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Title: Atta Troll
Author: Heine, Heinrich, 1797-1856
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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ATTA TROLL

_From the German of
Heinrich Heine_

by

_Herman Scheffauer_
with an introduction

by

_Dr Oscar Levy_
and some Pen-and-Ink
sketches by
_Willy Pogány_

Sidgwick & Jackson London 1913

[Illustration: Frontispiece]

[Illustration:

ATTA TROLL

From the German of
_Heinrich Heine_

by

_Herman Scheffauer_
with some Pen-and-Ink
sketches by
_Willy Pogány _

Sidgwick & Jackson London 1913]

[Illustration]



CONTENTS


                                page

INTRODUCTION
  An Interpretation of Heinrich
  Heine's "Atta Troll," by Dr.
  Oscar Levy                       3

PREFACE
  By Heine                        25

ATTA TROLL                        35

NOTES
  By Dr. Oscar Levy              165



ILLUSTRATIONS

                              page

FRONTISPIECE                    ii

TITLE-PAGE                     iii

ATTA TROLL                      iv

INTRODUCTION (Half-Title)        1

ATTA TROLL (Half-Title)         33


_The headings and tail-pieces to the Cantos are by Horace Taylor_



[Illustration: INTRODUCTION]



AN INTERPRETATION OF HEINRICH HEINE'S "ATTA TROLL"


_HE who has visited the idyllic isle of Corfu must have seen, gleaming
white amidst its surroundings of dark green under a sky of the deepest
blue, the Greek villa which was erected there by Elizabeth, Empress of
Austria. It is called the Achilleion. In its garden there is a small
classic temple in which the Empress caused to be placed a marble statue
of her most beloved of poets, Heinrich Heine. The statue represented the
poet seated, his head bowed in profound melancholy, his cheeks thin and
drawn and bearded, as in his last illness._

_Elizabeth, Empress of Austria, felt a sentimental affinity with the
poet; his unhappiness, his_ Weltschmerz, _touched a responsive chord in
her own unhappy heart. Intellectual sympathy with Heine's thought or
tendencies there could have been little, for no woman has ever quite
understood Heinrich Heine, who is still a riddle to most of the men of
this age._

_After the assassination of the hapless Empress, the beautiful villa was
bought by the German Emperor. He at once ordered Heine's statue to be
removed--whither no one knows. Royal (as well as popular) spite has
before this been vented on dead or inanimate things--one need only ask
Englishmen to remember what happened to the body of Oliver Cromwell. The
Kaiser's action, by the way, did not pass unchallenged. Not only in
Germany but in several other countries indignant voices were raised at
the time, protesting against an act so insulting to the memory of the
great singer, upholding the fame of Heine as a poet and denouncing the
new master of the Achilleion for his narrow and prejudiced views on art
and literature._

_There was, however, a sound reason for the Imperial interference.
Heinrich Heine was in his day an outspoken enemy of Prussia, a severe
critic of the House of Hohenzollern and of other Royal houses of
Germany. He was one who held in scorn the principles of State and
government that are honoured in Germany, and elsewhere, to this very
day. He was one of those poets--of whom the nineteenth century produced
only a few, but those amongst the greatest--who had begun to distrust
the capacity of the reigning aristocracy, who knew what to expect from
the rising bourgeoisie, and who were nevertheless not romantic enough to
believe in the people and the wonderful possibilities hidden in them.
These poets--one and all--have taken up a very negative attitude towards
their contemporaries and have given voice to their anger and
disappointment over the pettiness of the society and government of their
time in words full of satire and contempt._

_Of course, the echo on the part of their audiences has not been
wanting. All these poets have experienced a fate surprisingly similar,
and their relationship to their respective countries reminds one of
those unhappy matrimonial alliances which--for social or religious
reasons--no divorce can ever dissolve. And, worse than that, no
separation either, for a poet is--through his mother tongue--so
intimately wedded to his country that not even a separation can effect
any sort of relief in such a desperate case. All of them have tried
separation, all of them have lived in estrangement from their
country--we might almost say that only the local and lesser poets of the
last century have stayed at home--and yet in spite of this separation
the mutual recriminations of these passionate poetical husbands and
their obstinate national wives have never ceased. Again and again we
hear the male partner making proposals to win his spouse to better and
nobler ways, again and again he tries to "educate her up to himself" and
endeavours to direct her anew, pointing out to her the danger of her
unruly and stupid behaviour; again and again his loving approaches are
thwarted by the well-known waywardness of the feminine character, and so
all his friendly admonitions habitually turn into torrents of abuse and
vilification. There have been many unhappy unions in the world, but the
compulsory_ mésalliances _of such great nineteenth-century writers as
Heine, Byron, Stendhal, Gobineau, and Nietzsche with Mesdames
Britannia, Gallia, and Germania, those otherwise highly respectable
ladies, easily surpass in grotesqueness anything that has come to us
through divorce court proceedings in England and America. That, as every
one will agree, is saying a good deal._

_The German Emperor, as I have said, had some justification for his
action, some motives that do credit, if not to his intellect, at least
to what in our days best takes the place of intellect; that is to say
his character and his principles of government. The German Emperor
appears at least to realize how offensive and, from his point of view,
dangerous, the spirit of Heinrich Heine is to this very day, how deeply
his satire cuts into questions of religion and State, how impatient he
is of everything which the German Emperor esteems and venerates in his
innermost heart. But the German people, on the whole, and certainly all
foreigners, have long ago forgiven the poet, not because they have
understood the dead bard better than the Emperor, but because they
understood him less well. It is always easier to forgive an offender if
you do not understand him too well, it is likewise easier to forgive
him if your memory be short. And the peoples likewise resemble our
womenfolk in this respect, that as soon as they are widowed of their
poets, they easily forget all the unpleasantness that had ever existed
between them and their dead husbands. It is then and only then that they
discover the good qualities of their dead consorts and go about telling
everybody "what a wonderful man he was." Their behaviour reminds me of a
picture I once saw in a French comic paper. It represented a widow who,
in order to hear her deceased husband's voice, had a gramophone put at
his empty place at the breakfast table. And every morning she sat
opposite that gramophone weeping quietly into her handkerchief, gazing
mournfully at the instrument--decorated with her dead hubby's tasselled
cap--and listening to the voice of the dear departed. But the only words
which came out of the gramophone every morning were:_ Mais fiche-moi
donc la paix--tu m'empêches de lire mon journal! _(For goodness' sake,
leave me alone and let me read my paper.) This, however, did not appear
to disturb the sentimental widow at all, as little indeed as a good
sentimental people resents being abused by its dead poet._

_And how our poet did abuse them during his life! And not only during
his life, for Heine would not have been a great poet if his loves and
hatreds, his censure and his praise had not outlasted his life, nay, had
not come to real life only after his death. Thus the shafts of wit and
satire which Heine levelled at his age and his country will seem
singularly modern to the reader of to-day. It is this peculiar modern
significance and application that has been one of the two reasons for
presenting to the English public the first popular edition of Heine's
lyrico-satiric masterpiece "Atta Troll." The other reason is the fine
quality of the translation, made by one who is himself well known as a
poet, my friend Herman Scheffauer. I venture to say that it renders in a
remarkable degree the elusive brilliance, wit, and tenderness of the
German original._

_The poem begins in a sprightly fashion full of airy mockery and
romantic lyricism. The reader is beguiled as with music and led on as in
a dance. Heine himself called it_ das letzte freie Waldlied der Romantik
_("The last free woodland-song of Romanticism"); and so we hear the
alluring sound of flutes and harps, we listen to the bells ringing from
lonely chapels in the forest, and many beautiful flowers nod to us, the
mysterious blue flower amongst them. Then our eyes rejoice at the sight
of fair maidens, whose nude and slender bodies gleam from under their
floods of golden hair, who ride on white horses and throw us provocative
glances, that warm and quicken our innermost hearts. But just as we are
on the point of responding to their fond entreaties we are startled by
the cracking of the wild hunter's whip, and we hear the loud hallo and
huzza of his band, and see them galloping across our path in the eerie
mysterious moonlight. Yes, in "Atta Troll" there is plenty of that
moonshine, of that tender sentimentality, which used to be the principal
stock-in-trade of the German Romanticist._

_But this moonshine and all the other paraphernalia of the Romantic
School Heine handled with all the greater skill, inasmuch as he was no
longer a real Romanticist when he wrote "Atta Troll." He had left the
Romantic School long ago, not without (as he himself tells us) "having
given a good thrashing to his schoolmaster." He was now a Greek, a
follower of Spinoza and Goethe. He was a_ Romantique défroqué--_one who
had risen above his neurotic fellow-poets and their hazy ideas and wild
endeavours. But for this very reason he is able to use their mode of
expression with so much the greater skill, and, knowing all their
shortcomings, he could give to his Dreamland a semblance of reality
which they could never achieve. Only after having left a town are we in
a position to judge the height of its church steeple, only as exiles do
we begin to see the right relation in which our country stands to the
rest of the world, and only a poet who had bidden farewell to his party
and school, who had freed himself from Romanticism, could give us the
last, the truest, the most beautiful poem of Romanticism._

_It is possible, even probable, that "Atta Troll" will appeal to a
majority of readers, not through its satire, but through its wonderful
lyrical and romantic qualities--our age being inclined to look askance
at satire, at least at true satire, at satire that, as the current
phrase goes, "means business." Weak satire, aimless satire, humour,
caricature--that is to say satire which uses blank cartridges--this age
of ours will readily endure, nay heartily welcome; but of true satire,
of satire that goes in for powder and shot, that does not only crack,
but kill, it is mortally, and, if one comes to think of it rightly,
afraid. But let even those who object to powder and shot approach "Atta
Troll" without fear or misgiving. They will not be disappointed. They
will find in this work proof of the old truth that a satirist is always
and originally a man of high ideals and imagination. They will gain an
insight into his much slandered soul, which is always that of a great
poet. They will readily understand that this poet only became a satirist
through the vivacity of his imagination, through the strength of his
poetic vision, through his optimistic belief in humanity and its
possibilities; and that it was precisely this great faith which forced
him to become a satirist, because he could not endure to see all his
pure ideals and the possibilities of perfection soiled and trampled upon
by thoughtless mechanics, aimless mockers and babbling reformers. The
humorist may be--and very often is--a sceptic, a pessimist, a nihilist;
the satirist is invariably a believer, an optimist, an idealist. For let
this dangerous man only come face to face, not with his enemies, but
with his ideals, and you will see--as in "Atta Troll"--what a generous
friend, what an ardent lover, what a great poet he is. Thus no one will
be in the least disturbed by Heine's satire: on the contrary, those who
object to it on principle will hardly be aware of it, so delighted will
they be with the wonderful imagination, the glowing descriptions, and
the passionate lyrics in which the poetry of "Atta Troll" abounds. The
poem may be and will be read by them as "Gulliver's Travels" is read
to-day by young and old, by poet and politician alike, not for its
original satire, but for its picturesque, dramatic, and enthralling
tale._

_But let those who still believe that writing is fighting, and not
sham-fighting only, those who hold that a poet is a soldier of the pen
and therefore the most dangerous of all soldiers, those who feel that
our age needs a hailstorm of satire, let these, I say, look closer at
the wonderfully ideal figures that pass before them in the pale
mysterious light. Let them listen more intently to the flutes and harps
and they will discover quite a different melody beneath--a melody by no
means bewitching or soothing, nor inviting us to dreams, sweet
forgetfulness, soft couches, and tender embraces, but a shrill and
mocking tune that is at times insolently discordant and that strikes us
as decidedly modern, realistic, and threatening. As the poet himself
expressed it in his dedication to Varnhagen von Ense:_

    "_Aye, my friend, such strains arise_
      _From the dream-time that is dead_
    Though some modern trills may oft
      Caper through the ancient theme.

