sum of
upward of six thousand men.



The Northwest Passage, the Pole itself, and the sources of the Nile--how
many have struggled through ice and snow, or burned themselves with
tropic heat, in the effort to penetrate these secrets of the earth! And
how many have left their bones to whiten on the desert or lie hidden
beneath icebergs at the end of the search!

Of the fortunate ones who escaped after many perils, Baker was one of
the most fortunate. He explored the Blue and the White Nile, discovered
at least one of the reservoirs from which flows the great river of
Egypt, and lived to tell the tale and to receive due honor, being
knighted by the Queen therefor, fêted by learned societies, and sent
subsequently by the Khedive at the head of a large force with commission
to destroy the slave trade. In this he appears to have been successful
for a time, but for a time only.

[Illustration: SIR SAMUEL BAKER]

Baker was born in London, June 8th, 1821, and died December 30th, 1893.
With his brother he established, in 1847, a settlement in the mountains
of Ceylon, where he spent several years. His experiences in the far East
appear in books entitled 'The Rifle and Hound in Ceylon' and 'Eight
Years Wandering in Ceylon.' In 1861, accompanied by his young wife and
an escort, he started up the Nile, and three years later, on the 14th of
March, 1864, at length reached the cliffs overlooking the Albert Nyanza,
being the first European to behold its waters. Like most Englishmen, he
was an enthusiastic sportsman, and his manner of life afforded him a
great variety of unusual experiences. He visited Cyprus in 1879, after
the execution of the convention between England and Turkey, and
subsequently he traveled to Syria, India, Japan, and America. He kept
voluminous notes of his various journeys, which he utilized in the
preparation of numerous volumes:--'The Albert Nyanza'; 'The Nile
Tributaries of Abyssinia'; 'Ismäilia,' a narrative of the expedition
under the auspices of the Khedive; 'Cyprus as I Saw It in 1879';
together with 'Wild Beasts and Their Ways,' 'True Tales for My
Grandsons,' and a story entitled 'Cast Up by the Sea,' which was for
many years a great favorite with the boys of England and America. They
are all full of life and incident. One of the most delightful memories
of them which readers retain is the figure of his lovely wife, so full
of courage, loyalty, buoyancy, and charm. He had that rarest of
possibilities, spirit-stirring adventure and home companionship at once.


From 'The Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia'

On arrival at the camp, I resolved to fire the entire country on the
following day, and to push still farther up the course of the Settite to
the foot of the mountains, and to return to this camp in about a
fortnight, by which time the animals that had been scared away by the
fire would have returned. Accordingly, on the following morning,
accompanied by a few of the aggageers, I started upon the south bank of
the river, and rode for some distance into the interior, to the ground
that was entirely covered with high withered grass. We were passing
through a mass of kittar thorn bush, almost hidden by the immensely high
grass, when, as I was ahead of the party, I came suddenly upon the
tracks of rhinoceros; these were so unmistakably recent that I felt sure
we were not far from the animals themselves. As I had wished to fire the
grass, I was accompanied by my Tokrooris, and my horse-keeper, Mahomet
No. 2. It was difficult ground for the men, and still more unfavorable
for the horses, as large disjointed masses of stone were concealed in
the high grass.

We were just speculating as to the position of the rhinoceros, and
thinking how uncommonly unpleasant it would be should he obtain our
wind, when whiff! whiff! whiff! We heard the sharp whistling snort, with
a tremendous rush through the high grass and thorns close to us; and at
the same moment two of these determined brutes were upon us in full
charge. I never saw such a scrimmage; _sauve qui peut_! There was no
time for more than one look behind. I dug the spurs into Aggahr's
flanks, and clasping him round the neck, I ducked my head down to his
shoulder, well protected with my strong hunting cap, and I kept the
spurs going as hard as I could ply them, blindly trusting to Providence
and my good horse, over big rocks, fallen trees, thick kittar thorns,
and grass ten feet high, with the two infernal animals in full chase
only a few feet behind me. I heard their abominable whiffing close to
me, but so did my horse also, and the good old hunter flew over
obstacles that I should have thought impossible, and he dashed straight
under the hooked thorn bushes and doubled like a hare. The aggageers
were all scattered; Mahomet No. 2 was knocked over by a rhinoceros; all
the men were sprawling upon the rocks with their guns, and the party was
entirely discomfited. Having passed the kittar thorn, I turned, and
seeing that the beasts had gone straight on, I brought Aggahr's head
round, and tried to give chase, but it was perfectly impossible; it was
only a wonder that the horse had escaped in ground so difficult for
riding. Although my clothes were of the strongest and coarsest Arab
cotton cloth, which seldom tore, but simply lost a thread when caught in
a thorn, I was nearly naked. My blouse was reduced to shreds; as I wore
sleeves only half way from the shoulder to the elbow, my naked arms were
streaming with blood; fortunately my hunting cap was secured with a chin
strap, and still more fortunately I had grasped the horse's neck,
otherwise I must have been dragged out of the saddle by the hooked
thorns. All the men were cut and bruised, some having fallen upon their
heads among the rocks, and others had hurt their legs in falling in
their endeavors to escape. Mahomet. No. 2, the horse-keeper, was more
frightened than hurt, as he had been knocked down by the shoulder, and
not by the horn of the rhinoceros, as the animal had not noticed him:
its attention was absorbed by the horse.

I determined to set fire to the whole country immediately, and
descending the hill toward the river to obtain a favorable wind, I put
my men in a line, extending over about a mile along the river's bed, and
they fired the grass in different places. With a loud roar, the flame
leaped high in air and rushed forward with astonishing velocity; the
grass was as inflammable as tinder, and the strong north wind drove the
long line of fire spreading in every direction through the country.

We now crossed to the other side of the river to avoid the flames, and
we returned toward the camp. On the way I made a long shot and badly
wounded a tétel, but lost it in thick thorns; shortly after, I stalked a
nellut _(A. Strepsiceros_), and bagged it with the Fletcher rifle.

We arrived early in camp, and on the following day we moved sixteen
miles farther up stream, and camped under a tamarind-tree by the side of
the river. No European had ever been farther than our last camp,
Delladilla, and that spot had only been visited by Johann Schmidt and
Florian. In the previous year, my aggageers had sabred some of the Basé
at this very camping-place; they accordingly requested me to keep a
vigilant watch during the night, as they would be very likely to attack
us in revenge, unless they had been scared by the rifles and by the size
of our party. They advised me not to remain long in this spot, as it
would be very dangerous for my wife to be left almost alone during the
day, when we were hunting, and that the Basé would be certain to espy us
from the mountains, and would most probably attack and carry her off
when they were assured of our departure. She was not very nervous about
this, but she immediately called the dragoman, Mahomet, who knew the use
of a gun, and she asked him if he would stand by her in case they were
attacked in my absence; the faithful servant replied, "Mahomet fight the
Basé? No, Missus; Mahomet not fight; if the Basé come, Missus fight;
Mahomet run away; Mahomet not come all the way from Cairo to get him
killed by black fellers; Mahomet will run--Inshallah!" (Please God.)

This frank avowal of his military tactics was very reassuring. There was
a high hill of basalt, something resembling a pyramid, within a quarter
of a mile of us; I accordingly ordered some of my men every day to
ascend this look-out station, and I resolved to burn the high grass at
once, so as to destroy all cover for the concealment of an enemy. That
evening I very nearly burned our camp; I had several times ordered the
men to clear away the dry grass for about thirty yards from our
resting-place; this they had neglected to obey. We had been joined a few
days before by a party of about a dozen Hamran Arabs, who were
hippopotami hunters; thus we mustered very strong, and it would have
been the work of about half an hour to have cleared away the grass as I
had desired.

The wind was brisk, and blew directly toward our camp, which was backed
by the river. I accordingly took a fire-stick, and I told my people to
look sharp, as they would not clear away the grass. I walked to the foot
of the basalt hill, and fired the grass in several places. In an instant
the wind swept the flame and smoke toward the camp. All was confusion;
the Arabs had piled the camel-saddles and all their corn and effects in
the high grass about twenty yards from the tent; there was no time to
remove all these things; therefore, unless they could clear away the
grass so as to stop the fire before it should reach the spot, they would
be punished for their laziness by losing their property. The fire
traveled quicker than I had expected, and, by the time I had hastened to
the tent, I found the entire party working frantically; the Arabs were
slashing down the grass with their swords, and sweeping it away with
their shields, while my Tokrooris were beating it down with long sticks
and tearing it from its withered and fortunately tinder-rotten roots, in
desperate haste. The flames rushed on, and we already felt the heat, as
volumes of smoke enveloped us; I thought it advisable to carry the
gunpowder (about 20 lbs.) down to the river, together with the rifles;
while my wife and Mahomet dragged the various articles of luggage to the
same place of safety. The fire now approached within about sixty yards,
and dragging out the iron pins, I let the tent fall to the ground. The
Arabs had swept a line like a high-road perfectly clean, and they were
still tearing away the grass, when they were suddenly obliged to rush
back as the flames arrived.

Almost instantaneously the smoke blew over us, but the fire had expired
upon meeting the cleared ground. I now gave them a little lecture upon
obedience to orders; and from that day, their first act upon halting for
the night was to clear away the grass, lest I should repeat the
entertainment. In countries that are covered with dry grass, it should
be an invariable rule to clear the ground around the camp before night;
hostile natives will frequently fire the grass to windward of a party,
or careless servants may leave their pipes upon the ground, which fanned
by the wind would quickly create a blaze. That night the mountain
afforded a beautiful appearance as the flames ascended the steep sides,
and ran flickering up the deep gullies with a brilliant light.

We were standing outside the tent admiring the scene, which perfectly
illuminated the neighborhood, when suddenly an apparition of a lion and
lioness stood for an instant before us at about fifteen yards distance,
and then disappeared over the blackened ground before I had time to
snatch a rifle from the tent. No doubt they had been disturbed from the
mountain by the fire, and had mistaken their way in the country so
recently changed from high grass to black ashes. In this locality I
considered it advisable to keep a vigilant watch during the night, and
the Arabs were told off for that purpose.

A little before sunrise I accompanied the howartis, or hippopotamus
hunters, for a day's sport. There were numbers of hippos in this part of
the river, and we were not long before we found a herd. The hunters
failed in several attempts to harpoon them, but they succeeded in
stalking a crocodile after a most peculiar fashion. This large beast was
lying upon a sandbank on the opposite margin of the river, close to a
bed of rushes.

The howartis, having studied the wind, ascended for about a quarter of a
mile, and then swam across the river, harpoon in hand. The two men
reached the opposite bank, beneath which they alternately waded or swam
down the stream toward the spot upon which the crocodile was lying. Thus
advancing under cover of the steep bank, or floating with the stream in
deep places, and crawling like crocodiles across the shallows, the two
hunters at length arrived at the bank or rushes, on the other side of
which the monster was basking asleep upon the sand. They were now about
waist-deep, and they kept close to the rushes with their harpoons
raised, ready to cast the moment they should pass the rush bed and come
in view of the crocodile. Thus steadily advancing, they had just arrived
at the corner within about eight yards of the crocodile, when the
creature either saw them, or obtained their wind; in an instant it
rushed to the water; at the same moment, the two harpoons were launched
with great rapidity by the hunters. One glanced obliquely from the
scales; the other stuck fairly in the tough hide, and the iron, detached
from the bamboo, held fast, while the ambatch float, running on the
surface of the water, marked the course of the reptile beneath.

The hunters chose a convenient place, and recrossed the stream to our
side, apparently not heeding the crocodiles more than we should pike
when bathing in England. They would not waste their time by securing the
crocodile at present, as they wished to kill a hippopotamus; the float
would mark the position, and they would be certain to find it later. We
accordingly continued our search for hippopotami; these animals appeared
to be on the _qui vive_, and, as the hunters once more failed in an
attempt, I made a clean shot behind the ear of one, and killed it dead.
At length we arrived at a large pool, in which were several sandbanks
covered with rushes, and many rocky islands. Among these rocks were a
herd of hippopotami, consisting of an old bull and several cows; a young
hippo was standing, like an ugly little statue, on a protruding rock,
while another infant stood upon its mother's back that listlessly
floated on the water.

This was an admirable place for the hunters. They desired me to lie
down, and they crept into the jungle out of view of the river; I
presently observed them stealthily descending the dry bed about two
hundred paces above the spot where the hippos were basking behind the
rocks. They entered the river, and swam down the centre of the stream
toward the rock. This was highly exciting:--the hippos were quite
unconscious of the approaching danger, as, steadily and rapidly, the
hunters floated down the strong current; they neared the rock, and both
heads disappeared as they purposely sank out of view; in a few seconds
later they reappeared at the edge of the rock upon which the young hippo
stood. It would be difficult to say which started first, the astonished
young hippo into the water, or the harpoons from the hands of the
howartis! It was the affair of a moment; the hunters dived directly they
had hurled their harpoons, and, swimming for some distance under water,
they came to the surface, and hastened to the shore lest an infuriated
hippopotamus should follow them. One harpoon had missed; the other had
fixed the bull of the herd, at which it had been surely aimed. This was
grand sport! The bull was in the greatest fury, and rose to the surface,
snorting and blowing in his impotent rage; but as the ambatch float was
exceedingly large, and this naturally accompanied his movements, he
tried to escape from his imaginary persecutor, and dived constantly,
only to find his pertinacious attendant close to him upon regaining the
surface. This was not to last long; the howartis were in earnest, and
they at once called their party, who, with two of the aggageers, Abou Do
and Suleiman, were near at hand; these men arrived with the long ropes
that form a portion of the outfit for hippo hunting.

The whole party now halted on the edge of the river, while two men swam
across with one end of the long rope. Upon gaining the opposite bank, I
observed that a second rope was made fast to the middle of the main
line; thus upon our side we held the ends of two ropes, while on the
opposite side they had only one; accordingly, the point of junction of
the two ropes in the centre formed an acute angle. The object of this
was soon practically explained. Two men upon our side now each held a
rope, and one of these walked about ten yards before the other. Upon
both sides of the river the people now advanced, dragging the rope on
the surface of the water until they reached the ambatch float that was
swimming to and fro, according to the movements of the hippopotamus
below. By a dexterous jerk of the main line, the float was now placed
between the two ropes, and it was immediately secured in the acute angle
by bringing together the ends of these ropes on our side.

The men on the opposite bank now dropped their line, and our men hauled
in upon the ambatch float that was held fast between the ropes. Thus
cleverly made sure, we quickly brought a strain upon the hippo, and,
although I have had some experience in handling big fish, I never knew
one pull so lustily as the amphibious animal that we now alternately
coaxed and bullied. He sprang out of the water, gnashed his huge jaws,
snorted with tremendous rage, and lashed the river into foam; he then
dived, and foolishly approached us beneath the water. We quickly
gathered in the slack line, and took a round turn upon a large rock,
within a few feet of the river. The hippo now rose to the surface, about
ten yards from the hunters, and, jumping half out of the water, he
snapped his great jaws together, endeavoring to catch the rope, but at
the same instant two harpoons were launched into his side. Disdaining
retreat and maddened with rage, the furious animal charged from the
depths of the river, and, gaining a footing, he reared his bulky form
from the surface, came boldly upon the sandbank, and attacked the
hunters open-mouthed. He little knew his enemy; they were not the men to
fear a pair of gaping jaws, armed with a deadly array of tusks, but half
a dozen lances were hurled at him, some entering his mouth from a
distance of five or six paces, at the same time several men threw
handfuls of sand into his enormous eyes. This baffled him more than the
lances; he crunched the shafts between his powerful jaws like straws,
but he was beaten by the sand, and, shaking his huge head, he retreated
to the river. During his sally upon the shore, two of the hunters had
secured the ropes of the harpoons that had been fastened in his body
just before his charge; he was now fixed by three of these deadly
instruments, but suddenly one rope gave way, having been bitten through
by the enraged beast, who was still beneath the water. Immediately after
this he appeared on the surface, and, without a moment's hesitation, he
once more charged furiously from the water straight at the hunters, with
his huge mouth open to such an extent that he could have accommodated
two inside passengers. Suleiman was wild with delight, and springing
forward lance in hand, he drove it against the head of the formidable
animal, but without effect. At the same time, Abou Do met the hippo
sword in hand, reminding me of Perseus slaying the sea-monster that
would devour Andromeda, but the sword made a harmless gash, and the
lance, already blunted against the rocks, refused to penetrate the tough
hide; once more handfuls of sand were pelted upon his face, and again
repulsed by this blinding attack, he was forced to retire to his deep
hole and wash it from his eyes. Six times during the fight the valiant
bull hippo quitted his watery fortress, and charged resolutely at his
pursuers; he had broken several of their lances in his jaws, other
lances had been hurled, and, falling upon the rocks, they were blunted,
and would not penetrate. The fight had continued for three hours, and
the sun was about to set, accordingly the hunters begged me to give him
the _coup de grace_, as they had hauled him close to the shore, and they
feared he would sever the rope with his teeth. I waited for a good
opportunity, when he boldly raised his head from water about three yards
from the rifle, and a bullet from the little Fletcher between the eyes
closed the last act.


From 'The Albert Nyanza'

The name of this village was Parkani. For several days past our guides
had told us that we were very near to the lake, and we were now assured
that we should reach it on the morrow. I had noticed a lofty range of
mountains at an immense distance west, and I had imagined that the lake
lay on the other side of this chain; but I was now informed that those
mountains formed the western frontier of the M'wootan N'zigé, and that
the lake was actually within a march of Parkani. I could not believe it
possible that we were so near the object of our search. The guide
Rabonga now appeared, and declared that if we started early on the
following morning we should be able to wash in the lake by noon!

That night I hardly slept. For years I had striven to reach the "sources
of the Nile." In my nightly dreams during that arduous voyage I had
always failed, but after so much hard work and perseverance the cup was
at my very lips, and I was to drink at the mysterious fountain before
another sun should set--at that great reservoir of Nature that ever
since creation had baffled all discovery.

I had hoped, and prayed, and striven through all kinds of difficulties,
in sickness, starvation, and fatigue, to reach that hidden source; and
when it had appeared impossible, we had both determined to die upon the
road rather than return defeated. Was it possible that it was so near,
and that to-morrow we could say, "the work is accomplished"?

The 14th March. The sun had not risen when I was spurring my ox after
the guide, who, having been promised a double handful of beads on
arrival at the lake, had caught the enthusiasm of the moment. The day
broke beautifully clear, and having crossed a deep valley between the
hills, we toiled up the opposite slope. I hurried to the summit. The
glory of our prize burst suddenly upon me! There, like a sea of
quicksilver, lay far beneath the grand expanse of water,--a boundless
sea horizon on the south and southwest, glittering in the noonday sun;
and on the west at fifty or sixty miles distance blue mountains rose
from the bosom of the lake to a height of about 7,000 feet above
its level.

It is impossible to describe the triumph of that moment;--here was the
reward for all our labor--for the years of tenacity with which we had
toiled through Africa. England had won the sources of the Nile! Long
before I reached this spot I had arranged to give three cheers with all
our men in English style in honor of the discovery, but now that I
looked down upon the great inland sea lying nestled in the very heart of
Africa, and thought how vainly mankind had sought these sources
throughout so many ages, and reflected that I had been the humble
instrument permitted to unravel this portion of the great mystery when
so many greater than I had failed, I felt too serious to vent my
feelings in vain cheers for victory, and I sincerely thanked God for
having guided and supported us through all dangers to the good end. I
was about 1,500 feet above the lake, and I looked down from the steep
granite cliff upon those welcome waters--upon that vast reservoir which
nourished Egypt and brought fertility where all was wilderness--upon
that great source so long hidden from mankind; that source of bounty and
of blessings to millions of human beings; and as one of the greatest
objects in nature, I determined to honor it with a great name. As an
imperishable memorial of one loved and mourned by our gracious Queen and
deplored by every Englishman, I called this great lake "the Albert
Nyanza." The Victoria and the Albert lakes are the two sources of
the Nile.



Although the prominence of Arthur James Balfour in English contemporary
life is in the main that of a statesman, he has a high place as a critic
of philosophy, especially in its relation to religion. During the early
part of his life his interests were entirely those of a student. He was
born in 1848, a member of the Cecil family, and a nephew of the Prime
Minister, Lord Salisbury. His tastes were those of a retired thinker. He
cared for literature, music, and philosophy, but very little for the
political world; so little that he never read the newspapers. This
tendency was increased by his delicate health. When, therefore, as a
young man in the neighborhood of thirty, he was made Secretary for
Scotland, people laughed. His uncle's choice proved to be a wise one,
however; and he later, in 1886, gave his nephew the very important
position of Irish Secretary, at a time when some of the ablest and most
experienced statesmen had failed. Mr. Balfour won an unexpected success
and a wide reputation, and from that time on he developed rapidly into
one of the most skillful statesmen of the Conservative party. By
tradition and by temperament he is an extreme Tory; and it is in the
opposition, as a skillful fencer in debate and a sharp critic of
pretentious schemes, that he has been most admired and most feared.
However, he is kept from being narrowly confined to the traditional
point of view by the philosophic interests and training of his mind,
which he has turned into practical fairness. Some of his speeches are
most original in suggestion, and all show a literary quality of a high
order. His writings on other subjects are also broad, scholarly, and
practical. 'A Defense of Philosophic Doubt' is thought by some
philosophers to be the ablest work of destructive criticism since Hume.
'The Foundations of Belief' covers somewhat the same ground and in more
popular fashion. 'Essays and Addresses' is a collection of papers on
literature and sociology.

[Illustration: ARTHUR J. BALFOUR]


From his Rectorial Address before the University of Glasgow

I confess to have been much perplexed in my search for a topic on which
I could say something to which you would have patience to listen, or on
which I might find it profitable to speak. One theme however there is,
not inappropriate to the place in which I stand, nor I hope unwelcome to
the audience which I address. The youngest of you have left behind that
period of youth during which it seems inconceivable that any book should
afford recreation except a story-book. Many of you are just reaching the
period when, at the end of your prescribed curriculum, the whole field
and compass of literature lies outspread before you; when, with
faculties trained and disciplined, and the edge of curiosity not dulled
or worn with use, you may enter at your leisure into the intellectual
heritage of the centuries.

Now the question of how to read and what to read has of late filled much
space in the daily papers, if it cannot strictly speaking be said to
have profoundly occupied the public mind. But you need be under no
alarm. I am not going to supply you with a new list of the hundred books
most worth reading, nor am I about to take the world into my confidence
in respect of my "favorite passages from the best authors." Nor again do
I address myself to the professed student, to the fortunate individual
with whom literature or science is the business as well as the pleasure
of life. I have not the qualifications which would enable me to
undertake such a task with the smallest hope of success. My theme is
humble, though the audience to whom I desire to speak is large: for I
speak to the ordinary reader with ordinary capacities and ordinary
leisure, to whom reading is, or ought to be, not a business but a
pleasure; and my theme is the enjoyment--not, mark you, the improvement,
nor the glory, nor the profit, but the _enjoyment_--which may be derived
by such an one from books.

It is perhaps due to the controversial habits engendered by my
unfortunate profession, that I find no easier method of making my own
view clear than that of contrasting with it what I regard as an
erroneous view held by somebody else; and in the present case the
doctrine which I shall choose as a foil to my own, is one which has been
stated with the utmost force and directness by that brilliant and
distinguished writer, Mr. Frederic Harrison. He has, as many of you
know, recently given us, in a series of excellent essays, his opinion on
the principles which should guide us in the choice of books. Against
that part of his treatise which is occupied with specific
recommendations of certain authors I have not a word to say. He has
resisted all the temptations to eccentricity which so easily beset the
modern critic. Every book which he praises deserves his praise, and has
long been praised by the world at large. I do not, indeed, hold that the
verdict of the world is necessarily binding on the individual
conscience. I admit to the full that there is an enormous quantity of
hollow devotion, of withered orthodoxy divorced from living faith, in
the eternal chorus of praise which goes up from every literary altar to
the memory of the immortal dead. Nevertheless every critic is bound to
recognize, as Mr. Harrison recognizes, that he must put down to
individual peculiarity any difference he may have with the general
verdict of the ages; he must feel that mankind are not likely to be in a
conspiracy of error as to the kind of literary work which conveys to
them the highest literary enjoyment, and that in such cases at least
_securus judicat orbis terrarum_.

But it is quite possible to hold that any work recommended by Mr.
Harrison is worth repeated reading, and yet to reject utterly the theory
of study by which these recommendations are prefaced. For Mr. Harrison
is a ruthless censor. His _index expurgatorius_ includes, so far as I
can discover, the whole catalogue of the British Museum, with the
exception of a small remnant which might easily be contained in about
thirty or forty volumes. The vast remainder he contemplates with
feelings apparently not merely of indifference, but of active aversion.
He surveys the boundless and ever-increasing waste of books with
emotions compounded of disgust and dismay. He is almost tempted to say
in his haste that the invention of printing has been an evil one for
humanity. In the habits of miscellaneous reading, born of a too easy
access to libraries, circulating and other, he sees many soul-destroying
tendencies; and his ideal reader would appear to be a gentleman who
rejects with a lofty scorn all in history that does not pass for being
first-rate in importance, and all in literature that is not admitted to
be first-rate in quality.

Now, I am far from denying that this theory is plausible. Of all that
has been written, it is certain that the professed student can master
but an infinitesimal fraction. Of that fraction the ordinary reader can
master but a very small part. What advice, then, can be better than to
select for study the few masterpieces that have come down to us, and to
treat as non-existent the huge but undistinguished remainder? We are
like travelers passing hastily through some ancient city; filled with
memorials of many generations and more than one great civilization. Our
time is short. Of what may be seen we can only see at best but a
trifling fragment. Let us then take care that we waste none of our
precious moments upon that which is less than the most excellent. So
preaches Mr. Frederic Harrison; and when a doctrine which put thus may
seem not only wise but obvious, is further supported by such assertions
that habits of miscellaneous reading "close the mind to what is
spiritually sustaining" by "stuffing it with what is simply curious," or
that such methods of study are worse than no habits of study at all
because they "gorge and enfeeble" the mind by "excess in that which
cannot nourish," I almost feel that in venturing to dissent from it, I
may be attacking not merely the teaching of common sense but the
inspirations of a high morality.

Yet I am convinced that for most persons the views thus laid down by Mr.
Harrison are wrong; and that what he describes, with characteristic
vigor, as "an impotent voracity for desultory information," is in
reality a most desirable and a not too common form of mental appetite. I
have no sympathy whatever with the horror he expresses at the "incessant
accumulation of fresh books." I am never tempted to regret that
Gutenberg was born into the world. I care not at all though the
"cataract of printed stuff," as Mr. Harrison calls it, should flow and
still flow on until the catalogues of our libraries should make
libraries themselves. I am prepared, indeed, to express sympathy almost
amounting to approbation for any one who would check all writing which
was _not_ intended for the printer. I pay no tribute of grateful
admiration to those who have oppressed mankind with the dubious blessing
of the penny post. But the ground of the distinction is plain. We are
always obliged to read our letters, and are sometimes obliged to answer
them. But who obliges us to wade through the piled-up lumber of an
ancient library, or to skim more than we like off the frothy foolishness
poured forth in ceaseless streams by our circulating libraries? Dead
dunces do not importune us; Grub Street does not ask for a reply by
return of post. Even their living successors need hurt no one who
possesses the very moderate degree of social courage required to make
the admission that he has not read the last new novel or the current
number of a fashionable magazine.

But this is not the view of Mr. Harrison. To him the position of any one
having free access to a large library is fraught with issues so
tremendous that, in order adequately to describe it, he has to seek for
parallels in two of the most highly-wrought episodes in fiction: the
Ancient Mariner, becalmed and thirsting on the tropic ocean; Bunyan's
Christian in the crisis of spiritual conflict. But there is here,
surely, some error and some exaggeration. Has miscellaneous reading all
the dreadful consequences which Mr. Harrison depicts? Has it any of
them? His declaration about the intellect being "gorged and enfeebled"
by the absorption of too much information, expresses no doubt with great
vigor an analogy, for which there is high authority, between the human
mind and the human stomach; but surely it is an analogy which may be
pressed too far. I have often heard of the individual whose excellent
natural gifts have been so overloaded with huge masses of undigested and
indigestible learning that they have had no chance of healthy
development. But though I have often heard of this personage, I have
never met him, and I believe him to be mythical. It is true, no doubt,
that many learned people are dull; but there is no indication whatever
that they are dull because they are learned. True dullness is seldom
acquired; it is a natural grace, the manifestations of which, however
modified by education, remain in substance the same. Fill a dull man to
the brim with knowledge, and he will not become less dull, as the
enthusiasts for education vainly imagine; but neither will he become
duller, as Mr. Harrison appears to suppose. He will remain in essence
what he always has been and always must have been. But whereas his
dullness would, if left to itself, have been merely vacuous, it may have
become, under cureful cultivation, pretentious and pedantic.

I would further point out to you that while there is no ground in
experience for supposing that a keen interest in those facts which Mr.
Harrison describes as "merely curious" has any stupefying effect upon
the mind, or has any tendency to render it insensible to the higher
things of literature and art, there is positive evidence that many of
those who have most deeply felt the charm of these higher things have
been consumed by that omnivorous appetite for knowledge which excites
Mr. Harrison's especial indignation. Dr. Johnson, for instance, though
deaf to some of the most delicate harmonies of verse, was without
question a very great critic. Yet in Dr. Johnson's opinion, literary
history, which is for the most part composed of facts which Mr. Harrison
would regard as insignificant, about authors whom he would regard as
pernicious, was the most delightful of studies. Again, consider the case
of Lord Macaulay. Lord Macaulay did everything Mr. Harrison says he
ought not to have done. From youth to age he was continuously occupied
in "gorging and enfeebling" his intellect, by the unlimited consumption
of every species of literature, from the masterpieces of the age of
Pericles to the latest rubbish from the circulating library. It is not
told of him that his intellect suffered by the process; and though it
will hardly be claimed for him that he was a great critic, none will
deny that he possessed the keenest susceptibilities for literary
excellence in many languages and in every form. If Englishmen and
Scotchmen do not satisfy you, I will take a Frenchman. The most
accomplished critic whom France has produced is, by general admission,
Ste.-Beuve. His capacity for appreciating supreme perfection in
literature will be disputed by none; yet the great bulk of his vast
literary industry was expended upon the lives and writings of authors
whose lives Mr. Harrison would desire us to forget, and whose writings
almost wring from him the wish that the art of printing had never been

I am even bold enough to hazard the conjecture (I trust he will forgive
me) that Mr. Harrison's life may be quoted against Mr. Harrison's
theory. I entirely decline to believe, without further evidence, that
the writings whose vigor of style and of thought have been the delight
of us all are the product of his own system. I hope I do him no wrong,
but I cannot help thinking that if we knew the truth, we should find
that he followed the practice of those worthy physicians who, after
prescribing the most abstemious diet to their patients, may be seen
partaking freely, and to all appearances safely, of the most succulent
and the most unwholesome of the forbidden dishes.

It has to be noted that Mr. Harrison's list of the books which deserve
perusal would seem to indicate that in his opinion, the pleasures to be
derived from literature are chiefly pleasures of the imagination. Poets,
dramatists, and novelists form the chief portion of the somewhat meagre
fare which is specifically permitted to his disciples. Now, though I
have already stated that the list is not one of which any person is
likely to assert that it contains books which ought to be excluded, yet,
even from the point of view of what may be termed aesthetic enjoyment,
the field in which we are allowed to take our pleasures seems to me
unduly restricted.

Contemporary poetry, for instance, on which Mr. Harrison bestows a good
deal of hard language, has and must have, for the generation which
produces it, certain qualities not likely to be possessed by any other.
Charles Lamb has somewhere declared that a pun loses all its virtues as
soon as the momentary quality of the intellectual and social atmosphere
in which it was born has changed its character. What is true of this,
the humblest effort of verbal art, is true in a different measure and
degree of all, even of the highest, forms of literature. To some extent
every work requires interpretation to generations who are separated by
differences of thought or education from the age in which it was
originally produced. That this is so with every book which depends for
its interest upon feelings and fashions which have utterly vanished, no
one will be disposed, I imagine, to deny. Butler's 'Hudibras,' for
instance, which was the delight of a gay and witty society, is to me at
least not unfrequently dull. Of some works, no doubt, which made a noise
in their day it seems impossible to detect the slightest race of charm.
But this is not the case with 'Hudibras.' Its merits are obvious. That
they should have appealed to a generation sick of the reign of the
"Saints" is precisely what we should have expected. But to us, who are
not sick of the reign of the Saints, they appeal but imperfectly. The
attempt to reproduce artificially the frame of mind of those who first
read the poem is not only an effort, but is to most people, at all
events, an unsuccessful effort. What is true of 'Hudibras' is true also,
though in an inconceivably smaller degree, of those great works of
imagination which deal with the elemental facts of human character and
human passion. Yet even on these, time does, though lightly, lay his
hand. Wherever what may be called "historic sympathy" is required, there
will be some diminution of the enjoyment which those must have felt who
were the poet's contemporaries. We look, so to speak, at the same
splendid landscape as they, but distance has made it necessary for us to
aid our natural vision with glasses, and some loss of light will thus
inevitably be produced, and some inconvenience from the difficulty of
truly adjusting the focus. Of all authors, Homer would, I suppose, be
thought to suffer least from such drawbacks. But yet in order to listen
to Homer's accents with the ears of an ancient Greek, we must be able,
among other things, to enter into a view about the gods which is as far
removed from what we should describe as religious sentiment, as it is
from the frigid ingenuity of those later poets who regarded the deities
of Greek mythology as so many wheels in the supernatural machinery with
which it pleased them to carry on the action of their pieces. If we are
to accept Mr. Herbert Spencer's views as to the progress of our species,
changes of sentiment are likely to occur which will even more seriously
interfere with the world's delight in the Homeric poems. When human
beings become so nicely "adjusted to their environment" that courage and
dexterity in battle will have become as useless among civic virtues as
an old helmet is among the weapons of war; when fighting gets to be
looked upon with the sort of disgust excited in us by cannibalism; and
when public opinion shall regard a warrior much in the same light that
we regard a hangman,--I do not see how any fragment of that vast and
splendid literature which depends for its interest upon deeds of heroism
and the joy of battle is to retain its ancient charm.

About these remote contingencies, however, I am glad to think that
neither you nor I need trouble our heads; and if I parenthetically
allude to them now, it is merely as an illustration of a truth not
always sufficiently remembered, and as an excuse for those who find in
the genuine, though possibly second-rate, productions of their own age,
a charm for which they search in vain among the mighty monuments of
the past.

But I leave this train of thought, which has perhaps already taken me
too far, in order to point out a more fundamental error, as I think it,
which arises from regarding literature solely from this high aesthetic
standpoint. The pleasures of imagination, derived from the best literary
models, form without doubt the most exquisite portion of the enjoyment
which we may extract from books; but they do not, in my opinion, form
the largest portion if we take into account mass as well as quality in
our calculation. There is the literature which appeals to the
imagination or the fancy, some stray specimens of which Mr. Harrison
will permit us to peruse; but is there not also the literature which
satisfies the curiosity? Is this vast storehouse of pleasure to be
thrown hastily aside because many of the facts which it contains are
alleged to be insignificant, because the appetite to which they minister
is said to be morbid? Consider a little. We are here dealing with one of
the strongest intellectual impulses of rational beings. Animals, as a
rule, trouble themselves but little about anything unless they want
either to eat it or to run away from it. Interest in and wonder at the
works of nature and the doings of man are products of civilization, and
excite emotions which do not diminish but increase with increasing
knowledge and cultivation. Feed them and they grow; minister to them and
they will greatly multiply. We hear much indeed of what is called "idle
curiosity"; but I am loth to brand any form of curiosity as necessarily
idle. Take, for example, one of the most singular, but in this age one
of the most universal, forms in which it is accustomed to manifest
itself: I mean that of an exhaustive study of the contents of the
morning and evening papers. It is certainly remarkable that any person
who has nothing to get by it should destroy his eyesight and confuse his
brain by a conscientious attempt to master the dull and doubtful details
of the European diary daily transmitted to us by "Our Special
Correspondent." But it must be remembered that this is only a somewhat
unprofitable exercise of that disinterested love of knowledge which
moves men to penetrate the Polar snows, to build up systems of
philosophy, or to explore the secrets of the remotest heavens. It has in
it the rudiments of infinite and varied delights. It _can_ be turned,
and it _should_ be turned into a curiosity for which nothing that has
been done, or thought, or suffered, or believed, no law which governs
the world of matter or the world of mind, can be wholly alien or

Truly it is a subject for astonishment that, instead of expanding to the
utmost the employment of this pleasure-giving faculty, so many persons
should set themselves to work to limit its exercise by all kinds of
arbitrary regulations. Some there are, for example, who tell us that the
acquisition of knowledge is all very well, but that it must be _useful_
knowledge; meaning usually thereby that it must enable a man to get on
in a profession, pass an examination, shine in conversation, or obtain a
reputation for learning. But even if they mean something higher than
this, even if they mean that knowledge to be worth anything must
subserve ultimately if not immediately the material or spiritual
interests of mankind, the doctrine is one which should be energetically
repudiated. I admit, of course, at once, that discoveries the most
apparently remote from human concerns have often proved themselves of
the utmost commercial or manufacturing value. But they require no such
justification for their existence, nor were they striven for with any
such object. Navigation is not the final cause of astronomy, nor
telegraphy of electro-dynamics, nor dye-works of chemistry. And if it be
true that the desire of knowledge for the sake of knowledge was the
animating motive of the great men who first wrested her secrets from
nature, why should it not also be enough for us, to whom it is not given
to discover, but only to learn as best we may what has been discovered
by others?

Another maxim, more plausible but equally pernicious, is that
superficial knowledge is worse than no knowledge at all. That "a little
knowledge is a dangerous thing" is a saying which has now got currency
as a proverb stamped in the mint of Pope's versification; of Pope, who
with the most imperfect knowledge of Greek translated Homer, with the
most imperfect knowledge of the Elizabethan drama edited Shakespeare,
and with the most imperfect knowledge of philosophy wrote the 'Essay on
Man.' But what is this "little knowledge" which is supposed to be so
dangerous? What is it "little" in relation to? If in relation to what
there is to know, then all human knowledge is little. If in relation to
what actually is known by somebody, then we must condemn as "dangerous"
the knowledge which Archimedes possessed of mechanics, or Copernicus of
astronomy; for a shilling primer and a few weeks' study will enable any
student to outstrip in mere information some of the greatest teachers
of the past. No doubt, that little knowledge which thinks itself to be
great may possibly be a dangerous, as it certainly is a most ridiculous
thing. We have all suffered under that eminently absurd individual who
on the strength of one or two volumes, imperfectly apprehended by
himself, and long discredited in the estimation of everyone else, is
prepared to supply you on the shortest notice with a dogmatic solution
of every problem suggested by this "unintelligible world" or the
political variety of the same pernicious genus, whose statecraft
consists in the ready application to the most complex question of
national interest of some high-sounding commonplace which has done weary
duty on a thousand platforms, and which even in its palmiest days was
never fit for anything better than a peroration. But in our dislike of
the individual, do not let us mistake the diagnosis of his disease. He
suffers not from ignorance but from stupidity. Give him learning and you
make him not wise, but only more pretentious in his folly.

I say then that so far from a little knowledge being undesirable, a
little knowledge is all that on most subjects any of us can hope to
attain; and that, as a source not of worldly profit but of personal
pleasure, it may be of incalculable value to its possessor. But it will
naturally be asked, "How are we to select from among the infinite number
of things which may be known, those which it is best worth while for us
to know?" We are constantly being told to concern ourselves with
learning what is important, and not to waste our energies upon what is
insignificant. But what are the marks by which we shall recognize the
important, and how is it to be distinguished from the insignificant. A
precise and complete answer to this question which shall be true for all
men cannot be given. I am considering knowledge, recollect, as it
ministers to enjoyment; and from this point of view each unit of
information is obviously of importance in proportion as it increases the
general sum of enjoyment which we obtain, or expect to obtain, from
knowledge. This, of course, makes it impossible to lay down precise
rules which shall be an equally sure guide to all sorts and conditions
of men; for in this, as in other matters, tastes must differ, and
against real difference of taste there is no appeal.

There is, however, one caution which it may be worth your while to keep
in view:--Do not be persuaded into applying any general proposition on
this subject with a foolish impartiality to every kind of knowledge.
There are those who tell you that it is the broad generalities and the
far-reaching principles which govern the world, which are alone worthy
of your attention. A fact which is not an illustration of a law, in the
opinion of these persons appears to lose all its value. Incidents which
do not fit into some great generalization, events which are merely
picturesque, details which are merely curious, they dismiss as unworthy
the interest of a reasoning being. Now, even in science this doctrine in
its extreme form does not hold good. The most scientific of men have
taken profound interest in the investigation of facts from the
determination of which they do not anticipate any material addition to
our knowledge of the laws which regulate the Universe. In these matters,
I need hardly say that I speak wholly without authority. But I have
always been under the impression that an investigation which has cost
hundreds of thousands of pounds; which has stirred on three occasions
the whole scientific community throughout the civilized world; on which
has been expended the utmost skill in the construction of instruments
and their application to purposes of research (I refer to the attempts
made to determine the distance of the sun by observation of the transit
of Venus),--would, even if they had been brought to a successful issue,
have furnished mankind with the knowledge of no new astronomical
principle. The laws which govern the motions of the solar system, the
proportions which the various elements in that system bear to one
another, have long been known. The distance of the sun itself is known
within limits of error relatively speaking not very considerable. Were
the measuring rod we apply to the heavens based on an estimate of the
sun's distance from the earth which was wrong by (say) three per cent.,
it would not to the lay mind seem to affect very materially our view
either of the distribution of the heavenly bodies or of their motions.
And yet this information, this piece of celestial gossip, would seem to
have been the chief astronomical result expected from the successful
prosecution of an investigation in which whole nations have interested

But though no one can, I think, pretend that science does not concern
itself, and properly concern itself, with facts which are not to all
appearance illustrations of law, it is undoubtedly true that for those
who desire to extract the greatest pleasure from science, a knowledge,
however elementary, of the leading principles of investigation and the
larger laws of nature, is the acquisition most to be desired. To him who
is not a specialist, a comprehension of the broad outlines of the
universe as it presents itself to his scientific imagination is the
thing most worth striving to attain. But when we turn from science to
what is rather vaguely called history, the same principles of study do
not, I think, altogether apply, and mainly for this reason: that while
the recognition of the reign of law is the chief amongst the pleasures
imparted by science, our inevitable ignorance makes it the least among
the pleasures imparted by history.

It is no doubt true that we are surrounded by advisers who tell us that
all study of the past is barren, except in so far as it enables us to
determine the principles by which the evolution of human societies is
governed. How far such an investigation has been up to the present time
fruitful in results, it would be unkind to inquire. That it will ever
enable us to trace with accuracy the course which States and nations are
destined to pursue in the future, or to account in detail for their
history in the past, I do not in the least believe. We are borne along
like travelers on some unexplored stream. We may know enough of the
general configuration of the globe to be sure that we are making our way
towards the ocean. We may know enough, by experience or theory, of the
laws regulating the flow of liquids, to conjecture how the river will
behave under the varying influences to which it may be subject. More
than this we cannot know. It will depend largely upon causes which, in
relation to any laws which we are even likely to discover may properly
be called accidental, whether we are destined sluggishly to drift among
fever-stricken swamps, to hurry down perilous rapids, or to glide gently
through fair scenes of peaceful cultivation.

But leaving on one side ambitious sociological speculations, and even
those more modest but hitherto more successful investigations into the
causes which have in particular cases been principally operative in
producing great political changes, there are still two modes in which we
can derive what I may call "spectacular" enjoyment from the study of
history. There is first the pleasure which arises from the contemplation
of some great historic drama, or some broad and well-marked phase of
social development. The story of the rise, greatness, and decay of a
nation is like some vast epic which contains as subsidiary episodes the
varied stories of the rise, greatness, and decay of creeds, of parties,
and of statesmen. The imagination is moved by the slow unrolling of this
great picture of human mutability, as it is moved by the contrasted
permanence of the abiding stars. The ceaseless conflict, the strange
echoes of long-forgotten controversies, the confusion of purpose, the
successes in which lay deep the seeds of future evils, the failures that
ultimately divert the otherwise inevitable danger, the heroism which
struggles to the last for a cause foredoomed to defeat, the wickedness
which sides with right, and the wisdom which huzzas at the triumph of
folly,--fate, meanwhile, amidst this turmoil and perplexity, working
silently towards the predestined end,--all these form together a subject
the contemplation of which need surely never weary.

But yet there is another and very different species of enjoyment to be
derived from the records of the past, which requires a somewhat
different method of study in order that it may be fully tasted. Instead
of contemplating as it were from a distance the larger aspects of the
human drama, we may elect to move in familiar fellowship amid the scenes
and actors of special periods. We may add to the interest we derive from
the contemplation of contemporary politics, a similar interest derived
from a not less minute, and probably more accurate, knowledge of some
comparatively brief passage in the political history of the past. We may
extend the social circle in which we move, a circle perhaps narrowed and
restricted through circumstances beyond our control, by making intimate
acquaintances, perhaps even close friends, among a society long
departed, but which, when we have once learnt the trick of it, we may,
if it so pleases us, revive.

It is this kind of historical reading which is usually branded as
frivolous and useless; and persons who indulge in it often delude
themselves into thinking that the real motive of their investigation
into bygone scenes and ancient scandals is philosophic interest in an
important historical episode, whereas in truth it is not the philosophy
which glorifies the details, but the details which make tolerable the
philosophy. Consider, for example, the case of the French Revolution.
The period from the taking of the Bastile to the fall of Robespierre is
about the same as that which very commonly intervenes between two of our
general elections. On these comparatively few months, libraries have
been written. The incidents of every week are matters of familiar
knowledge. The character and the biography of every actor in the drama
has been made the subject of minute study; and by common admission there
is no more fascinating page in the history of the world. But the
interest is not what is commonly called philosophic, it is personal.
Because the Revolution is the dominant fact in modern history, therefore
people suppose that the doings of this or that provincial lawyer, tossed
into temporary eminence and eternal infamy by some freak of the
revolutionary wave, or the atrocities committed by this or that mob,
half drunk with blood, rhetoric, and alcohol, are of transcendent
importance. In truth their interest is great, but their importance is
small. What we are concerned to know as students of the philosophy of
history is, not the character of each turn and eddy in the great social
cataract, but the manner in which the currents of the upper stream drew
surely in towards the final plunge, and slowly collected themselves
after the catastrophe again, to pursue at a different level their
renewed and comparatively tranquil course.

Now, if so much of the interest of the French Revolution depends upon
our minute knowledge of each passing incident, how much more necessary
is such knowledge when we are dealing with the quiet nooks and corners
of history; when we are seeking an introduction, let us say, into the
literary society of Johnson, or the fashionable society of Walpole.
Society, dead or alive, can have no charm without intimacy, and no
intimacy without interest in trifles which I fear Mr. Harrison would
describe as "merely curious." If we would feel at our ease in any
company, if we wish to find humor in its jokes, and point in its
repartees, we must know something of the beliefs and the prejudices of
its various members, their loves and their hates, their hopes and their
fears, their maladies, their marriages, and their flirtations. If these
things are beneath our notice, we shall not be the less qualified to
serve our Queen and country, but need make no attempt to extract
pleasure from one of the most delightful departments of literature.

That there is such a thing as trifling information I do not of course
question; but the frame of mind in which the reader is constantly
weighing the exact importance to the universe at large of each
circumstance which the author presents to his notice, is not one
conducive to the true enjoyment of a picture whose effect depends upon a
multitude of slight and seemingly insignificant touches, which impress
the mind often without remaining in the memory. The best method of
guarding against the danger of reading what is useless is to read only
what is interesting; a truth which will seem a paradox to a whole class
of readers, fitting objects of our commiseration, who may be often
recognized by their habit of asking some adviser for a list of books,
and then marking out a scheme of study in the course of which all are to
be conscientiously perused. These unfortunate persons apparently read a
book principally with the object of getting to the end of it. They reach
the word _Finis_ with the same sensation of triumph as an Indian feels
who strings a fresh scalp to his girdle. They are not happy unless they
mark by some definite performance each step in the weary path of
self-improvement. To begin a volume and not to finish it would be to
deprive themselves of this satisfaction; it would be to lose all the
reward of their earlier self-denial by a lapse from virtue at the end.
To skip, according to their literary code, is a species of cheating; it
is a mode of obtaining credit for erudition on false pretenses; a plan
by which the advantages of learning are surreptitiously obtained by
those who have not won them by honest toil. But all this is quite wrong.
In matters literary, works have no saving efficacy. He has only half
learnt the art of reading who has not added to it the even more refined
accomplishments of skipping and of skimming; and the first step has
hardly been taken in the direction of making literature a pleasure until
interest in the subject, and not a desire to spare (so to speak) the
author's feelings, or to accomplish an appointed task, is the prevailing
motive of the reader.

I have now reached, not indeed the end of my subject, which I have
scarcely begun, but the limits inexorably set by the circumstances under
which it is treated. Yet I am unwilling to conclude without meeting an
objection to my method of dealing with it, which has I am sure been
present to the minds of not a few who have been good enough to listen to
me with patience. It will be said that I have ignored the higher
functions of literature; that I have degraded it from its rightful
place, by discussing only certain ways in which it may minister to the
entertainment of an idle hour, leaving wholly out of sight its
contributions to what Mr. Harrison calls our "spiritual sustenance."
Now, this is partly because the first of these topics and not the second
was the avowed subject of my address; but it is partly because I am
deliberately of opinion that it is the pleasures and not the profits,
spiritual or temporal, of literature which most require to be preached
in the ear of the ordinary reader. I hold indeed the faith that all such
pleasures minister to the development of much that is best in
man--mental and moral; but the charm is broken and the object lost if
the remote consequence is consciously pursued to the exclusion of the
immediate end. It will not, I suppose, be denied that the beauties of
nature are at least as well qualified to minister to our higher needs as
are the beauties of literature. Yet we do not say we are going to walk
to the top of such and such a hill in order to drink in "spiritual
sustenance." We say we are going to look at the view. And I am convinced
that this, which is the natural and simple way of considering literature
as well as nature, is also the true way. The habit of always requiring
some reward for knowledge beyond the knowledge itself, be that reward
some material prize or be it what is vaguely called self-improvement, is
one with which I confess I have little sympathy, fostered though it is
by the whole scheme of our modern education. Do not suppose that I
desire the impossible. I would not if I could destroy the examination
system. But there are times, I confess, when I feel tempted somewhat to
vary the prayer of the poet, and to ask whether Heaven has not reserved,
in pity to this much-educating generation, some peaceful desert of
literature as yet unclaimed by the crammer or the coach; where it might
be possible for the student to wander, even perhaps to stray, at his own
pleasure without finding every beauty labeled, every difficulty
engineered, every nook surveyed, and a professional cicerone standing at
every corner to guide each succeeding traveler along the same well-worn
round. If such a wish were granted, I would further ask that the domain
of knowledge thus "neutralized" should be the literature of our own
country. I grant to the full that the systematic study of _some_
literature must be a principal element in the education of youth. But
why should that literature be our own? Why should we brush off the bloom
and freshness from the works to which Englishmen and Scotchmen most
naturally turn for refreshment,--namely, those written in their own
language? Why should we associate them with the memory of hours spent in
weary study; in the effort to remember for purposes of examination what
no human being would wish to remember for any other; in the struggle to
learn something, not because the learner desires to know it, because he
desires some one else to know that he knows it? This is the dark side of
the examination system; a system necessary and therefore excellent, but
one which does, through the very efficiency and thoroughness of the
drill by which it imparts knowledge, to some extent impair the most
delicate pleasures by which the acquisition of knowledge should
be attended.

How great those pleasures may be, I trust there are many here who can
testify. When I compare the position of the reader of to-day with that
of his predecessor of the sixteenth century. I am amazed at the
ingratitude of those who are tempted even for a moment to regret the
invention of printing and the multiplication of books. There is now no
mood of mind to which a man may not administer the appropriate nutriment
or medicine at the cost of reaching down a volume from his bookshelf. In
every department of knowledge infinitely more is known, and what is
known is incomparably more accessible, than it was to our ancestors. The
lighter forms of literature, good, bad, and indifferent, which have
added so vastly to the happiness of mankind, have increased beyond
powers of computation; nor do I believe that there is any reason to
think that they have elbowed out their more serious and important
brethren. It is perfectly possible for a man, not a professed student,
and who only gives to reading the leisure hours of a business life, to
acquire such a general knowledge of the laws of nature and the facts of
history that every great advance made in either department shall be to
him both intelligible and interesting; and he may besides have among his
familiar friends many a departed worthy whose memory is embalmed in the
pages of memoir or biography. All this is ours for the asking. All this
we shall ask for, if only it be our happy fortune to love for its own
sake the beauty and the knowledge to be gathered from books. And if this
be our fortune, the world may be kind or unkind, it may seem to us to be
hastening on the wings of enlightenment and progress to an imminent
millennium, or it may weigh us down with the sense of insoluble
difficulty and irremediable wrong; but whatever else it be, so long as
we have good health and a good library, it can hardly be dull.


(Popular or Communal)


The popular ballad, as it is understood for the purpose of these
selections, is a narrative in lyric form, with no traces of individual
authorship, and is preserved mainly by oral tradition. In its earliest
stages it was meant to be sung by a crowd, and got its name from the
dance to which it furnished the sole musical accompaniment. In these
primitive communities the ballad was doubtless chanted by the entire
folk, in festivals mainly of a religious character. Explorers still meet
something of the sort in savage tribes: and children's games preserve
among us some relics of this protoplasmic form of verse-making, in which
the single poet or artist was practically unknown, and spontaneous,
improvised verses arose out of the occasion itself; in which the whole
community took part; and in which the beat of foot--along with the
gesture which expressed narrative elements of the song--was inseparable
from the words and the melody. This native growth of song, in which the
chorus or refrain, the dance of a festal multitude, and the spontaneous
nature of the words, were vital conditions, gradually faded away before
the advance of cultivated verse and the vigor of production in what one
may call poetry of the schools. Very early in the history of the ballad,
a demand for more art must have called out or at least emphasized the
artist, the poet, who chanted new verses while the throng kept up the
refrain or burden. Moreover, as interest was concentrated upon the words
or story, people began to feel that both dance and melody were separable
if not alien features; and thus they demanded the composed and recited
ballad, to the harm and ultimate ruin of that spontaneous song for the
festal, dancing crowd. Still, even when artistry had found a footing in
ballad verse, it long remained mere agent and mouthpiece for the folk;
the communal character of the ballad was maintained in form and matter.
Events of interest were sung in almost contemporary and entirely
improvised verse; and the resulting ballads, carried over the borders of
their community and passed down from generation to generation, served as
newspaper to their own times and as chronicle to posterity. It is the
kind of song to which Tacitus bears witness as the sole form of history
among the early Germans; and it is evident that such a stock of ballads
must have furnished considerable raw material to the epic. Ballads, in
whatever original shape, went to the making of the English 'Béowulf,'
of the German 'Nibelungenlied.' Moreover, a study of dramatic poetry
leads one back to similar communal origins. What is loosely called a
"chorus,"--originally, as the name implies, a dance--out of which older
forms of the drama were developed, could be traced back to identity with
primitive forms of the ballad. The purely lyrical ballad, even, the
_chanson_ of the people, so rare in English but so abundant among other
races, is evidently a growth from the same root.

If, now, we assume for this root the name of communal poem, and if we
bear in mind the dominant importance of the individual, the artist, in
advancing stages of poetry, it is easy to understand why for civilized
and lettered communities the ballad has ceased to have any vitality
whatever. Under modern conditions the making of ballads is a closed
account. For our times poetry means something written by a poet, and not
something sung more or less spontaneously by a dancing throng. Indeed,
paper and ink, the agents of preservation in the case of ordinary verse,
are for ballads the agents of destruction. The broadside press of three
centuries ago, while it rescued here and there a genuine ballad, poured
out a mass of vulgar imitations which not only displaced and destroyed
the ballad of oral tradition, but brought contempt upon good and bad
alike. Poetry of the people, to which our ballad belongs, is a thing of
the past. Even rude and distant communities, like those of Afghanistan,
cannot give us the primitive conditions. The communal ballad is rescued,
when rescued at all, by the fragile chances of a written copy or of oral
tradition; and we are obliged to study it under terms of artistic
poetry,--that is, we are forced to take through the eye and the judgment
what was meant for the ear and immediate sensation. Poetry _for_ the
people, however, "popular poetry" in the modern phrase, is a very
different affair. Street songs, vulgar rhymes, or even improvisations of
the concert-halls, tawdry and sentimental stuff,--these things are
sundered by the world's width from poetry _of_ the people, from the folk
in verse, whether it echo in a great epos which chants the clash of
empires or linger in a ballad of the countryside sung under the village
linden. For this ballad is a part of the poetry which comes from the
people as a whole, from a homogeneous folk, large or small; while the
song of street or concert-hall is deliberately composed for a class, a
section, of the community. It would therefore be better to use some
other term than "popular" when we wish to specify the ballad of
tradition, and so avoid all taint of vulgarity and the trivial. Nor must
we go to the other extreme. Those high-born people who figure in
traditional ballads--Childe Waters, Lady Maisry, and the rest--do not
require us to assume composition in aristocratic circles; for the lower
classes of the people in ballad days had no separate literature, and a
ballad of the folk belonged to the community as a whole. The same habit
of thought, the same standard of action, ruled alike the noble and his
meanest retainer. Oral transmission, the test of the ballad, is of
course nowhere possible save in such an unlettered community. Since all
critics are at one in regard to this homogeneous character of the folk
with whom and out of whom these songs had their birth, one is justified
in removing all doubt from the phrase by speaking not of the popular
ballad but of the communal ballad, the ballad of a community.

With regard to the making of a ballad, one must repeat a caution, hinted
already, and made doubly important by a vicious tendency in the study of
all phases of culture. It is a vital mistake to explain primitive
conditions by exact analogy with conditions of modern savagery and
barbarism. Certain conclusions, always guarded and cautious to a degree,
may indeed be drawn; but it is folly to insist that what now goes on
among shunted races, belated detachments in the great march of culture,
must have gone on among the dominant and mounting peoples who had
reached the same external conditions of life. The homogeneous and
unlettered state of the ballad-makers is not to be put on a level with
the ignorance of barbarism, nor explained by the analogy of songs among
modern savage tribes. Fortunately we have better material. The making of
a ballad by a community can be illustrated from a case recorded by
Pastor Lyngbye in his invaluable account of life on the Faroe Islands a
century ago. Not only had the islanders used from most ancient times
their traditional and narrative songs as music for the dance, but they
had also maintained the old fashion of making a ballad. In the winter,
says Lyngbye, dancing is their chief amusement and is an affair of the
entire community. At such a dance, one or more persons begin to sing;
then all who are present join in the ballad, or at least in the refrain.
As they dance, they show by their gestures and expression that they
follow with eagerness the course of the story which they are singing.
More than this, the ballad is often a spontaneous product of the
occasion. A fisherman, who has had some recent mishap with his boat, is
pushed by stalwart comrades into the middle of the throng, while the
dancers sing verses about him and his lack of skill,--verses improvised
on the spot and with a catching and clamorous refrain. If these verses
win favor, says Lyngbye, they are repeated from year to year, with
slight additions or corrections, and become a permanent ballad. Bearing
in mind the extraordinary readiness to improvise shown even in these
days by peasants in every part of Europe, we thus gain some definite
notion about the spontaneous and communal elements which went to the
making of the best type of primitive verse; for these Faroe islanders
were no savages, but simply a homeogeneous and isolated folk which
still held to the old ways of communal song.

Critics of the ballad, moreover, agree that it has little or no
subjective traits,--an easy inference from the conditions just
described. There is no individuality lurking behind the words of the
ballad, and above all, no evidence of that individuality in the form of
sentiment. Sentiment and individuality are the very essence of modern
poetry, and the direct result of individualism in verse. Given a poet,
sentiment--and it may be noble and precious enough--is sure to follow.
But the ballad, an epic in little, forces one's attention to the object,
the scene, the story, and away from the maker.

     "The king sits in Dumferling town."

begins one of the noblest of all ballads; while one of the greatest of
modern poems opens with something personal and pathetic, key-note to all
that follows:--

     "My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
     My sense ..."

Even when a great poet essays the ballad, either he puts sentiment into
it, or else he keeps sentiment out of it by a _tour de force_. Admirable
and noble as one must call the conclusion of an artistic ballad such as
Tennyson's 'Revenge,' it is altogether different from the conclusion of
such a communal ballad as 'Sir Patrick Spens.' That subtle quality of
the ballad which lies in solution with the story and which--as in 'Child
Maurice' or 'Babylon' or 'Edward'--compels in us sensations akin to
those called out by the sentiment of the poet, is a wholly impersonal if
strangely effective quality, far removed from the corresponding elements
of the poem of art. At first sight, one might say that Browning's
dramatic lyrics had this impersonal quality. But compare the close of
'Give a Rouse,' chorus and all, with the close of 'Child Maurice,' that
swift and relentless stroke of pure tragedy which called out the
enthusiasm of so great a critic as Gray.

The narrative of the communal ballad is full of leaps and omissions; the
style is simple to a fault; the diction is spontaneous and free.
Assonance frequently takes the place of rhyme, and a word often rhymes
with itself. There is a lack of poetic adornment in the style quite as
conspicuous as the lack of reflection and moralizing in the matter.
Metaphor and simile are rare and when found are for the most part
standing phrases common to all the ballads; there is never poetry for
poetry's sake. Iteration is the chief mark of ballad style; and the
favorite form of this effective figure is what one may call incremental
repetition. The question is repeated with the answer; each increment in
a series of related facts has a stanza for itself, identical, save for
the new fact, with the other stanzas. 'Babylon' furnishes good instances
of this progressive iteration. Moreover, the ballad differs from earlier
English epics in that it invariably has stanzas and rhyme; of the two
forms of stanza, the two-line stanza with a refrain is probably older
than the stanza with four or six lines.

This necessary quality of the stanza points to the origin of the ballad
in song; but longer ballads, such as those that make up the 'Gest of
Robin Hood,' an epic in little, were not sung as lyrics or to aid the
dance, but were either chanted in a monotonous fashion or else recited
outright. Chappell, in his admirable work on old English music ('Music
of the Olden Time,' ii. 790), names a third class of "characteristic
airs of England,"--the "historical and very long ballads, ... invariably
of simple construction, usually plaintive.... They were rarely if ever
used for dancing." Most of the longer ballads, however, were doubtless
given by one person in a sort of recitative; this is the case with
modern ballads of Russia and Servia, where the bystanders now and then
join in a chorus. Precisely in the same way ballads were divorced from
the dance, originally their vital condition; but in the refrain, which
is attached to so many ballads, one finds an element which has survived
from those earliest days of communal song.

Of oldest communal poetry no actual ballad has come down to us. Hints
and even fragments, however, are pointed out in ancient records, mainly
as the material of chronicle or legend. In the Bible (Numbers xxi. 17),
where "Israel sang this song," we are not going too far when we regard
the fragment as part of a communal ballad. "Spring up, O well: sing ye
unto it: the princes digged the well, the nobles of the people digged
it, by the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves." Deborah's song
has something of the communal note; and when Miriam dances and sings
with her maidens, one is reminded of the many ballads made by dancing
and singing bands of women in mediæval Europe,--for instance, the song
made in the seventh century to the honor of St. Faro, and "sung by the
women as they danced and clapped their hands." The question of ancient
Greek ballads, and their relation to the epic, is not to be discussed
here; nor can we make more than an allusion to the theory of Niebuhr
that the early part of Livy is founded on, old Roman ballads. A popular
discussion of this matter may be found in Macaulay's preface to his own
'Lays of Ancient Rome.' The ballads of modern Europe are a survival of
older communal poetry, more or less influenced by artistic and
individual conditions of authorship, but wholly impersonal, and with an
appeal to our interest which seems to come from a throng and not from
the solitary poet. Attention was early called to the ballads of Spain;
printed at first as broadsides, they were gathered into a volume as
early as 1550. On the other hand, ballads were neglected in France until
very recent times; for specimens of the French ballad, and for an
account of it, the reader should consult Professor Crane's 'Chansons
Populaires de France,' New York, 1891. It is with ballads of the
Germanic race, however, that we are now concerned. Denmark, Norway,
Sweden, Iceland, the Faroe Islands; Scotland and England; the
Netherlands and Germany: all of these countries offer us admirable
specimens of the ballad. Particularly, the great collections of
Grundtvig ('Danmarks Gamle Folkeviser') for Denmark, and of Child ('The
English and Scottish Popular Ballads') for our own tongue, show how
common descent or borrowing connects the individual ballads of these
groups. "Almost every Norwegian, Swedish, or Icelandic ballad," says
Grundtvig, "is found in a Danish version of Scandinavian ballads;
moreover, a larger number can be found in English and Scottish versions
than in German or Dutch versions." Again, we find certain national
preferences in the character of the ballads which have come down to us.
Scandinavia kept the old heroic lays (Kaempeviser); Germany wove them
into her epic, as witness the Nibelungen Lay; but England and Scotland
have none of them in any shape. So, too, the mythic ballad, scantily
represented in English, and practically unknown in Germany, abounds in
Scandinavian collections. The Faroe Islands and Norway, as Grundtvig
tells us, show the best record for ballads preserved by oral tradition;
while noble ladies of Denmark, three or four centuries ago, did high
service to ballad literature by making collections in manuscript of the
songs current then in the castle as in the cottage.