    "Spite of waywardness thou'lt find
      Here and there a note of pain...."

_Let their ears seek to catch these painful notes. Let their eyes
accustom themselves to the deceitful light of the moon; let them
endeavour to pierce through the romanticism on the surface to the
underlying meaning of the poem.... A little patience and we shall see
clearly...._

_Atta Troll, the dancing bear, is the representative of the people. He
has--by means of the French Revolution, of course--broken his fetters
and escaped to the freedom of the mountains. Here he indulges in that
familiar ranting of a_ sansculotte, _his heart and mouth brimming over
with what Heine calls_ frecher Gleichheitsschwindel _("the barefaced
swindle of equality"). His hatred is above all directed against the
masters from whose bondage he has just escaped, that is to say against
all mankind as a race. As a "true and noble bear" he simply detests
these human beings with their superior airs and impudent smiles, those
arrogant wretches, who fancy themselves something lofty, because they
eat cooked meat and know a few tricks and sciences. Animals, if properly
trained, if only equality of opportunity were given to them, could
learn these tricks just as well--there is therefore no earthly reason
why_

          _"these men,_
    _Cursèd arch-aristocrats,_
    _Should with haughty insolence_
    _Look upon the world of beasts."_

_The beasts, so Atta Troll declares, ought not to allow themselves to be
treated in this wise. They ought to combine amongst themselves, for it
is only by means of proper union that the requisite degree of strength
can ever be attained. After the establishment of this powerful union
they should try to enforce their programme and demand the abolition of
private property and of human privileges:_

    _"And its first great law shall be_
    _For God's creatures one and all_
    _Equal rights--no matter what_
    _Be their faith, or hide, or smell,_

    _"Strict equality! Each ass_
    _May become Prime Minister,_
    _On the other hand the lion_
    _Shall bear corn unto the mill."_

_This outrageous diatribe of the freed slave cuts deeply into the poet's
heart. He, the poet, does not believe in equal, but in the "holy inborn"
rights of men, the rights of valid birth, the rights of the man of
[Greek: harethê]. He, the poet, the admirer of Napoleon, believes
in the latter's_ la carrière ouverte aux talents, _but not in
opportunity given to every dunce or dancing bear. He holds Atta Troll's
opinion to be "high treason against the majesty of humanity," and since
he can endure this no longer, he sets out one fine morning to hunt the
insolent bear in his mountain fastnesses._

_A strange being, however, accompanies him. This is a man of the name of
Lascaro, a somewhat abnormal fellow, who is very thin, very pale, and
apparently in very poor health. He is consequently not exactly a
pleasant comrade for the chase: he does not seem to enjoy the sport at
all, and his one endeavour is to get through with his task without
losing more of his strength and health. Even now he is more of an
automaton than a human being, more dead than alive, and yet--greatest of
all miseries!--he is not allowed to die. For he has a mother, the witch
Uraka, who keeps him artificially alive by anointing him every night
with magic salve and giving him such diabolic advice as will be useful
to him during the day. By means of the sham health she gives to her son,
the magic bullets she casts for him, the tricks and wiles she teaches
him, Lascaro is enabled to find the track of Atta Troll, to lure him out
of his lair and to lay him low with a treacherous shot._

_Who is this silent Lascaro and his mysterious mother, whom the poet
seems to hold in as slight regard as the noisy Atta Troll? Who is this
Lascaro, whose methods he deprecates, whose health he doubts, whose cold
ways and icy smiles make him shudder? Who is this chilliest of all
monsters? The chilliest of all monsters--we may find the answer in
"Zarathustra"--is the State: and our Lascaro is nothing else than the
spirit of reactionary government, kept artificially alive by his old
witch-mother, the spirit of Feudalism. The nightly anointing of Lascaro
is a parody on the revival of mediæval customs, by means of which the
frightened aristocracy of Europe in the middle of the last century tried
to stem the tide of the French Revolution--the anointed of the Lord
becoming in Heine's poem the anointed of the witch. But in spite of his
nightly massage, our Lascaro does not gain much strength or spirit: no
mediæval salves, no feudal pills, no witch's spell, will ever cure him.
Not even a wizard's experiments (we may add, with that greater insight
bestowed upon us by history) could do him any good, not even the astute
magic tricks that were lavished upon the patient in Heine's time by that
arch wizard, the Austrian Minister Metternich. For we must not forget
the time in which "Atta Troll" was written, the time of the omnipotent
Metternich! Let us recall to our memories this cool, clever, callous
statesman, who founded and set the Holy Alliance against the Revolution,
who calmly shot down the German Atta Troll, who skilfully strangled and
stifled that promising poetical school, "Young Germany," to which Heine
belonged. Let us recall this man, who likewise artificially revived the
old religion and the old feudalism, who repolished and regilded the
scutcheons of the decadent aristocracy, and who, despite all his energy,
had at heart no belief in his work, no joy in his task, no faith in the
anointed dummies he brought to life again in Europe--and those puzzling
personalities of Uraka and Lascaro will be elucidated to us by a real
historical example._

_Metternich is now part of history. But, alas! we cannot likewise banish
into that limbo of the past those two superfluous individuals, the
revolutionary Atta Troll and the reactionary Lascaro. Alas! we cannot
join the joyful, but inwardly so hopeless, band of those who sing the
pæan of eternal progress, who pretend to believe that the times are
always "changing for the better." Let these good people open their eyes,
and they will see that Atta Troll was not shot down in the valley of
Roncesvalles, but that he is still alive, very much alive, and making a
dreadful noise, and that not in the Pyrenees, but just outside our
doors, where he still keeps haranguing about equality and liberty and
occasionally breaks his fetters and escapes from his masters. And when
this occurs, then that icy monster Lascaro is likewise seen, with his
hard, pallid face and his joyless mouth, and his disgust with his own
task and his doubts and disbeliefs in himself. He still carries his gun
and he still possesses some of that craftiness which his mother the
witch has taught him, and he still knows how to entrap that poor, stupid
Atta Troll, and to shoot him down when the spirit of "order and
government," the spirit of a soulless capitalism, requires it._

_No, there is very little feeling in the man as yet, and he seems as
difficult to move as ever. There is apparently only one thing that can
rouse him into action, and that is when a poet appears, one who knows
the truth and who dares to speak the truth not only about Atta Troll,
the people, but also about its Lascaros, its leaders, its emperors, and
kings. Then and then only his hard features change, and his affected
self-possession leaves him, then and then only his mask of calmness is
thrown off, and he waxes very angry with the poet, and has his name
banished from his court and his statues turned out of his cities and
villas--nay, he would even level his gun to slay the truth-telling poet
as he slew Atta Troll._

_From which we may see that the modern Lascaro has become a sort of Don
Quixote--for, truly is it not the height of folly for a mortal emperor
to shoot at an immortal poet?_

OSCAR LEVY

London, 1913



PREFACE BY HEINE


_"ATTA TROLL" was composed in the late autumn of 1841, and appeared as a
fragment in_ The Elegant World, _of which my friend Laube had at that
time resumed the editorship. The shape and contents of the poem were
forced to conform to the narrow necessities of that periodical. I wrote
at first only those cantos which might be printed and even these
suffered many variations. It was my intention to issue the work later in
its full completeness, but this commendable resolve remained
unfulfilled--like all the mighty works of the Germans--such as the
cathedral of Cologne, the God of Schelling, the Prussian Constitution,
and the like. This also happened to "Atta Troll"--he was never finished.
In such imperfect form, indifferently bolstered up and rounded only from
without, do I now set him before the public, obedient to an impulse
which certainly does not proceed from within._

_"Atta Troll," as I have said, originated in the late autumn of 1841, at
the time when the great mob which my enemies of various complexions,
had drummed together against me, had not quite ceased its noise. It was
a very large mob and indeed I would never have believed that Germany
could produce so many rotten apples as then flew about my head! Our
Fatherland is a blessed country! Citrons and oranges certainly do not
grow here, and the laurel ekes out but a miserable existence, but rotten
apples thrive in the happiest abundance, and never a great poet of ours
but could write feelingly of them! On the occasion of that hue and cry
in which I was to lose both my head and my laurels it happened that I
lost neither. All the absurd accusations which were used to incite the
mob against me have since then been miserably annihilated, even without
my condescending to refute them. Time justified me, and the various
German States have even, as I must most gratefully acknowledge, done me
good service in this respect. The warrants of arrest which at every
German station past the frontier await the return of this poet, are
thoroughly renovated every year during the holy Christmastide, when the
little candles glow merrily on the Christmas trees. It is this
insecurity of the roads which has almost destroyed my pleasure in
travelling through the German meads. I am therefore celebrating my
Christmas in an alien land, and it will be as an exile in a foreign
country that I shall end my days._

_But those valiant champions of Light and Truth who accuse me of
fickleness and servility, are able to go about quite securely in the
Fatherland--as well-stalled servants of the State, as dignitaries of a
Guild, or as regular guests of a club where of evenings they may regale
themselves with the vinous juices of Father Rhine and with
"sea-surrounded Schleswig-Holstein" oysters._

_It was my express intention to indicate in the foregoing at what period
"Atta Troll" was written. At that time the so-called art of political
poetry was in full flower. The opposition, as Ruge says, sold its
leather and became poetry. The Muses were given strict orders that they
were thenceforth no longer to gad about in a wanton, easy-going fashion,
but would be compelled to enter into national service, possibly as_
vivandières _of liberty or as washerwomen of Christian-Germanic
nationalism. Especially were the bowers of the German bards afflicted by
that vague and sterile pathos, that useless fever of enthusiasm which,
with absolute disregard for death, plunges itself into an ocean of
generalities. This always reminds me of the American sailor who was so
madly enthusiastic over General Jackson that he sprang from the
mast-head into the sea, crying out: "I die for General Jackson!" Yes,
even though we Germans as yet possessed no fleet, still we had plenty of
sailors who were willing to die for General Jackson, in prose or verse.
In those days talent was a rather questionable gift, for it brought one
under suspicion of being a loose character. After thousands of years of
grubbing deliberation, Impotence, sick and limping Impotence, at last
discovered its greatest weapon against the over-encouragement of
genius--it discovered, in fact, the antithesis between Talent and
Character. It was almost personally flattering to the great masses when
they heard it said that good, average people were certainly poor
musicians as a rule, but that, on the other hand, fine musicians were
not usually good people--that goodness was the important thing in this
world and not music. Empty-Head now beat resolutely upon his full Heart,
and Sentiment was trumps. I recall an author of that day who accounted
his inability to write as a peculiar merit in himself, and who, because
of his wooden style, was given a silver cup of honour._

_By the eternal gods! at that time it became necessary to defend the
inalienable rights of the spirit, above all in poetry. Inasmuch as I
have made this defence the chief business of my life, I have kept it
constantly before me in this poem whose tone and theme are both a
protest against the plebiscite of the tribunes of the times. And verily,
even the first fragments of "Atta Troll" which saw the light, aroused
the wrath of my heroic worthies, my dear Romans, who accused me not only
of a literary but also of a social reaction, and even of mocking the
loftiest human ideals. As to the esthetic worth of my poem--of that I
thought but little, as I still do to-day--I wrote it solely for my own
joy and pleasure, in the fanciful dreamy manner of that romantic school
in which I whiled away my happiest years of youth, and then wound up by
thrashing the schoolmaster. Possibly in this regard my poem is to be
condemned. But thou liest, Brutus, thou too, Cassius, and even thou,
Asinius, when ye declare that my mockery is levelled against those
ideals which constitute the noble achievements of man, for which I too
have wrought and suffered so much. No, it is just because the poet
constantly sees these ideas before him in all their clarity and
greatness that he is forced into irresistible laughter when he beholds
how raw, awkward, and clumsy these ideas may appear when interpreted by
a narrow circle of contemporary spirits. Then perforce must he jest
about their thick temporal hides--bear hides. There are mirrors which
are ground in so irregular a way that even an Apollo would behold
himself as a caricature in them, and invite laughter. But we do not
laugh at the god but merely at his distorted image._

_Another word. Need I lay any special emphasis upon the fact that the
parodying of one of Freiligrath's poems, which here and there somewhat
saucily titters from the lines of "Atta Troll," in no wise constitutes a
disparagement of that poet? I value him highly, especially at present,
and account him one of the most important poets who have arisen in
Germany since the Revolution of 1830. His first collection of poems came
to my notice rather late, namely just at the time when I was composing
"Atta Troll." The fact that the Moorish Prince affected me so comically
was no doubt due to my particular mood at that time. Moreover, this work
of his is usually vaunted as his best. To such readers as may not be
acquainted with this production--and I doubt not such may be found in
China and Japan, and even along the banks of the Niger and Senegal--I
would call attention to the fact that the Blackamoor King, who at the
beginning of the poem steps from his white tent like an eclipsed moon,
is beloved by a black beauty over whose dusky features nod white ostrich
plumes. But, eager for war, he leaves her, and enters into the battles
of the blacks, "where rattles the drum decorated with skulls," but,
alas! here he finds his black Waterloo, and is sold by the victors unto
the whites. They take the noble African to Europe and here we find him
in a company of itinerant circus folk who intrust him with the care of
the Turkish drum at their performances. There he stands, dark and
solemn, at the entrance to the ring, and drums. But as he drums he
thinks of his erstwhile greatness, remembers, too, that he was once an
absolute monarch on the far, far banks of the Niger, that he hunted
lions and tigers:_

    _"His eye grew moist; with hollow thunder_
    _He beat the drum, till it sprang in sunder."_

HEINRICH HEINE

Written at Paris, 1846

[Illustration: ATTA TROLL]

    _Out of the gleaming, shimmering tents of white_
    _Steps the Prince of the Moors in his armour bright--_
    _So out of the slumbering clouds of night,_
    _The moon in its dark eclipse takes flight._

     "The Prince of Blackamoors,"
      by Ferdinand Freiligrath.

[Illustration]



             CANTO I


    Ringed about by mountains dark,
      Rising peak on sullen peak,
    And by furious waterfalls
      Lulled to slumber, like a dream

    White within the valley lies
      Cauterets. Each villa neat
    Sports a balcony whereon
      Lovely ladies stand and laugh.

    Heartily they laugh and look
      Down upon the crowded square
    Where unto a bag-pipe's drone
      He- and she-bear strut and dance.

    Atta Troll is dancing there
      With his Mumma, dusky mate,
    While in wonderment the Basques
      Shout aloud and clap their hands.

    Stiff with pride and gravity
      Dances noble Atta Troll,
    Though his shaggy partner knows
      Neither dignity nor shame.

    I am even fain to think
      She is verging on the can-can,
    For her shameless wagging hints
      Of the gay _Grande Chaumière_

    Even he, the showman brave,
      Holding her with loosened chain,
    Marks the immorality
      Of her most immodest dance.

    So at times he lays the lash
      Straight across her inky back,
    Till the mountains wake and shout
      Echoes to her frenzied howls.

    On the showman's pointed hat
      Six Madonnas made of lead
    Shield him from the foeman's balls
      Or invasions of the louse.

    And a gaudy altar-cloth
      From his shoulders hanging down,
    Makes a proper sort of cloak,
      Hiding pistol and a knife.

    In his youth a monk was he,
      Then became a robber chief;
    Later, in Don Carlos' ranks,
      He combined the other two.

    When Don Carlos, forced to flee,
      Bade his Table Round farewell,
    All his Paladins resolved
      Straight to learn an honest trade.

    Herr Schnapphahnski turned a scribe,
      And our staunch Crusader here
    Just a showman, with his bears
      Trudging up and down the land.

    And in every market-place
      For the people's pence they dance--
    In the square at Cauterets
      Atta Troll is dancing now!

    Atta Troll, the Forest King,
      He who ruled on mountain-heights,
    Now to please the village mob,
      Dances in his doleful chains.

    Worse and worse! for money vile
      He must dance who, clad in might,
    Once in majesty of terror
      Held the world a sorry thing!

    When the memories of his youth
      And his lost dominions green,
    Smite the soul of Atta Troll,
      Mournful sobs escape his breast.

    And he scowls as scowled the black
      Monarch famed of Freiligrath;
    In his rage he dances badly,
      As the darkey badly drummed.

    Yet compassion none he wins,--
      Only laughter! Juliet
    From her balcony is laughing
      At his wild, despairing bounds.

    Juliet, you see, is French,
      And was born without a soul--
    Lives for mere externals--but
      Her externals are so fair!

    Like a net of tender gleams
      Are the glances of her eye,
    And our hearts like little fishes,
      Fall and struggle in that net.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



             CANTO II


    When the dusky Moorish Prince
      Sung by poet Freiligrath
    Beat upon his mighty drum
      Till the drumskin crashed and broke--

    Thrilling must that crash have been--
      Likewise hard upon the ear--
    But just fancy when a bear
      Breaks away from captive chains!

    Swift the laughter and the pipes
      Cease. What yells of fear arise!
    From the square the people rush
      And the gentle dames grow pale.

    Yea, from all his slavish bonds
      Atta Troll has torn him free.
    Suddenly! With mighty leaps
      Through the narrow streets he runs.

    Room enough is his, I trow!
      Up the jagged cliffs he climbs,
    Flings down one contemptuous look,
      Then is lost within the hills.

    Lone within the market-place
      Mumma and her master stand--
    Raging, now he grasps his hat,
      Cursing, casts it on the earth,

    Tramples on it, kicks and flouts
      The Madonnas, tears the cloak
    Off his foul and naked back,
      Yells and blasphemes horribly

    'Gainst the base ingratitude
      Of the race of sable bears.
    Had he not been kind to Troll?
      Taught him dancing free of charge?

    Everything this monster owed him,
      Even life. For some had bid,
    All in vain! three hundred marks
      For the hide of Atta Troll.

    Like some carven form of grief
      There the poor black Mumma stands
    On her hind feet, with her paws
      Pleading with the raging clown.

    But on her the raging clown
      Looses now his twofold wrath;
    Beats her; calls her Queen Christine,
      Dame Muñoz--Putana too....

    All this happened on a fair
      Sunny summer afternoon.
    And the night which followed, ah!
      Was superb and wonderful.

    Of that night a part I spent
      On a small white balcony;
    Juliet was at my side
      And we viewed the passing stars.

    "Fairer far," she sighed, "the stars
      Which in Paris I have seen,
    When upon a winter's night
      In the muddy streets they shine."

[Illustration]



             CANTO III


    Dream of summer nights! How vain
      Is my fond fantastic song.
    Quite as vain as Love and Life,
      And Creator and Creation.

    Subject to his own sweet will,
      Now in gallop, now in flight,
    So my Pegasus, my darling,
      Revels through the realms of myth.

    Ah, no plodding cart-horse he!
      Harnessed up for citizens,
    Nor a ramping party-hack
      Full of showy kicks and neighs.

    For my little wingèd steed's
      Hoofs are shod with solid gold
    And his bridle, dragging free,
      Is a rope of gleaming pearls.

    Bear me wheresoe'er thou wouldst--
      To some lofty mountain-trail
    Where the torrents toss and shriek
      Warnings over folly's gulf.

    Bear me through the silent vales
      Where the solemn oaks arise
    From whose twisted roots there well
      Ancient springs of fairy lore.

    There, oh, let me drink--mine eyes
      Let me lave--Oh, how I thirst
    For that flashing wonder-spring,
      Full of wisdom and of light.

    All my blindness flees. My glance
      Pierces to the dimmest cave,
    To the lair of Atta Troll,
      And his speech I understand!

    Strange it is--this bearish speech
      Hath a most familiar ring!
    Once, methinks, I heard such tones
      In my own dear native land.

[Illustration]



             CANTO IV


    Roncesvalles, thou noble vale!
      When thy golden name I hear,
    Then the lost blue flower blooms
      Once again within my heart!

    All the glittering world of dreams
      Rises from its hoary gulf,
    And with great and ghostly eyes
      Stares upon me till I quake!

    What a stir and clang! The Franks
      Battle with the Saracens,
    While a thin, despairing wail
      Pours like blood from Roland's horn.

    In the Vale of Roncesvalles,
      Close beside great Roland's Gap--
    So 'twas named because the Knight
      Once to clear himself a path.

    Now this youngest was the pet
      Of his mother. Once in play
    Chewing off his tiny ear--
      She devoured it for love.

    A most genial youth is he,
      Clever in gymnastic tricks,
    Throwing somersaults as clever
      As dear Massmann's somersaults.

    Blossom of the pristine cult,
      For the mother-tongue he raves,
    Scorning all the senseless jargon
      Of the Romans and the Greeks.

    "Fresh and pious, gay and free,"
      Hating all that smacks of soap
    Or the modern craze for baths--
      Verily like Massmann too!

    Most inspired is this youth
      When he clambers up the tree
    Which from out the hollow gorge
      Rears itself along the cliff,

    Rears and lifts unto the crest
      Where at night this jolly band
    Squat and loll about their sire
      In the twilight dim and cool.

    Gladly there the father bear
      Tells them stories of the world,
    Of strange cities and their folk,
      And of all he suffered too,

    Suffered like Ulysses great--
      Differing slightly from this brave
    Since his black Penelope
      Never parted from his side.