For England, one is compelled to begin the list of known ballads with
the thirteenth century. 'The Battle of Maldon,' composed in the last
decade of the tenth century, though spirited enough and full of communal
vigor, has no stanzaic structure, follows in metre and style the rules
of the Old English epic, and is only a ballad by courtesy; about the
ballads used a century or two later by historians of England, we can do
nothing but guess; and there is no firm ground under the critic's foot
until he comes to the Robin Hood ballads, which Professor Child assigns
to the thirteenth century. 'The Battle of Otterburn' (1388) opens a
series of ballads based on actual events and stretching into the
eighteenth century. Barring the Robin Hood cycle,--an epic constructed
from this attractive material lies before us in the famous 'Gest of
Robin Hood,' printed as early as 1489,--the chief sources of the
collector are the Percy Manuscript, "written just before 1650,"--on
which, not without omissions and additions, the bishop based his
'Reliques,' first published in 1765,--and the oral traditions of
Scotland, which Professor Child refers to "the last one hundred and
thirty years." Information about the individual ballads, their sources,
history, literary connections, and above all, their varying texts, must
be sought in the noble work of Professor F.J. Child. For present
purposes, a word or two of general information must suffice. As to
origins, there is a wide range. The church furnished its legend, as in
'St. Stephen'; romance contributed the story of 'Thomas Rymer'; and the
light, even cynical _fabliau_ is responsible for 'The Boy and the
Mantle.' Ballads which occur in many tongues either may have a common
origin or else may owe their manifold versions, as in the case of
popular tales, to a love of borrowing; and here, of course, we get the
hint of wider issues. For the most part, however, a ballad tells some
moving story, preferably of fighting and of love. Tragedy is the
dominant note; and English ballads of the best type deal with those
elements of domestic disaster so familiar in the great dramas of
literature, in the story of Orestes, or of Hamlet, or of the Cid. Such
are 'Edward,' 'Lord Randal,' 'The Two Brothers,' 'The Two Sisters,'
'Child Maurice,' 'Bewick and Graham,' 'Clerk Colven,' 'Little Musgrave
and Lady Barnard,' 'Glasgerion,' and many others. Another group of
ballads, represented by the 'Baron of Brackley' and 'Captain Car,' give
a faithful picture of the feuds and ceaseless warfare in Scotland and on
the border. A few fine ballads--'Sweet William's Ghost,' 'The Wife of
Usher's Well'--touch upon the supernatural. Of the romantic ballads,
'Childe Waters' shows us the higher, and 'Young Beichan' the lower, but
still sound and communal type. Incipient dramatic tendencies mark
'Edward' and 'Lord Randal'; while, on the other hand, a lyric note
almost carries 'Bonnie George Campbell' out of balladry. Finally, it is
to be noted that in the 'Nut-Brown Maid,' which many would
unhesitatingly refer to this class of poetry, we have no ballad at all,
but a dramatic lyric, probably written by a woman, and with a special
plea in the background.

[Illustration: Signature: F.B. Gummere]


     1. When shawes[9] beene sheene[10], and shradds[11] full fayre,
           And leeves both large and longe,
        It is merry, walking in the fayre forrest,
           To heare the small birds' songe.

     2. The woodweele[12] sang, and wold not cease,
           Amongst the leaves a lyne[13];
        And it is by two wight[14] yeomen,
           By deare God, that I meane.

       *       *       *       *       *

     3. "Me thought they[15] did me beate and binde,
           And tooke my bow me fro;
         If I bee Robin alive in this lande,
           I'll be wrocken[16] on both them two."

     4. "Sweavens[17] are swift, master," quoth John,
           "As the wind that blowes ore a hill;
         For if it be never soe lowde this night,
           To-morrow it may be still."

     5. "Buske ye, bowne ye[18], my merry men all,
           For John shall go with me;
         For I'll goe seeke yond wight yeomen
           In greenwood where they bee."

     6. They cast on their gowne of greene,
           A shooting gone are they,
        Until they came to the merry greenwood,
           Where they had gladdest bee;
        There were they ware of a wight yeoman,
           His body leaned to a tree.

     7. A sword and a dagger he wore by his side,
           Had beene many a man's bane[19],
        And he was cladd in his capull-hyde[20],
           Topp, and tayle, and mayne.

     8. "Stand you still, master," quoth Litle John,
           "Under this trusty tree,
        And I will goe to yond wight yeoman,
           To know his meaning trulye."

     9. "A, John, by me thou setts noe store,
           And that's a farley[21] thinge;
         How offt send I my men before,
           And tarry myselfe behinde?"

     10. "It is noe cunning a knave to ken,
           And a man but heare him speake;
         And it were not for bursting of my bowe,
           John, I wold thy head breake."

     11. But often words they breeden bale,
           That parted Robin and John;
         John is gone to Barnesdale,
           The gates[22] he knowes eche one.

     12. And when hee came to Barnesdale,
           Great heavinesse there hee hadd;
         He found two of his fellowes
           Were slaine both in a slade[23],

     13. And Scarlett a foote flyinge was,
           Over stockes and stone,
         For the sheriffe with seven score men
           Fast after him is gone.

     14. "Yet one shoote I'll shoote," sayes Litle John,
           "With Crist his might and mayne;
         I'll make yond fellow that flyes soe fast
           To be both glad and faine."

     15. John bent up a good veiwe bow[24],
           And fetteled[25] him to shoote;
         The bow was made of a tender boughe,
           And fell downe to his foote.

     16. "Woe worth[26] thee, wicked wood," sayd Litle John,
           "That ere thou grew on a tree!
         For this day thou art my bale,
           My boote[27] when thou shold bee!"

     17. This shoote it was but looselye shott,
           The arrowe flew in vaine,
         And it mett one of the sheriffe's men;
           Good William a Trent was slaine.

     18. It had beene better for William a Trent
           To hange upon a gallowe
         Then for to lye in the greenwoode,
           There slaine with an arrowe.

     19. And it is sayed, when men be mett,
           Six can doe more than three:
         And they have tane Litle John,
           And bound him fast to a tree.

     20. "Thou shalt be drawen by dale and downe," quoth the sheriffe[28],
           "And hanged hye on a hill:"
         "But thou may fayle," quoth Litle John
           "If it be Christ's owne will."

     21. Let us leave talking of Litle John,
           For hee is bound fast to a tree,
         And talke of Guy and Robin Hood
           In the green woode where they bee.

     22. How these two yeomen together they mett,
           Under the leaves of lyne,
         To see what marchandise they made
           Even at that same time.

     23. "Good morrow, good fellow," quoth Sir Guy;
           "Good morrow, good fellow," quoth hee;
         "Methinkes by this bow thou beares in thy hand,
           A good archer thou seems to bee."

     24. "I am wilfull of my way[29]," quoth Sir Guy,
           "And of my morning tyde:"
         "I'll lead thee through the wood," quoth Robin,
           "Good fellow, I'll be thy guide."

     25. "I seeke an outlaw," quoth Sir Guy,
           "Men call him Robin Hood;
         I had rather meet with him upon a day
           Then forty pound of golde."

     26. "If you tow mett, it wold be seene whether were better
           Afore yee did part awaye;
         Let us some other pastime find,
           Good fellow, I thee pray."

     27. "Let us some other masteryes make,
           And we will walke in the woods even;
         Wee may chance meet with Robin Hood
           At some unsett steven[30]."

     28. They cutt them downe the summer shroggs[31]
           Which grew both under a bryar,
         And sett them three score rood in twinn[32],
           To shoote the prickes[33] full neare.

     29. "Leade on, good fellow," sayd Sir Guye,
           "Leade on, I doe bidd thee:"
         "Nay, by my faith," quoth Robin Hood,
           "The leader thou shalt bee."

     30. The first good shoot that Robin ledd,
           Did not shoote an inch the pricke froe,
         Guy was an archer good enoughe,
           But he could neere shoote soe.

     31. The second shoote Sir Guy shott,
           He shott within the garlande[34],
         But Robin Hoode shott it better than hee,
           For he clove the good pricke-wande.

     32. "God's blessing on thy heart!" sayes Guye,
           "Goode fellow, thy shooting is goode;
         For an thy hart be as good as thy hands,
           Thou were better than Robin Hood."

     33. "Tell me thy name, good fellow," quoth Guye,
           "Under the leaves of lyne:"
         "Nay, by my faith," quoth good Robin,
           "Till thou have told me thine."

     34. "I dwell by dale and downe," quoth Guye,
           "And I have done many a curst turne;
         And he that calles me by my right name,
           Calles me Guye of good Gysborne."

     35. "My dwelling is in the wood," sayes Robin;
           "By thee I set right nought;
         My name is Robin Hood of Barnesdale,
           A fellow thou hast long sought."

     36. He that had neither beene a kithe nor kin
           Might have seene a full fayre sight.
         To see how together these yeomen went,
           With blades both browne and bright.

     37. To have seene how these yeomen together fought
           Two howers of a summer's day;
         It was neither Guy nor Robin Hood
           That fettled them to flye away.

     38. Robin was reacheles[35] on a roote,
           And stumbled at that tyde,
         And Guy was quicke and nimble with-all,
           And hitt him ore the left side.

     39. "Ah, deere Lady!" sayd Robin Hoode,
           "Thou art both mother and may[36]!
         I thinke it was never man's destinye
           To dye before his day."

     40. Robin thought on Our Lady deere,
           And soone leapt up againe,
         And thus he came with an awkwarde[37] stroke;
           Good Sir Guy hee has slayne.

     41. He tooke Sir Guy's head by the hayre,
           And sticked it on his bowe's end:
         "Thou has beene traytor all thy life,
           Which thing must have an ende."

     42. Robin pulled forth an Irish kniffe,
           And nicked Sir Guy in the face,
         That he was never on[38] a woman borne
           Could tell who Sir Guye was.

     43. Saies, Lye there, lye there, good Sir Guye,
           And with me not wrothe;
         If thou have had the worse stroakes at my hand,
           Thou shalt have the better cloathe.

     44. Robin did off his gowne of greene,
           Sir Guye he did it throwe;
         And he put on that capull-hyde
           That clad him topp to toe.

     45. "Tis bowe, the arrowes, and litle horne,
           And with me now I'll beare;
         For now I will goe to Barnesdale,
           To see how my men doe fare."

     46. Robin sett Guye's horne to his mouth,
           A lowd blast in it he did blow;
         That beheard the sheriffe of Nottingham,
           As he leaned under a lowe[39].

     47. "Hearken! hearken!" sayd the sheriffe,
           "I heard noe tydings but good;
         For yonder I heare Sir Guye's horne blowe,
           For he hath slaine Robin Hoode."

     48. "For yonder I heare Sir Guye's horne blowe,
           It blowes soe well in tyde,
         For yonder conies that wighty yeoman
           Cladd in his capull-hyde."

     49. "Come hither, thou good Sir Guy,
           Aske of mee what thou wilt have:"
         "I'll none of thy gold," sayes Robin Hood,
           "Nor I'll none of it have."

     50. "But now I have slaine the master," he sayd,
           "Let me goe strike the knave;
         This is all the reward I aske,
           Nor noe other will I have."

     51. "Thou art a madman," said the sheriffe,
           "Thou sholdest have had a knight's fee;
         Seeing thy asking hath beene soe badd,
           Well granted it shall be."

     52. But Litle John heard his master speake,
           Well he knew that was his steven[40];
         "Now shall I be loset," quoth Litle John,
           "With Christ's might in heaven."

     53. But Robin hee hyed him towards Litle John,
           Hee thought hee wold loose him belive;
         The sheriffe and all his companye
           Fast after him did drive.

     54. "Stand abacke! stand abacke!" sayd Robin;
           "Why draw you mee soe neere?
         It was never the use in our countrye
           One's shrift another should heere."

     55. But Robin pulled forth an Irysh kniffe,
           And losed John hand and foote,
         And gave him Sir Guye's bow in his hand,
           And bade it be his boote.

     56. But John tooke Guye's bow in his hand
           (His arrowes were rawstye[41] by the roote);
         The sherriffe saw Litle John draw a bow
           And fettle him to shoote.

     57. Towards his house in Nottingham
           He fled full fast away,
         And so did all his companye,
           Not one behind did stay.

     58. But he cold neither soe fast goe,
           Nor away soe fast runn,
         But Litle John, with an arrow broade,
           Did cleave his heart in twinn.

     [Footnote 8: This ballad is a good specimen of the Robin Hood
     Cycle, and is remarkable for its many proverbial and
     alliterative phrases. A few lines have been lost between
     stanzas 2 and 3. Gisborne is a "market-town in the West
     Riding of the County of York, on the borders of Lancashire."
     For the probable tune of the ballad, see Chappell's 'Popular
     Music of the Olden Time,' ii. 397.]

     [Footnote 9: Woods, groves.--This touch of description at the
     outset is common in our old ballads, as well as in the
     mediæval German popular lyric, and may perhaps spring from
     the old "summer-lays" and chorus of pagan times.]

     [Footnote 10: Beautiful; German, _schön_.]

     [Footnote 11: Coppices or openings in a wood.]

     [Footnote 12: In some glossaries the woodpecker, but here of
     course a song-bird,--perhaps, as Chappell suggests, the

     [Footnote 13: _A_, on; _lyne_, lime or linden.]

     [Footnote 14: Sturdy, brave.]

     [Footnote 15: Robin now tells of a dream in which "they"
     (=the two "wight yeomen," who are Guy and, as Professor Child
     suggests, the Sheriff of Nottingham) maltreat him; and he
     thus foresees trouble "from two quarters."]

     [Footnote 16: Revenged.]

     [Footnote 17: Dreams.]

     [Footnote 18: Tautological phrase,--"prepare and make

     [Footnote 19: Murder, destruction.]

     [Footnote 20: Horse's hide.]

     [Footnote 21: Strange.]

     [Footnote 22: Paths.]

     [Footnote 23: Green valley between woods.]

     [Footnote 24: Perhaps the yew-bow.]

     [Footnote 25: Made ready.]

     [Footnote 26: "Woe be to thee." _Worth_ is the old
     subjunctive present of an exact English equivalent to the
     modern German _werden_.]

     [Footnote 27: Note these alliterative phrases. _Boote_,

     [Footnote 28: As Percy noted, this "quoth the sheriffe," was
     probably added by some explainer. The reader, however, must
     remember the license of slurring or contracting the syllables
     of a word, as well as the opposite freedom of expansion. Thus
     in the second line of stanza 7, _man's_ is to be pronounced

     [Footnote 29: I have lost my way.]

     [Footnote 30: At some unappointed time,--by chance.]

     [Footnote 31: Stunted shrubs.]

     [Footnote 32: Apart.]

     [Footnote 33: "_Prickes_ seem to have been the long-range
     targets, _butts_ the near."--Furnivall.]

     [Footnote 34: _Garlande_, perhaps "the ring within which the
     prick was set"; and the _pricke-wande_ perhaps a pole or
     stick. The terms are not easy to understand clearly.]

     [Footnote 35: Reckless, careless.]

     [Footnote 36: Maiden.]

     [Footnote 37: Dangerous, or perhaps simply backward,

     [Footnote 38: _On_ is frequently used for _of_.]

     [Footnote 39: Hillock.]

     [Footnote 40: Voice.]

     [Footnote 41: Rusty]


     [This is the older and better version of the famous ballad.
     The younger version was the subject of Addison's papers in
     the Spectator.]

     1. The Percy out of Northumberlande,
          and a vowe to God mayd he
        That he would hunte in the mountayns
          of Cheviot within days thre,
        In the magger[42] of doughty Douglas,
          and all that ever with him be.

     2. The fattiste hartes in all Cheviot
          he sayd he would kyll, and cary them away:
        "Be my feth," sayd the doughty Douglas agayn,
          "I will let[43] that hontyng if that I may."

     3. Then the Percy out of Banborowe cam,
          with him a myghtee meany[44],
        With fifteen hondred archares bold of blood and bone;
          they were chosen out of shyars thre.

     4. This began on a Monday at morn,
          in Cheviot the hillys so he;
        The chyld may rue that ys unborn,
          it was the more pittë.

     5. The dryvars thorowe the woodës went,
          for to reas the deer;
        Bowmen byckarte uppone the bent[45]
          with their browd arrows cleare.

     6. Then the wyld thorowe the woodës went,
          on every sydë shear;
        Greahondës thorowe the grevis glent[46],
          for to kyll their deer.

     7. This begane in Cheviot the hyls abone,
          yerly on a Monnyn-day;
        Be that it drewe to the hour of noon,
          a hondred fat hartës ded ther lay.

     8. They blewe a mort[47] uppone the bent,
          they semblyde on sydis shear;
        To the quyrry then the Percy went,
          to see the bryttlynge[48] of the deere.

     9. He sayd, "It was the Douglas promys
          this day to met me hear;
        But I wyste he wolde faylle, verament;"
          a great oth the Percy swear.

     10. At the laste a squyar of Northumberlande
           lokyde at his hand full ny;
         He was war a the doughtie Douglas commynge,
           with him a myghtë meany.

     11. Both with spear, bylle, and brande,
           yt was a myghtë sight to se;
         Hardyar men, both of hart nor hande,
           were not in Cristiantë.

     12. They were twenty hondred spear-men good,
           withoute any fail;
         They were borne along be the water a Twyde,
           yth bowndës of Tividale.

     13. "Leave of the brytlyng of the deer," he said,
           "and to your bows look ye tayk good hede;
         For never sithe ye were on your mothers borne
           had ye never so mickle nede."

     14. The doughty Douglas on a stede,
           he rode alle his men beforne;
         His armor glytteyrde as dyd a glede[49];
           a boldar barne was never born.

     15. "Tell me whose men ye are," he says,
           "or whose men that ye be:
         Who gave youe leave to hunte in this Cheviot chays,
           in the spyt of myn and of me."

     16. The first man that ever him an answer mayd,
           yt was the good lord Percy:
         "We wyll not tell the whose men we are," he says,
           "nor whose men that we be;
         But we wyll hounte here in this chays,
           in spyt of thyne and of the."

     17. "The fattiste hartës in all Cheviot
           we have kyld, and cast to carry them away:"
         "Be my troth," sayd the doughty Douglas agayn,
           "therefor the tone of us shall die this day."

     18. Then sayd the doughtë Douglas
           unto the lord Percy,
         "To kyll alle thes giltles men,
           alas, it wear great pittë!"

     19. "But, Percy, thowe art a lord of lande,
           I am a yerle callyd within my contrë;
         Let all our men uppone a parti stande,
           and do the battell of the and of me."

     20. "Nowe Cristes curse on his crowne," sayd the lord Percy,
           "whosoever thereto says nay;
         Be my troth, doughty Douglas," he says,
           "thow shalt never se that day."

     21. "Nethar in Ynglonde, Skottlonde, nor France,
           nor for no man of a woman born,
         But, and fortune be my chance,
           I dar met him, one man for one."

     22. Then bespayke a squyar of Northumberlande,
           Richard Wytharyngton was his name:
         "It shall never be told in Sothe-Ynglonde," he says,
           "To Kyng Kerry the Fourth for shame."

     23. "I wat youe byn great lordës twa,
           I am a poor squyar of lande:
         I wylle never se my captayne fyght on a fylde,
           and stande my selffe and looke on,
         But whylle I may my weppone welde,
           I wylle not fayle both hart and hande."

     24. That day, that day, that dredfull day!
           the first fit here I fynde[50];
         And you wyll hear any more a the hountyng a the Cheviot
           yet ys ther mor behynde.

     25. The Yngglyshe men had their bowys ybent,
           ther hartes were good yenoughe;
         The first of arrows that they shote off,
           seven skore spear-men they sloughe.

     26. Yet bides the yerle Douglas upon the bent,
           a captayne good yenoughe,
         And that was sene verament,
           for he wrought hem both wo and wouche.

     27. The Douglas partyd his host in thre,
           like a chief chieftain of pryde;
         With sure spears of myghtty tre,
           they cum in on every syde:

     28. Throughe our Yngglyshe archery
           gave many a wounde fulle wyde;
         Many a doughty they garde to dy,
           which ganyde them no pryde.

     29. The Ynglyshe men let ther bowës be,
           and pulde out brandes that were brighte;
         It was a heavy syght to se
           bryght swordes on basnites lyght.

     30. Thorowe ryche male and myneyeple[51],
           many sterne they strocke down straight;
         Many a freyke[52] that was fulle fre,
           there under foot dyd lyght.

     31. At last the Douglas and the Percy met,
           lyk to captayns of myght and of mayne;
         The swapte together tylle they both swat,
           with swordes that were of fine milan.

     32. These worthy freckys for to fyght,
           ther-to they were fulle fayne,
         Tylle the bloode out off their basnetes sprente,
           as ever dyd hail or rayn.

     33. "Yield thee, Percy," sayd the Douglas,
           "and i faith I shalle thee brynge
         Where thowe shalte have a yerls wagis
           of Jamy our Scottish kynge."

     34. "Thou shalte have thy ransom fre,
           I hight[53] the here this thinge;
         For the manfullyste man yet art thow
           that ever I conqueryd in fielde fighttynge."

     35. "Nay," sayd the lord Percy,
           "I tolde it thee beforne,
         That I wolde never yeldyde be
           to no man of a woman born."

     36. With that ther came an arrow hastely,
           forthe off a myghtty wane[54];
         It hath strekene the yerle Douglas
           in at the brest-bane.

     37. Thorowe lyvar and lungës bothe
           the sharpe arrowe ys gane,
         That never after in all his lyfe-days
           he spayke mo wordës but ane:
         That was, "Fyghte ye, my myrry men, whyllys ye may,
           for my lyfe-days ben gane."

     38. The Percy leanyde on his brande,
           and sawe the Douglas de;
         He tooke the dead man by the hande,
           and said, "Wo ys me for thee!"

     39. "To have savyde thy lyfe, I would have partyde with
           my landes for years three,
         For a better man, of hart nor of hande,
           was not in all the north contrë."

     40. Of all that see a Scottish knyght,
           was callyd Sir Hewe the Monggombyrry;
         He saw the Douglas to the death was dyght,
           he spendyd a spear, a trusti tree.

     41. He rode upon a corsiare
           throughe a hondred archery;
         He never stynttyde nor never blane[55],
           till he came to the good lord Percy.

     42. He set upon the lorde Percy
           a dynte that was full sore;
         With a sure spear of a myghttë tree
           clean thorow the body he the Percy ber[56],

     43. A the tother syde that a man might see
           a large cloth-yard and mare;
         Two better captayns were not in Cristiantë
           than that day slain were there.

     44. An archer off Northumberlande
           saw slain was the lord Percy;
         He bore a bende bowe in his hand,
           was made of trusti tree;

     45. An arrow, that a cloth-yarde was long,
           to the harde stele halyde he;
         A dynt that was both sad and soar
           he set on Sir Hewe the Monggombyrry.

     46. The dynt yt was both sad and sore,
           that he of Monggombyrry set;
         The swane-fethars that his arrowe bar
           with his hart-blood they were wet.

     47. There was never a freak one foot wolde flee,
           but still in stour[57] dyd stand,
         Hewyng on eache other, whyle they myghte dree,
           with many a balefull brande.

     48. This battell begane in Cheviot
           an hour before the none,
         And when even-songe bell was rang,
           the battell was not half done.

     49. They took ... on either hande
           by the lyght of the mone;
         Many hade no strength for to stande,
           in Cheviot the hillys abon.

     50. Of fifteen hundred archers of Ynglonde
           went away but seventy and three;
         Of twenty hundred spear-men of Scotlonde,
           but even five and fifty.

     51. But all were slayne Cheviot within;
           they had no strength to stand on by;
         The chylde may rue that ys unborne,
           it was the more pittë.

     52. There was slayne, withe the lord Percy,
           Sir John of Agerstone,
         Sir Rogar, the hinde Hartly,
           Sir Wyllyam, the bold Hearone.

     53. Sir George, the worthy Loumle,
           a knyghte of great renown,
         Sir Raff, the ryche Rugbe,
           with dyntes were beaten downe.

     54. For Wetharryngton my harte was wo,
           that ever he slayne shulde be;
         For when both his leggis were hewyn in to,
           yet he kneeled and fought on hys knee.

     55. There was slayne, with the doughty Douglas,
           Sir Hewe the Monggombyrry,
         Sir Davy Lwdale, that worthy was,
           his sister's son was he.

     56. Sir Charles a Murrë in that place,
           that never a foot wolde fie;
         Sir Hewe Maxwelle, a lorde he was,
           with the Douglas dyd he die.

     57. So on the morrowe they mayde them biers
           off birch and hasell so gray;
         Many widows, with weepyng tears,
           came to fetch ther makys[58] away.

     58. Tivydale may carpe of care,
           Northumberland may mayk great moan,
         For two such captayns as slayne were there,
           on the March-parti shall never be none.

     59. Word ys commen to Eddenburrowe,
           to Jamy the Scottische kynge,
         That doughty Douglas, lyff-tenant of the Marches,
           he lay slean Cheviot within.

     60. His handdës dyd he weal and wryng,
           he sayd, "Alas, and woe ys me!
         Such an othar captayn Skotland within,"
           he sayd, "i-faith should never be."

     61. Worde ys commyn to lovely Londone,
           till the fourth Harry our kynge.
         That lord Percy, leyff-tenante of the Marchis
           he lay slayne Cheviot within.

     62. "God have merci on his soule," sayde Kyng Harry,
           "good lord, yf thy will it be!
         I have a hondred captayns in Ynglonde," he sayd,
           "as good as ever was he:
         But Percy, and I brook my lyfe,
           thy deth well quyte shall be."

     63. As our noble kynge mayd his avowe,
           lyke a noble prince of renown,
         For the deth of the lord Percy
           he dyd the battle of Hombyll-down:

     64. Where syx and thirty Skottishe knyghtes
           on a day were beaten down:
         Glendale glytteryde on their armor bryght,
           over castille, towar, and town.

     65. This was the hontynge of the Cheviot,
           that tear[59] begane this spurn;
         Old men that knowen the grownde well enoughe
           call it the battell of Otterburn.

     66. At Otterburn begane this spume
           upon a Monnynday;
         There was the doughty Douglas slean,
           the Percy never went away.

     67. There was never a tyme on the Marche-partës
           sen the Douglas and the Percy met,
         But yt ys mervele and the rede blude ronne not,
           as the rain does in the stret.

     68. Jesus Christ our bales[60] bete,
           and to the bliss us bring!
         Thus was the hunting of the Cheviot;
           God send us alle good ending!

     [Footnote 42: 'Maugre,' in spite of.]

     [Footnote 43: Hinder.]

     [Footnote 44: Company.]

     [Footnote 45: Skirmished on the field.]

     [Footnote 46: Ran through the groves.]

     [Footnote 47: Blast blown when game is killed.]

     [Footnote 48: Quartering, cutting.]

     [Footnote 49: Flame.]

     [Footnote 50: Perhaps "finish."]

     [Footnote 51: "A gauntlet covering hand and forearm."]

     [Footnote 52: Man.]

     [Footnote 53: Promise.]

     [Footnote 54: Meaning uncertain.]

     [Footnote 55: Stopped.]

     [Footnote 56: Pierced.]

     [Footnote 57: Stress of battle.]

     [Footnote 58: Mates.]

     [Footnote 59: That there (?).]

     [Footnote 60: Evils.]


     1. Up Johnie raise[61] in a May morning,
          Calld for water to wash his hands,
        And he has called for his gude gray hounds
          That lay bound in iron bands, bands,
          That lay bound in iron bands.

     2. "Ye'll busk[62], ye'll busk my noble dogs,
          Ye'll busk and make them boun[63],
        For I'm going to the Braidscaur hill
          To ding the dun deer doun."

     3. Johnie's mother has gotten word o' that,
          And care-bed she has ta'en[64]:
        "O Johnie, for my benison,
          I beg you'l stay at hame;
        For the wine so red, and the well-baken bread,
          My Johnie shall want nane."

     4. "There are seven forsters at Pickeram Side,
          At Pickeram where they dwell,
        And for a drop of thy heart's bluid
          They wad ride the fords of hell."

     5. But Johnie has cast off the black velvet,
          And put on the Lincoln twine,
        And he is on the goode greenwood
          As fast as he could gang.

     6. Johnie lookit east, and Johnie lookit west,
          And he lookit aneath the sun,
        And there he spied the dun deer sleeping
          Aneath a buss o' whun[65].

     7. Johnie shot, and the dun deer lap[66],
          And she lap wondrous wide,
        Until they came to the wan water,
          And he stem'd her of her pride.

     8. He has ta'en out the little pen-knife,
          'Twas full three quarters[67] long,
        And he has ta'en out of that dun deer
          The liver but and[68] the tongue.

     9. They eat of the flesh, and they drank of the blood,
          And the blood it was so sweet,
        Which caused Johnie and his bloody hounds
          To fall in a deep sleep.

     10. By then came an old palmer,
           And an ill death may he die!
         For he's away to Pickeram Side
           As fast as he can drie[69].

     11. "What news, what news?" says the Seven Forsters,
           "What news have ye brought to me?"
         "I have no news," the palmer said,
           "But what I saw with my eye."

     12. "As I came in by Braidisbanks,
           And down among the whuns,
         The bonniest youngster e'er I saw
           Lay sleepin amang his hunds."

     13. "The shirt that was upon his back
           Was o' the holland fine;
         The doublet which was over that
           Was o' the Lincoln twine."

     14. Up bespake the Seven Forsters,
           Up bespake they ane and a':
         "O that is Johnie o' Cockleys Well,
           And near him we will draw."

     15. O the first stroke that they gae him,
           They struck him off by the knee,
         Then up bespake his sister's son:
           "O the next'll gar[70] him die!"

     16. "O some they count ye well wight men,
           But I do count ye nane;
         For you might well ha' waken'd me,
           And ask'd gin I wad be ta'en."

     17. "The wildest wolf as in a' this wood
           Wad not ha' done so by me;
         She'd ha' wet her foot i' the wan water,
           And sprinkled it o'er my brae,
         And if that wad not ha' waken'd me,
           She wad ha' gone and let me be."

     18. "O bows of yew, if ye be true,
           In London, where ye were bought,
         Fingers five, get up belive[71],
           Manhuid shall fail me nought."

     19. He has kill'd the Seven Forsters,
           He has kill'd them all but ane,
         And that wan scarce to Pickeram Side,
           To carry the bode-words hame.

     20. "Is there never a [bird] in a' this wood
           That will tell what I can say;
         That will go to Cockleys Well,
           Tell my mither to fetch me away?"

     21. There was a [bird] into that wood,
           That carried the tidings away,
         And many ae[72] was the well-wight man
           At the fetching o' Johnie away.

     [Footnote 61: Rose.]

     [Footnote 62: Prepare.]

     [Footnote 63: Ready.]

     [Footnote 64: Has fallen ill with anxiety.]

     [Footnote 65: Bush of whin, furze.]

     [Footnote 66: Leaped.]

     [Footnote 67: Quarter--the fourth part of a yard.]

     [Footnote 68: "But and"--as well as.]

     [Footnote 69: Bear, endure.]

     [Footnote 70: Make, cause.]

     [Footnote 71: Quickly.]

     [Footnote 72: One.]


     1. The king sits in Dumferling toune,
          Drinking the blude-reid wine:
        "O whar will I get guid sailor,
          To sail this ship of mine?"

     2. Up and spak an eldern knight,
          Sat at the kings right kne:
        "Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor,
          That sails upon the sea."

     3. The king has written a braid letter[73],
          And sign'd it wi' his hand,
        And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens,
          Was walking on the sand.

     4. The first line that Sir Patrick read,
          A loud laugh laughed he;
        The next line that Sir Patrick read,
          The tear blinded his ee.

     5. "O wha is this has done this deed,
          This ill deed done to me,
        To send me out this time o' the year,
          To sail upon the sea!"

     6. "Make haste, make haste, my mirry men all,
          Our guide ship sails the morne:"
        "O say na sae, my master dear,
          For I fear a deadlie storme."

     7. "Late, late yestreen I saw the new moone[74],
          Wi' the auld moone in hir arme,
        And I fear, I fear, my dear master,
          That we will come to harme"

     8. O our Scots nobles were right laith
          To weet their cork-heeled shoone;
        But lang owre a' the play wer play'd,
          Their hats they swam aboone.

     9. O lang, lang may their ladies sit,
          Wi' their fans into their hand,
        Or e'er they see Sir Patrick Spens
          Cum sailing to the land.

     10. O lang, lang may the ladies stand,
           Wi' their gold kerns[75] in their hair,
         Waiting for their ain dear lords,
           For they'll se thame na mair.

     11. Half owre, half owre to Aberdour,
           It's "fiftie fadom deep,
         And their lies guid Sir Patrick Spens,
           Wi' the Scots lords at his feet."

     [Footnote 73: "_A braid letter_, open or patent, in
     opposition to close rolls."--Percy.]

     [Footnote 74: Note that it is the sight of the new moon
     _late_ in the evening which makes a bad omen.]

     [Footnote 75: Combs.]


     1. Ye highlands, and ye Lowlands,
          Oh where have you been?
        They have slain the Earl of Murray,
          And they layd him on the green.

     2. "Now wae be to thee, Huntly!
          And wherefore did you sae?
        I bade you bring him wi' you,
          But forbade you him to slay."

     3. He was a braw gallant,
          And he rid at the ring[77];
        And the bonny Earl of Murray,
          Oh he might have been a king!

     4. He was a braw gallant,
          And he play'd at the ba';
        And the bonny Earl of Murray
          Was the flower amang them a'.

     5. He was a braw gallant,
           And he play'd at the glove[78];
        And the bonny Earl of Murray,
           Oh he was the Queen's love!

     6. Oh lang will his lady
          Look o'er the Castle Down,
        E'er she see the Earl of Murray
          Come sounding thro the town!

     [Footnote 76: James Stewart, Earl of Murray, was killed by
     the Earl of Huntly's followers, February, 1592. The second
     stanza is spoken, of course, by the King.]

     [Footnote 77: Piercing with the lance a suspended ring, as
     one rode at full speed, was a favorite sport of the day.]

     [Footnote 78: Probably this reference is to the glove worn by
     knights as a lady's favor.]


     1. Word's gane to the kitchen,
          And word's gane to the ha',
        That Marie Hamilton has born a bairn
          To the highest Stewart of a'.

     2. She's tyed it in her apron
          And she's thrown it in the sea;
        Says, "Sink ye, swim ye, bonny wee babe,
          You'll ne'er get mair o' me."

     3. Down then cam the auld Queen,
          Goud[79] tassels tying her hair:
        "O Marie, where's the bonny wee babe
          That I heard greet[80] sae sair?"

     4. "There was never a babe intill my room,
          As little designs to be;
        It was but a touch o' my sair side,
          Came o'er my fair bodie."

     5. "O Marie, put on your robes o' black,
          Or else your robes o' brown,
        For ye maun gang wi' me the night,
          To see fair Edinbro town."

     6. "I winna put on my robes o' black,
          Nor yet my robes o' brown;
        But I'll put on my robes o' white,
          To shine through Edinbro town."

     7. When she gaed up the Cannogate,
          She laugh'd loud laughters three;
        But when she cam down the Cannogate
          The tear blinded her ee.

     8. When she gaed up the Parliament stair,
          The heel cam aff her shee[81];
        And lang or she cam down again
          She was condemn'd to dee.

     9. When she cam down the Cannogate,
          The Cannogate sae free,
        Many a ladie look'd o'er her window,
          Weeping for this ladie.

     10. "Make never meen[82] for me," she says,
           "Make never meen for me;
         Seek never grace frae a graceless face,
           For that ye'll never see."

     11. "Bring me a bottle of wine," she says,
           "The best that e'er ye hae,
         That I may drink to my weil-wishers,
           And they may drink to me."

     12. "And here's to the jolly sailor lad
           That sails upon the faem;
         But let not my father nor mother get wit
           But that I shall come again."

     13. "And here's to the jolly sailor lad
           That sails upon the sea;
         But let not my father nor mother get wit
           O' the death that I maun dee."

     14. "Oh little did my mother think,
           The day she cradled me,
         What lands I was to travel through,
           What death I was to dee."

     15. "Oh little did my father think,
           The day he held up[83] me,
         What lands I was to travel through,
           What death I was to dee."

     16. "Last night I wash'd the Queen's feet,
           And gently laid her down;
         And a' the thanks I've gotten the nicht
           To be hangd in Edinbro town!"

     17. "Last nicht there was four Maries,
           The nicht there'll be but three;
         There was Marie Seton, and Marie Beton,
           And Marie Carmichael, and me."

     [Footnote 79: Gold.]

     [Footnote 80: Weep.]

     [Footnote 81: Shoe.]

     [Footnote 82: Moan.]

     [Footnote 83: Held up, lifted up, recognized as his lawful
     child,--a world-wide and ancient ceremony.]


     1. High upon Highlands,
          and low upon Tay,
        Bonnie George Campbell
          rade out on a day.

     2. Saddled and bridled
          and gallant rade he;
        Hame cam his guid horse,
          but never cam he.

     3. Out cam his auld mither
          greeting fu' sair,
        And out cam his bonnie bride
          riving her hair.

     4. Saddled and bridled
          and booted rade he;
        Toom[84] hame cam the saddle,
          but never came he.

     5. "My meadow lies green,
          and my corn is unshorn,
        My barn is to build,
          and my babe is unborn."

     6. Saddled and bridled
          and booted rade he;
        Toom hame cam the saddle,
          but never cam he.

     [Footnote 84: Empty.]


     1. O Bessie Bell and Mary Gray,
          They war twa bonnie lasses!
        They biggit[86] a bower on yon burn-brae[87],
          And theekit[88] it oer wi rashes.

     2. They theekit it oer wi' rashes green,
          They theekit it oer wi' heather:
        But the pest cam frae the burrows-town,
          And slew them baith thegither.

     3. They thought to lie in Methven kirk-yard
          Amang their noble kin;
        But they maun lye in Stronach haugh,
          To biek forenent the sin[89].

     4. And Bessie Bell and Mary Gray,
          They war twa bonnie lasses;
        They biggit a bower on yon burn-brae,
          And theekit it oer wi' rashes.


     1. There were three ravens sat on a tree,
          Downe a downe, hay down, hay downe[91],
        There were three ravens sat on a tree, With a downe.
        There were three ravens sat on a tree,
        They were as blacke as they might be.
          With a downe derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe.

     2. The one of them said to his mate,
         "Where shall we our breakfast take?"

     3. "Downe in yonder greene field
         There lies a knight slain under his shield."

     4. His hounds they lie down at his feete,
        So well they can their master keepe[92].

     5. His haukes they flie so eagerly,
        There's no fowle dare him come nie.

     6. Downe there comes a fallow doe,
        As great with young as she might goe.

     7. She lift up his bloudy head,
        And kist his wounds that were so red.

     8. She got him up upon her backe,
        And carried him to earthen lake[93].

     9. She buried him before the prime,
        She was dead herselfe ere even-song time.

     10. God send every gentleman
         Such haukes, such hounds, and such a leman[94].

     [Footnote 85: Founded on an actual event of the plague, near
     Perth, in 1645. See the interesting account in Professor
     Child's 'Ballads,' Part VII, p. 75f.]

     [Footnote 86: Built.]

     [Footnote 87: A hill sloping down to a brook.]

     [Footnote 88: Thatched.]

     [Footnote 89: To bake in the rays of the sun.]

     [Footnote 90: The counterpart, or perhaps parody, of this
     ballad, called 'The Twa Corbies,' is better known than the
     exquisite original.]

     [Footnote 91: The refrain, or burden, differs in another
     version of the ballad.]

     [Footnote 92: Guard.]

     [Footnote 93: Shroud of earth, burial.]

     [Footnote 94: Sweetheart, darling, literally 'dear-one'
     (liefman). The word had originally no offensive meaning.]


     1. Where hae ye been, Lord Randal, my son?
        O where hae ye been, my handsome young man?
        "I hae been to the wild wood; mother, make my bed soon,
        For I'm weary wi' hunting, and fain wald lie down."

     2. "Where gat ye your dinner, Lord Randal, my son?
        Where gat ye your dinner, my handsome young man?"
        "I din'd wi' my true-love; mother, make my bed soon,
        For I'm weary wi' hunting, and fain wald lie down."

     3. "What gat ye to your dinner, Lord Randal, my son?
        What gat ye to your dinner, my handsome young man?"
        "I gat eels boiled in broo[95]; mother, make my bed soon,
        For I'm weary wi' hunting, and fain wald lie down."

     4. "What became o' your bloodhounds, Lord Randal, my son?
        What became' o' your bloodhounds, my handsome young man?"
        "O they swell'd and they died; mother, make my bed soon,
        For I'm weary wi' hunting, and fain wald lie down."

     5. "O I fear you are poison'd, Lord Randal, my son!
        O I fear you are poison'd, my handsome young man!"
        "O yes! I'm poison'd; mother, make my bed soon,
        For I'm sick at the heart, and I fain wald lie down[96]."

     [Footnote 95: Broth.]

     [Footnote 96: Frogs, toads, snakes, and the like were often
     served for fish, and of course were supposed to act as a
     poison. One variant has a verse to elaborate this:--

           "Where gat she those eels, Lord Randal, my son?
           Where gat she those eels, my handsome young man?"
           "'Neath the bush o' brown bracken; mother, make my bed soon,
           For I'm weary wi' hunting, and fain wald lie down."


     1. "Why dois your brand sae drap wi bluid,
                         Edward, Edward,
        Why dois your brand sae drap wi bluid,
            And why sae sad gang yee O?"
          "O I hae killed my hauke sae guid,
                         Mither, mither,
          O I hae killed my hauke sae guid,
            And I had nae mair hot hee O."

     2. "Your haukis bluid was nevir sae reid,
                         Edward, Edward,
        Your haukis bluid was nevir sae reid,
            My deir son I tell thee O."
          "O I hae killed my reid-roan steid,
                         Mither, mither,
          O I hae killed my reid-roan steid,
            That erst was sae fair and frie O."

     3. "Your steid was auld, and ye hae gat mair,
                         Edward, Edward,
        Your steid was auld, and ye hae gat mair,
            Sum other dule ye drie O[98]."
          "O I hae killed my fadir deir,
                         Mither, mither,
          O I hae killed my fadir deir,
            Alas, and wae is mee O!"

     4. "And whatten penance wul ye drie, for that,
                         Edward, Edward,
        And whatten penance wul ye drie, for that?
            My deir son, now tell me O."
          "I'll set my feit in yonder boat,
                         Mither, mither,
          I'll set my feit in yonder boat,
            And I'll fare over the sea O."

     5. "And what wul ye doe wi' your towers and your ha',
                         Edward, Edward,
        And what wul ye doe wi' your towers and your ha',
            That were sae fair to see O?"
          "I'll let them stand till they doun fa',
                         Mither, mither,
          I'll let them stand till they doun fa',
            For here nevir mair maun I bee O."

     6. "And what wul ye leive to your bairns and your wife,
                         Edward, Edward,
        And what wul ye leive to your bairns and your wife,
            When ye gang over the sea O?"
          "The warldis room; let them beg thrae life,
                         Mither, mither,
          The warldis room; let them beg thrae life,
            For them never mair wul I see O."

     7. "And what wul ye leive to your ain mither dear,
                         Edward, Edward,
        And what will ye leive to your ain mither dear?
            My dear son, now tell me O."
          "The curse of hell frae me sall ye beir,
                         Mither, mither,
          The curse of hell frae me sall ye beir,
            Sic counsels ye gave to me O."

     [Footnote 97: One of the finest of our ballads. It was sent
     from Scotland to Percy by David Dalrymple.]

     [Footnote 98: You suffer some other sorrow.]


     1. There were twa brethren in the north,
          They went to the school thegither;
        The one unto the other said,
          "Will you try a warsle[99] afore?"

     2. They warsled up, they warsled down,
          Till Sir John fell to the ground,
        And there was a knife in Sir Willie's pouch,
          Gied him a deadlie wound.

     3. "Oh brither dear, take me on your back,
          Carry me to yon burn clear,
        And wash the blood from off my wound,
          And it will bleed nae mair."

     4. He took him up upon his back,
          Carried him to yon burn clear,
        And washed the blood from off his wound,
          But aye it bled the mair.

     5. "Oh brither dear, take me on your back,
          Carry me to yon kirk-yard,
        And dig a grave baith wide and deep.
          And lay my body there."

     6. He's taen him up upon his back,
          Carried him to yon kirk-yard,
        And dug a grave baith deep and wide,
          And laid his body there.

     7. "But what will I say to my father dear,
          Gin he chance to say, Willie, whar's John?"
        "Oh say that he's to England gone,
          To buy him a cask of wine."

     8. "And what will I say to my mother dear,
          Gin she chance to say, Willie, whar's John?"
        "Oh say that he's to England gone,
          To buy her a new silk gown."

     9. "And what will I say to my sister dear,
          Gin she chance to say, Willie, whar's John?"
        "Oh say that he's to England gone,
          To buy her a wedding ring."

     10. "But what will I say to her you loe[100] dear,
           Gin she cry, Why tarries my John?"
         "Oh tell her I lie in Kirk-land fair,
           And home again will never come."

     [Footnote 99: Wrestle.]

     [Footnote 100: Love.]


     1. There were three ladies lived in a bower,
          Eh vow bonnie,
        And they went out to pull a flower
          On the bonnie banks o' Fordie.

     2. They hadna pu'ed a flower but ane,
        When up started to them a banisht man.

     3. He's ta'en the first sister by her hand,
        And he's turned her round and made her stand.

     4. "It's whether will ye be a rank robber's wife,
        Or will ye die by my wee pen-knife?"

     5. "It's I'll not be a rank robber's wife,
        But I'll rather die by your wee pen-knife!"

     6. He's killed this may, and he's laid her by,
        For to bear the red rose company.

     7. He's taken the second ane by the hand,
        And he's turned her round and made her stand.

     8. "It's whether will ye be a rank robber's wife,
        Or will ye die by my wee pen-knife?"

     9. "I'll not be a rank robber's wife,
        But I'll rather die by your wee pen-knife."

     10. He's killed this may, and he's laid her by,
         For to bear the red rose company.

     11. He's taken the youngest ane by the hand,
         And he's turned her round and made her stand.

     12. Says, "Will ye be a rank robber's wife,
         Or will ye die by my wee pen-knife?"

     13. "I'll not be a rank robber's wife,
         Nor will I die by your wee pen-knife."

     14. "For I hae a brother in this wood,
         And gin ye kill me, it's he'll kill thee."

     15. "What's thy brother's name? Come tell to me."
         "My brother's name is Baby Lon."

     16. "O sister, sister, what have I done!
         O have I done this ill to thee!"

     17. "O since I've done this evil deed,
         Good sall never be seen o' me."

     18. He's taken out his wee pen-knife,
         And he's twyned[101] himsel o' his own sweet life.

     [Footnote 101: Parted, deprived.]


     1. Childe Maurice hunted i' the silver wood,
           He hunted it round about,
        And noebodye that he found therein,
           Nor none there was without.

     2. He says, "Come hither, thou little foot-page,
           That runneth lowlye by my knee,
        For thou shalt goe to John Steward's wife
           And pray her speake with me."

     3. "....
        I, and greete thou doe that ladye well,
           Ever soe well fro me."

     4. "And, as it falls, as many times
           As knots beene knit on a kell[103],
        Or marchant men gone to leeve London
           Either to buy ware or sell."

     5. "And, as it falles, as many times
           As any hart can thinke,
        Or schoole-masters are in any schoole-house
           Writing with pen and inke:
        For if I might, as well as she may,
           This night I would with her speake."

     6. "And heere I send her a mantle of greene,
           As greene as any grasse,
        And bid her come to the silver wood,
           To hunt with Child Maurice."

     7. "And there I send her a ring of gold,
           A ring of precious stone,
        And bid her come to the silver wood,
           Let[104] for no kind of man."

     8. One while this little boy he yode[105],
           Another while he ran,
        Until he came to John Steward's hall,
           I-wis[106] he never blan[107].

     9. And of nurture the child had good,
           He ran up hall and bower free,
        And when he came to this ladye faire,
           Sayes, "God you save and see[108]!"

     10. "I am come from Child Maurice,
            A message unto thee;
         And Child Maurice, he greetes you well,
            And ever soe well from me."

     11. "And as it falls, as oftentimes
            As knots beene knit on a kell,
         Or marchant men gone to leeve London
            Either for to buy ware or sell."

     12. "And as oftentimes he greetes you well
            As any hart can thinke,
         Or schoolemasters are in any schoole,
            Wryting with pen and inke."

     13. "And heere he sends a mantle of greene[109],
            As greene as any grasse,
         And he bids you come to the silver wood,
            To hunt with Child Maurice."

     14. "And heere he sends you a ring of gold,
            A ring of the precious stone;
         He prayes you to come to the silver wood,
            Let for no kind of man."

     15. "Now peace, now peace, thou little foot-page,
            For Christes sake, I pray thee!
         For if my lord heare one of these words,
            Thou must be hanged hye!"

     16. John Steward stood under the castle wall,
            And he wrote the words everye one,

     17. And he called upon his hors-keeper,
            "Make ready you my steede!"
         I, and soe he did to his chamberlaine,
            "Make ready thou my weede[110]!"

     18. And he cast a lease[111] upon his backe,
            And he rode to the silver wood,
         And there he sought all about,
            About the silver wood.

     19. And there he found him Child Maurice
            Sitting upon a blocke,
         With a silver combe in his hand,
            Kembing his yellow lockes.

     20. But then stood up him Child Maurice,
            And sayd these words trulye:
         "I doe not know your ladye," he said,
            "If that I doe her see."

     21. He sayes, "How now, how now, Child Maurice?
            Alacke, how may this be?
         For thou hast sent her love-tokens,
            More now then two or three;"

     22. "For thou hast sent her a mantle of greene,
            As greene as any grasse,
         And bade her come to the silver woode
            To hunt with Child Maurice."

     23. "And thou hast sent her a ring of gold,
            A ring of precyous stone,
         And bade her come to the silver wood,
            Let for no kind of man."

     24. "And by my faith, now, Child Maurice,
           The tone[112] of us shall dye!"
         "Now be my troth," sayd Child Maurice,
           "And that shall not be I."

     25. But he pulled forth a bright browne[113] sword,
           And dryed it on the grasse,
         And soe fast he smote at John Steward,
           I-wisse he never did rest.

     26. Then he[114] pulled forth his bright browne sword,
           And dryed it on his sleeve,
         And the first good stroke John Stewart stroke,
           Child Maurice head he did cleeve.

     27. And he pricked it on his sword's poynt,
           Went singing there beside,
         And he rode till he came to that ladye faire,
           Whereas this ladye lyed[115].

     28. And sayes, "Dost thou know Child Maurice head,
           If that thou dost it see?
         And lap it soft, and kisse it oft,
           For thou lovedst him better than me."

     29. But when she looked on Child Maurice head,
           She never spake words but three:--
         "I never beare no childe but one,
           And you have slaine him trulye."

     30. Sayes[116], "Wicked be my merrymen all,
           I gave meate, drinke, and clothe!
         But could they not have holden me
           When I was in all that wrath!"

     31. "For I have slaine one of the curteousest knights
            That ever bestrode a steed,
          So[117] have I done one of the fairest ladyes
            That ever ware woman's weede!"

     [Footnote 102: It is worth while to quote Gray's praise of
     this ballad:--"I have got the old Scotch ballad on which
     'Douglas' [the well-known tragedy by Home] was founded. It is
     divine.... Aristotle's best rules are observed in a manner
     which shows the author never had heard of Aristotle."--Letter
     to Mason, in 'Works,' ed. Gosse, ii. 316.]

     [Footnote 103: That is, the page is to greet the lady as many
     times as there are knots in nets for the hair (_kell_), or
     merchants going to dear (_leeve_, lief) London, or thoughts
     of the heart, or schoolmasters in all schoolhouses. These
     multiplied and comparative greetings are common in folk-lore,
     particularly in German popular lyric.]

     [Footnote 104: _Let_ (desist) is an infinitive depending on

     [Footnote 105: Went, walked.]

     [Footnote 106: Certainly.]

     [Footnote 107: Stopped.]

     [Footnote 108: Protect.]

     [Footnote 109: These, of course, are tokens of the Childe's

     [Footnote 110: Clothes.]

     [Footnote 111: Leash.]

     [Footnote 112: That one = the one. _That_ is the old neuter
     form of the definite article. Cf. _the tother_ for
     _that other_.]

     [Footnote 113: _Brown_, used in this way, seems to mean
     burnished, or glistening, and is found in Anglo-Saxon.]

     [Footnote 114: _He_, John Steward.]

     [Footnote 115: Lived.]

     [Footnote 116: John Steward.]

     [Footnote 117: Compare the similar swiftness of tragic
     development in 'Babylon.']¸


     1. There lived a wife at Usher's Well,
          And a wealthy wife was she;
        She had three stout and stalwart sons,
          And sent them o'er the sea.

     2. They hadna been a week from her,
          A week but barely ane,
        When word came to the carlin[118] wife
          That her three sons were gane.

     3. They hadna been a week from her,
          A week but barely three,
        When word came to the carlin wife
          That her sons she'd never see.

     4. "I wish the wind may never cease,
          Nor fashes[119] in the flood,
        Till my three sons come hame to me,
          In earthly flesh and blood."

     5. It fell about the Martinmass[120],
          When nights are lang and mirk,
        The carlin wife's three sons came hame,
          And their hats were o' the birk[121].

     6. It neither grew in syke[122] nor ditch,
          Nor yet in ony sheugh[123],
        But at the gates o' Paradise,
          That birk grew fair eneugh.

       *       *       *       *       *

     7. "Blow up the fire, my maidens!
          Bring water from the well!
        For a' my house shall feast this night,
          Since my three sons are well."

     8. And she has made to them a bed,
          She's made it large and wide,
        And she's ta'en her mantle her about,
          Sat down at the bed-side.

       *       *       *       *       *

     9. Up then crew the red, red cock[124],
          And up and crew the gray;
        The eldest to the youngest said,
          "'Tis time we were away."

     10. The cock he hadna craw'd but once,
           And clapp'd his wing at a',
         When the youngest to the eldest said,
           "Brother, we must awa'."

     11. "The cock doth craw, the day doth daw.
           The channerin[125] worm doth chide;
         Gin we be mist out o' our place,
           A sair pain we maun bide."

     12. "Fare ye weel, my mother dear!
           Fareweel to barn and byre!
         And fare ye weel, the bonny lass
           That kindles my mother's fire!"

     [Footnote 118: Old woman.]

     [Footnote 119: Lockhart's clever emendation for the _fishes_
     of the Ms. _Fashes_ = disturbances, storms.]

     [Footnote 120: November 11th. Another version gives the time
     as "the hallow days of Yule."]

     [Footnote 121: Birch.]

     [Footnote 122: Marsh.]

     [Footnote 123: Furrow, ditch.]

     [Footnote 124: In folk-lore, the break of day is announced to
     demons and ghosts by three cocks,--usually a white, a red,
     and a black; but the colors, and even the numbers, vary. At
     the third crow, the ghosts must vanish. This applies to
     guilty and innocent alike; of course, the sons are "spirits
     of health."]

     [Footnote 125: Fretting.]


     1. Whan bells war rung, an mass was sung,
          A wat[126] a' man to bed were gone,
        Clark Sanders came to Margret's window,
          With mony a sad sigh and groan.

     2. "Are ye sleeping, Margret," he says,
          "Or are ye waking, presentlie?
        Give me my faith and trouth again,
          A wat, true-love, I gied to thee."

     3. "Your faith and trouth ye's never get,
          Nor our true love shall never twin[127],
        Till ye come with me in my bower,
          And kiss me both cheek and chin."

     4. "My mouth it is full cold, Margret,
          It has the smell now of the ground;
        And if I kiss thy comely mouth,
          Thy life-days will not be long."

     5. "Cocks are crowing a merry mid-larf[128],
          I wat the wild fule boded day;
        Give me my faith and trouth again,
          And let me fare me on my way."

     6. "Thy faith and trouth thou shall na get,
          Nor our true love shall never twin,
        Till ye tell me what comes of women
          A wat that dy's in strong traveling[129]."

     7. "Their beds are made in the heavens high,
          Down at the foot of our good Lord's knee,
        Well set about wi' gilly-flowers,
          A wat sweet company for to see."

     8. "O cocks are crowing a merry mid-larf,
          A wat the wild fule boded day;
        The salms of Heaven will be sung,
          And ere now I'll be missed away."

     9. Up she has taen a bright long wand,
          And she has straked her trouth thereon[130];
        She has given it him out at the shot-window,
          Wi mony a sad sigh and heavy groan.

     10. "I thank you, Margret, I thank you, Margret,
           And I thank you heartilie;
         Gin ever the dead come for the quick,
           Be sure, Margret, I'll come again for thee."

     11. It's hose and shoon an gound[131] alane
           She clame the wall and followed him,
         Until she came to a green forest,
           On this she lost the sight of him.

     12. "Is there any room at your head, Sanders?
           Is there any room at your feet?
         Or any room at your twa sides?
           Where fain, fain woud I sleep."

     13. "There is nae room at my head, Margret,
           There is nae room at my feet;
         There is room at my twa sides,
           For ladys for to sleep."

     14. "Cold meal[132] is my covering owre,
           But an[133] my winding sheet:
         My bed it is full low, I say,
           Among hungry worms I sleep."

     15. "Cold meal is my covering owre,
           But an my winding sheet:
         The dew it falls nae sooner down
           Than ay it is full weet."

     [Footnote 126: "I wot," "I know," = truly, in sooth. The same
     in 5-2, 6-4, 7-4, 8-2.]

     [Footnote 127: Part, separate. She does not yet know he is

     [Footnote 128: Probably the distorted name of a town; _a_ =
     in. "Cocks are crowing in merry--, and the wild-fowl announce
     the dawn."]

     [Footnote 129: That die in childbirth.]

     [Footnote 130: Margaret thus gives him back his troth-plight
     by "stroking" it upon the wand, much as savages and peasants
     believe they can rid themselves of a disease by rubbing the
     affected part with a stick or pebble and flinging the latter
     into the road.]

     [Footnote 131: Gown.]

     [Footnote 132: Mold, earth.]

     [Footnote 133: But and==also.]




Honoré de Balzac, by common consent the greatest of French novelists and
to many of his admirers the greatest of all writers of prose fiction,
was born at Tours, May 16th, 1799. Neither his family nor his place of
birth counts for much in his artistic development; but his sister Laure,
afterwards Madame Surville,--to whom we owe a charming sketch of her
brother and many of his most delightful letters,--made him her hero
through life, and gave him a sympathy that was better than any merely
literary environment. He was a sensitive child, little comprehended by
his parents or teachers, which probably accounts for the fact that few
writers have so well described the feelings of children so situated [See
'Le lys dans la vallée' (The Lily in the Valley) and 'Louis Lambert'].
He was not a good student, but undermined his health by desultory though
enormous reading and by writing a precocious Treatise on the Will, which
an irate master burned and the future novelist afterwards naïvely
deplored. When brought home to recuperate, he turned from books to
nature, and the effects of the beautiful landscape of Touraine upon his
imagination are to be found throughout his writings, in passages of
description worthy of a nature-worshiper like Senancour himself. About
this time a vague desire for fame seems to have seized him,--a desire
destined to grow into an almost morbid passion; and it was a kindly
Providence that soon after (1814) led his family to quit the stagnant
provinces for that nursery of ambition, Paris. Here he studied under new
masters, heard lectures at the Sorbonne, read in the libraries, and
finally, at the desire of his practical father, took a three years'
course in law.

[Illustration: HON. DE BALZAC.]

He was now at the parting of the ways, and he chose the one nearest his
heart. After much discussion, it was settled that he should not be
obliged to return to the provinces with his family, or to enter upon the
regular practice of law, but that he might try his luck as a writer on
an allowance purposely fixed low enough to test his constancy and
endurance. Two years was the period of probation allotted, during which
time Balzac read still more widely and walked the streets studying the
characters he met, all the while endeavoring to grind out verses for a
tragedy on Cromwell. This, when completed, was promptly and justly
damned by his family, and he was temporarily forced to retire from
Paris. He did not give up his aspirations, however, and before long he
was back in his attic, this time supporting himself by his pen. Novels,
not tragedies, were what the public most wanted, so he labored
indefatigably to supply their needs and his own necessities; not
relinquishing, however, the hope that he might some day watch the
performance of one of his own plays. His perseverance was destined to be
rewarded, for he lived to write five dramas which fill a volume of his
collected works; but only one, the posthumous comedy 'Mercadet', was
even fairly successful. Yet that Balzac had dramatic genius his matured
novels abundantly prove.

The ten romances, however, that he wrote for cheap booksellers between
1822 and 1829 displayed so little genius of any sort that he was
afterwards unwilling to cover their deficiencies with his great name.
They have been collected as youthful works ('Oeuvres de jeunesse'), and
are useful to a complete understanding of the evolution of their
author's genius; but they are rarely read even by his most devoted
admirers. They served, however, to enable him to get through his long
and heart-rending period of apprenticeship, and they taught him how to
express himself; for this born novelist was not a born writer and had to
labor painfully to acquire a style which only at rare moments quite
fitted itself to the subject he had in hand.

Much more interesting than these early sensational romances were the
letters he wrote to his sister Laure, in which he grew eloquent over his
ambition and gave himself needed practice in describing the characters
with whom he came in contact. But he had not the means to wait quietly
and ripen, so he embarked in a publishing business which brought him
into debt. Then, to make up his losses, he became partner in a printing
enterprise which failed in 1827, leaving him still more embarrassed
financially, but endowed with a fund of experience which he turned to
rich account as a novelist. Henceforth the sordid world of debt,
bankruptcy, usury, and speculation had no mystery for him, and he laid
it bare in novel after novel, utilizing also the knowledge he had gained
of the law, and even pressing into service the technicalities of the
printing office [See 'Illusions perdues' (Lost Illusions)]. But now at
the age of twenty-eight he had over 100,000 francs to pay, and had
written nothing better than some cheap stories; the task of wiping out
his debts by his writings seemed therefore a more hopeless one than
Scott's. Nothing daunted, however, he set to work, and the year that
followed his second failure in business saw the composition of the first
novel he was willing to acknowledge, 'Les Chouans.' This romance of
Brittany in 1799 deserved the praise it received from press and public,
in spite of its badly jointed plot and overdrawn characters. It still
appeals to many readers, and is important to the 'Comédie humaine' as
being the only novel of the "Military Scenes.". The 'Physiology of
Marriage' followed quickly (1829-30), and despite a certain pruriency of
imagination, displayed considerable powers of analysis, powers destined
shortly to distinguish a story which ranks high among its author's
works, 'La Maison du chat-qui-pelote' (1830). This delightful novelette,
the queer title of which is nearly equivalent to 'At the Sign of the Cat
and the Racket,' showed in its treatment of the heroine's unhappy
passion the intuition and penetration of the born psychologist, and in
its admirable description of bourgeois life the pictorial genius of the
genuine realist. In other words the youthful romancer was merged once
for all in the matured novelist. The years of waiting and observation
had done their work, and along the streets of Paris now walked the most
profound analyst of human character that had scrutinized society since
the days when William Shakespeare, fresh from Stratford, trod the
streets and lanes of Elizabethan London.