    Loudly too prates Atta Troll
      Of the mighty meed of praise
    Which by practice of his art
      He had wrung from humankind.

    Young and old, so runs his tale,
      Cheered in wonder and in joy,
    When in market-squares he danced
      To the bag-pipe's pleasant skirl.

    And the ladies most of all--
      Ah, what gentle connoisseurs!--
    Rendered him their mad applause
      And full many a tender glance.

    Artists' vanity! Alas,
      Pensively the dancing-bear
    Thinks upon those happy hours
      When his talents pleased the crowd.

    Seized with rapture self-inspired,
      He would prove his words by deeds,
    Prove himself no boaster vain
      But a master in the art.

    Swiftly from the ground he springs,
      Stands on hinder paws erect,
    Dances then his favourite dance
      As of old--the great Gavotte.

    Dumb, with open jaws the cubs
      Gaze upon their father there
    As he makes his wondrous leaps
      In the moonshine to and fro.

[Illustration]



             CANTO V


    In his cavern by his young,
      Atta Troll in moody wise
    Lies upon his back and sucks
      Fiercely at his paws, and growls:

    "Mumma, Mumma, dusky pearl
      That from out the sea of life
    I had gathered, in that sea
      I have lost thee once again!

    "Shall I never see thee more?
      Shall it be beyond the grave
    Where from earthly travail free
      Thy bright spirit spreads its wings?

    "Ah, if I might once again
      Lick my darling Mumma's snout--
    Lovely snout as dear to me
      As if smeared with honey-dew.

    "Might I only sniff once more
      That aroma sweet and rare
    Of my dear and dusky mate--
      Scent as sweet as roses' breath!

    "But, alas! my Mumma lies
      In the bondage of that tribe
    Which believes itself Creation's
      Lords and bears the name of Man!

    "Death! Damnation! that these men--
      Cursèd arch-aristocrats!
    Should with haughty insolence
      Look upon the world of beasts!

    "They who steal our wives and young,
      Chain us, beat us, slaughter us!--
    Yea, they slaughter us and trade
      In our corpses and our pelts!

    "More, they deem these hideous deeds
      Justified--particularly
    Towards the noble race of bears--
      This they call the Rights of Man!

    "Rights of Man? The Rights of Man!
      Who bestowed these rights on you?
    Surely 'twas not Mother Nature--
      She is ne'er unnatural!

    "Rights of Man! Who gave to you
      All these privileges rare?
    Verily it was not Reason--
      Ne'er unreasonable she!

    "Is it, men, because you roast,
      Stew or fry or boil your meat,
    Whilst our own is eaten raw,
      That you deem yourselves so grand?

    "In the end 'tis all the same.
      Food alone can ne'er impart
    Any worth;--none noble is
      Save who nobly acts and feels!

    "Are you better, human things,
      Just because success attends
    All your arts and sciences?
      No mere wooden-heads are we!

    "Are there not most learnèd dogs!
      Horses, too, that calculate
    Quite as well as bankers?--Hares
      Who have skill in beating drums?

    "Are not beavers most adroit
      In the craft of waterworks?
    Were not clyster-pipes invented
      Through the cleverness of storks?

    "Do not asses write critiques?
      Do not apes play comedy?
    Could there be a greater actress
      Than Batavia the ape?

    "Do the nightingales not sing?
      Is not Freiligrath a bard?
    Who e'er sang the lion's praise
      Better than his brother mule?

    "In the art of dance have I
      Gone as far as Raumer quite
    In the art of letters--can he
      Scribble better than I dance?

    "Why should mortal men be placed
      O'er us animals? Though high
    You may lift your heads, yet low
      In those heads your thoughts do crawl.

    "Human wights, why better, pray,
      Than ourselves? Is it because
    Smooth and slippery is your skin?
      Snakes have that advantage too!

    "Human hordes! two-legged snakes!
      Well indeed I understand
    That those flapping pantaloons
      Must conceal your serpent hides!

    "Children, Oh, beware of these
      Vile and hairless miscreants!
    O my daughters, never trust
      Monsters that wear pantaloons!"

    But no further will I tell
      How this bear with arrogant
    Fallacies of equal rights
      Raved against the human race

    For I too am man, and never
      As a man will I repeat
    All this vile disparagement,
      Bound to give most grave offence.

    Yes, I too am man, am placed
      O'er the other mammals all!
    Shall I sell my birthright?--No!
      Nor my interest betray.

    Ever faithful unto man,
      I will fight all other beasts.
    I will battle for the high
      Holy inborn rights of man!

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



             CANTO VI


    Yet for man who forms the higher
      Class of animals 'twere well
    That betimes he should discover
      What the lower thinks of him.

    Verily within those drear
      Strata of the world of brutes,
    In those lower social layers
      There is misery, pride and wrath.

    Laws which Nature hath decreed,
      Customs sanctioned long by Time,
    And for centuries established,
      They deny with pertest tongue.

    Grumbling, there the old instil
      Evil doctrines in the young,
    Doctrines which endanger all
      Human culture on the Earth.

    "Children!" grunts our Atta Troll,
      As he tosses to and fro
    On his hard and stony couch,
      "Future time we hold in fee!

    "If each bear, each quadruped,
      Held with me a like ideal,
    With our whole united force
      We the tyrant might engage.

    "Compact then the boar should make
      With the horse--the elephant
    Curve his trunk in comradeship
      Round the valiant ox's horns.

    "Bear and wolf of every shade,
      Goat and ape, the rabbit, too.
    Let them for the common cause
      Labour--and the world is ours!

    "Union! union! is the need
      Of our times! For singly we
    Fall as slaves, but joined as one
      We shall overcome our lords.

    "Union! union! Victory!
      We shall overthrow the reign
    Of such tyranny and found
      One great Kingdom of the Brutes.

    "And its first great law shall be
      For God's creatures one and all
    Equal rights--no matter what
      Be their faith, or hide or smell.

    "Strict equality! Each ass
      May become Prime Minister;
    On the other hand the lion
      Shall bear corn unto the mill.

    "And the dog? Alas, 'tis true
      He's a very servile cur,
    Just because for ages man
      Like a dog has treated him.

    "Yet in our Free State shall he
      Once again enjoy his rights--
    Rights most unassailable--
      Thus ennobled be the dog.

    "Yea, the very Jews shall win
      All the rights of citizens,
    By the law made equal with
      Every other mammal free.

    "One thing only be denied them!
      Dancing in the market-place;
    This amendment I shall make
      In the interests of my art.

    "For they lack all sense of style;
      All plasticity of limb
    Lacks that race. Full surely they
      Would debauch the public taste."

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



             CANTO VII


    Gloomy in his gloomy cave,
      In the circle of his home,
    Crouches Troll, the Foe of Man,
      As he growls and champs his jaws.

    "Men, O crafty, pert _canaille_!
      Smile away! That mighty hour
    Dawns wherein we shall be freed
      From your bondage and your smiles!

    "Most offensive was to me
      That same twitching bitter-sweet
    Of the lips--the smiles of men
      I found unendurable!

    "When in every visage white
      I beheld that fatal spasm,
    Then did anger seize my bowels
      And I felt a hideous qualm.

    "For the smiling lips of men
      More insultingly declare,
    Even than their lips avouch,
      All their insolence of soul.

    "And they smile forever! Even
      When all decency demands
    Gravity--as in the moments
      Of love's solemn mysteries.

    "Yea, they smile forever. Even
      In their dances!--desecrate
    Thus this high and noble art
      Which a sacred cult should be.

    "Ah, the dance in olden days
      Was a pious act of faith,
    When the priests in solemn round
      Turned about their holy shrines.

    "Thus before the Covenant's
      Sacred Ark King David danced.
    Dancing then was worship too,--
      It was praying with the legs!

    "So did I regard my dance
      When before the people all
    In the market-place I danced
      And was cheered by every soul.

    "This applause, I grant you, oft
      Made me feel content at heart;
    Sweet it is from grudging foes
      Admiration thus to win!

    "Yet despite their rapture they
      Still would smile and smile! My art--
    Even that proved vain to save
      Them from base frivolity!"

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



             CANTO VIII


    Many a virtuous citizen
      Smells unpleasantly the while
    Ducal knaves are lavendered
      Or a-reek with ambergris.

    There are many virgin souls
      Redolent of greenest soap;
    Vice will often lave herself
      In rose attar top to toe.

    Therefore, gentle reader, pray,
      Do not lift your nose in air
    Should Troll's cavern fail to rouse
      Memories of Arabia's spice.

    Bide with me within this reek,
      'Mid these turbid odours foul,
    Whence unto his son our hero
      Speaks, as from a misty cloud:

    "Child, my child, the last begot
      Of my loins, thy single ear
    Snuggle close against the snout
      Of thy father, and give heed!

    "Oh, beware man's mode of thought;
      It destroys both flesh and soul,
    For amongst all mankind never
      Shalt thou find one worthy man.

    "E'en the Germans, once the best,
      Even Tuiskion's sons,
    Our dear cousins primitive,
      Even they have grown effete.

    "Godless, faithless have they grown;
      Atheism now they preach.
    Child, my child, oh, guard thee 'gainst
      Feuerbach and Bauer too!

    "Never be an atheist!
      Monster void of reverence!
    For a great Creator reared
      All the mighty Universe!

    "And the sun and moon on high,
      And the stars--the stars with tails
    Even as the tailless ones--
      Are reflections of His power.

    "In the depths of sea and land
      Ring the echoes of His fame,
    And each creature yields Him praise
      For His glory and His might.

    "E'en the tiny silver louse
      Which within some pilgrim's beard
    Shares his earthly pilgrimage,
      Sings to Him a song of praise!

    "High upon his golden throne
      In yon splendid tent of stars,
    Clad in cosmic majesty,
      Sits a titan polar bear.

    "Spotless, gleaming white as snow
      Is his fur; his head is decked
    With a crown of diamonds
      Blazing through the central vault.

    "In his face bide harmony
      And the silent deeds of thought,
    And obedient to his sceptre
      All the planets chime and sing.

    "At his feet sit holy bears,
      Saints who suffered on the Earth,
    Meekly. In their paws they hold
      Splendid palms of martyrdom.

    "Ever and anon they leap
      To their feet as though aroused
    By the Holy Ghost, and lo!
      In a festal dance they join!

    "'Tis a dance where saintly gifts
      Cover up defects of style,--
    Dance in which the very soul
      Seeks to leap from out its skin!

    "I, unworthy Troll, shall I
      Ever such salvation share?
    Shall I ever from this drear
      Vale of tears ascend to joy?

    "Shall I, drunk with Heaven's draught,
      In that tent of stars above,
    Dance before the Master's throne
      With a halo and a palm?"

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



             CANTO IX


    As the noble negro king
      Of our Freiligrath protrudes
    From his dusky mouth his long
      Scarlet tongue in scorn and rage,--

    Even so the moon now peers
      Out of darkling clouds. The sad,
    Sleepless waterfalls forever
      Roar into the brooding night.