The year 1830 marks the beginning not merely of Balzac's success as the
greatest of modern realists, but also of his marvelous literary
activity. Novel after novel is begun before its predecessor is finished;
short stories of almost perfect workmanship are completed; sketches are
dashed off that will one day find their appropriate place in larger
compositions, as yet existing only in the brain of the master. Nor is it
merely a question of individual works: novels and stories are to form
different series,--'Scenes from Private Life,' 'Philosophical Novels and
Tales,'--which are themselves destined to merge into 'Studies of Manners
in the Nineteenth Century,' and finally into the 'Comédie humaine'
itself. Yet it was more than a swarm of stories that was buzzing in his
head; it was a swarm of individuals often more truly alive to him than
the friends with whom he loved to converse about them. And just because
he knew these people of his brain, just because he entered into the
least details of their daily lives, Balzac was destined to become much
more than a mere philosopher or student of society; to wit, a creator of
characters, endowed with that "absolute dramatic vision" which
distinguishes Homer and Shakespeare and Chaucer. But because he was also
something of a philosopher and student of sociology, he conceived the
stupendous idea of linking these characters with one another and with
their several environments, in order that he might make himself not
merely the historian but also the creator of an entire society. In other
words, conservative though he was, Balzac had the audacity to range
himself by the side of Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, and to espouse the cause
of evolution even in its infancy. The great ideas of the mutability of
species and of the influence of environment and heredity were, he
thought, as applicable to sociology as to zoölogy, and as applicable to
fiction as to either. So he meditated the 'Comédie humaine' for several
years before he announced it in 1842, and from being almost the rival of
Saint-Hilaire he became almost the anticipator of Darwin.

But this idea of evolution was itself due to the evolution of his
genius, to which many various elements contributed: his friendships and
enmities with contemporary authors, his intimacies with women of
refinement and fashion, his business struggles with creditors and
publishers, his frequent journeys to the provinces and foreign
countries; and finally his grandiose schemes to surround himself with
luxury and the paraphernalia of power, not so much for his own sake as
for the sake of her whose least smile was a delight and an inspiration.
About each of these topics an interesting chapter might be written, but
here a few words must suffice.

After his position as an author was more or less assured, Balzac's
relations with the leaders of his craft--such as Victor Hugo, Théophile
Gautier, and George Sand--were on the whole cordial. He had trouble with
Sainte-Beuve, however, and often felt that his brother-writers begrudged
his success. His constant attacks on contemporary journalists, and his
egotistic and erratic manners naturally prejudiced the critics, so that
even the marvelous romance entitled 'La Peau de chagrin' (The Magic
Skin: 1831),--a work of superb genius,--speedily followed as it was by
'Eugénie Grandet' and 'Le Père Goriot,' did not win him cordial
recognition. One or two of his friendships, however, gave him a
knowledge of higher social circles than he was by birth entitled to, a
fact which should be remembered in face of the charge that he did not
know high life, although it is of course true that a writer like Balzac,
possessing the intuition of genius, need not frequent salons or live in
hovels in order to describe them with absolute verisimilitude.

With regard to Balzac's debts, the fact should be noted that he might
have paid them off more easily and speedily had he been more prudent. He
cut into the profits of his books by the costly changes he was always
making in his proof-sheets,--changes which the artist felt to be
necessary, but against which the publishers naturally protested. In
reality he wrote his books on his proof-sheets, for he would cut and
hack the original version and make new insertions until he drove his
printers wild. Indeed, composition never became easy to him, although
under a sudden inspiration he could sometimes dash off page after page
while other men slept. He had, too, his affectations; he must even have
a special and peculiar garb in which to write. All these eccentricities
and his outside distractions and ambitions, as well as his noble and
pathetic love affair, entered into the warp and woof of his work with
effects that can easily be detected by the careful student, who should
remember, however, that the master's foibles and peculiarities never for
one moment set him outside the small circle of the men of supreme
genius. He belongs to them by virtue of his tremendous grasp of life in
its totality, his superhuman force of execution and the inevitableness
of his art at its best.

The decade from 1830 to 1840 is the most prolific period of Balzac's
genius in the creation of individual works; that from 1840 to 1850 is
his great period of philosophical co-ordination and arrangement. In the
first he hewed out materials for his house; in the second he put them
together. This statement is of course relatively true only, for we owe
to the second decade three of his greatest masterpieces: 'Splendeurs et
misères des courtisanes,' and 'La Cousine Bette' and 'Le Cousin Pons,'
collectively known as 'Les Parents pauvres' (Poor Relations). And what a
period of masterful literary activity the first decade presents! For the
year 1830 alone the Vicomte de Spoelberch de Lovenjoul gives seventy-one
entries, many of slight importance, but some familiar to every student
of modern literature, such as 'El Verdugo,' 'La Maison du
chat-qui-pelote,' 'Gobseck,' 'Adieu,' 'Une Passion dans le desert' (A
Passion in the Desert), 'Un Épisode sous la Terreur' (An Episode of the
Terror). For 1831 there are seventy-six entries, among them such
masterpieces as 'Le Réequisitionnaire' (The Conscript), 'Les Proscrits'
(The Outlaws), 'La Peau de chagrin,' and 'Jésus-Christ en Flandre.' In
1832 the number of entries falls to thirty-six, but among them are 'Le
Colonel Chabert,' 'Le Curé de Tours' (The Priest of Tours), 'La Grande
Bretèche,' 'Louis Lambert,' and 'Les Marana.' After this year there are
fewer short stories. In 1833 we have 'Le Médecin de campagne' (The
Country Doctor), and 'Eugénie Grandet,' with parts of the 'Histoire des
treize' (Story of the Thirteen), and of the 'Contes drolatiques' (Droll
Tales). The next year gives us 'La Recherche de l'absolu' (Search for
the Absolute) and 'Le Père Goriot' (Old Goriot) and during the next six
there were no less than a dozen masterpieces. Such a decade of
accomplishment is little short of miraculous, and the work was done
under stress of anxieties that would have crushed any normal man.

But anxieties and labors were lightened by a friendship which was an
inspiration long before it ripened into love, and were rendered bearable
both by Balzac's confidence in himself and by his ever nearer view of
the goal he had set himself. The task before him was as stupendous as
that which Comte had undertaken, and required not merely the planning
and writing of new works but the utilization of all that he had
previously written. Untiring labor had to be devoted to this
manipulation of old material, for practically the great output of the
five years 1829-1834 was to be co-ordinated internally, story being
brought into relation with story and character with character. This
meant the creation and management of an immense number of personages,
the careful investigation of the various localities which served for
environments, and the profound study of complicated social and political
problems. No wonder, then, that the second decade of his maturity shows
a falling off in abundance, though not in intensity of creative power;
and that the gradual breaking down of his health, under the strain of
his ceaseless efforts and of his abnormal habits of life, made itself
more and more felt in the years that followed the great preface which in
1842 set forth the splendid design of the 'Comédie humaine.'

This preface, one of the most important documents in literary history,
must be carefully studied by all who would comprehend Balzac in his
entirety. It cannot be too often repeated that Balzac's scientific and
historical aspirations are important only in so far as they caused him
to take a great step forward in the development of his art. The nearer
the artist comes to reproducing for us life in its totality, the higher
the rank we assign him among his fellows. Tried by this canon, Balzac is
supreme. His interweaving of characters and events through a series of
volumes gives a verisimilitude to his work unrivaled in prose fiction,
and paralleled only in the work of the world-poets. In other words, his
use of co-ordination upon a vast scale makes up for his lack of delicacy
and sureness of touch, as compared with what Shakespeare and Homer and
Chaucer have taught us to look for. Hence he is with them even if not
of them.

This great claim can be made for the Balzac of the 'Comédie humaine'
only; it could not be made for the Balzac of any one masterpiece like
'Le Père Goriot,' or even for the Balzac of all the masterpieces taken
in lump and without co-ordination. Balzac by co-ordination has in spite
of his limitations given us a world, just as Shakespeare and Homer have
done; and so Taine was profoundly right when he put him in the same
category with the greatest of all writers. When, however, he added St.
Simon to Shakespeare, and proclaimed that with them Balzac was the
greatest storehouse of documents that we have on human nature, he was
guilty not merely of confounding _genres_ of art, but also of laying
stress on the philosophic rather than on the artistic side of fiction.
Balzac does make himself a great storehouse of documents on human
nature, but he also does something far more important, he sets before us
a world of living men and women.

To have brought this world into existence, to have given it order in the
midst of complexity, and that in spite of the fact that death overtook
him before he could complete his work, would have been sufficient to
occupy a decade of any other man's life; but he, though harassed with
illness and with hopes of love and ambition deferred, was strong enough
to do more. The year 1840 saw the appearance of 'Pierrette,' and the
establishment of the ill-fated 'Revue parisienne.' The following year
saw 'Ursule Mirouet,' and until 1848 the stream of great works is
practically unbroken. The 'Splendeurs et misères' and the 'Parents
pauvres' have been named already, but to these must be added 'Un Ménage
de garçon' (A Bachelor's House-keeping), 'Modeste Mignon,' and 'Les
Paysans' (The Peasants). The three following years added nothing to his
work and closed his life, but they brought him his crowning happiness.
On March 14th, 1850, he was married to Mme. Hanska, at Berditchef; on
August 18th, 1850, he died at Paris.

Madame Evelina de Hanska came into Balzac's life about 1833, just after
he had shaken off the unfortunate influence of the Duchesse de Castries.
The young Polish countess was much impressed, we are told, by reading
the 'Scènes de la vie privée' (Scenes of Private Life), and was somewhat
perplexed and worried by Balzac's apparent change of method in 'La Peau
de chagrin.' She wrote to him over the signature "L'Étrangère" (A
Foreigner), and he answered in a series of letters recently published in
the Revue de Paris. Not long after the opening of this correspondence
the two met, and a firm friendship was cemented between them. The lady
was about thirty, and married to a Russian gentleman of large fortune,
to whom she had given an only daughter. She was in the habit of
traveling about Europe to carry on this daughter's education, and Balzac
made it his pleasure and duty to see her whenever he could, sometimes
journeying as far as Vienna. In the interim he would write her letters
which possess great charm and importance to the student of his life. The
husband made no objection to the intimacy, trusting both to his wife and
to Balzac; but for some time before the death of the aged nobleman,
Balzac seems to have distrusted himself and to have held slightly aloof
from the woman whom he was destined finally to love with all the fervor
of his nature. Madame Hanska became free in the winter of 1842-3, and
the next summer Balzac visited St. Petersburg to see her. His love soon
became an absorbing passion, but consideration for her daughter's future
withheld the lady's consent to a betrothal till 1846. It was a period of
weary waiting, in which our sympathies are all on one side; for if ever
a man deserved to be happy in a woman's love, it was Balzac. His
happiness came, but almost too late to be enjoyed. His last two years,
which he spent in Poland with Madame de Hanska, were oppressed by
illness, and he returned to his beloved Paris only to die. The struggle
of thirty years was over, and although his immense genius was not yet
fully recognized, his greatest contemporary, Victor Hugo, was
magnanimous enough to exclaim on hearing that he was dying, "Europe is
on the point of losing a great mind." Balzac's disciples feel that
Europe really lost its greatest writer since Shakespeare.

In the definitive edition of Balzac's writings in twenty-four volumes,
seventeen are occupied by the various divisions of the 'Comédie
humaine.' The plays take up one volume; and the correspondence, not
including of course the letters to "L'Étrangère," another; the 'Contes
drolatiques' make still another; and finally we have four volumes filled
with sketches, tales, reviews, and historical and political articles
left uncollected by their author.

The 'Contes' are thirty in number, divided into "dixains," each with its
appropriate prologue and epilogue. They purport to have been collected
in the abbeys of Touraine, and set forth by the Sieur de Balzac for the
delight of Pantagruelists and none others. Not merely the spirit but the
very language of Rabelais is caught with remarkable verve and fidelity,
so that from the point of view of style Balzac has never done better
work. A book which holds by Rabelais on the one hand and by the Queen of
Navarre on the other is not likely, however, to appeal to that part of
the English and American reading public that expurgates its Chaucer, and
blushes at the mention of Fielding and Smollett. Such readers will do
well to avoid the 'Contes drolatiques;' although, like 'Don Juan,' they
contain a great deal of what was best in their author, of his frank,
ebullient, sensuous nature, lighted up here at least by a genuine if
scarcely delicate humor. Of direct suggestion of vice Balzac was,
naturally, as incapable as he was of smug puritanism; but it must be
confessed that as a _raconteur_ his proper audience, now that the
monastic orders have passed away, would be a group of middle-aged

The 'Comédie humaine' is divided into three main sections: first and
most important, the 'Études de moeurs' (Studies of Manners), second the
'Études philosophiques' (Philosophic Studies), and finally the 'Études
analytiques' (Analytic Studies). These divisions, as M. Barrière points
out in his 'L'Oeuvre de H. de Balzac' (The Work of Balzac), were
intended to bear to one another the relations that moral science,
psychology, and metaphysics do to one another with regard to the life of
man, whether as an individual or as a member of society. No single
division was left complete at the author's death; but enough was
finished and put together to give us the sense of moving in a living,
breathing world, no matter where we make our entry. This, as we have
insisted, is the real secret of his greatness. To think, for example,
that the importance of 'Séraphita' lies in the fact that it gives
Balzac's view of Swedenborgianism, or that the importance of 'Louis
Lambert' lies in its author's queer theories about the human will, is
entirely to misapprehend his true position in the world of literature.
His mysticism, his psychology, his theories of economics, his
reactionary devotion to monarchy, and his idealization of the Church of
Rome, may or may not appeal to us, and have certainly nothing that is
eternal or inevitable about them; but in his knowledge of the human mind
and heart he is as inevitable and eternal as any writer has ever been,
save only Shakespeare and Homer.

The 'Études de moeurs' were systematically divided by their author into
'Scenes of Private Life,' 'Scenes of Provincial Life,' 'Scenes of
Country Life,' 'Scenes of Parisian Life,' 'Scenes of Political Life,'
and 'Scenes of Military Life,'--the last three divisions representing
more or less exceptional phases of existence. The group relating to
Paris is by far the most important and powerful, but the provincial
stories show almost as fine workmanship, and furnish not a few of the
well-known masterpieces. Less interesting, though still important, are
the 'Scenes of Private Life,' which consist of twenty-four novels,
novelettes, and tales, under the following titles: 'Béatrix,' 'Albert
Savarus,' 'La Fausse maitresse' (The False Mistress), 'Le Message' (The
Message), 'La Grande Bretèche,' 'Étude de femme' (Study of Woman),
'Autre étude de femme' (Another Story of Woman), 'Madame Firmiani,'
'Modeste Mignon,' 'Un Début dans la vie' (An Entrance upon Life),
'Pierre Grassou,' 'Mémoires de deux jeunes mariées' (Recollections of a
Young Couple), 'La Maison du chat-qui-pelote,' 'Le Bal de Sceaux' (The
Ball of Sceaux), 'Le Contrat de mariage' (The Marriage Contract), 'La
Vendetta,' 'La Paix du ménage' (Household Peace), 'Une Double famille'
(A Double Family), 'Une Fille d'Éve' (A Daughter of Eve), 'Honorine,'
'La Femme abandonnée' (The Abandoned Wife), 'La Grenadière,' 'La Femme
de trente ans' (The Woman of Thirty).

Of all these stories, hardly one shows genuine greatness except the
powerful tragic tale 'La Grande Bretèche,' which was subsequently
incorporated in 'Autre étude de femme,' This story of a jealous
husband's walling up his wife's lover in a closet of her chamber is as
dramatic a piece of writing as Balzac ever did, and is almost if not
quite as perfect a short story as any that has since been written in
France. 'La Maison du chat-qui-pelote' has been mentioned already on
account of its importance in the evolution of Balzac's realism, but
while a delightful novelette, it is hardly great, its charm coming
rather from its descriptions of bourgeois life than from the working out
of its central theme, the infelicity of a young wife married to an
unfaithful artist. 'Modeste Mignon' is interesting, and more romantic
than Balzac's later works were wont to be; but while it may be safely
recommended to the average novel-reader, few admirers of its author
would wish to have it taken as a sample of their master. 'Béatrix' is a
powerful story in its delineation of the weakness of the young Breton
nobleman, Calyste du Guénie. It derives a factitious interest from the
fact that George Sand is depicted in 'Camille Maupin,' the _nom de
plume_ of Mlle. des Touches, and perhaps Balzac himself in Claude
Vignon, the critic. Less factitious is the interest derived from
Balzac's admirable delineation of a doting mother and aunt, and from his
realistic handling of one of the cleverest of his ladies of light
reputation, Madame Schontz; his studies of such characters of the
_demi-monde_--especially of the wonderful Esther of the 'Splendeurs et
misères'--serving plainly, by the way, as a point of departure for Dumas
_fils_. Yet 'Béatrix' is an able rather than a truly great book, for it
neither elevates nor delights us. In fact, all the stories in this
series are interesting rather than truly great; but all display Balzac's
remarkable analytic powers. Love, false or true, is of course their main
theme; wrought out to a happy issue in 'La Bourse,' a charming tale, or
to a death of despair in 'La Grenadière' The childless young married
woman is contrasted with her more fortunate friend surrounded by little
ones ('Mémoires de deux jeunes mariées'), the heartless coquette flirts
once too often ('Le Bal de Sceaux'), the eligible young man is taken in
by a scheming mother ('Le Contrat du mariage'), the deserted husband
labors to win back his wife ('Honorine'), the tempted wife learns at
last the real nature of her peril ('Une Fille d'Éve'); in short, lovers
and mistresses, husbands and wives, make us participants of all the joys
and sorrows that form a miniature world within the four walls of
every house.

The 'Scenes of Provincial Life' number only ten stories, but nearly all
of them are masterpieces. They are 'Eugénie Grandet,' 'Le Lys dans la
vallée,' 'Ursule Mirouet,' 'Pierrette,' 'Le Curé de Tours,' 'La
Rabouilleuse,' 'La Vielle fille' (The Old Maid), 'Le Cabinet des
antiques' (The Cabinet of Antiques), 'L'Illustre Gaudissart' (The
Illustrious Gaudissart), and 'La Muse du département' (The Departmental
Muse). Of these 'Eugénie Grandet' is of course easily first in interest,
pathos, and power. The character of old Grandet, the miserly father, is
presented to us with Shakespearean vividness, although Eugénie herself
has, less than the Shakespearean charm. Any lesser artist would have
made the tyrant himself and his yielding wife and daughters seem
caricatures rather than living people. It is only the Shakespeares and
Balzacs who are able to make their Shylocks and lagos, their Grandets
and Philippe Brideaus, monsters and human beings at one and the same
time. It is only the greater artists, too, who can bring out all the
pathos inherent in the subjection of two gentle women to a tyrant in
their own household. But it is Balzac the inimitable alone who can
portray fully the life of the provinces, its banality, its meanness, its
watchful selfishness, and yet save us through the perfection of his art
from the degradation which results from contact with low and sordid
life. The reader who rises unaffected from a perusal of 'Eugénie
Grandet' would be unmoved by the grief of Priam in the tent of Achilles,
or of Othello in the death-chamber of Desdemona.

'Le Lys dans la vallée' has been pronounced by an able French critic to
be the worst novel he knows; but as a study of more or less ethereal and
slightly morbid love it is characterized by remarkable power. Its
heroine, Madame Mortsauf, tied to a nearly insane husband and pursued by
a sentimental lover, undergoes tortures of conscience through an
agonizing sense of half-failure in her duty. Balzac himself used to cite
her when he was charged with not being able to draw a pure woman; but he
has created nobler types. The other stories of the group are also
decidedly more interesting. The distress of the abbé Birotteau over his
landlady's treatment, and the intrigues of the abbé Troubert ('Le Curé
de Tours') absorb us as completely as the career of Caesar himself in
Mommsen's famous chapter. The woes of the little orphan subjected to the
tyranny of her selfish aunt and uncle ('Pierrette'), the struggles of
the rapacious heirs for the Mirouet fortune ('Ursule Mirouet,') a story
which gives us one of Balzac's purest women, treats interestingly of
mesmerism (and may be read without fear by the young), the siege of
Mlle. Cormon's mature affections by her two adroit suitors ('Une Vielle
fille'), the intrigues against the peace of the d'Esgrignons and the
sublime devotion to their interests of the notary Chesnel ('Le Cabinet
des antiques'), and finally the ignoble passions that fought themselves
out around the senile Jean Jacques Rouget, under the direction of the
diabolical ex-soldier Philippe Brideau ('La Rabouilleuse,' sometimes
entitled 'Un Ménage de Garcon'), form the absorbing central themes of a
group of novels--or rather stories, for few of them attain considerable
length--unrivaled in the annals of realistic fiction.

The 'Scenes of Country Life,' comprising 'Les Paysans,' 'Le Médecin de
campagne,' and 'Le Curé de village' (The Village Priest), take high rank
among their author's works. Where Balzac might have been crudely
naturalistic, he has preferred to be either realistic as in the first
named admirable novel, or idealistic as in the two latter. Hence he has
created characters like the country physician, Doctor Benassis, almost
as great a boon to the world of readers as that philanthropist himself
was to the little village of his adoption. If Madame Graslin of 'Le
Curé de village' fails to reach the height of Benassis, her career has
at least a sensational interest which his lacked; and the country
curate, the good abbé Bonnet, surely makes up for her lack on the ideal
side. This story, by the way, is important for the light it throws on
the workings of the Roman Church among the common people; and the
description of Madame Graslin's death is one of Balzac's most effective
pieces of writing.

We are now brought to the 'Parisian Scenes,' and with the exception of
'Eugénie Grandet,' to the best-known masterpieces. There are twenty
titles; but as two of these are collective in character, the number of
novels and stories amounts to twenty-four, as follows:--'Le Père
Goriot,' 'Illusions perdues,' 'Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes,'
'Les Secrets de la princesse de Cadignan' (The Secrets of the Princess
of Cadignan), 'Histoire des treize' [containing 'Ferragus,' 'La Duchesse
de Langeais,' and 'La Fille aux yeux d'or' (The Girl with the Golden
Eyes)], 'Sarrasine,' 'Le Colonel Chabert,' 'L'lnterdiction' (The
Interdiction), 'Les Parents pauvres' (Poor Relations, including 'La
Cousine Bette' and 'Le Cousin Pons'), 'La Messe de l'athée' (The
Atheist's Mass), 'Facino Cane,' 'Gobseck,' 'La Maison Nucingen,' 'Un
Prince de la Bohème' (A Prince of Bohemia), 'Esquisse d'homme
d'affaires' (Sketch of a Business man), 'Gaudissart II.' 'Les Comédiens
sans le savoir' (The Unconscious Humorists), 'Les Employés' (The
Employees), 'Histoire de César Birotteau,' and 'Les Petits bourgeois'
(Little Bourgeois). Of these twenty-four titles six belong to novels,
five of which are of great power, nine to novelettes and short stories
too admirable to be passed over without notice, eight to novelettes and
stories of interest and value which need not, however, detain us, and
one, 'Les Petits bourgeois', to a novel of much promise unfortunately
left incomplete. 'Les Secrets de la princesse de Cadignan' is remarkable
chiefly as a study of the blind passion that often overtakes a man of
letters. Daniel d'Arthez, the author, a fine character and a favorite
with Balzac, succumbs to the wiles of the Princess of Cadignan (formerly
the dashing and fascinating Duchesse de Maufrigneuse) and is happy in
his subjection. The 'Histoire des treize' contains three novelettes,
linked together through the fact that in each a band of thirteen young
men, sworn to assist one another in conquering society, play an
important part. This volume is the most frankly sensational of Balzac's
works. 'La Duchesse de Langeais' however, is more than sensational: it
gives perhaps Balzac's best description of the Faubourg St. Germain and
one of his ablest analyses of feminine character, while in the
description of General Montriveau's recognition of the Duchess in the
Spanish convent the novelist's dramatic power is seen at its highest.
'La Fille aux yeux d'or,' which concludes the volume devoted to the
mysterious brotherhood, may be considered, with 'Sarrasine,' one of the
dark closets of the great building known as the 'Comédie humaine.' Both
stories deal with unnatural passions, and the first is one of Balzac's
most effective compositions. For sheer voluptuousness of style there is
little in literature to parallel the description of the boudoir of the
uncanny heroine. Very different from these stories is 'Le Colonel
Chabert,' the record of the misfortunes of one of Napoleon's heroic
soldiers, who after untold hardships returns to France to find his wife
married a second time and determined to deny his existence. The law is
invoked, but the treachery of the wife induces the noble old man to put
an end to the proceedings, after which he sinks into an indigent and
pathetic senility. Balzac has never drawn a more heart-moving figure,
nor has he ever sounded more thoroughly the depths of human selfishness.
But the description of the battle of Eylau and of Chabert's sufferings
in retreat would alone suffice to make the story memorable.
'L'Interdiction' is the proper pendant to the history of this
unfortunate soldier. In it another husband, the Marquis d'Espard,
suffers from the selfishness of his wife, one of the worst characters in
the range of Balzac's fiction. That she may keep him from alienating his
property to discharge a moral obligation she endeavors to prove him
insane. The legal complications which ensue bring forward one of
Balzac's great figures, the judge of instruction, Popinot; but to
appreciate him the reader must go to the marvelous book itself.
'Gobseck' is a study of a Parisian usurer, almost worthy of a place
beside the description of old Grandet; while 'Les Employés' is a
realistic study of bureaucratic life, which, besides showing a wonderful
familiarity with the details of a world of which Balzac had little
personal experience, contains several admirably drawn characters and a
sufficient amount of incident. But it is time to leave these sketches
and novels in miniature, and to pass by the less important 'Scenes' of
this fascinating Parisian life, in order to consider in some detail the
five novels of consummate power.

First of these in date of composition, and in popular estimation at
least among English readers, comes, 'Le Père Goriot.' It is certainly
trite to call the book a French "Lear," but the expression emphasizes
the supreme artistic power that could treat the _motif_ of one of
Shakespeare's plays in a manner that never forces a disadvantageous
comparison with the great tragedy. The retired vermicelli-maker is not
as grand a figure as the doting King of Britain, but he is as real. The
French daughters, Anastasie, Countess de Restaud, and Delphine, Baroness
de Nucingen, are not such types of savage wickedness as Regan and
Goneril, but they fit the nineteenth century as well as the British
princesses did their more barbarous day. Yet there is no Cordelia in
'Le Père Goriot,' for the pale Victorine Taillefer cannot fill the place
of that noblest of daughters. This is but to say that Balzac's bourgeois
tragedy lacks that element of the noble that every great poetic tragedy
must have. The self-immolation of old Goriot to the cold-hearted
ambitions of his daughters is not noble, but his parental passion
touches the infinite, and so proves the essential kinship of his creator
with the creator of Lear. This touch of the infinite, as in 'Eugénie
Grandet,' lifts the book up from the level of a merely masterly study of
characters or a merely powerful novel to that of the supreme
masterpieces of human genius. The marvelously lifelike description of
the vulgar Parisian boarding-house, the fascinating delineation of the
character of that king of convicts, Vautrin, and the fine analysis of
the ambitions of Rastignac (who comes nearer perhaps to being _the_ hero
of the 'Comédie humaine' than any other of its characters, and is here
presented to us at the threshold of his successful career) remain in the
memory of every reader, but would never alone have sufficed to make
Balzac's name worthy of immortality. The infinite quality of Goriot's
passion would, however, have conferred this honor on his creator had he
never written another book.

'Illusions perdues' and 'Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes' might
almost be regarded as one novel in seven parts. More than any other of
his works they show the sun of Balzac's genius at its meridian. Nowhere
else does he give us plots so absorbing, nowhere else does he bring us
so completely in contact with the world his imagination has peopled. The
first novel devotes two of its parts to the provinces and one to Paris.
The provincial stories centre around two brothers-in-law, David Séchard
and Lucien de Rubempré, types of the practical and the artistic
intellect respectively. David, after struggling for fame and fortune,
succumbs and finds his recompense in the love of his wife Eve, Lucien's
sister, one of Balzac's noble women. Lucien, on the other hand, after
some provincial successes as a poet, tries the great world of Paris,
yields to its temptations, fails ignominiously, and attempts suicide,
but is rescued by the great Vautrin, who has escaped from prison and is
about to renew his war on society disguised as a Spanish priest. Vautrin
has conceived the idea that as he can take no part in society, he will
have a representative in it and taste its pleasures through him. Lucien
accepts this disgraceful position and plunges once more into the vortex,
supported by the strong arm of the king of the convicts. His career and
that of his patron form the subject of the four parts of the 'Splendeurs
et misères' and are too complicated to be described here. Suffice it to
say that probably nowhere else in fiction are the novel of character and
the novel of incident so splendidly combined; and certainly nowhere
else in the range of his work does Balzac so fully display all his
master qualities. That the story is sensational cannot be denied, but it
is at least worthy of being called the Iliad of Crime. Nemesis waits
upon both Lucien and Vautrin, and upon the poor courtesan Esther whom
they entrap in their toils, and when the two former are at last in
custody, Lucien commits suicide. Vautrin baffles his acute judge in a
wonderful interview; but with his cherished hope cut short by Lucien's
death, finally gives up the struggle. Here the novel might have ended;
yet Balzac adds a fourth part, in order to complete the career of
Vautrin. The famous convict is transformed into a government spy, and
engages to use his immense power against his former comrades and in
defense of the society he has hitherto warred upon. The artistic
propriety of this transformation may be questioned, but not the power
and interest of the novel of which it is the finishing touch.

Many readers would put the companion novels 'La Cousine Bette' and 'Le
Cousin Pons' at the head of Balzac's works. They have not the infinite
pathos of 'Le Père Goriot,' or the superb construction of the first
three parts of the 'Splendeurs et misères,' but for sheer strength the
former at least is unsurpassed in fiction. Never before or since have
the effects of vice in dragging down a man below the level of the lowest
brute been so portrayed as in Baron Hulot; never before or since has
female depravity been so illustrated as in the diabolical career of
Valérie Marneffe, probably the worst woman in fiction. As for Cousine
Bette herself, and her power to breed mischief and crime, it suffices to
say that she is worthy of a place beside the two chief characters.

'Le Cousin Pons' is a very different book; one which, though pathetic in
the extreme, may be safely recommended to the youngest reader. The hero
who gives his name to the story is an old musician who has worn out his
welcome among his relations, but who becomes an object of interest to
them when they learn that his collection of bric-a-brac is valuable and
that he is about to die. The intrigues that circulate around this
collection and the childlike German, Schmucke, to whom Pons has
bequeathed it, are described as only the author of 'Le Curé de Tours'
could have succeeded in doing; but the book contains also an almost
perfect description of the ideal friendship existing between Pons and
Schmucke. One remembers them longer than one does Frazier, the
scoundrelly advocate who cheats poor Schmucke; a fact which should be
cited against those who urge that Balzac is at home with his vicious
characters only.

The last novel of this group, 'César Birotteau,' is the least powerful,
though not perhaps the least popular. It is an excellent study of
bourgeois life, and therefore fills an important place in the scheme of
the 'Comedy,' describing as it does the spreading ambitions of a rich
but stupid perfumer, and containing an admirable study of bankruptcy. It
may be dismissed with the remark that around the innocent Caesar surge
most of the scoundrels that figure in the 'Comédie humaine,' and with
the regret that it should have been completed while the far more
powerful 'Les Petits bourgeois' was left unfinished.

We now come to the concluding parts of the 'Études de moeurs.' the
'Scenes' describing Political and Military Life. In the first group are
five novels and stories: 'L'Envers de l'histoire contemporaine' (The
Under Side of Contemporary History, a fine story, but rather social than
political), 'Une Ténébreuse affaire' (A Shady Affair), 'Un Épisode sous
la Terreur,' 'Z. Marcas,' and 'Le Deputé d'Arcis' (The Deputy of Arcis).
Of these the 'Episode' is probably the most admirable, although 'Z.
Marcas' has not a little strength. The 'Deputé,' like 'Les Petits
bourgeois,' was continued by M. Charles Rabou and a considerable part of
it is not Balzac's; a fact which is to be regretted, since practically
it is the only one of these stories that touches actual politics as the
term is usually understood. The military scenes are only two in number,
'Les Chouans' and 'Une Passion dans le désert.' The former of these has
been sufficiently described already; the latter is one of the best known
of the short stories, but rather deserves a place beside 'La Fille aux
yeux d'or.' Indeed, for Balzac's best military scenes we must go to 'Le
Colonel Chabert' or to 'Adieu.'