    Atta Troll upon the crest
      Of his well-beloved cliff
    Stands alone, and now he howls
      Down the wind and the abyss:

    "Yea, a bear am I--even he,
      Even he whom you have named
    Bruin, growler, shag-coat too,
      And such other titles vile.

    "Yea, a bear am I--that same
      Boorish animal you know;
    That gross, trampling brute am I
      Of your sly and crafty smiles!

    "Of your wit am I the mark;
      I'm the bugbear--him with whom
    Every wicked child you frighten
      In the silence of the night.

    "Yea, I am that clumsy butt
      Of your nursery tales--aloud
    Will I shout that name forever
      Through the scurvy world of men.

    "Oyez! Oyez! I'm a bear
      Unashamed of my descent,
    Just as proud as if my forbear
      Had been Moses Mendelsohn."

[Illustration]



             CANTO X


    Lo, two figures, wild and sullen,
      Gliding, sliding on all fours,
    Break a path at dead of night
      Through a wood of gloomy pines.

    It is Atta Troll the Sire,
      One-Ear too, his youngest son,
    And they halt within a clearing
      By a stone of bloody rites.

    "This same stone," growled Atta Troll,
      "Is a shrine where Druids once
    Slaughtered wretched human wights
      In dark Superstition's days.

    "Oh! what frightful horrors these!
      When I think of them, my fur
    Lifts along my back! To praise
      God they drenched the soil in blood!

    "Certes, men have now become
      More enlightened. Now no more
    Do they slaughter in their zeal
      For celestial interests.

    "'Tis no longer holy rage,
      Ecstasy nor madness sheer,
    But self-love alone that urges
      Them to slaughter and to crime.

    "Now for worldly goods they strive,
      Day by day and year by year.
    It is one eternal war;
      Each goes robbing for himself.

    "When the common goods of all
      Fall into the hands of one,
    Straight of Rights of Property
      He will prate and Ownership.

    "Property! Just Ownership?
      Property is theft! O lies!
    Craft and folly!--such a mixture
      Man alone would dare invent.

    "Never yet did Nature make
      Properties, for pocketless
    We are born into the world--
      Who hath pockets in his pelt?

    "None of us was ever born
      With such little sacks devised
    In our outer hides and skins
      To enable us to steal!

    "Only man, that creature smooth
      Who in alien wool is garbed
    Artfully, in artful wise
      Made himself such pockets too.

    "Pockets! as unnatural
      As is property itself,
    Or that law of have-and-hold.
      Men are only pocket-thieves!

    "Flamingly I hate them! Thee
      All my hatred I bequeath.
    Oh, my son, upon this shrine
      Shalt thou swear eternal hate!

    "Be the mortal foeman thou
      Of th' oppressor, unforgiving
    To thy very end of days!
      Swear it--swear it here, my son!"

    And the youngster swore as once
      Hannibal. The moonbeams bleak
    Yellowed on the bloodstone hoary
      And that brace of misanthropes.

    Later shall our harp record
      How the young bear kept his faith
    And his plighted oath,--for him
      Shall our epic strings be strung.

    With regard to Atta Troll,
      Let us leave him for a space,
    So we may the surer smite
      Him with our unerring ball.

    Traitor to Humanity!
      Thou art judged, the sentence writ.
    Of _lèse-majesté_ thou'rt guilty,
      And to-morrow sees the chase.

[Illustration]



             CANTO XI


    Like to sleepy dancing-girls
      Lift the mountains white and cold,
    Standing in their skirts of mist
      Flaunted by the winds of morn.

    Yet full soon their breasts shall glow
      To the sun-god's burning kiss,
    He shall tear the clinging veils
      And illume their beauty nude.

    In the early dawn had I
      With Lascaro sallied forth
    On a bear-hunt and the noon
      Saw us at the Pont d'Espagne.

    Thus is named the bridge that leads
      From the land of France to Spain,
    To barbarians of the West,
      Centuries behind the times.

    Full ten centuries they lie
      From all modern thought removed,
    And my own barbarians
      Of the East--not more than two.

    Lingering and loth I left
      The all-hallowed soil of France,
    Left great Freedom's motherland
      And the women that I love.

    Midmost of the Pont d'Espagne
      Sat a Spaniard. Misery
    Lurked within his tattered cape;
      Misery lurked within his eyes.

    With his bony fingers he
      Plucked an ancient mandolin
    Full of discord shrill which echoed
      Mockingly from out the gulch.

    Then betimes he leaned aslant
      O'er the depths and laughed aloud,
    Tinkled then in maddest wise
      As he sang his little song:

    "In my very heart of heart
      There's a tiny golden table,
    And about this golden table
      Four small golden chairs are set.

    "Seated on these golden chairs,
      Little dames with darts of gold
    In their hair are playing cards--
      Clara wins at every game.

    "Yes, she wins and smiles in glee.
      Clara, oh, within my heart,
    Thou can'st never fail to win,
      For thou holdest all the trumps!"

    On I wandered and I spoke
      Thus unto myself. How strange!
    Lunacy itself sits there
      Singing on the road to Spain.

    Is this madman not a sign
      Of how nations trade in thought?
    Or is he his native land's
      Wild and crazy title-page?

    Twilight sank before we came
      To a wretched old _posada_
    Where _podrida_--favourite dish!
      Steamed within a dirty pot.

    There _garbanzos_ did I eat
      Huge and hard as musket-balls,
    Which not e'en a native Teuton,
      Bred on dumplings, could digest.

    And my bed was of a piece,
      With the cooking. Insects vile
    Dotted it. Oh, surely these
      Are the grimmest foes of man!

    Far more fearful than the wrath
      Of a thousand elephants,
    Is one small and angry bug
      Crawling o'er thy lowly couch.

    Helpless thou against its bite--
      That is bad enough!--but worse
    Evil comes if it be crushed
      And its horrid smell released.

    All Life's terrors we may taste
      In the war with vermin waged,
    Vermin well-equipped with stinks,
      And in duels with a bug.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



             CANTO XII


    How they rave, the blessèd bards--
      Even the tamest! how they sing,--
    How they do protest that Nature
      Is a mighty fane of God!

    One great fane whose splendours all
      Of the Maker's glory tell;
    Sun and moon and stars they vow
      Hang as lamps within the dome.

    Yet concede, most worthy folk,
      That this mighty temple hath
    Most uncomfortable stairs,
      Stairs most villainously bad!

    All this climbing up and down,
      Escalading, jumping o'er
    Boulders--how it tires me
      Both in spirit and in legs!

    By my side Lascaro strode,
      Like a taper long and pale--
    Never speaks he, never laughs--
      He the witch's lifeless son.

    For they say Lascaro died
      Many years ago--his mother's,--
    Old Uraka's,--magic draughts
      Gave to him a seeming life.

    These confounded temple steps!
      How it chanced that I escaped
    With whole vertebræ will puzzle
      Me until my dying day.

    How the torrents foamed and roared!
      Through the pines how lashed the wind
    Till they groaned! Then suddenly
      Burst the clouds! O weather vile!

    In a fisherman's poor hut
      Close by Lac de Gaube we gained
    Shelter and a mess of trout--
      Dish divine and glorious!

    In his padded arm-chair there
      Sat the ancient ferryman,
    Ill and grey. His nieces sweet
      Like two angels tended him.

    Plumpest angels, Flemish quite,
      As if out of Rubens' frame
    They had leaped, with golden locks,
      Sparkling eyes of limpid blue,

    Dimples in each ruddy cheek
      Where bright mischief peered and hid,
    And with limbs robust and lithe,
      Waking both desire and fear.

    Sweet and bonny creatures they
      Who disputed prettily
    Which might prove the sweetest draught
      To their ancient, ailing charge.

    If one proffers him a brew
      Made of linden-flower tea,
    Then the other tempts him with
      Possets made of elder-blooms.

    "I will swallow none of this!"
      Cried the greyhead, sorely tried,
    "Bring me wine so that my guest
      May have worthy drink with me!"

    If this stuff was really wine
      Which I drank at Lac de Gaube--
    Who can tell? My countrymen
      Would have dubbed it sweetish beer.

    Vilely smelled the wine-skin too,
      Fashioned from a black goat's hide.
    But the old man drank and drank
      And grew jubilant and gay.

    Of banditti tales he told
      And of smugglers, merry men
    Who still ply their goodly trades
      Freely in the Pyrenees.

    Many ancient stories, too,
      He recited, as of wars
    'Twixt the giants and the bears
      In the grey primeval days.

    For it seems the bears and ogres
      Waged a war for mastery
    Of these ranges and these vales
      Long ere man came wandering in.

    Startled then at sight of men
      All the giants fled the land;--
    Only tiny brains were housed
      In their huge, unwieldy heads!

    It is also said these dolts,
      When they reached the ocean-shore
    Where the azure skies lay glassed
      In the watery plains below,

    Fondly fancied that the sea
      Must be Heaven. In they plunged
    All in reckless confidence,
      And in watery graves were gulfed.

    Now the bears are slain by man,
      And each year their number grows
    Smaller, smaller, till at last
      None shall roam within the hills.

    "And," the old man cackled, "thus
      On this Earth must one yield room
    To the other--after man
      We shall have a reign of dwarfs.

    "Tiny and most clever wights
      Toiling in the bowels of Earth,
    Busy little folk that gather
      Riches from Earth's golden veins.

    "I have seen their rounded heads
      Peering out of rabbit-holes
    In the moonlight--and I shook
      As I thought of coming days.

    "Yes, I dread the golden power
      Of these mites. Our sons, I fear,
    Will like stupid giants plunge
      Straight into some watery heaven."

[Illustration]



             CANTO XIII


    In the cauldron of the cliffs
      Lies the deep and inky lake.
    And from heaven the solemn stars
      Peer upon us. Night and stillness.

    Night and stillness. Beat of oars.
      Like a rippling mystery
    Swims our boat. The nieces twain
      Serve in place of ferrymen.

    Swift and blithe they row. Their arms
      Sometimes shine from out the night,
    And on their white skins the stars
      Gleam and on large eyes of blue.

    At my side Lascaro sits
      Pale and mute as is his wont,
    And I shudder at the thought:
      Is Lascaro really dead?

    Or perchance 'tis I am dead?
      I, perchance, am drifting down
    With these spectral passengers
      To the icy realm of shades?

    Can this lake be Styx's dark,
      Sullen flood? Hath Proserpine,
    In the absence of her Charon
      Sent her maids to fetch me down?

    Nay, not yet my days are done!
      Unextinguished in my soul
    Still the living flame of life,
      Leaps and blazes, glows and sings.

    And these girls who swing their oars
      Merrily, and splash me too,
    Laugh and grin with mischief rare
      As the drops upon me flash.

    Ah, these wenches fresh and strong,
      Surely they could never be
    Ghostly hell-cats, nor the maids
      Of the dark queen Proserpine.

    So that I might be assured
      Of the girls' reality,
    And unto myself might prove
      My own honest flesh and blood,--

    On their rosy dimples I
      Swiftly pressed my eager lips,
    And to this conclusion came:
      Lo, I kiss; therefore I live!