We now pass to those subterranean chambers of the great structure we are
exploring, the 'Études philosophiques.' They are twenty in number, four
being novels, one a composite volume of tales, and the rest stories. The
titles run as follows:--'La Peau de chagrin,' 'L'Élixir de longue vie'
(The Elixir of Life), 'Melmoth réconcilié,' 'Le Chef-d'oeuvre inconnu'
(The Anonymous Masterpiece), 'Gambara,' 'Massimila Doni,' 'Le
Réquisitionnaire,' 'Adieu,' 'El Verdugo,' 'Les Marana,' 'L'Auberge
rouge' (The Red Inn), 'Un Drame au bord de la mer' (A Seaside Drama),
'L'Enfant maudit' (A Child Accursed) 'Maître Cornélius' (Master
Cornelius), 'Sur Catherine de Médicis,' 'La Recherche de l'absolu,'
'Louis Lambert,' 'Séraphita,' 'Les Proscrits,' and 'Jésus-Christ
en Flandre.'

Of the novels, 'La Peau de chagrin' is easily first. Its central theme
is the world-old conflict between the infinite desires and the finite
powers of man. The hero, Raphael, is hardly, as M. Barrière asserts, on
a level with Hamlet, Faust, and Manfred, but the struggle of his
infinite and his finite natures is almost as intensely interesting as
the similar struggles in them. The introduction of the talisman, the
wild ass's skin that accomplishes all the wishes of its owner, but on
condition that it is to shrink away in proportion to the intensity of
those wishes, and that when it disappears the owner's life is to end,
gave to the story a weird interest not altogether, perhaps, in keeping
with its realistic setting, and certainly forcing a disastrous
comparison with the three great poems named. But when all allowances are
made, one is forced to conclude that 'La Peau de chagrin' is a novel of
extraordinary power and absorbing interest; and that its description of
its hero's dissipations in the libertine circles of Paris, and its
portrayal of the sublime devotion of the heroine Pauline for her slowly
perishing lover, are scarcely to be paralleled in literature. Far less
powerful are the short stories on similar themes, entitled 'L'Élixir de
longue vie,' and 'Melmoth réconcilié' (Melmoth Reconciled), which give
us Balzac's rehandling of the Don Juan of Molière and Byron, and the
Melmoth of Maturin.

Below the 'Peau de chagrin,' but still among its author's best novels,
should be placed 'La Recherche de l'absolu,' which, as its title
implies, describes the efforts of a chemist to "prove by chemical
analysis the unity of composition of matter." In the pursuit of his
philosophic will-o'-the-wisp, Balthazar Claës loses his fortune and
sacrifices his noble wife and children. His madness serves, however, to
bring into relief the splendid qualities of these latter; and it is just
here, in its human rather than in its philosophic bearings, that the
story rises to real greatness. Marguerite Claës, the daughter, is a
noble heroine; and if one wishes to see how Balzac's characters and
ideas suffer when treated by another though an able hand, one has but to
read in conjunction with this novel the 'Maître Guérin' of the
distinguished dramatist Émile Augier. A proper pendant to this history
of a noble genius perverted is 'La Confidence des Ruggieri,' the second
part of that remarkable composite 'Sur Catherine de Médicis,' a book
which in spite of its mixture of history, fiction, and speculative
politics is one of the most suggestive of Balzac's minor productions.

Concerning 'Séraphita' and 'Louis Lambert,' the remaining novels of this
series, certain noted mystics assert that they contain the essence of
Balzac's genius, and at least suggest the secret of the universe.
Perhaps an ordinary critic may content himself with saying that both
books are remarkable proofs of their author's power, and that the former
is notable for its marvelous descriptions of Norwegian scenery.

Of the lesser members of the philosophic group, nearly all are admirable
in their kind and degree. 'Le Chef-d'oeuvre inconnu' and 'Gambara' treat
of the pains of the artistic life and temperament. 'Massimila Doni,'
like 'Gambara,' treats of music, but also gives a brilliant picture of
Venetian life. 'Le réquisitionnaire,' perhaps the best of Balzac's
short stories, deals with the phenomenon of second sight, as 'Adieu'
does with that of mental alienation caused by a sudden shock. 'Les
Marana' is an absorbing study of the effects of heredity; 'L'Auberge
rouge' is an analysis of remorse, as is also 'Un Drame au bord de la
mer'; while 'L'Enfant maudit' is an analysis of the effects of extreme
sensibility, especially as manifested in the passion of poetic love.
Finally, 'Maître Cornelius' is a study of avarice, in which is set a
remarkable portrait of Louis XI.; 'Les Proscrits' is a masterly sketch
of the exile of Dante at Paris; and 'Jésus-Christ en Flandre' is an
exquisite allegory, the most delicate flower, perhaps, of
Balzac's genius.

It remains only to say a few words about the third division of the
'Comédie humaine,' viz., the 'Études analytiques.' Only two members of
the series, the 'Physiologie du mariage' and the 'Petites misères de la
vie conjugale,' were ever completed, and they are not great enough to
make us regret the loss of the 'Pathology of Social Life' and the other
unwritten volumes. For the two books we have are neither novels nor
profound studies, neither great fiction nor great psychology. That they
are worth reading for their suggestiveness with regard to such important
subjects as marriage and conjugal life goes without saying, since they
are Balzac's; but that they add greatly to his reputation, not even his
most ardent admirer would be hardy enough to affirm.

And now in conclusion, what can one say about this great writer that
will not fall far short of his deserts? Plainly, nothing, yet a few
points may be accentuated with profit. We should notice in the first
place that Balzac has consciously tried almost every form of prose
fiction, and has been nearly always splendidly successful. In analytic
studies of high, middle, and low life he has not his superior. In the
novel of intrigue and sensation he is easily a master, while he succeeds
at least fairly in a form of fiction at just the opposite pole from
this, to wit, the idyl ('Le Lys dans la vallée'). In character sketches
of extreme types, like 'Gobseck,' his supremacy has long been
recognized, and he is almost as powerful when he enters the world of
mysticism, whither so few of us can follow him. As a writer of
novelettes he is unrivaled and some of his short stories are worthy to
rank with the best that his followers have produced. In the extensive
use of dialect he was a pioneer; in romance he has 'La Peau de chagrin'
and 'La Recherche de l'absolu' to his credit; while some of the work in
the tales connected with the name of Catherine de Medici shows what he
could have done in historical fiction had he continued to follow Scott.
And what is true of the form of his fiction is true of its elements.
Tragedy, comedy, melodrama are all within his reach; he can call up
tears and shudders, laughter and smiles at will. He knows the whole
range of human emotions, and he dares to penetrate into the arcana of
passions almost too terrible or loathsome for literature to touch.

In style, in the larger sense of the word, he is almost equally supreme.
He is the father of modern realism and remains its greatest exponent. He
retains always some of the good elements of romance,--that is to say, he
sees the thing as it ought to be,--and he avoids the pitfalls of
naturalism, being a painter and not a photographer. In other words, like
all truly great writers he never forgets his ideals; but he is too
impartial to his characters and has too fast a grip on life to fall into
the unrealities of sentimentalism. It is true that he lacked the
spontaneity that characterized his great forerunner, Shakespeare, and
his great contemporary, George Sand; but this loss was made up by the
inevitable and impersonal character of his work when once his genius was
thoroughly aroused to action. His laborious method of describing by an
accumulation of details postponed the play of his powers, which are at
their height in the action of his characters; yet sooner or later the
inert masses of his composition were fused into a burning whole. But if
Balzac is primarily a dramatist in the creation and manipulation of his
characters, he is also a supreme painter in his presentation of scenes.
And what characters and what scenes has he not set before us! Over two
thousand personages move through the 'Comédie humaine,' whose
biographies MM. Cerfberr and Christophe have collected for us in their
admirable 'Répertoire de la comédie humaine,' and whose chief types M.
Paul Flat has described in the first series of his 'Essais sur Balzac.'
Some of these personages are of course shadowy; but an amazingly large
number live for us as truly as Shakespeare's heroes and heroines do. Nor
will any one who has trod the streets of Balzac's Paris, or spent the
summer with him at the chateau des Aigues ('Les Paysans'), or in the
beautiful valleys of Touraine, ever forget the master's pictures.

Yet the Balzac who with intangible materials created living and
breathing men and women and unfading scenes, has been accused of
vitiating the French language and has been denied the possession of
verbal style. On this point French critics must give the final verdict;
but a foreigner may cite Taine's defense of that style, and maintain
that most of the liberties taken by Balzac with his native language were
forced on him by the novel and far-reaching character of his work. Nor
should it be forgotten that he was capable at times of almost perfect
passages of description, and that he rarely confounded, as novelists are
too apt to do, the provinces of poetry and prose.

But one might write a hundred essays on Balzac and not exhaust him. One
might write a volume on his women, a volume to refute the charge that
his bad men are better drawn than his good, a volume to discuss Mr.
Henry James's epigrammatic declaration that a five-franc piece may be
fairly called the protagonist of the 'Comédie humaine.' In short one
might go on defending and praising and even criticizing Balzac for a
lifetime, and be little further advanced than when one began; for to
criticize Balzac, is it not to criticize life itself?

[Illustration: Signature W.P. Trent]


From 'The Duchess of Langeais'


In a Spanish town on an island of the Mediterranean there is a convent
of the Barefooted Carmelites, where the rule of the Order instituted by
Saint Theresa is still kept with the primitive rigor of the reformation
brought about by that illustrious woman. Extraordinary as this fact may
seem, it is true. Though the monasteries of the Peninsula and those of
the Continent were nearly all destroyed or broken up by the outburst of
the French Revolution and the turmoil of the Napoleonic wars, yet on
this island, protected by the British fleets, the wealthy convent and
its peaceful inmates were sheltered from the dangers of change and
general spoliation. The storms from all quarters which shook the first
fifteen years of the nineteenth century subsided ere they reached this
lonely rock near the coast of Andalusia. If the name of the great
Emperor echoed fitfully upon its shores, it may be doubted whether the
fantastic march of his glory or the flaming majesty of his meteoric life
ever reached the comprehension of those saintly women kneeling in their
distant cloister.

A conventual rigor, which was never relaxed, gave to this haven a
special place in the thoughts and history of the Catholic world. The
purity of its rule drew to its shelter from different parts of Europe
sad women, whose souls, deprived of human ties, longed for the death in
life which they found here in the bosom of God. No other convent was so
fitted to wean the heart and teach it that aloofness from the things of
this world which the religious life imperatively demands. On the
Continent may be found a number of such Houses, nobly planned to meet
the wants of their sacred purpose. Some are buried in the depths of
solitary valleys; others hang, as it were, in mid-air above the hills,
clinging to the mountain slopes or projecting from the verge of
precipices. On all sides man has sought out the poesy of the infinite,
the solemnity of silence: he has sought God; and on the mountain-tops,
in the abysmal depths, among the caverned cliffs he has found Him. Yet
nowhere as on this European islet, half African though it be, can he
find such differing harmonies all blending to lift the soul and quell
its springs of anguish; to cool its fevers, and give to the sorrows of
life a bed of rest.

The monastery is built at the extremity of the island at its highest
part, where the rock by some convulsion of Nature has been rent sharply
down to the sea, and presents at all points keen angles and edges,
slightly eaten away at the water-line by the action of the waves, but
insurmountable to all approach. The rock is also protected from assault
by dangerous reefs running far out from its base, over which frolic the
blue waters of the Mediterranean. It is only from the sea that the
visitor can perceive the four principal parts of the square structure,
which adheres minutely as to shape, height, and the piercing of its
windows to the prescribed laws of monastic architecture. On the side
towards the town the church hides the massive lines of the cloister,
whose roof is covered with large tiles to protect it from winds and
storms, and also from the fierce heat of the sun. The church, the gift
of a Spanish family, looks down upon the town and crowns it. Its bold
yet elegant façade gives a noble aspect to the little maritime city. Is
it not a picture of terrestrial sublimity? See the tiny town with
clustering roofs, rising like an amphitheatre from the picturesque port
upward to the noble Gothic frontal of the church, from which spring the
slender shafts of the bell-towers with their pointed finials: religion
dominating life: offering to man the end and the way of living,--image
of a thought altogether Spanish. Place this scene upon the bosom of the
Mediterranean beneath an ardent sky; plant it with palms whose waving
fronds mingle their green life with the sculptured leafage of the
immutable architecture; look at the white fringes of the sea as it runs
up the reef and they sparkle upon the sapphire of its wave; see the
galleries and the terraces built upon the roofs of houses, where the
inhabitants come at eve to breathe the flower-scented air as it rises
through the tree-tops from their little gardens. Below, in the harbor,
are the white sails. The serenity of night is coming on; listen to the
notes of the organ, the chant of evening orisons, the echoing bells of
the ships at sea: on all sides sound and peace,--oftenest peace.

Within the church are three naves, dark and mysterious. The fury of the
winds evidently forbade the architect to build out lateral buttresses,
such as adorn all other cathedrals, and between which little chapels are
usually constructed. Thus the strong walls which flank the lesser naves
shed no light into the building. Outside, their gray masses are shored
up from point to point by enormous beams. The great nave and its two
small lateral galleries are lighted solely by the rose-window of stained
glass, which pierces with miraculous art the wall above the great
portal, whose fortunate exposure permits a wealth of tracery and
dentellated stone-work belonging to that order of architecture
miscalled Gothic.

The greater part of the three naves is given up to the inhabitants of
the town who come to hear Mass and the Offices of the Church. In front
of the choir is a latticed screen, within which brown curtains hang in
ample folds, slightly parted in the middle to give a limited view of the
altar and the officiating priest. The screen is divided at intervals by
pillars that hold up a gallery within the choir which contains the
organ. This construction, in harmony with the rest of the building,
continues, in sculptured wood, the little columns of the lateral
galleries which are supported by the pillars of the great nave. Thus it
is impossible for the boldest curiosity, if any such should dare to
mount the narrow balustrade of these galleries, to see farther into the
choir than the octagonal stained windows which pierce the apse behind
the high altar.

At the time of the French expedition into Spain for the purpose of
re-establishing the authority of Ferdinand VII., and after the fall of
Cadiz, a French general who was sent to the island to obtain its
recognition of the royal government prolonged his stay upon it that he
might reconnoitre the convent and gain, if possible, admittance there.
The enterprise was a delicate one. But a man of passion,--a man whose
life had been, so to speak, a series of poems in action, who had lived
romances instead of writing them; above all a man of deeds,--might well
be tempted by a project apparently so impossible. To open for himself
legally the gates of a convent of women! The Pope and the Metropolitan
Archbishop would scarcely sanction it. Should he use force or artifice?
In case of failure was he not certain to lose his station and his
military future, besides missing his aim? The Duc d'Angoulême was still
in Spain; and of all the indiscretions which an officer in favor with
the commander-in-chief could commit, this alone would be punished
without pity. The general had solicited his present mission for the
purpose of following up a secret hope, albeit no hope was ever so
despairing. This last effort, however, was a matter of conscience. The
house of these Barefooted Carmelites was the only Spanish convent which
had escaped his search. While crossing from the mainland, a voyage which
took less than an hour, a strong presentiment of success had seized his
heart. Since then, although he had seen nothing of the convent but its
walls, nothing of the nuns, not so much as their brown habit; though he
had heard only the echoes of their chanted liturgies,--he had gathered
from those walls and from these chants faint indications that seemed to
justify his fragile hope. Slight as the auguries thus capriciously
awakened might be, no human passion was ever more violently roused than
the curiosity of this French general. To the heart there are no
insignificant events; it magnifies all things; it puts in the same
balance the fall of an empire and the fall of a woman's glove,--and
oftentimes the glove outweighs the empire. But let us give the facts in
their actual simplicity: after the facts will come the feelings.

An hour after the expedition had landed on the island the royal
authority was re-established. A few Spaniards who had taken refuge there
after the fall of Cadiz embarked on a vessel which the general allowed
them to charter for their voyage to London. There was thus neither
resistance nor reaction. This little insular restoration could not,
however, be accomplished without a Mass, at which both companies of the
troops were ordered to be present. Not knowing the rigor of the
Carmelite rule, the general hoped to gain in the church some information
about the nuns who were immured in the convent, one of whom might be a
being dearer to him than life, more precious even than honor. His hopes
were at first cruelly disappointed. Mass was celebrated with the utmost
pomp. In honor of this solemn occasion the curtains which habitually
hid the choir were drawn aside, and gave to view the rich ornaments, the
priceless pictures, and the shrines incrusted with jewels whose
brilliancy surpassed that of the votive offerings fastened by the
mariners of the port to the pillars of the great nave. The nuns,
however, had retired to the seclusion of the organ gallery.

Yet in spite of this check, and while the Mass of thanksgiving was being
sung, suddenly and secretly the drama widened into an interest as
profound as any that ever moved the heart of man. The Sister who played
the organ roused an enthusiasm so vivid that not one soldier present
regretted the order which had brought him to the church. The men
listened to the music with pleasure; the officers were carried away by
it. As for the general, he remained to all appearance calm and cold: the
feelings with which he heard the notes given forth by the nun are among
the small number of earthly things whose expression is withheld from
impotent human speech, but which--like death, like God, like
eternity--can be perceived only at their slender point of contact with
the heart of man. By a strange chance the music of the organ seemed to
be that of Rossini,--a composer who more than any other has carried
human passion into the art of music, and whose works by their number and
extent will some day inspire an Homeric respect. From among the scores
of this fine genius the nun seemed to have chiefly studied that of Moses
in Egypt; doubtless because the feelings of sacred music are there
carried to the highest pitch. Perhaps these two souls--one so gloriously
European, the other unknown--had met together in some intuitive
perception of the same poetic thought. This idea occurred to two
officers now present, true _dilettanti_, who no doubt keenly regretted
the Théatre Favart in their Spanish exile. At last, at the Te Deum, it
was impossible not to recognize a French soul in the character which the
music suddenly took on. The triumph of his Most Christian Majesty
evidently roused to joy the heart of that cloistered nun. Surely she was
a Frenchwoman. Presently the patriotic spirit burst forth, sparkling
like a jet of light through the antiphonals of the organ, as the Sister
recalled melodies breathing the delicacy of Parisian taste, and blended
them with vague memories of our national anthems. Spanish hands could
not have put into this graceful homage paid to victorious arms the fire
that thus betrayed the origin of the musician.

"France is everywhere!" said a soldier.

The general left the church during the Te Deum; it was impossible for
him to listen to it. The notes of the musician revealed to him a woman
loved to madness; who had buried herself so deeply in the heart of
religion, hid herself so carefully away from the sight of the world,
that up to this time she had escaped the keen search of men armed not
only with immense power, but with great sagacity and intelligence. The
hopes which had wakened in the general's heart seemed justified as he
listened to the vague echo of a tender and melancholy air, 'La Fleuve du
Tage,'--a ballad whose prelude he had often heard in Paris in the
boudoir of the woman he loved, and which this nun now used to express,
amid the joys of the conquerors, the suffering of an exiled heart.
Terrible moment! to long for the resurrection of a lost love; to find
that love--still lost; to meet it mysteriously after five years in which
passion, exasperated by the void, had been intensified by the useless
efforts made to satisfy it.

Who is there that has not, once at least in his life, upturned
everything about him, his papers and his receptacles, taxing his memory
impatiently as he seeks some precious lost object; and then felt the
ineffable pleasure of finding it after days consumed in the search,
after hoping and despairing of its recovery,--spending upon some trifle
an excitement of mind almost amounting to a passion? Well, stretch this
fury of search through five long years; put a woman, a heart, a love in
the place of the insignificant trifle; lift the passion into the highest
realms of feeling; and then picture to yourself an ardent man, a man
with the heart of lion and the front of Jove, one of those men who
command, and communicate to those about them, respectful terror,--you
will then understand the abrupt departure of the general during the Te
Deum, at the moment when the prelude of an air, once heard in Paris with
delight under gilded ceilings, vibrated through the dark naves of the
church by the sea.

He went down the hilly street which led up to the convent, without
pausing until the sonorous echoes of the organ could no longer reach his
ear. Unable to think of anything but of the love that like a volcanic
eruption rent his heart, the French general only perceived that the Te
Deum was ended when the Spanish contingent poured from the church. He
felt that his conduct and appearance were open to ridicule, and he
hastily resumed his place at the head of the cavalcade, explaining to
the alcalde and to the governor of the town that a sudden indisposition
had obliged him to come out into the air. Then it suddenly occurred to
him to use the pretext thus hastily given, as a means of prolonging his
stay on the island. Excusing himself on the score of increased illness,
he declined to preside at the banquet given by the authorities of the
island to the French officers, and took to his bed, after writing to the
major-general that a passing illness compelled him to turn over his
command to the colonel. This commonplace artifice, natural as it was,
left him free from all duties and able to seek the fulfilment of his
hopes. Like a man essentially Catholic and monarchical, he inquired the
hours of the various services, and showed the utmost interest in the
duties of religion,--a piety which in Spain excited no surprise.


The following day, while the soldiers were embarking, the general went
up to the convent to be present at vespers. He found the church deserted
by the townspeople, who in spite of their natural devotion were
attracted to the port by the embarkation of the troops. The Frenchman,
glad to find himself alone in the church, took pains to make the clink
of his spurs resound through the vaulted roof; he walked noisily, and
coughed, and spoke aloud to himself, hoping to inform the nuns, but
especially the Sister at the organ, that if the French soldiers were
departing, one at least remained behind. Was this singular method of
communication heard and understood? The general believed it was. In the
Magnificat the organ seemed to give an answer which came to him in the
vibrations of the air. The soul of the nun floated towards him on the
wings of the notes she touched, quivering with the movements of the
sound. The music burst forth with power; it glorified the church. This
hymn of joy, consecrated by the sublime liturgy of Roman Christianity to
the uplifting of the soul in presence of the splendors of the
ever-living God, became the utterance of a heart terrified at its own
happiness in presence of the splendors of a perishable love, which still
lived, and came to move it once more beyond the tomb where this woman
had buried herself, to rise again the bride of Christ.

The organ is beyond all question the finest, the most daring, the most
magnificent of the instruments created by human genius. It is an
orchestra in itself, from which a practiced hand may demand all things;
for it expresses all things. Is it not, as it were, a coign of vantage,
where the soul may poise itself ere it springs into space, bearing, as
it flies, the listening mind through a thousand scenes of life towards
the infinite which parts earth from heaven? The longer a poet listens to
its gigantic harmonies, the more fully will he comprehend that between
kneeling humanity and the God hidden by the dazzling rays of the Holy of
Holies, the hundred voices of terrestrial choirs can alone bridge the
vast distance and interpret to Heaven the prayers of men in all the
omnipotence of their desires, in the diversities of their woe, with the
tints of their meditations and their ecstasies, with the impetuous
spring of their repentance, and the thousand imaginations of their
manifold beliefs. Yes! beneath these soaring vaults the harmonies born
of the genius of sacred things find a yet unheard-of grandeur, which
adorns and strengthens them. Here the dim light, the deep silence, the
voices alternating with the solemn tones of the organ, seem like a veil
through which the luminous attributes of God himself pierce and radiate.
Yet all these sacred riches now seem flung like a grain of incense on
the frail altar of an earthly love, in presence of the eternal throne of
a jealous and avenging Deity. The joy of the nun had not the gravity
which properly belongs to the solemnity of the Magnificat. She gave to
the music rich and graceful modulations, whose rhythms breathed of human
gayety; her measures ran into the brilliant cadences of a great singer
striving to express her love, and the notes rose buoyantly like the
carol of a bird by the side of its mate. At moments she darted back into
the past, as if to sport there or to weep there for an instant. Her
changing moods had something discomposed about them, like the agitations
of a happy woman rejoicing at the return of her lover. Then, as these
supple strains of passionate emotion ceased, the soul that spoke
returned upon itself; the musician passed from the major to the minor
key, and told her hearer the story of her present. She revealed to him
her long melancholy, the slow malady of her moral being,--every day a
feeling crushed, every night a thought subdued, hour by hour a heart
burning down to ashes. After soft modulations the music took on slowly,
tint by tint, the hue of deepest sadness. Soon it poured forth in
echoing torrents the well-springs of grief, till suddenly the higher
notes struck clear like the voice of angels, as if to tell to her lost
love--lost, but not forgotten--that the reunion of their souls must be
in heaven, and only there: hope most precious! Then came the Amen. In
that no joy, no tears, nor sadness, nor regrets, but a return to God.
The last chord that sounded was grave, solemn, terrible. The musician
revealed the nun in the garb of her vocation; and as the thunder of the
basses rolled away, causing the hearer to shudder through his whole
being, she seemed to sink into the tomb from which for a brief moment
she had risen. As the echoes slowly ceased to vibrate along the vaulted
roofs, the church, made luminous by the music, fell suddenly into
profound obscurity.

The general, carried away by the course of this powerful genius, had
followed her, step by step, along her way. He comprehended in their full
meaning the pictures that gleamed through that burning symphony; for him
those chords told all. For him, as for the Sister, this poem of sound
was the future, the past, the present. Music, even the music of an
opera, is it not to tender and poetic souls, to wounded and suffering
hearts, a text which they interpret as their memories need? If the heart
of a poet must be given to a musician, must not poetry and love be
listeners ere the great musical works of art are understood? Religion,
love, and music: are they not the triple expression of one fact, the
need of expansion, the need of touching with their own infinite the
infinite beyond them, which is in the fibre of all noble souls? These
three forms of poesy end in God, who alone can unwind the knot of
earthly emotion. Thus this holy human trinity joins itself to the
holiness of God, of whom we make to ourselves no conception unless we
surround him by the fires of love and the golden cymbals of music and
light and harmony.

The French general divined that on this desert rock, surrounded by the
surging seas, the nun had cherished music to free her soul of the excess
of passion that consumed it. Did she offer her love as a homage to God?
Did the love triumph over the vows she had made to Him? Questions
difficult to answer. But, beyond all doubt, the lover had found in a
heart dead to the world a love as passionate as that which burned
within his own.

When vespers ended he returned to the house of the alcalde, where he was
quartered. Giving himself over, a willing prey, to the delights of a
success long expected, laboriously sought, his mind at first could dwell
on nothing else,--he was still loved. Solitude had nourished the love of
that heart, just as his own had thriven on the barriers, successively
surmounted, which this woman had placed between herself and him. This
ecstasy of the spirit had its natural duration; then came the desire to
see this woman, to withdraw her from God, to win her back to himself,--a
bold project, welcome to a bold man. After the evening repast, he
retired to his room to escape questions and think in peace, and remained
plunged in deep meditation throughout the night. He rose early and went
to Mass. He placed himself close to the latticed screen, his brow
touching the brown curtain. He longed to rend it away; but he was not
alone, his host had accompanied him, and the least imprudence might
compromise the future of his love and ruin his new-found hopes. The
organ was played, but not by the same hand; the musician of the last two
days was absent from its key-board. All was chill and pale to the
general. Was his mistress worn out by the emotions which had wellnigh
broken down his own vigorous heart? Had she so truly shared and
comprehended his faithful and eager love that she now lay exhausted and
dying in her cell? At the moment when such thoughts as these rose in the
general's mind, he heard beside him the voice beloved; he knew the clear
ring of its tones. The voice, slightly changed by a tremor which gave it
the timid grace and modesty of a young girl, detached itself from the
volume of song, like the voice of a prima donna in the harmonies of her
final notes. It gave to the ear an impression like the effect to the eye
of a fillet of silver or gold threading a dark frieze. It was indeed
she! Still Parisian, she had not lost her gracious charm, though she had
forsaken the coronet and adornments of the world for the frontlet and
serge of a Carmelite. Having revealed her love the night before in the
praises addressed to the Lord of all, she seemed now to say to her
lover:--"Yes, it is I: I am here. I love forever; yet I am aloof from
love. Thou shalt hear me; my soul shall enfold thee; but I must stay
beneath the brown shroud of this choir, from which no power can tear me.
Thou canst not see me."

"It is she!" whispered the general to himself, as he raised his head and
withdrew his hands from his face; for he had not been able to bear erect
the storm of feeling that shook his heart as the voice vibrated through
the arches and blended with the murmur of the waves. A storm raged
without, yet peace was within the sanctuary. The rich voice still
caressed the ear, and fell like balm upon the parched heart of the
lover; it flowered in the air about him, from which he breathed the
emanations of her spirit exhaling her love through the aspirations of
its prayer.

The alcalde came to rejoin his guest, and found him bathed in tears at
the elevation of the Host which was chanted by the nun. Surprised to
find such devotion in a French officer, he invited the confessor of the
convent to join them at supper, and informed the general, to whom no
news had ever given such pleasure, of what he had done. During the
supper the general made the confessor the object of much attention, and
thus confirmed the Spaniards in the high opinion they had formed of his
piety. He inquired with grave interest the number of the nuns, and asked
details about the revenues of the convent and its wealth, with the air
of a man who politely wished to choose topics which occupied the mind of
the good old priest. Then he inquired about the life led by the sisters.
Could they go out? Could they see friends?

"Senhor," said the venorable priest, "the rule is severe. If the
permission of our Holy Father must be obtained before a woman can enter
a house of Saint Bruno [the Chartreux] the like rule exists here. It is
impossible for any man to enter a convent of the Bare-footed Carmelites,
unless he is a priest delegated by the archbishop for duty in the House.
No nun can go out. It is true, however, that the Great Saint, Mother
Theresa, did frequently leave her cell. A Mother-superior can alone,
under authority of the archbishop, permit a nun to see her friends,
especially in case of illness. As this convent is one of the chief
Houses of the Order, it has a Mother-superior residing in it. We have
several foreigners,--among them a Frenchwoman, Sister Theresa, the one
who directs the music in the chapel."

"Ah!" said the general, feigning surprise: "she must have been gratified
by the triumph of the House of Bourbon?"

"I told them the object of the Mass; they are always rather curious."

"Perhaps Sister Theresa has some interests in France; she might be glad
to receive some news, or ask some questions?"

"I think not; or she would have spoken to me."

"As a compatriot," said the general, "I should be curious to see--that
is, if it were possible, if the superior would consent, if--"

"At the grating, even in the presence of the reverend Mother, an
interview would be absolutely impossible for any ordinary man, no matter
who he was; but in favor of a liberator of a Catholic throne and our
holy religion, possibly, in spite of the rigid rule of our Mother
Theresa, the rule might be relaxed," said the confessor. "I will speak
about it."

"How old is Sister Theresa?" asked the lover, who dared not question the
priest about the beauty of the nun.

"She is no longer of any age," said the good old man, with a simplicity
which made the general shudder.


The next day, before the _siesta_, the confessor came to tell the
general that Sister Theresa and the Mother-superior consented to receive
him at the grating that evening before the hour of vespers. After the
_siesta_, during which the Frenchman had whiled away the time by walking
round the port in the fierce heat of the sun, the priest came to show
him the way into the convent.

He was guided through a gallery which ran the length of the cemetery,
where fountains and trees and numerous arcades gave a cool freshness in
keeping with that still and silent spot. When they reached the end of
this long gallery, the priest led his companion into a parlor, divided
in the middle by a grating covered with a brown curtain. On the side
which we must call public, and where the confessor left the general,
there was a wooden bench along one side of the wall; some chairs, also
of wood, were near the grating. The ceiling was of wood, crossed by
heavy beams of the evergreen oak, without ornament. Daylight came from
two windows in the division set apart for the nuns, and was absorbed by
the brown tones of the room; so that it barely showed the picture of the
great black Christ, and those of Saint Theresa and the Blessed Virgin,
which hung on the dark panels of the walls.

The feelings of the general turned, in spite of their violence, to a
tone of melancholy. He grew calm in these calm precincts. Something
mighty as the grave seized him beneath these chilling rafters. Was it
not the eternal silence, the deep peace, the near presence of the
infinite? Through the stillness came the fixed thought of the
cloister,--that thought which glides through the air in the half-lights,
and is in all things,--the thought unchangeable; nowhere seen, which yet
grows vast to the imagination; the all-comprising phrase, _the peace of
God_. It enters there, with living power, into the least religious
heart. Convents of men are not easily conceivable; man seems feeble and
unmanly in them. He is born to act, to fulfil a life of toil; and he
escapes it in his cell. But in a monastery of women what strength to
endure, and yet what touching weakness! A man may be pushed by a
thousand sentiments into the depths of an abbey; he flings himself into
them as from a precipice. But the woman is drawn only by one feeling;
she does not unsex herself,--she espouses holiness. You may say to the
man, Why did you not struggle? but to the cloistered woman life is a
struggle still.