    When we reached the shore, again
      Did I kiss these bonny maids,--
    Kisses were the only coin
      Which in payment they would take.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



             CANTO XIV


    Joyous in the golden air
      Lift the purple mountain heights
    Where a daring hamlet clings
      Like a nest against the steep.

    Wearily I climbed and climbed.
      When at last I stood aloft,
    Then I found the old birds flown
      And the fledglings left behind.

    Pretty lads and lassies small
      With their little heads half hid
    In their white and scarlet caps,
      Played at bridals in the mart.

    Neither stay nor halt they brooked,
      And the little love-lorn Prince
    Of the Mice knelt down at once
      To the Cat-King's daughter fair.

    Hapless Prince! At last he's wed
      To the Princess. How she scolds!
    Bites him and devours him--
      Hapless mouse!--thus ends the play.

    That entire day I spent
      With the children, and we talked
    Cosily. They longed to know
      Who I was? and what my trade?

    "Germany, my dears," I spoke,
      "Is my native country's name--
    Bears are all too common there,
      So I took to hunting bears!

    "Many a bear-pelt have I pulled
      Over many a bearish head,
    Though, 'tis true, I sometimes got
      Damage from their bearish paws.

    "But at last I felt disgust
      Of this strife with ill-licked boors
    In my blessèd land--I grew
      Weary of these daily moils.

    "So in quest of nobler game,
      I at last have come to you;
    I shall try my little strength
      'Gainst the mighty Atta Troll.

    "Worthy of me is this noble
      Foe. In Germany, alas!
    Many a battle did I win,
      Most ashamed of victory."

    When I left, the little folk
      Danced about me in a ring,
    And in sweetest wise they sang:
      "Girofflino! Girofflett'!"

    And the youngest of them all
      Stepped before me quick and pert,
    And four times she curtsied low
      As she sang in silver tones:

    "Curtsies two I give the King,
      Should I meet him. And the Queen,
    Should I meet her, then I give
      Curtsies three unto the Queen.

    "But should I the devil meet
      With his fiery eyes and horns,
    I will make him curtsies four--
      Girofflino! Girofflett'!"

    "Girofflino! Girofflett'!"
      Shouts once more the mocking band,
    And around me swings the gay
      Ring-o'-roses with its song.

    As I scrambled down the slopes,
      After me in echoes sweet,
    Came these words in bird-like strains:
      "Girofflino! Girofflett'!"

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



             CANTO XV


    Hulking and enormous cliffs
      Of deformed and twisted shapes
    Look on me like petrified
      Monsters of primeval times.

    Strange! the dingy clouds above
      Drift like doubles bred of mist,
    Like some silly counterfeit
      Of these savage shapes of stone.

    In the distance roars the fall;
      Through the fir trees howls the wind!
    'Tis a sound implacable
      And as fatal as despair.

    Lone and dreadful lies the waste
      And the black daws sit in swarms
    On the bleached and rotten pines,
      Flapping with their weary wings.

    At my side Lascaro strides
      Pale and silent--I myself
    Must like sorry madness look
      By dire Death accompanied.

    'Tis a wild and desert place.
      Curst perchance? I seem to see
    On the crippled roots of yonder
      Tree a crimson smear of blood.

    This tree shades a little hut
      Cowering humbly in the earth,
    And the wretched roof of thatch
      Pleads for pity in your sight.

    Cagots are the denizens
      Of this hut--the last remains
    Of a tribe which sunk in darkness
      Bides its bitter destiny.

    In the heart of every Basque
      You will find a rooted hate
    Of the Cagots. 'Tis a foul
      Relic of the days of faith.

    In the minster at Bagnères
      You may see a narrow grille,
    Once the door, the sexton told me,
      Which the herded Cagots used.

    In that day all other gates
      Were forbidden them. They crawled
    Like to thieves into the blest
      House of God to worship there.

    There these wretched beings sat
      On their lowly stools and prayed,
    Parted as by leprosy,
      From all other worshippers.

    But the hallowed lamps of this
      Later century burn bright,
    And their light destroys the black
      Shadows of that cruel age!

    While Lascaro waited there,
      Entered I the lonely hut
    Of the Cagot, and I clasped
      Straight his hand in brotherhood.

    Likewise did I kiss his child
      Which unto the shrivelled breast
    Of his wife clung fast and sucked
      Like some spider sick and starved.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



             CANTO XVI


    Shouldst thou see these mountain peaks
      From the distance thou wouldst think
    That with gold and purple they
      Flamed in splendour to the sun.

    But at closer hand their pomp
      Vanishes. Earth's glories thus
    With their myriad light-effects
      Still beguile us artfully.

    What to thee seemed blue and gold
      Is, alas, but idle snow,
    Idle snow which, lone and drear,
      Bores itself in solitude.

    There upon the heights I heard
      How the hapless crackling snow
    Cried aloud its pallid grief
      To the cold and heartless wind:

    "Ah," it sobbed, "how slow the hours
      Crawl within this awful waste!
    All these many endless hours,
      Like eternities of ice!

    "Woe is me, poor snow! I would
      I had never seen these peaks--
    Might I but in vales have fallen
      Where a myriad flowers bloom!

    "To some little brook would I
      Then have melted, and some maid--
    Fairest of the land! with smiles
      Would in me have laved her face.

    "Yea, perchance, I might have fared
      To the sea and changed betimes
    To a pearl and gleamed at last
      In some royal coronet!"

    When I heard this plaint, I spake:
      "Dearest Snow, indeed I doubt
    Whether such a brilliant fate
      Had been thine within the world.

    "Comfort take. Few, few, indeed,
       Ever grow to pearls. No doubt
    Thou hadst fallen in the mire
      And become a clod of mud."

    As in kindly wise I spoke
      Thus unto the joyless snow,
    Came a shot--and from the skies
      Plunged a hawk of brownish wing.

    It was just a hunter's joke
      Of Lascaro's. But his face
    Was as ever stark and grim,
      And his rifle barrel smoked.

    Silently he tore a plume
      From the hawk's erected tail,
    Stuck it in his pointed hat
      And resumed his silent way.

    'Twas an eerie sight to see
      How his shadow black and thin
    With the nodding feather moved
      O'er the slopes of drifted snow.

[Illustration]



             CANTO XVII


    Lo, a valley like a street!
      'Tis the Hollow Way of Ghosts:
    Dizzily the cloven crags
      Tower up on every side.

    There upon the sheerest slope
      Hangs Uraka's little shack
    Like some outpost over chaos--
      Thither fared her son and I.

    In a secret dumb-show speech
      He took counsel with his dam,
    How great Atta Troll might best
      Be ensnared and safely slain.

    We had found his mighty spoor.
      Never more canst thou escape
    From our hands! thine earthly days
      All are numbered--Atta Troll!

    Never could I well determine
      If Uraka, ancient hag,
    Was in truth a potent witch,
      As within these Pyrenees

    It was rumoured. But I know
      That in truth her very looks
    Were suspicious. Most suspicious
      Were her red and running eyes.

    Evil is her look and slant.
      It is said whene'er she stares
    At some hapless cow, its milk
      Dries, its udder withers straight.

    It is said that stroking with
      Her thin fingers, many a kid
    She had slaughtered, many a huge
      Ox had stricken unto death.

    Oft within the local court
      For such crimes arraigned she stood,
    But the Justice of the Peace
      Was a true Voltairean.

    Quite a modern worldling he,
      Shallow and devoid of faith,--
    So the plaintiffs he dismissed
      Both in mockery and scorn.

    The alleged official trade
      Of Uraka's honest quite,
    For she deals in mountain-herbs
      And in birds that she has stuffed.

    Her entire hut was crammed
      With such relics. Horrible
    Was the smell of cuckoo-flowers,
      Fungi, henbane, elder-blooms.

    There a fine array of hawks
      To advantage was displayed,
    All with pinions stretching wide
      And with grim enormous bills.

    Was it but the breath of these
      Maddening plants that turned my brain?
    Still the vision of these birds
      Filled me with the strangest thoughts.

    These perchance are mortal wights,
      Bound by sorcery in this
    Miserable state as birds
      Stuffed and most disconsolate.

    Sad, pathetic is their stare,
      Yet it hath impatience too,
    And, methinks at times they cast
      Sidelong glances at the witch.

    She, Uraka, ancient, grim,
      Crouches low beside her son,
    Mute Lascaro near the fire
      Where the twain are casting slugs.

    Casting that same fateful ball
      Whereby Atta Troll was slain.
    How the lurching firelight flares
      O'er the witch's features gaunt!

    Ceaselessly, yet silently
      Move her thin and quivering lips.
    Are those magic spells she murmurs
      That the balls may travel true?

    Now and then she nods and titters
      To her son. But he is deep
    In the business of the casts
      And sits silently as Death.

    Overcome by fevered fears,
      Yearning for the cooler air,
    To the window then I strode
      And looked down the gulches dim.

    All that in that midnight hour
      I beheld, all that will I
    Faithfully and featly tell
      In the canto that shall follow.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



            CANTO XVIII


    'Twas the night before Saint John's,
      In the fullness of the moon,
    When that wild and spectral hunt
      Fills the Hollow Way of Ghosts.

    From the window of Uraka's
      Little cabin I could see
    All that mighty host of wraiths
      As it drifted through the gorge.

    Yea, a goodly place was mine
      Wherefrom I might well behold
    The tremendous spectacle
      Of the raised, carousing dead.

    Cracking whips, hallo! hurrah!
      Neigh of horses, bark of dogs,
    Laughter, blare of huntsmen's horns--
      How the tumult echoed there!

    Dashing in advance there came
      Stags and boars adventurous
    In a solid pack; behind
      Charged a wild and merry rout.

    Huntsmen come from many zones
      And from many ages too.
    Charles the Tenth rode close beside
      Nimrod the Assyrian.

    High upon their snowy steeds
      They charged onward. Then on foot
    Came the whips with hounds in leash
      And the pages with the links.

    Many in that maddened horde
      Seemed familiar--yon knight
    Gleaming all in golden mail,--
      Surely was King Arthur's self!

    And Lord Ogier the Dane
      In chain-armour shining green,
    Truly close resemblance bore
      To some mighty frog forsooth!

    Many a hero I beheld
      Of the gleaming world of thought;
    Wolfgang Goethe straight I knew
      By the sparkling of his eyes.

    Being damned by Hengstenberg,
      In his grave no peace he finds,
    So with pagan blazonry
      Gallops down the chase of Life.

    By the glamour of his smile
      Did I know the mighty Will
    Whom the Puritans once cursed
      Like our Goethe,--yet must he,

    Luckless sinner, in this host
      Ride a charger black as coal.
    Close beside him on an ass
      Rode a mortal and--great heavens!

    By the weary mien of prayer
      And the snowy night-cap too,
    And the terror of his soul,
      Francis Horn I recognized.

    Commentaries he composed
      On that great and cosmic child,
    Shakespeare--therefore at his side
      He must ride through thick and thin.