The general found in this mute parlor of the seagirt convent memories of
himself. Love seldom reaches upward to solemnity; but love in the bosom
of God,--is there nothing solemn there? Yes, more than a man has the
right to hope for in this nineteenth century, with our manners and our
customs what they are.

The general's soul was one on which such impressions act. His nature was
noble enough to forget self-interest, honors, Spain, the world, or
Paris, and rise to the heights of feeling roused by this unspeakable
termination of his long pursuit. What could be more tragic? How many
emotions held these lovers, reunited at last on this granite ledge far
out at sea, yet separated by an idea, an impassable barrier. Look at
this man, saying to himself, "Can I triumph over God in that heart?"

A slight noise made him quiver. The brown curtain was drawn back; he saw
in the half-light a woman standing, but her face was hidden from him by
the projection of a veil, which lay in many folds upon her head.
According to the rule of the Order she was clothed in the brown garb
whose color has become proverbial. The general could not see the naked
feet, which would have told him the frightful emaciation of her body;
yet through the thick folds of the coarse robe that swathed her, his
heart divined that tears and prayers and passion and solitude had
wasted her away.

The chill hand of a woman, doubtless the Mother-superior, held back the
curtain, and the general, examining this unwelcome witness of the
interview, encountered the deep grave eyes of an old nun, very aged,
whose clear, even youthful, glance belied the wrinkles that furrowed her
pale face.

"Madame la duchesse," he said, in a voice shaken by emotion, to the
Sister, who bowed her head, "does your companion understand French?"

"There is no duchess here," replied the nun. "You are in presence of
Sister Theresa. The woman whom you call my companion is my Mother in
God, my superior here below."

These words, humbly uttered by a voice that once harmonized with the
luxury and elegance in which this woman had lived queen of the world of
Paris, that fell from lips whose language had been of old so gay, so
mocking, struck the general as if with an electric shock.

"My holy Mother speaks only Latin and Spanish," she added.

"I understand neither. Dear Antoinette, make her my excuses."

As she heard her name softly uttered by a man once so hard to her, the
nun was shaken by emotion, betrayed only by the light quivering of her
veil, on which the light now fully fell.

"My brother," she said, passing her sleeve beneath her veil, perhaps to
wipe her eyes, "my name is Sister Theresa."

Then she turned to the Mother, and said to her in Spanish a few words
which the general plainly heard. He knew enough of the language to
understand it, perhaps to speak it. "My dear Mother, this gentleman
presents to you his respects, and begs you to excuse him for not laying
them himself at your feet; but he knows neither of the languages which
you speak."

The old woman slowly bowed her head; her countenance took an expression
of angelic sweetness, tempered, nevertheless, by the consciousness of
her power and dignity.

"You know this gentleman?" she asked, with a piercing glance at the

"Yes, my Mother."

"Retire to your cell, my daughter," said the Superior in a tone of

The general hastily withdrew to the shelter of the curtain, lest his
face should betray the anguish these words cost him; but he fancied that
the penetrating eyes of the Superior followed him even into the shadow.
This woman, arbiter of the frail and fleeting joy he had won at such
cost, made him afraid; he trembled, he whom a triple range of cannon
could not shake.

The duchess walked to the door, but there she turned. "My Mother," she
said, in a voice horribly calm, "this Frenchman is one of my brothers."

"Remain, therefore, my daughter," said the old woman, after a pause.

The jesuitism of this answer revealed such love and such regret, that a
man of less firmness than the general would have betrayed his joy in the
midst of a peril so novel to him. But what value could there be in the
words, looks, gestures of a love that must be hidden from the eyes of a
lynx, the claws of a tiger? The Sister came back.

"You see, my brother," she said, "what I have dared to do that I might
for one moment speak to you of your salvation, and tell you of the
prayers which day by day my soul offers to heaven on your behalf. I have
committed a mortal sin,--I have lied. How many days of penitence to wash
out that lie! But I shall suffer for you. You know not, my brother, the
joy of loving in heaven, of daring to avow affections that religion has
purified, that have risen to the highest regions, that at last we know
and feel with the soul alone. If the doctrines--if the spirit of the
saint to whom we owe this refuge had not lifted me above the anguish of
earth to a world, not indeed where she is, but far above my lower life,
I could not have seen you now. But I can see you, I can hear you, and
remain calm."

"Antoinette," said the general, interrupting these words, "suffer me to
see you--you, whom I love passionately, to madness, as you once would
have had me love you."

"Do not call me Antoinette, I implore you: memories of the past do me
harm. See in me only the Sister Theresa, a creature trusting all to the
divine pity. And," she added, after a pause, "subdue yourself, my
brother. Our Mother would separate us instantly if your face betrayed
earthly passions, or your eyes shed tears."

The general bowed his head, as if to collect himself; when he again
lifted his eyes to the grating he saw between two bars the pale,
emaciated, but still ardent face of the nun. Her complexion, where once
had bloomed the loveliness of youth,--where once there shone the happy
contrast of a pure, clear whiteness with the colors of a Bengal
rose,--now had the tints of a porcelain cup through which a feeble light
showed faintly. The beautiful hair of which this woman was once so proud
was shaven; a white band bound her brows and was wrapped around her
face. Her eyes, circled with dark shadows due to the austerities of her
life, glanced at moments with a feverish light, of which their habitual
calm was but the mask. In a word, of this woman nothing remained but
her soul.

"Ah! you will leave this tomb--you, who are my life! You belonged to me;
you were not free to give yourself--not even to God. Did you not promise
to sacrifice all to the least of my commands? Will you now think me
worthy to claim that promise, if I tell you what I have done for your
sake? I have sought you through the whole world. For five years you have
been the thought of every instant, the occupation of every hour, of my
life. My friends--friends all-powerful as you know--have helped me to
search the convents of France, Spain, Italy, Sicily, America. My love
has deepened with every fruitless search. Many a long journey I have
taken on a false hope. I have spent my life and the strong beatings of
my heart about the walls of cloisters. I will not speak to you of a
fidelity unlimited. What is it?--nothing compared to the infinitude of
my love! If in other days your remorse was real, you cannot hesitate to
follow me now."

"You forget that I am not free."

"The duke is dead," he said hastily.

Sister Theresa colored. "May Heaven receive him!" she said, with quick
emotion: "he was generous to me. But I did not speak of those ties: one
of my faults was my willingness to break them without scruple for you."

"You speak of your vows," cried the general, frowning. "I little thought
that anything would weigh in your heart against our love. But do not
fear, Antoinette; I will obtain a brief from the Holy Father which will
absolve your vows. I will go to Rome; I will petition every earthly
power; if God himself came down from heaven I--"

"Do not blaspheme!"

"Do not fear how God would see it! Ah! I wish I were as sure that you
will leave these walls with me; that to-night--to-night, you would
embark at the feet of these rocks. Let us go to find happiness! I know
not where--at the ends of the earth! With me you will come back to life,
to health--in the shelter of my love!"

"Do not say these things," replied the Sister; "you do not know what you
now are to me. I love you better than I once loved you. I pray to God
for you daily. I see you no longer with the eyes of my body. If you but
knew, Armand, the joy of being able, without shame, to spend myself upon
a pure love which God protects! You do not know the joy I have in
calling down the blessings of heaven upon your head. I never pray for
myself: God will do with me according to his will. But you--at the price
of my eternity I would win the assurance that you are happy in this
world, that you will be happy in another throughout the ages. My life
eternal is all that misfortunes have left me to give you. I have grown
old in grief; I am no longer young or beautiful. Ah! you would despise a
nun who returned to be a woman; no sentiment, not even maternal love,
could absolve her. What could you say to me that would shake the
unnumbered reflections my heart has made in five long years,--and which
have changed it, hollowed it, withered it? Ah! I should have given
something less sad to God!"

"What can I say to you, dear Antoinette? I will say that I love you;
that affection, love, true love, the joy of living in a heart all
ours,--wholly ours, without one reservation,--is so rare, so difficult
to find, that I once doubted you; I put you to cruel tests. But to-day I
love and trust you with all the powers of my soul. If you will follow me
I will listen throughout life to no voice but thine. I will look on
no face--"

"Silence, Armand! you shorten the sole moments which are given to us to
see each other here below."

"Antoinette! will you follow me?"

"I never leave you. I live in your heart--but with another power than
that of earthly pleasure, or vanity, or selfish joy. I live here for
you, pale and faded, in the bosom of God. If God is just, you will
be happy."

"Phrases! you give me phrases! But if I will to have you pale and
faded,--if I cannot be happy unless you are with me? What! will you
forever place duties before my love? Shall I never be above all things
else in your heart? In the past you put the world, or self--I know not
what--above me; to-day it is God, it is my salvation. In this Sister
Theresa I recognize the duchess; ignorant of the joys of love, unfeeling
beneath a pretense of tenderness! You do not love me! you never
loved me!--"

"Oh, my brother!--"

"You will not leave this tomb. You love my soul, you say: well! you
shall destroy it forever and ever. I will kill myself--"

"My Mother!" cried the nun, "I have lied to you; this man is my lover."

The curtain fell. The general, stunned, heard the doors close with

"She loves me still!" he cried, comprehending all that was revealed in
the cry of the nun. "I will find means to carry her away!"

He left the island immediately, and returned to France.

Translation copyrighted by Roberts Brothers.


On the 22d of January, 1793, towards eight o'clock in the evening, an
old gentlewoman came down the sharp declivity of the Faubourg
Saint-Martin, which ends near the church of Saint-Laurent in Paris. Snow
had fallen throughout the day, so that footfalls could be scarcely
heard. The streets were deserted. The natural fear inspired by such
stillness was deepened by the terror to which all France was then
a prey.

The old lady had met no one. Her failing sight hindered her from
perceiving in the distance a few pedestrians, sparsely scattered like
shadows, along the broad road of the faubourg. She was walking bravely
through the solitude as if her age were a talisman to guard her from
danger; but after passing the Rue des Morts she fancied that she heard
the firm, heavy tread of a man coming behind her. The thought seized her
mind that she had been listening to it unconsciously for some time.
Terrified at the idea of being followed, she tried to walk faster to
reach a lighted shop-window, and settle the doubt which thus assailed
her. When well beyond the horizontal rays of light thrown across the
pavement, she turned abruptly and saw a human form looming through the
fog. The indistinct glimpse was enough. She staggered for an instant
under the weight of terror, for she no longer doubted that this unknown
man had tracked her, step by step, from her home. The hope of escaping
such a spy lent strength to her feeble limbs. Incapable of reasoning,
she quickened her steps to a run, as if it were possible to escape a man
necessarily more agile than she. After running for a few minutes, she
reached the shop of a pastry-cook, entered it, and fell, rather than
sat, down on a chair which stood before the counter.

As she lifted the creaking latch of the door, a young woman, who was at
work on a piece of embroidery, looked up and recognized through the
glass panes the antiquated mantle of purple silk which wrapped the old
lady, and hastened to pull open a drawer, as if to take from thence
something that she had to give her. The action and the expression of the
young woman not only implied a wish to get rid of the stranger, as of
some one most unwelcome, but she let fall an exclamation of impatience
at finding the drawer empty. Then, without looking at the lady, she came
rapidly from behind the counter, and went towards the back-shop to call
her husband, who appeared at once.

"Where have you put ---- ----?" she asked him, mysteriously, calling his
attention to the old lady by a glance, and not concluding her sentence.

Although the pastry-cook could see nothing but the enormous black-silk
hood circled with purple ribbons which the stranger wore, he
disappeared, with a glance at his wife which seemed to say, "Do you
suppose I should leave _that_ on your counter?"

Surprised at the silence and immobility of her customer, the wife came
forward, and was seized with a sudden movement of compassion as well as
of curiosity when she looked at her. Though the complexion of the old
gentlewoman was naturally livid, like that of a person vowed to secret
austerities, it was easy to see that some recent alarm had spread an
unusual paleness over her features. Her head-covering was so arranged as
to hide the hair, whitened no doubt by age, for the cleanly collar of
her dress proved that she wore no powder. The concealment of this
natural adornment gave to her countenance a sort of conventual severity;
but its features were grave and noble. In former days the habits and
manners of people of quality were so different from those of all other
classes that it was easy to distinguish persons of noble birth. The
young shop-woman felt certain, therefore, that the stranger was a
_ci-devant_, and one who had probably belonged to the court.

"Madame?" she said, with involuntary respect, forgetting that the title
was proscribed.

The old lady made no answer. Her eyes were fixed on the glass of the
shop-window, as if some alarming object were painted upon it.

"What is the matter, _citoyenne_?" asked the master of the
establishment, re-entering, and drawing the attention of his customer
to a little cardboard box covered with blue paper, which he held out
to her.

"It is nothing, nothing, my friends," she answered in a gentle voice, as
she raised her eyes to give the man a thankful look. Seeing a phrygian
cap upon his head, a cry escaped her:--"Ah! it is you who have
betrayed me!"

The young woman and her husband replied by a deprecating gesture of
horror which caused the unknown lady to blush, either for her harsh
suspicion or from the relief of feeling it unjust.

"Excuse me," she said, with childlike sweetness. Then taking a gold
_louis_ from her pocket, she offered it to the pastry-cook. "Here is the
sum we agreed upon," she added.

There is a poverty which poor people quickly divine. The shopkeeper and
his wife looked at each other with a glance at the old lady that
conveyed a mutual thought. The _louis_ was doubtless her last. The hands
of the poor woman trembled as she offered it, and her eyes rested upon
it sadly, yet not with avarice. She seemed to feel the full extent of
her sacrifice. Hunger and want were traced upon her features in lines as
legible as those of timidity and ascetic habits. Her clothing showed
vestiges of luxury. It was of silk, well-worn; the mantle was clean,
though faded; the laces carefully darned; in short, here were the rags
of opulence. The two shopkeepers, divided between pity and
self-interest, began to soothe their conscience with words:--

"_Citoyenne_, you seem very feeble--"

"Would Madame like to take something?" asked the wife, cutting short her
husband's speech.

"We have some very good broth," he added.

"It is so cold, perhaps Madame is chilled by her walk; but you can rest
here and warm yourself."

"The devil is not so black as he is painted," cried the husband.

Won by the kind tone of these words, the old lady admitted that she had
been followed by a man and was afraid of going home alone.

"Is that all?" said the man with the phrygian cap. "Wait for me,

He gave the _louis_ to his wife. Then moved by a species of gratitude
which slips into the shopkeeping soul when its owner receives an
exorbitant price for an article of little value, he went to put on his
uniform as a National guard, took his hat, slung on his sabre, and
reappeared under arms. But the wife meantime had reflected. Reflection,
as often happens in many hearts, had closed the open hand of her
benevolence. Uneasy, and alarmed lest her husband should be mixed up in
some dangerous affair, she pulled him by the flap of his coat, intending
to stop him; but the worthy man, obeying the impulse of charity,
promptly offered to escort the poor lady to her home.

"It seems that the man who has given her this fright is prowling
outside," said his wife nervously.

"I am afraid he is," said the old lady, with much simplicity.

"Suppose he should be a spy. Perhaps it is a conspiracy. Don't go. Take
back the box." These words, whispered in the pastry-cook's ear by the
wife of his bosom, chilled the sudden compassion that had warmed him.

"Well, well, I will just say two words to the man and get rid of him,"
he said, opening the door and hurrying out.

The old gentlewoman, passive as a child and half paralyzed with fear,
sat down again. The shopkeeper almost instantly reappeared; but his
face, red by nature and still further scorched by the fires of his
bakery, had suddenly turned pale, and he was in the grasp of such terror
that his legs shook and his eyes were like those of a drunken man.

"Miserable aristocrat!" he cried, furiously, "do you want to cut off our
heads? Go out from here; let me see your heels, and don't dare to come
back; don't expect me to supply you with the means of conspiracy!"

So saying, the pastry-cook endeavored to get back the little box which
the old lady had already slipped into one of her pockets. Hardly had the
bold hands of the shopkeeper touched her clothing, than, preferring to
encounter danger with no protection but that of God rather than lose the
thing she had come to buy, she recovered the agility of youth, and
sprang to the door, through which she disappeared abruptly, leaving the
husband and wife amazed and trembling.

As soon as the poor lady found herself alone in the street she began to
walk rapidly; but her strength soon gave way, for she once more heard
the snow creaking under the footsteps of the spy as he trod heavily upon
it. She was obliged to stop short: the man stopped also. She dared not
speak to him, nor even look at him; either because of her terror, or
from some lack of natural intelligence. Presently she continued her walk
slowly; the man measured his step by hers, and kept at the same distance
behind her; he seemed to move like her shadow. Nine o'clock struck as
the silent couple repassed the church of Saint-Laurent. It is the nature
of all souls, even the weakest, to fall back into quietude after moments
of violent agitation; for manifold as our feelings may be, our bodily
powers are limited. Thus the old lady, receiving no injury from her
apparent persecutor, began to think that he might be a secret friend
watching to protect her. She gathered up in her mind the circumstances
attending other apparitions of the mysterious stranger as if to find
plausible grounds for this consoling opinion, and took pleasure in
crediting him with good rather than sinister intentions. Forgetting the
terror he had inspired in the pastry-cook, she walked on with a firmer
step towards the upper part of the Faubourg Saint-Martin.

At the end of half an hour she reached a house standing close to the
junction of the chief street of the faubourg with the street leading out
to the Barrière de Pantin. The place is to this day one of the loneliest
in Paris. The north wind blowing from Belleville and the Buttes Chaumont
whistled among the houses, or rather cottages, scattered through the
sparsely inhabited little valley, where the inclosures are fenced with
walls built of mud and refuse bones. This dismal region seems the
natural home of poverty and despair. The man who was intent on following
the poor creature who had had the courage to thread these dark and
silent streets seemed struck with the spectacle they offered. He stopped
as if reflecting, and stood in a hesitating attitude, dimly visible by a
street lantern whose flickering light scarcely pierced the fog. Fear
gave eyes to the old gentlewoman, who now fancied that she saw something
sinister in the features of this unknown man. All her terrors revived,
and profiting by the curious hesitation that had seized him, she glided
like a shadow to the doorway of the solitary dwelling, touched a spring,
and disappeared with phantasmagoric rapidity.

The man, standing motionless, gazed at the house, which was, as it were,
a type of the wretched buildings of the neighborhood. The tottering
hovel, built of porous stone in rough blocks, was coated with yellow
plaster much cracked, and looked ready to fall before a gust of wind.
The roof, of brown tiles covered with moss, had sunk in several places,
and gave the impression that the weight of snow might break it down at
any moment. Each story had three windows whose frames, rotted by
dampness and shrunken by the heat of the sun, told that the outer cold
penetrated to the chambers. The lonely house seemed like an ancient
tower that time had forgotten to destroy. A faint light gleamed from the
garret windows, which were irregularly cut in the roof; but the rest of
the house was in complete obscurity. The old woman went up the rough and
clumsy stairs with difficulty, holding fast to a rope which took the
place of baluster. She knocked furtively at the door of a lodging under
the roof, and sat hastily down on a chair which an old man offered her.

"Hide! hide yourself!" she cried. "Though we go out so seldom, our
errands are known, our steps are watched--"

"What has happened?" asked another old woman sitting near the fire.

"The man who has hung about the house since yesterday followed me

At these words the occupants of the hovel looked at each other with
terror in their faces. The old man was the least moved of the three,
possibly because he was the one in greatest danger. Under the pressure
of misfortune or the yoke of persecution a man of courage begins, as it
were, by preparing for the sacrifice of himself: he looks upon his days
as so many victories won from fate. The eyes of the two women, fixed
upon the old man, showed plainly that he alone was the object of their
extreme anxiety.

"Why distrust God, my sisters?" he said, in a hollow but impressive
voice. "We chanted praises to his name amid the cries of victims and
assassins at the convent. If it pleased him to save me from that
butchery, it was doubtless for some destiny which I shall accept without
a murmur. God protects his own, and disposes of them according to his
will. It is of you, not of me, that we should think."

"No," said one of the women: "what is our life in comparison with that
of a priest?"

"Ever since the day when I found myself outside of the Abbaye des
Chelles," said the nun beside the fire, "I have given myself up
for dead."

"Here," said the one who had just come in, holding out the little box to
the priest, "here are the sacramental wafers--Listen!" she cried,
interrupting herself. "I hear some one on the stairs."

At these words all three listened intently. The noise ceased.

"Do not be frightened," said the priest, "even if some one asks to
enter. A person on whose fidelity we can safely rely has taken measures
to cross the frontier, and he will soon call here for letters which I
have written to the Duc de Langeais and the Marquis de Beauséant,
advising them as to the measures they must take to get you out of this
dreadful country, and save you from the misery or the death you would
otherwise undergo here."

"Shall you not follow us?" said the two nuns softly, but in a tone of

"My place is near the victims," said the priest, simply.

The nuns were silent, looking at him with devout admiration.

"Sister Martha," he said, addressing the nun who had fetched the wafers,
"this messenger must answer '_Fiat voluntas_' to the word '_Hosanna_.'"

"There is some one on the stairway," exclaimed the other nun, hastily
opening a hiding-place burrowed at the edge of the roof.

This time it was easy to hear the steps of a man sounding through the
deep silence on the rough stairs, which were caked with patches of
hardened mud. The priest slid with difficulty into a narrow
hiding-place, and the nuns hastily threw articles of apparel over him.

"You can shut me in, Sister Agatha," he said, in a smothered voice.

He was scarcely hidden when three knocks upon the door made the sisters
tremble and consult each other with their eyes, for they dared not
speak. Forty years' separation from the world had made them like plants
of a hot-house which wilt when brought into the outer air. Accustomed to
the life of a convent, they could not conceive of any other; and when
one morning their bars and gratings were flung down, they had shuddered
at finding themselves free. It is easy to imagine the species of
imbecility which the events of the Revolution, enacted before their
eyes, had produced in these innocent souls. Quite incapable of
harmonizing their conventual ideas with the exigencies of ordinary life,
not even comprehending their own situation, they were like children who
had always been cared for, and who now, torn from their maternal
providence, had taken to prayers as other children take to tears. So it
happened that in presence of immediate danger they were dumb and
passive, and could think of no other defence than Christian resignation.

The man who sought to enter interpreted their silence as he pleased; he
suddenly opened the door and showed himself. The two nuns trembled when
they recognized the individual who for some days had watched the house
and seemed to make inquiries about its inmates. They stood quite still
and looked at him with uneasy curiosity, like the children of savages
examining a being of another sphere. The stranger was very tall and
stout, but nothing in his manner or appearance denoted that he was a bad
man. He copied the immobility of the sisters and stood motionless,
letting his eye rove slowly round the room.

Two bundles of straw placed on two planks served as beds for the nuns. A
table was in the middle of the room; upon it a copper candlestick, a few
plates, three knives, and a round loaf of bread. The fire on the hearth
was very low, and a few sticks of wood piled in a corner of the room
testified to the poverty of the occupants. The walls, once covered with
a coat of paint now much defaced, showed the wretched condition of the
roof through which the rain had trickled, making a network of brown
stains. A sacred relic, saved no doubt from the pillage of the Abbaye
des Chelles, adorned the mantel-shelf of the chimney. Three chairs, two
coffers, and a broken chest of drawers completed the furniture of the
room. A doorway cut near the fireplace showed there was probably an
inner chamber.

The inventory of this poor cell was soon made by the individual who had
presented himself under such alarming auspices. An expression of pity
crossed his features, and as he threw a kind glance upon the frightened
women he seemed as much embarrassed as they. The strange silence in
which they all three stood and faced each other lasted but a moment; for
the stranger seemed to guess the moral weakness and inexperience of the
poor helpless creatures, and he said, in a voice which he strove to
render gentle, "I have not come as an enemy, _citoyennes_."

Then he paused, but resumed:--"My sisters, if harm should ever happen to
you, be sure that I shall not have contributed to it. I have come to ask
a favor of you."

They still kept silence.

"If I ask too much--if I annoy you--I will go away; but believe me, I am
heartily devoted to you, and if there is any service that I could
render you, you may employ me without fear. I, and I alone, perhaps, am
above law--since there is no longer a king."

The ring of truth in these words induced Sister Agatha, a nun belonging
to the ducal house of Langeais, and whose manners indicated that she had
once lived amid the festivities of life and breathed the air of courts,
to point to a chair as if she asked their guest to be seated. The
unknown gave vent to an expression of joy, mingled with melancholy, as
he understood this gesture. He waited respectfully till the sisters were
seated, and then obeyed it.

"You have given shelter," he said, "to a venerable priest not sworn in
by the Republic, who escaped miraculously from the massacre at the
Convent of the Carmelites."

"_Hosanna_," said Sister Agatha, suddenly interrupting the stranger, and
looking at him with anxious curiosity.

"That is not his name, I think," he answered.

"But, Monsieur, we have no priest here," cried Sister Martha, hastily,

"Then you should take better precautions," said the unknown gently,
stretching his arm to the table and picking up a breviary. "I do not
think you understand Latin, and--"

He stopped short, for the extreme distress painted on the faces of the
poor nuns made him fear he had gone too far; they trembled violently,
and their eyes filled with tears.

"Do not fear," he said; "I know the name of your guest, and yours also.
During the last three days I have learned your poverty, and your great
devotion to the venerable Abbé of--"

"Hush!" exclaimed Sister Agatha, ingenuously putting a finger on her

"You see, my sisters, that if I had the horrible design of betraying
you, I might have accomplished it again and again."

As he uttered these words the priest emerged from his prison and
appeared in the middle of the room.

"I cannot believe, Monsieur," he said courteously, "that you are one of
our persecutors. I trust you. What is it you desire of me?"

The saintly confidence of the old man, and the nobility of mind
imprinted on his countenance, might have disarmed even an assassin. He
who thus mysteriously agitated this home of penury and resignation stood
contemplating the group before him; then he addressed the priest in a
trustful tone, with these words:--

"My father, I came to ask you to celebrate a mass for the repose of the
soul--of--of a sacred being whose body can never lie in holy ground."

The priest involuntarily shuddered. The nuns, not as yet understanding
who it was of whom the unknown man had spoken, stood with their necks
stretched and their faces turned towards the speakers, in an attitude of
eager curiosity. The ecclesiastic looked intently at the stranger;
unequivocal anxiety was marked on every feature, and his eyes offered an
earnest and even ardent prayer.

"Yes," said the priest at length. "Return here at midnight, and I shall
be ready to celebrate the only funeral service that we are able to offer
in expiation of the crime of which you speak."

The unknown shivered; a joy both sweet and solemn seemed to rise in his
soul above some secret grief. Respectfully saluting the priest and the
two saintly women, he disappeared with a mute gratitude which these
generous souls knew well how to interpret.

Two hours later the stranger returned, knocked cautiously at the door of
the garret, and was admitted by Mademoiselle de Langeais, who led him to
the inner chamber of the humble refuge, where all was in readiness for
the ceremony. Between two flues of the chimney the nuns had placed the
old chest of drawers, whose broken edges were concealed by a magnificent
altar-cloth of green moiré. A large ebony and ivory crucifix hanging on
the discolored wall stood out in strong relief from the surrounding
bareness, and necessarily caught the eye. Four slender little tapers,
which the sisters had contrived to fasten to the altar with sealing-wax,
threw a pale glimmer dimly reflected by the yellow wall. These feeble
rays scarcely lit up the rest of the chamber, but as their light fell
upon the sacred objects it seemed a halo falling from heaven upon the
bare and undecorated altar.

The floor was damp. The attic roof, which sloped sharply on both sides
of the room, was full of chinks through which the wind penetrated.
Nothing could be less stately, yet nothing was ever more solemn than
this lugubrious ceremony. Silence so deep that some far-distant cry
could have pierced it, lent a sombre majesty to the nocturnal scene. The
grandeur of the occasion contrasted vividly with the poverty of its
circumstances, and roused a feeling of religious terror. On either side
of the altar the old nuns, kneeling on the tiled floor and taking no
thought of its mortal dampness, were praying in concert with the priest,
who, robed in his pontifical vestments, placed upon the altar a golden
chalice incrusted with precious stones,--a sacred vessel rescued, no
doubt, from the pillage of the Abbaye des Chelles. Close to this vase,
which was a gift of royal munificence, the bread and wine of the
consecrated sacrifice were contained in two glass tumblers scarcely
worthy of the meanest tavern. In default of a missal the priest had
placed his breviary on a corner of the altar. A common earthenware
platter was provided for the washing of those innocent hands, pure and
unspotted with blood. All was majestic and yet paltry; poor but noble;
profane and holy in one.

The unknown man knelt piously between the sisters. Suddenly, as he
caught sight of the crape upon the chalice and the crucifix,--for in
default of other means of proclaiming the object of this funeral rite
the priest had put God himself into mourning,--the mysterious visitant
was seized by some all-powerful recollection, and drops of sweat
gathered on his brow. The four silent actors in this scene looked at
each other with mysterious sympathy; their souls, acting one upon
another, communicated to each the feelings of all, blending them into
the one emotion of religious pity. It seemed as though their thought had
evoked from the dead the sacred martyr whose body was devoured by
quicklime, but whose shade rose up before them in royal majesty. They
were celebrating a funeral Mass without the remains of the deceased.
Beneath these rafters and disjointed laths four Christian souls were
interceding with God for a king of France, and making his burial without
a coffin. It was the purest of all devotions; an act of wonderful
loyalty accomplished without one thought of self. Doubtless in the eyes
of God it was the cup of cold water that weighed in the balance against
many virtues. The whole of monarchy was there in the prayers of the
priest and the two poor women; but also it may have been that the
Revolution was present likewise, in the person of the strange being
whose face betrayed the remorse that led him to make this solemn
offering of a vast repentance.

Instead of pronouncing the Latin words, "Introibo ad altare Dei" etc.,
the priest, with divine intuition, glanced at his three assistants, who
represented all Christian France, and said, in words which effaced the
penury and meanness of the hovel, "We enter now into the sanctuary
of God."

At these words, uttered with penetrating unction, a solemn awe seized
the participants. Beneath the dome of St. Peter's in Rome, God had never
seemed more majestic to man than he did now in this refuge of poverty
and to the eyes of these Christians,--so true is it that between man and
God all mediation is unneeded, for his glory descends from himself
alone. The fervent piety of the nameless man was unfeigned, and the
feeling that held these four servants of God and the king was unanimous.
The sacred words echoed like celestial music amid the silence. There was
a moment when the unknown broke down and wept: it was at the Pater
Noster, to which the priest added a Latin clause which the stranger
doubtless comprehended and applied,--"Et remitte scelus regicidis sicut
Ludovicus eis remisit semetipse" (And forgive the regicides even as
Louis XVI. himself forgave them). The two nuns saw the tears coursing
down the manly cheeks of their visitant, and dropping fast on the
tiled floor.

The Office of the Dead was recited. The "Domine salvum fac regem," sung
in low tones, touched the hearts of these faithful royalists as they
thought of the infant king, now captive in the hands of his enemies, for
whom this prayer was offered. The unknown shuddered; perhaps he feared
an impending crime in which he would be called to take an
unwilling part.

When the service was over, the priest made a sign to the nuns, who
withdrew to the outer room. As soon as he was alone with the unknown,
the old man went up to him with gentle sadness of manner, and said in
the tone of a father,--

"My son, if you have steeped your hands in the blood of the martyr king,
confess yourself to me. There is no crime which, in the eyes of God, is
not washed out by a repentance as deep and sincere as yours appears
to be."

At the first words of the ecclesiastic an involuntary motion of terror
escaped the stranger; but he quickly recovered himself, and looked at
the astonished priest with calm assurance.

"My father," he said, in a voice that nevertheless trembled, "no one is
more innocent than I of the blood shed--"

"I believe it!" said the priest.

He paused a moment, during which he examined afresh his penitent; then,
persisting in the belief that he was one of those timid members of the
Assembly who sacrificed the inviolate and sacred head to save their own,
he resumed in a grave voice:--

"Reflect, my son, that something more than taking no part in that great
crime is needed to absolve from guilt. Those who kept their sword in the
scabbard when they might have defended their king have a heavy account
to render to the King of kings. Oh, yes," added the venerable man,
moving his head from right to left with an expressive motion; "yes,
heavy, indeed! for, standing idle, they made themselves the accomplices
of a horrible transgression."