    Lo, poor silent Francis rides,
      He who scarcely dared to walk,
    He who only stirred himself
      At tea-tables and at prayers.

    Surely all the oldish maids
      Who indulged him in his ease,
    Will be startled when they hear
      Of his riding rough and free.

    When the gallop faster grows,
      Then great William glances down
    On his commentator meek
      Jogging onward on his ass.

    To the saddle clinging tight,
      Fainting in his terror sheer,
    Yet unto his author loyal
      In his death as in his life.

    Many ladies there I saw,
      In that crazy train of ghosts,
    Many lovely nymphs with forms
      Slender with the grace of youth.

    On their steeds they sat astride
      Mythologically nude!
    Though their tresses thick and long
      Fell like cloaks of stranded gold.

    Garlands rustled on their heads
      And they swung their laurelled staves,
    Bending back in reckless ways,
      Full of joyous insolence.

    Mediæval maids I saw
      Buttoned high unto the chin,
    On their saddles seated slant,
      Poising falcons on their wrists.

    Like a burlesque, from behind
      On their hacks and skinny nags
    Came a rout of merry wenches,
      Most extravagantly garbed.

    And each face, though lovely quite,
      Bore a trace of impudence;
    Madly would they shriek and yell,
      Puffing up their painted cheeks.

    How this tumult echoed there!
      Laughter, blare of huntsmen's horns;
    Neigh of horses, bark of dogs,
      Crack of whips! hallo! hurrah!

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



            CANTO XIX


    But like Beauty's clover-leaf,
      In the very midst arose
    Three fair women. I shall never
      Their majestic forms forget!

    Well I knew the first! Her head
      Glittered with the crescent moon.
    Haughty, like some ivory statue
      Sat the goddess on her steed.

    And her fluttering tunic fell
      Loose about her hips and breasts,
    And the torchlight and the moon
      Laved with love her snowy limbs.

    Marble seemed her very face
      And like marble cold. How dread
    Was the pallor and the chill
      Of that stern and noble front!

    But within her dusky eye
      Smouldered a mysterious,
    Cruel and enticing fire
      Which devoured my poor soul.

    What a change has come o'er Dian
      Since in outraged chastity
    She smote Actæon to a stag
      As a quarry for his hounds!

    Doth she now requite this crime
      In this gallant company,
    Riding like some ghostly mortal
      Through the bleak, nocturnal air?

    Late did passion wake in her
      But for that the stronger burns,
    And within her eyes its flames
      Gleam like fiercest brands of hell.

    For those vanished times she grieves
      When the men were beautiful;
    Now in quantity perchance,
      She forgets their quality.

    At her side a fair one rode--
      Fair, but not by Grecian lines
    Was she fair; for all her features
      Shone with wondrous Celtic glow.

    'Twas Abunda, fairy queen,
      Whom to know I could not fail
    By the sweetness of her smile
      And the madness of her laugh!

    Full and rosy was her face,
      Like the faces limned by Greuze;
    And from out her heart-shaped mouth
      Flashed the splendour of her teeth!

    All the winds made dalliance
      With her robe of azure blue,
    And such shoulders never I
      In my wildest dreams beheld.

    I was almost moved to leap
      From the window for a kiss;
    This had been sheer folly, true,
      Ending in a broken neck!

    Ah, and she, she would have laughed
      If within that awful gulf
    I had fallen at her feet;--
      Laughter such as this I know!

    And the third fair phantom, she
      Who so moved my errant heart,--
    Was this but some female fiend
      Like the other figures twain?

    Whether devil this or saint
      Know I not. With women, ah,
    None can ever know where saint
      Ends nor where the fiend begins.

    All the magic of the East
      Lay within her glowing face,
    And her dress brought memories
      Of Scheherazadê's tales.

    Lips as red as pomegranates
      And a curved nose lily white,
    Limbs as slender and as cool
      As some green oasis-palm.

    From her palfrey white she leaned,
      Flanked by giant Moors who trod
    Close beside the queenly dame
      Holding up the golden reins.

    Of most royal blood was she,
      She the Queen of old Judea,
    She great Herod's lovely wife,
      She who craved the Baptist's head.

    For this crimson crime was she
      Banned and cursed. Now in this chase
    Must she ride, a wandering spook,
      Till the dawn of Judgment Day.

    Still within her hands she bears
      That deep charger with the head
    Of the Prophet, still she kisses--
      Kisses it with fiery lips.

    For she loved the Prophet once,
      Though the Bible naught reveals,
    Yet her blood-stained love lives on
      Storied in her people's hearts.

    How might else a man declare
      All the longing of this lady?
    Would a woman crave the head
      Of a man she did not love?

    She perchance was slightly vexed
      With her darling, and was moved
    To behead him, but when she
      On the trencher saw his head,

    Then she wept and lost her wits,
      Dying in love's madness straight.
    (What! Love's madness? pleonasm!
      Love itself is madness still!)

    Rising nightly from her grave,
      To this frenzied hunt she hies,
    In her hands the gory head
      Which with feline joy she flings

    High into the air betimes,
      Laughing like a wanton child,
    Cleverly she catches it
      Like some idle rubber ball.

    As she swept past me she bowed
      Most coquettishly and looked
    On me with her melting eyes,
      So that all my heart was stirred.

    Thrice that rout raged up and down
      Past my window, then did she,
    Ah, most beautiful of shades!
      Greet me with her precious smile.

    Even when the pageant dimmed
      And the tumult silent grew
    In my brain, that smiling face
      Shone and beckoned on and on.

    All that night I tossed and turned
      My o'erwearied limbs on straw,
    Musty straw. No feather-beds
      In Uraka's hut I found!

    And I mused: what might this mean,
      This mysterious beckoning?
    Why, Oh, why, Herodias,
      Held thy look such tenderness?

[Illustration]



            CANTO XX


    Sunrise. Golden arrows dart
      Through the pallid ranks of mist
    Till they redden as with wounds
      And dissolve in shining light.

    Now hath triumph come to Day
      And the gleaming conqueror
    In his blinding glory treads
      O'er the ridges and the peaks.

    All the merry bands of birds
      Twitter in their hidden nests,
    And the scent of plants arises
      Like a psalm of odours rare.

    At the early glint of day
      Down the valley we had gone.
    While Lascaro dumb and dour
      Followed up the bear-tracks dim,

    I with musings sought to slay
      Time, but tired soon I grew
    Of my musings,--drear, ah, drear!
      Were my thoughts and void of joy.

    Weary, joyless, down I sank
      On a bank of softest moss
    'Neath a great and kingly ash
      Where a little spring gushed forth.

    This with wondrous voice beguiled
      All my wayward mood until
    Thought and thinking vanished both
      In the music of the spring.

    Mighty longings seized me then,
      Madness, dreams and death-desires,
    Longings for those splendid queens
      Riding in that ghostly throng.

    Oh, ye lovely shapes of night,
      Banished by the rose of dawn,
    Whither, tell me, have ye fled,
      Whither have ye flown by day?

    Somewhere 'neath old temple-ruins
      In the wide Romagna hid,
    It is said Diana flees
      The dominion of the Christ.

    Only in the midnight gloom,
      Dare she venture forth, but then
    How she joys the merry chase
      And the pagan sports of old!

    Fay Abunda also fears
      All these sallow Nazarenes,
    So by day she hides herself
      Deep in secret Avalon.

    For this sacred island lies
      In the still and silent sea
    Of Romanticism, whither
      None save wingèd steeds may go.

    There no anchor Care may drop,
      Never there do steamships touch,
    Bringing loads of Philistines
      With tobacco-pipes, to stare.

    Never does that dismal, dull
      Ring of bells this stillness break--
    That atrocious bumm-bamm sound
      Which all gentle fairies hate.

    There, abloom with lasting youth
      In unbroken joyfulness,
    Lives that merry-hearted dame,
      Golden-locked Abunda fair.

    Laughing there she strolls between
      Huge sun-flowers drenched with light,
    Followed by her retinue
      Of unworldly Paladins.

    Ah, but thou, Herodias,
      Say, where art thou? Ah, I know!
    Thou art dead and buried deep
      By Jerusholayim's walls!

    Corpse-like is thy sleep by day
      In thy marble coffin laid,
    But at midnight dost thou wake
      To the crack of whips! hurrah!

    With Abunda, Dian, too,
      Dost thou join the headlong plunge
    And the blithesome hunter rout
      Fleeing from all cross and care.

    What companions rare and blithe!
      Might but I, Herodias,
    Ride at night through forests dark,
      I would gallop at thy side!

    For of all I love thee most!
      More than any goddess Grecian,
    More than any northern fay,
      Do I love thee, Jewess dead!

    Yea, I love thee most! 'Tis true,
      By the trembling of my soul!
    Love me too and be my sweet,--
      Loveliest Herodias!

    Love me too and be my love!
      Fling that gory block-head far
    With its trencher. Sweeter dishes
      I shall give thee to enjoy.

    Am not I thy proper knight
      Whom thou seekest? What care I
    If perchance thou'rt dead and damned--
      Prejudices I have none!

    Is my own salvation not
      In a parlous state? And oft
    Do I question if my life
      Still be linked with human lives.

    Take me, take me as thy knight,
      Thine own _cavalier servente_;
    I will bear thy silken robe
      And each wayward mood of thine.

    Every night beside thee, love,
      With this crazy horde I'll ride,
    And we'll kiss and thou shalt laugh
      At my quips and merry pranks.

    I will help thee speed the hours
      Of the night. And yet by day
    All my joy shall pass;--in tears
      I shall sit upon thy grave.

    Aye, by day will I sit down
      In the dust of kingly vaults,
    At the grave of my belovèd
      By Jerusholayim's walls!

    Then the grey Jews passing by
      Will imagine that I mourn
    The destruction of thy temple
      And thy gates, Jerusholayim.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



            CANTO XXI


    Shipless Argonauts are we,
      Foot loose in the mighty hills,
    But instead of golden fleece
      We seek Bruin's shaggy hide.

    Naught but sorry devils twain,
      Heroes of a modern cut,
    And no classic bard will ever
      Make us live within his song!

    Even though we suffered dire
      Hardships! What torrential rains
    Fell upon us at the peak
      Where was neither tree nor cab!

    Cloudbursts! Heaven's dykes were down!
      And in bucketsful it poured--
    Jason, lost on Colchis bleak,
      Suffered no such shower-bath!

    "Six-and-thirty kings I'll give
      Just for one umbrella now!"
    So I cried. Umbrella none
      Was I offered in that flood.

    Weary unto death and glum,
      Wet as drownèd rats, we came
    Back unto the witch's hut
      In the middle of the night.

    There beside the glowing hearth
      Sat Uraka with a comb,
    Toiling o'er her swollen pug;--
      Him she quickly flung aside

    As we entered. First my couch
      She prepared, then bent to loose
    From my feet the _espardillos_,--
      Footgear comfortless and rude!

    Helped me to disrobe,--she drew
      Off my pantaloons which clung
    To my legs as close and tight
      As the friendship of a fool.