"Do you believe," asked the stranger, in a surprised tone, "that even an
indirect participation will be punished? The soldier ordered to form the
line--do you think he was guilty?"

The priest hesitated. Glad of the dilemma that placed this puritan of
royalty between the dogma of passive obedience, which according to the
partisans of monarchy should dominate the military system, and the other
dogma, equally imperative, which consecrates the person of the king, the
stranger hastened to accept the hesitation of the priest as a solution
of the doubts that seemed to trouble him. Then, so as not to allow the
old Jansenist time for further reflection, he said quickly:--

"I should blush to offer you any fee whatever in acknowledgment of the
funeral service you have just celebrated for the repose of the king's
soul and for the discharge of my conscience. We can only pay for
inestimable things by offerings which are likewise beyond all price.
Deign to accept, Monsieur, the gift which I now make to you of a holy
relic; the day may come when you will know its value."

As he said these words he gave the ecclesiastic a little box of light
weight. The priest took it as it were involuntarily; for the solemn tone
in which the words were uttered, and the awe with which the stranger
held the box, struck him with fresh amazement. They re-entered the outer
room, where the two nuns were waiting for them.

"You are living," said the unknown, "in a house whose owner, Mucius
Scaevola, the plasterer who lives on the first floor, is noted in the
Section for his patriotism. He is, however, secretly attached to the
Bourbons. He was formerly huntsman to Monseigneur the Prince de Conti,
to whom he owes everything. As long as you stay in this house you are in
greater safety than you can be in any other part of France. Remain
here. Pious souls will watch over you and supply your wants; and you
can await without danger the coming of better days. A year hence, on the
21st of January" (as he uttered these last words he could not repress an
involuntary shudder), "I shall return to celebrate once more the Mass of

He could not end the sentence. Bowing to the silent occupants of the
garret, he cast a last look upon the signs of their poverty and

To the two simple-minded women this event had all the interest of a
romance. As soon as the venerable abbé told them of the mysterious gift
so solemnly offered by the stranger, they placed the box upon the table,
and the three anxious faces, faintly lighted by a tallow-candle,
betrayed an indescribable curiosity. Mademoiselle de Langeais opened the
box and took from it a handkerchief of extreme fineness, stained with
sweat. As she unfolded it they saw dark stains.

"That is blood!" exclaimed the priest.

"It is marked with the royal crown!" cried the other nun.

The sisters let fall the precious relic with gestures of horror. To
these ingenuous souls the mystery that wrapped their unknown visitor
became inexplicable, and the priest from that day forth forbade himself
to search for its solution.

The three prisoners soon perceived that, in spite of the Terror, a
powerful arm was stretched over them. First, they received firewood and
provisions; next, the sisters guessed that a woman was associated with
their protector, for linen and clothing came to them mysteriously, and
enabled them to go out without danger of observation from the
aristocratic fashion of the only garments they had been able to secure;
finally, Mucius Scaevola brought them certificates of citizenship.
Advice as to the necessary means of insuring the safety of the venerable
priest often came to them from unexpected quarters, and proved so
singularly opportune that it was quite evident it could only have been
given by some one in possession of state secrets. In spite of the famine
which then afflicted Paris, they found daily at the door of their hovel
rations of white bread, laid there by invisible hands. They thought they
recognized in Mucius Scaevola the agent of these mysterious
benefactions, which were always timely and intelligent; but the noble
occupants of the poor garret had no doubt whatever that the unknown
individual who had celebrated the midnight Mass on the 22d of January,
1793, was their secret protector. They added to their daily prayers a
special prayer for him; night and day these pious hearts made
supplication for his happiness, his prosperity, his redemption. They
prayed that God would keep his feet from snares and save him from his
enemies, and grant him a long and peaceful life.

Their gratitude, renewed as it were daily, was necessarily mingled with
curiosity that grew keener day by day. The circumstances attending the
appearance of the stranger were a ceaseless topic of conversation and of
endless conjecture, and soon became a benefit of a special kind, from
the occupation and distraction of mind which was thus produced. They
resolved that the stranger should not be allowed to escape the
expression of their gratitude when he came to commemorate the next sad
anniversary of the death of Louis XVI.

That night, so impatiently awaited, came at length. At midnight the
heavy steps resounded up the wooden stairway. The room was prepared for
the service; the altar was dressed. This time the sisters opened the
door and hastened to light the entrance. Mademoiselle de Langeais even
went down a few stairs that she might catch the first glimpse of their

"Come!" she said, in a trembling and affectionate voice. "Come, you are

The man raised his head, gave the nun a gloomy look, and made no answer.
She felt as though an icy garment had fallen upon her, and she kept
silence. At his aspect gratitude and curiosity died within their hearts.
He may have been less cold, less taciturn, less terrible than he seemed
to these poor souls, whose own emotions led them to expect a flow of
friendship from his. They saw that this mysterious being was resolved to
remain a stranger to them, and they acquiesced with resignation. But the
priest fancied he saw a smile, quickly repressed, upon the stranger's
lip as he saw the preparations made to receive him. He heard the Mass
and prayed, but immediately disappeared, refusing in a few courteous
words the invitation given by Mademoiselle de Langeais to remain and
partake of the humble collation they had prepared for him.

After the 9th Thermidor the nuns and the Abbé de Marolles were able to
go about Paris without incurring any danger. The first visit of the old
priest was to a perfumery at the sign of the "Queen of Flowers," kept
by the citizen and _citoyenne_ Ragon, formerly perfumers to the Court,
well known for their faithfulness to the royal family, and employed by
the Vendéens as a channel of communication with the princes and royal
committees in Paris. The abbé, dressed as the times required, was
leaving the doorstep of the shop, situated between the church of
Saint-Roch and the Rue des Fondeurs, when a great crowd coming down the
Rue Saint-Honoré hindered him from advancing.

"What is it?" he asked of Madame Ragon.

"Oh, nothing!" she answered. "It is the cart and the executioner going
to the Place Louis XV. Ah, we saw enough of that last year! but now,
four days after the anniversary of the 21st of January, we can look at
the horrid procession without distress."

"Why so?" asked the abbé. "What you say is not Christian."

"But this is the execution of the accomplices of Robespierre. They have
fought it off as long as they could, but now they are going in their
turn where they have sent so many innocent people."

The crowd which filled the Rue Saint-Honoré passed on like a wave. Above
the sea of heads the Abbé de Marolles, yielding to an impulse, saw,
standing erect in the cart, the stranger who three days before had
assisted for the second time in the Mass of commemoration.

"Who is that?" he asked; "the one standing--"

"That is the executioner," answered Monsieur Ragon, calling the man by
his monarchical name.

"Help! help!" cried Madame Ragon. "Monsieur l'Abbé is fainting!"

She caught up a flask of vinegar and brought him quickly back to

"He must have given me," said the old priest, "the handkerchief with
which the king wiped his brow as he went to his martyrdom. Poor man!
that steel knife had a heart when all France had none!"

The perfumers thought the words of the priest were an effect of

Translation copyrighted by Roberts Brothers.


"The sight was fearful!" she exclaimed, as we left the menagerie of
Monsieur Martin.

She had been watching that daring speculator as he went through his
wonderful performance in the den of the hyena.

"How is it possible," she continued, "to tame those animals so as to be
certain that he can trust them?"

"You think it a problem," I answered, interrupting her, "and yet it is a
natural fact."

"Oh!" she cried, an incredulous smile flickering on her lip.

"Do you think that beasts are devoid of passions?" I asked. "Let me
assure you that we teach them all the vices and virtues of our own state
of civilization."

She looked at me in amazement.

"The first time I saw Monsieur Martin," I added, "I exclaimed, as you
do, with surprise. I happened to be sitting beside an old soldier whose
right leg was amputated, and whose appearance had attracted my notice as
I entered the building. His face, stamped with the scars of battle, wore
the undaunted look of a veteran of the wars of Napoleon. Moreover, the
old hero had a frank and joyous manner which attracts me wherever I meet
it. He was doubtless one of those old campaigners whom nothing can
surprise, who find something to laugh at in the last contortions of a
comrade, and will bury a friend or rifle his body gayly; challenging
bullets with indifference; making short shrift for themselves or others;
and fraternizing, as a usual thing, with the devil. After looking very
attentively at the proprietor of the menagerie as he entered the den, my
companion curled his lip with that expression of satirical contempt
which well-informed men sometimes put on to mark the difference between
themselves and dupes. As I uttered my exclamation of surprise at the
coolness and courage of Monsieur Martin, the old soldier smiled, shook
his head, and said with a knowing glance, 'An old story!'

"'How do you mean an old story?' I asked. 'If you could explain the
secret of this mysterious power, I should be greatly obliged to you.'

"After a while, during which we became better acquainted, we went to
dine at the first cafe we could find after leaving the menagerie. A
bottle of champagne with our dessert brightened the old man's
recollections and made them singularly vivid. He related to me a
circumstance in his early history which proved that he had ample cause
to pronounce Monsieur Martin's performance 'an old story.'"

When we reached her house, she was so persuasive and captivating, and
made me so many pretty promises, that I consented to write down for her
benefit the story told me by the old hero. On the following day I sent
her this episode of a historical epic, which might be entitled, 'The
French in Egypt.'

       *       *       *       *       *

At the time of General Desaix's expedition to Upper Egypt a Provençal
soldier, who had fallen into the hands of the Maugrabins, was marched by
those tireless Arabs across the desert which lies beyond the cataracts
of the Nile. To put sufficient distance between themselves and the
French army, the Maugrabins made a forced march and did not halt until
after nightfall. They then camped about a well shaded with palm-trees,
near which they had previously buried a stock of provisions. Not
dreaming that the thought of escape could enter their captive's mind,
they merely bound his wrists, and lay down to sleep themselves, after
eating a few dates and giving their horses a feed of barley. When the
bold Provençal saw his enemies too soundly asleep to watch him, he used
his teeth to pick up a scimitar, with which, steadying the blade by
means of his knees, he contrived to cut through the cord which bound his
hands, and thus recovered his liberty. He at once seized a carbine and a
poniard, took the precaution to lay in a supply of dates, a small bag of
barley, some powder and ball, buckled on the scimitar, mounted one of
the horses, and spurred him in the direction where he supposed the
French army to be. Impatient to meet the outposts, he pressed the horse,
which was already wearied, so severely that the poor animal fell dead
with his flanks torn, leaving the Frenchman alone in the midst of
the desert.

After marching for a long time through the sand with the dogged courage
of an escaping galley-slave, the soldier was forced to halt, as darkness
drew on: for his utter weariness compelled him to rest, though the
exquisite sky of an eastern night might well have tempted him to
continue the journey. Happily he had reached a slight elevation, at the
top of which a few palm-trees shot upward, whose leafage, seen from a
long distance against the sky, had helped to sustain his hopes. His
fatigue was so great that he threw himself down on a block of granite,
cut by Nature into the shape of a camp-bed, and slept heavily, without
taking the least precaution to protect himself while asleep. He accepted
the loss of his life as inevitable, and his last waking thought was one
of regret for having left the Maugrabins, whose nomad life began to
charm him now that he was far away from them and from every other hope
of succor.

He was awakened by the sun, whose pitiless beams falling vertically upon
the granite rock produced an intolerable heat. The Provençal had
ignorantly flung himself down in a contrary direction to the shadows
thrown by the verdant and majestic fronds of the palm-trees. He gazed at
these solitary monarchs and shuddered. They recalled to his mind the
graceful shafts, crowned with long weaving leaves, which distinguish the
Saracenic columns of the cathedral of Arles. The thought overcame him,
and when, after counting the trees, he threw his eyes upon the scene
around him, an agony of despair convulsed his soul. He saw a limitless
ocean. The sombre sands of the desert stretched out till lost to sight
in all directions; they glittered with dark lustre like a steel blade
shining in the sun. He could not tell if it were an ocean or a chain of
lakes that lay mirrored before him. A hot vapor swept in waves above the
surface of this heaving continent. The sky had the Oriental glow of
translucent purity, which disappoints because it leaves nothing for the
imagination to desire. The heavens and the earth were both on fire.
Silence added its awful and desolate majesty. Infinitude, immensity
pressed down upon the soul on every side; not a cloud in the sky, not a
breath in the air, not a rift on the breast of the sand, which was
ruffled only with little ridges scarcely rising above its surface. Far
as the eye could reach the horizon fell away into space, marked by a
slender line, slim as the edge of a sabre,--like as in summer seas a
thread of light parts this earth from the heaven it meets.

The Provençal clasped the trunk of a palm-tree as if it were the body of
a friend. Sheltered from the sun by its straight and slender shadow, he
wept; and presently sitting down he remained motionless, contemplating
with awful dread the implacable Nature stretched out before him. He
cried aloud, as if to tempt the solitude to answer him. His voice, lost
in the hollows of the hillock, sounded afar with a thin resonance that
returned no echo; the echo came from the soldier's heart. He was
twenty-two years old, and he loaded his carbine.

"Time enough!" he muttered, as he put the liberating weapon on the sand
beneath him.

Gazing by turns at the burnished blackness of the sand and the blue
expanse of the sky, the soldier dreamed of France. He smelt in fancy the
gutters of Paris; he remembered the towns through which he had passed,
the faces of his comrades, and the most trifling incidents of his life.
His southern imagination saw the pebbles of his own Provence in the
undulating play of the heated air, as it seemed to roughen the
far-reaching surface of the desert. Dreading the dangers of this cruel
mirage, he went down the little hill on the side opposite to that by
which he had gone up the night before. His joy was great when he
discovered a natural grotto, formed by the immense blocks of granite
which made a foundation for the rising ground. The remnants of a mat
showed that the place had once been inhabited, and close to the entrance
were a few palm-trees loaded with fruit. The instinct which binds men to
life woke in his heart. He now hoped to live until some Maugrabin should
pass that way; possibly he might even hear the roar of cannon, for
Bonaparte was at that time overrunning Egypt. Encouraged by these
thoughts, the Frenchman shook down a cluster of the ripe fruit under the
weight of which the palms were bending; and as he tasted this
unhoped-for manna, he thanked the former inhabitant of the grotto for
the cultivation of the trees, which the rich and luscious flesh of the
fruit amply attested. Like a true Provençal, he passed from the gloom of
despair to a joy that was half insane. He ran back to the top of the
hill, and busied himself for the rest of the day in cutting down one of
the sterile trees which had been his shelter the night before.

Some vague recollection made him think of the wild beasts of the desert,
and foreseeing that they would come to drink at a spring which bubbled
through the sand at the foot of the rock, he resolved to protect his
hermitage by felling a tree across the entrance. Notwithstanding his
eagerness, and the strength which the fear of being attacked while
asleep gave to his muscles, he was unable to cut the palm-tree in pieces
during the day; but he succeeded in bringing it down. Towards evening
the king of the desert fell; and the noise of his fall, echoing far,
was like a moan from the breast of Solitude. The soldier shuddered, as
though he had heard a voice predicting evil. But, like an heir who does
not long mourn a parent, he stripped from the beautiful tree the arching
green fronds--its poetical adornment--and made a bed of them in his
refuge. Then, tired with his work and by the heat of the day, he fell
asleep beneath the red vault of the grotto.

In the middle of the night his sleep was broken by a strange noise. He
sat up; the deep silence that reigned everywhere enabled him to hear the
alternating rhythm of a respiration whose savage vigor could not belong
to a human being. A terrible fear, increased by the darkness, by the
silence, by the rush of his waking fancies, numbed his heart. He felt
the contraction of his hair, which rose on end as his eyes, dilating to
their full strength, beheld through the darkness two faint amber lights.
At first he thought them an optical delusion; but by degrees the
clearness of the night enabled him to distinguish objects in the grotto,
and he saw, within two feet of him, an enormous animal lying at rest.

Was it a lion? Was it a tiger? Was it a crocodile? The Provençal had not
enough education to know in what sub-species he ought to class the
intruder; but his terror was all the greater because his ignorance made
it vague. He endured the cruel trial of listening, of striving to catch
the peculiarties of this breathing without losing one of its
inflections, and without daring to make the slightest movement. A strong
odor, like that exhaled by foxes, only far more pungent and penetrating,
filled the grotto. When the soldier had tasted it, so to speak, by the
nose, his fear became terror; he could no longer doubt the nature of the
terrible companion whose royal lair he had taken for a bivouac. Before
long, the reflection of the moon, as it sank to the horizon, lighted up
the den and gleamed upon the shining, spotted skin of a panther.

The lion of Egypt lay asleep, curled up like a dog, the peaceable
possessor of a kennel at the gate of a mansion; its eyes, which had
opened for a moment, were now closed; its head was turned towards the
Frenchman. A hundred conflicting thoughts rushed through the mind of the
panther's prisoner. Should he kill it with a shot from his musket? But
ere the thought was formed, he saw there was no room to take aim; the
muzzle would have gone beyond the animal. Suppose he were to wake it?
The fear kept him motionless. As he heard the beating of his heart
through the dead silence, he cursed the strong pulsations of his
vigorous blood, lest they should disturb the sleep which gave him time
to think and plan for safety. Twice he put his hand on his scimitar,
with the idea of striking off the head of his enemy; but the difficulty
of cutting through the close-haired skin made him renounce the bold
attempt. Suppose he missed his aim? It would, he knew, be certain death.
He preferred the chances of a struggle, and resolved to await the dawn.
It was not long in coming. As daylight broke, the Frenchman was able to
examine the animal. Its muzzle was stained with blood. "It has eaten a
good meal," thought he, not caring whether the feast were human flesh or
not; "it will not be hungry when it wakes."

It was a female. The fur on the belly and on the thighs was of sparkling
whiteness. Several little spots like velvet made pretty bracelets round
her paws. The muscular tail was also white, but it terminated with black
rings. The fur of the back, yellow as dead gold and very soft and
glossy, bore the characteristic spots, shaded like a full-blown rose,
which distinguish the panther from all other species of _felis_. This
terrible hostess lay tranquilly snoring, in an attitude as easy and
graceful as that of a cat on the cushions of an ottoman. Her bloody
paws, sinewy and well-armed, were stretched beyond her head, which lay
upon them; and from her muzzle projected a few straight hairs called
whiskers, which shimmered in the early light like silver wires.

If he had seen her lying thus imprisoned in a cage, the Provençal would
have admired the creature's grace, and the strong contrasts of vivid
color which gave to her robe an imperial splendor; but as it was, his
sight was jaundiced by sinister forebodings. The presence of the
panther, though she was still asleep, had the same effect upon his mind
as the magnetic eyes of a snake produce, we are told, upon the
nightingale. The soldier's courage oozed away in presence of this silent
peril, though he was a man who gathered nerve before the mouths of
cannon belching grape-shot. And yet, ere long, a bold thought entered
his mind, and checked the cold sweat which was rolling from his brow.
Roused to action, as some men are when, driven face to face with death,
they defy it and offer themselves to their doom, he saw a tragedy
before him, and he resolved to play his part with honor to the last.

"Yesterday," he said, "the Arabs might have killed me."

Regarding himself as dead, he waited bravely, but with anxious
curiosity, for the waking of his enemy. When the sun rose, the panther
suddenly opened her eyes; then she stretched her paws violently, as if
to unlimber them from the cramp of their position. Presently she yawned
and showed the frightful armament of her teeth, and her cloven tongue,
rough as a grater.

"She is like a dainty woman," thought the Frenchman, watching her as she
rolled and turned on her side with an easy and coquettish movement. She
licked the blood from her paws, and rubbed her head with a reiterated
movement full of grace.

"Well done! dress yourself prettily, my little woman," said the
Frenchman, who recovered his gayety as soon as he had recovered his
courage. "We are going to bid each other good-morning;" and he felt for
the short poniard which he had taken from the Maugrabins.

At this instant the panther turned her head towards the Frenchman and
looked at him fixedly, without moving. The rigidity of her metallic eyes
and their insupportable clearness made the Provençal shudder. The beast
moved towards him; he looked at her caressingly, with a soothing glance
by which he hoped to magnetize her. He let her come quite close to him
before he stirred; then with a touch as gentle and loving as he might
have used to a pretty woman, he slid his hand along her spine from the
head to the flanks, scratching with his nails the flexible vertebrae
which divide the yellow back of a panther. The creature drew up her tail
voluptuously, her eyes softened, and when for the third time the
Frenchman bestowed this self-interested caress, she gave vent to a purr
like that with which a cat expresses pleasure: but it issued from a
throat so deep and powerful that the sound echoed through the grotto
like the last chords of an organ rolling along the roof of a church. The
Provençal, perceiving the value of his caresses, redoubled them until
they had completely soothed and lulled the imperious courtesan.

When he felt that he had subdued the ferocity of his capricious
companion, whose hunger had so fortunately been appeased the night
before, he rose to leave the grotto. The panther let him go; but as soon
as he reached the top of the little hill she bounded after him with the
lightness of a bird hopping from branch to branch, and rubbed against
his legs, arching her back with the gesture of a domestic cat. Then
looking at her guest with an eye that was growing less inflexible, she
uttered the savage cry which naturalists liken to the noise of a saw.

"My lady is exacting," cried the Frenchman, smiling. He began to play
with her ears and stroke her belly, and at last he scratched her head
firmly with his nails. Encouraged by success, he tickled her skull with
the point of his dagger, looking for the right spot where to stab her;
but the hardness of the bone made him pause, dreading failure.

The sultana of the desert acknowledged the talents of her slave by
lifting her head and swaying her neck to his caresses, betraying
satisfaction by the tranquillity of her relaxed attitude. The Frenchman
suddenly perceived that he could assassinate the fierce princess at a
blow, if he struck her in the throat; and he had raised the weapon, when
the panther, surfeited perhaps with his caresses, threw herself
gracefully at his feet, glancing up at him with a look in which, despite
her natural ferocity, a flicker of kindness could be seen. The poor
Provençal, frustrated for the moment, ate his dates as he leaned against
a palm-tree, casting from time to time an interrogating eye across the
desert in the hope of discerning rescue from afar, and then lowering it
upon his terrible companion, to watch the chances of her uncertain
clemency. Each time that he threw away a date-stone the panther eyed the
spot where it fell with an expression of keen distrust; and she examined
the Frenchman with what might be called commercial prudence. The
examination, however, seemed favorable, for when the man had finished
his meagre meal she licked his shoes and wiped off the dust, which was
caked into the folds of the leather, with her rough and powerful tongue.

"How will it be when she is hungry?" thought the Provençal. In spite of
the shudder which this reflection cost him, his attention was attracted
by the symmetrical proportions of the animal, and he began to measure
them with his eye. She was three feet in height to the shoulder, and
four feet long, not including the tail. That powerful weapon, which was
round as a club, measured three feet. The head, as large as that of a
lioness, was remarkable for an expression of crafty intelligence; the
cold cruelty of a tiger was its ruling trait, and yet it bore a vague
resemblance to the face of an artful woman. As the soldier watched her,
the countenance of this solitary queen shone with savage gayety like
that of Nero in his cups: she had slaked her thirst for blood, and now
wished for play. The Frenchman tried to come and go, and accustomed her
to his movements. The panther left him free, as if contented to follow
him with her eyes, seeming, however, less like a faithful dog watching
his master's movements with affection, than a huge Angora cat uneasy and
suspicious of them. A few steps brought him to the spring, where he saw
the carcass of his horse, which the panther had evidently carried there.
Only two-thirds was eaten. The sight reassured the Frenchman; for it
explained the absence of his terrible companion and the forbearance
which she had shown to him while asleep.

This first good luck encouraged the reckless soldier as he thought of
the future. The wild idea of making a home with the panther until some
chance of escape occurred entered his mind, and he resolved to try every
means of taming her and of turning her good-will to account. With these
thoughts he returned to her side, and noticed joyfully that she moved
her tail with an almost imperceptible motion. He sat down beside her
fearlessly, and they began to play with each other. He held her paws and
her muzzle, twisted her ears, threw her over on her back, and stroked
her soft warm flanks. She allowed him to do so; and when he began to
smooth the fur of her paws, she carefully drew in her murderous claws,
which were sharp and curved like a Damascus blade. The Frenchman kept
one hand on his dagger, again watching his opportunity to plunge it into
the belly of the too-confiding beast; but the fear that she might
strangle him in her last convulsions once more stayed his hand.
Moreover, he felt in his heart a foreboding of a remorse which warned
him not to destroy a hitherto inoffensive creature. He even fancied that
he had found a friend in the limitless desert. His mind turned back,
involuntarily, to his first mistress, whom he had named in derision
"Mignonne," because her jealousy was so furious that throughout the
whole period of their intercourse he lived in dread of the knife with
which she threatened him. This recollection of his youth suggested the
idea of teaching the young panther, whose soft agility and grace he now
admired with less terror, to answer to the caressing name. Towards
evening he had grown so familiar with his perilous position that he was
half in love with its dangers, and his companion was so far tamed that
she had caught the habit of turning to him when he called, in falsetto
tones, "Mignonne!"

As the sun went down Mignonne uttered at intervals a prolonged, deep,
melancholy cry.

"She is well brought up," thought the gay soldier. "She says her
prayers." But the jest only came into his mind as he watched the
peaceful attitude of his comrade.

"Come, my pretty blonde, I will let you go to bed first," he said,
relying on the activity of his legs to get away as soon as she fell
asleep, and trusting to find some other resting-place for the night. He
waited anxiously for the right moment, and when it came he started
vigorously in the direction of the Nile. But he had scarcely marched for
half an hour through the sand before he heard the panther bounding after
him, giving at intervals the saw-like cry which was more terrible to
hear than the thud of her bounds.

"Well, well!" he cried, "she must have fallen in love with me! Perhaps
she has never met any one else. It is flattering to be her first love."

So thinking, he fell into one of the treacherous quicksands which
deceive the inexperienced traveler in the desert, and from which there
is seldom any escape. He felt he was sinking, and he uttered a cry of
despair. The panther seized him by the collar with her teeth, and sprang
vigorously backward, drawing him, like magic, from the sucking sand.

"Ah, Mignonne!" cried the soldier, kissing her with enthusiasm, "we
belong to each other now,--for life, for death! But play me no tricks,"
he added, as he turned back the way he came.

From that moment the desert was, as it were, peopled for him. It held a
being to whom he could talk, and whose ferocity was now lulled into
gentleness, although he could scarcely explain to himself the reasons
for this extraordinary friendship. His anxiety to keep awake and on his
guard succumbed to excessive weariness both of body and mind, and
throwing himself down on the floor of the grotto he slept soundly. At
his waking Mignonne was gone. He mounted the little hill to scan the
horizon, and perceived her in the far distance returning with the long
bounds peculiar to these animals, who are prevented from running by the
extreme flexibility of their spinal column.

Mignonne came home with bloody jaws, and received the tribute of
caresses which her slave hastened to pay, all the while manifesting her
pleasure by reiterated purring.

Her eyes, now soft and gentle, rested kindly on the Provençal, who spoke
to her lovingly as he would to a domestic animal.

"Ah! Mademoiselle,--for you are an honest girl, are you not? You like to
be petted, don't you? Are you not ashamed of yourself? You have been
eating a Maugrabin. Well, well! they are animals like the rest of you.
But you are not to craunch up a Frenchman; remember that! If you do, I
will not love you."

She played like a young dog with her master, and let him roll her over
and pat and stroke her, and sometimes she would coax him to play by
laying a paw upon his knee with a pretty soliciting gesture.

Several days passed rapidly. This strange companionship revealed to the
Provençal the sublime beauties of the desert. The alternations of hope
and fear, the sufficiency of food, the presence of a creature who
occupied his thoughts,--all this kept his mind alert, yet free: it was a
life full of strange contrasts. Solitude revealed to him her secrets,
and wrapped him with her charm. In the rising and the setting of the sun
he saw splendors unknown to the world of men. He quivered as he listened
to the soft whirring of the wings of a bird,--rare visitant!--or watched
the blending of the fleeting clouds,--those changeful and many-tinted
voyagers. In the waking hours of the night he studied the play of the
moon upon the sandy ocean, where the strong simoom had rippled the
surface into waves and ever-varying undulations. He lived in the Eastern
day; he worshiped its marvelous glory. He rejoiced in the grandeur of
the storms when they rolled across the vast plain, and tossed the sand
upward till it looked like a dry red fog or a solid death-dealing vapor;
and as the night came on he welcomed it with ecstasy, grateful for the
blessed coolness of the light of the stars. His ears listened to the
music of the skies. Solitude taught him the treasures of meditation. He
spent hours in recalling trifles, and in comparing his past life with
the weird present.

He grew fondly attached to his panther; for he was a man who needed an
affection. Whether it were that his own will, magnetically strong, had
modified the nature of his savage princess, or that the wars then raging
in the desert had provided her with an ample supply of food, it is
certain that she showed no sign of attacking him, and became so tame
that he soon felt no fear of her. He spent much of his time in sleeping;
though with his mind awake, like a spider in its web, lest he should
miss some deliverance that might chance to cross the sandy sphere marked
out by the horizon. He had made his shirt into a banner and tied it to
the top of a palm-tree which he had stripped of its leafage. Taking
counsel of necessity, he kept the flag extended by fastening the corners
with twigs and wedges; for the fitful wind might have failed to wave it
at the moment when the longed-for succor came in sight.

Nevertheless, there were long hours of gloom when hope forsook him; and
then he played with his panther. He learned to know the different
inflections of her voice and the meanings of her expressive glance; he
studied the variegation of the spots which shaded the dead gold of her
robe. Mignonne no longer growled when he caught the tuft of her
dangerous tail and counted the black and white rings which glittered in
the sunlight like a cluster of precious stones. He delighted in the soft
lines of her lithe body, the whiteness of her belly, the grace of her
charming head: but above all he loved to watch her as she gamboled at
play. The agility and youthfulness of her movements were a constantly
fresh surprise to him. He admired the suppleness of the flexible body as
she bounded, crept, and glided, or clung to the trunk of palm-trees, or
rolled over and over, crouching sometimes to the ground, and gathering
herself together as she made ready for her vigorous spring. Yet, however
vigorous the bound, however slippery the granite block on which she
landed, she would stop short, motionless, at the one word "Mignonne."

One day, under a dazzling sun, a large bird hovered in the sky. The
Provençal left his panther to watch the new guest. After a moment's
pause the neglected sultana uttered a low growl.

"The devil take me! I believe she is jealous!" exclaimed the soldier,
observing the rigid look which once more appeared in her metallic eyes.
"The soul of Sophronie has got into her body!"

The eagle disappeared in ether, and the Frenchman, recalled by the
panther's displeasure, admired afresh her rounded flanks and the perfect
grace of her attitude. She was as pretty as a woman. The blonde
brightness of her robe shaded, with delicate gradations, to the
dead-white tones of her furry thighs; the vivid sunshine brought out the
brilliancy of this living gold and its variegated brown spots with
indescribable lustre. The panther and the Provençal gazed at each other
with human comprehension. She trembled with delight--the coquettish
creature!--as she felt the nails of her friend scratching the strong
bones of her skull. Her eyes glittered like flashes of lightning, and
then she closed them tightly.

"She has a soul!" cried the soldier, watching the tranquil repose of
this sovereign of the desert, golden as the sands, white as their
pulsing light, solitary and burning as they.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Well," she said, "I have read your defense of the beasts. But tell me
what was the end of this friendship between two beings so formed to
understand each other?"

"Ah, exactly," I replied. "It ended as all great passions end,--by a
misunderstanding. Both sides imagine treachery, pride prevents an
explanation, and the rupture comes about through obstinacy."

"Yes," she said, "and sometimes a word, a look, an exclamation suffices.
But tell me the end of the story."

"That is difficult," I answered. "But I will give it to you in the words
of the old veteran, as he finished the bottle of champagne and

"'I don't know how I could have hurt her, but she suddenly turned upon
me as if in fury, and seized my thigh with her sharp teeth; and yet (as
I afterwards remembered) not cruelly. I thought she meant to devour me,
and I plunged my dagger into her throat. She rolled over with a cry that
froze my soul; she looked at me in her death struggle, but without
anger. I would have given all the world--my cross, which I had not then
gained, all, everything--to have brought her back to life. It was as if
I had murdered a friend, a human being. When the soldiers who saw my
flag came to my rescue they found me weeping. Monsieur,' he resumed,
after a moment's silence, 'I went through the wars in Germany, Spain,
Russia, Fra