    "Oh, a dressing-gown! I'd give
      Six-and-thirty kings," I cried,
    "For a dry one!"--as my shirt,
      Wringing wet, began to steam.

    Shivering, with chattering teeth,
      There I stood beside the hearth,
    Till the fire drowsed me quite,
      Then upon the straw I sank.

    Sleepless but with blinking eyes
      Peered I at the witch who crouched
    By the fire with her son's
      Body spread upon her lap.

    Upright at her side the pug
      Stood, and in his clumsy paws,
    Very cleverly and tight,
      Held aloft a little jar.

    From this did Uraka take
      Reddish fat and salved therewith
    Swift Lascaro's ribs and breast
      With her thin and trembling hands.

    And she hummed a lullaby
      In a high and nasal tone
    As she rubbed him with the salve
      'Midst the crackling of the fire.

    Sere and bony like a corpse
      Lay the son upon the lap
    Of his mother; opened wide
      Stared his pale and tragic eyes.

    Is he really dead, this man?
      Kept alive by mother-love?
    Nightly by the witch-fat potent
      Salved into a magic life?

    Oh, that strange, strange fever-sleep!
      In which all my limbs grew stiff
    As if fettered, yet each sense,
      Overwrought, waked horribly!

    How that smell of hellish herbs
      Plagued me! Musing in my woe,
    Long I thought where had I once
      Smelled such odours?--but in vain.

    How the wind within the flue
      Wrought me terror! Like the sobs
    Of some parchèd soul it rang--
      Or some well-remembered voice!

    But these stuffed birds standing guard
      On a board above my head,
    These grim birds tormented me
      Far beyond all other things!

    Slowly, gruesomely they moved
      Their accursèd wings and bent
    Low to me with monstrous bills,
      Bills like human noses huge.

    Where had I such noses seen?
      Well, mayhap in Hamburg once,
    Or in Frankfort's ghetto dim;
      Memory smote me harshly then.

    But at last did slumber quite
      Overcome me and in place
    Of such waking phantoms crept
      Wholesome and unbroken dreams.

    And within my dream the hut
      Quickly to a ball-room changed,
    High on lofty pillars borne
      And illumed by chandeliers.

    There invisible musicians
      Played from "Robert le Diable"
    That atrocious dance of nuns
      As I promenaded there.

    But at last the portals wide
      Open and with stately step
    Slowly in the hall appear
      Guests most wonderful and strange.

    Every one a bear or spectre!
      Striding upright every bear
    Leads an apparition wrapped
      In a white and gleaming shroud.

    Coupled in this wise, each pair
      Up and down began to waltz
    Through the hall. O strangest sight!
      Fit for laughter and for fear!

    How those plump old animals
      Panted in the paces set
    By those filmy shapes of air
      Whirling gracefully and light!

    Pitiless, the harried beasts
      Thus were borne along until
    Their deep panting overdroned
      Even the orchestral bass!

    When betimes the couples crashed
      In collision, then each bear
    Gave the pushing spectre straight
      Hearty kicks upon the rump.

    Sometimes in the tumult too
      When the cerements fell away
    From each white and muffled head,--
      Lo! a grinning skull appeared!

    But at last with shattering blare
      Yelled the horns, the cymbals clashed
    And the thunder of the drums
      Brought about the gallopade.

    But the end of this, alas,
      Came not to my dreams. For, lo,
    One most clumsy bear trod full
      On my corns--I shrieked and woke!

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



            CANTO XXII


    Phoebus in his solar coach,
      Whipping up his steeds of flame,
    Had traversed the middle part
      Of his journey through the skies,

    Whilst in sleep I lay a-dream
      With the goblins and the bears
    Winding like mad arabesques
      Through my slack and heated brain.

    When I wakened it was noon,
      And I found myself alone,
    Since my hostess and Lascaro
      For the chase had left at dawn.

    There was no one save the pug
      In the hovel. There he stood
    By the hearth beside the pot
      Holding in his paws a spoon.

    Clever pug! well disciplined!
      Lest the steaming soup boil over,
    Swift he stirred it round and round,
      Skimming off the foam and scum.

    But--am I bewitchèd too?
      Or does fever smoulder still
    In my brain? For scarce can I
      Trust my ears. The pug-dog speaks!

    Aye, he speaks in homely strains
      Of the Swabian dialect,
    Deeply sunk in thought, he cries,
      As it were within a dream:

    "Woe is me--a Swabian bard,
      Banned in exile must I grieve
    In a pug-dog's cursèd shape
      Guardian of a witch's pot.

    "What a base and hideous crime
      Is this sorcery! My fate
    Ah, how tragic! I, a man,
      In the body of a dog!

    "Had I but remained at home
      With my jolly comrades true--
    No vile sorcerers are they!
      And their spells no man need fear.

    "Had I but remained at home
      At Karl Meyer's--with the sweet
    Noodles of the Vaterland
      And good honest metzel-soup!

    "Of homesickness I shall die!
      Might I only spy the smoke
    Rising from old Stuttgart's flues
      When the precious dumplings seethe."

    Pity seized me when I heard
      This sad story, and I sprang
    From my couch and took a seat
      By the fireplace and spake:

    "Noble poet, tell what chance
      Brought thee to this beldam's hut.
    Why, oh why, in cruel wise,
      Wast thou changed into a dog?"

    But the pug exclaimed in joy:
      "What! You are no Frenchman then?
    But a German, and you've heard
      All my hapless monologue?

    "Ah, dear countryman, 'twas ill
      That old Köllè, Councillor,
    When at eve we sat and argued
      At the inn o'er pipe and mug,

    "Should have harped on the idea
      That by travel only might
    One attain such culture broad,
      As by travel he attained!

    "Now, so I might shed the rude
      Husk that on my manners lay,
    Even as Köllè, and attain
      Polish from the world at large,

    "To my home I bade farewell,
      And in quest of culture came
    To the Pyrenees at last,
      And Uraka's little hut.

    "And a reference I brought
      From Justinus Kerner too!
    Never did I dream my friend
      Stood in league with such a witch!

    "Friendly was Uraka's mood,
      Till at last with horrid shock,
    Lo, I found her friendliness
      Had to fiery passion grown.

    "Yes, within that withered breast
      Lust blazed up in monstrous wise,
    And at once this vicious crone
      Sought to drag me down to sin.

    "Yet I prayed: 'Oh, pardon, ma'am!
      Do not fancy I am one
    Of those wanton Goethe Bards,--
      I belong to Swabia's school.

    "'Sweet Morality's our Muse
      And the drawers she wears are made
    Of the stoutest leather--Oh!
      Do not wrong my virtue, pray!

    "'Other bards may boast of soul,
      Others phantasy--and some
    Of their passion--Swabians have
      Nothing but their innocence.

    "'Nothing else do we possess!
      Do not rob me of my pure,
    Most religious beggar's cloak,--
      Naked else my soul must go!'

    "Thus I spoke, whereat the hag
      Smiled with hideous irony,
    Seized a switch of mistletoe,
      Smote me over brow and cheek.

    "Chilly spasms seized me then
      Just as if a goose's skin
    Crept across my limbs--but oh!
      This was worse than goose's-skin!

    "It was nothing more nor less
      Than a dog-pelt! Since that hour,
    That accursèd hour, I've lived
      Changed into a lumpy pug!"

    Luckless wight! his piteous sobs
      Now denied him further speech,
    And so bitterly he wept
      That he half dissolved in tears.

    "Hark!" I spoke in pity then,
      "Tell me how you might be freed
    From this dog-skin. How may I
      Give you back to muse and man?"

    In despair, disconsolate,
      Then he raised his paws in air,
    And with sobs and groans at length
      Thus his mournful plaint he made:

    "Not before the Judgment Day
      Shall I shed this horrid form,
    If no noble virgin come
      To absolve me of the curse.

    "None can free me save a maid,
      Pure, untouched by any man,
    And she must fulfil a pact
      Most inexorable--thus:

    "Such unspotted maiden must
      In Sylvester's holy night
    Read the verse of Gustav Pfizer,
      Read it and not fall asleep!

    "If her chaste eyes do not close
      At the reading--then, O bliss!
    I shall disenchanted be,
      Breathe as man--unpugged at last!"

    "In that case, alas," said I,
      "Never may I undertake
    Your salvation, for you see,
      First I am no spotless maid,

    "And, still more impossible,
      Secondly, I ne'er could read
    Any one of Pfizer's poems
      And not fall asleep at once."

[Illustration]



            CANTO XXIII


    From this eerie witch-menage
      To the valley down we went,
    And once more our feet took hold
      On the good and solid Earth.

    Spectres hence! Hence, gibbering masks!
      Shapes of air and fever-dreams!--
    Once again, most sensibly
      Let us deal with Atta Troll.

    In the cavern with his young
      Bruin lies in slumber wrapt,
    Snoring like an honest soul,
      Then he stretches, yawns and wakes.

    And young One-Ear crouches down
      At his side, his head he rakes
    Like a poet seeking rhymes,
      And upon his paws he scans.

    Close beside the father lie
      Atta Troll's belovèd girls,
    Pure, four-footed lilies they,
      Stretched in dreams upon their backs.

    Ah, what tender thoughts must glow
      In the budding souls of these
    Snow-white virgin bearesses
      With their soft and dewy eyes?

    And the youngest of them all
      Seems most deeply stirred. Her heart,
    Smitten by Dan Cupid's shaft,
      Quivers with a blissful throe.

    Yea, this godling's arrow pierced
      Through and through her furry pelt
    When she saw him first--Oh, heavens!
      'Tis a mortal man she loves!

    Man it is--Schnapphahnski named,
      Who one day in mad retreat
    Passed her as she wandered through
      The dim passes of the hills.

    Woes of heroes move the fair,
      And within our hero's face,
    Quite as usual, sorrow lowered,
      Pallid care and money-need.

    Spent were all his funds of war!
      Two-and-twenty silver groats
    Taken unto Spain by him
      Espartero seized as spoil.

    Aye, his very watch was gone!
      This in Pampeluna's pawnshop
    Lay in bondage. 'Twas a rich
      Heirloom all of silver made.

    Little thought he as he ran
      On his long legs through the woods,
    He had won a greater thing
      Than a fight--a loving heart!

    Yes, she loves him--him the born
      Enemy of bears she loves!
    Hapless maid! If but your sire
      Knew it--oh! what rage were his!

    Just like Odoardo old
      Who in honest burgess-pride
    Stabbed Emilia Galotti--
      Even so would Atta Troll

    Rather slay his darling lass,
      Slay her with his proper paws,
    Than that she should ever sink
      Even into princely arms!

    Yet in this same moment he
      Is as softly moved--"no rose
    Would he pluck before the storm
      Reft it of its petals fair."

    Atta Troll in saddest mood
      Lies within his rocky cave.
    Like Death's warning o'er him creeps
      Hunger for infinity.

    "Children!" then he sobs, the tears
      Burst from out his mournful eyes,--
    "Children! soon my earthly days
      Shall be ended--we must part.

    "Unto me this very noon
      Came a dream of import vast,
    And my soul drank in the sweet
      Sense of early death-to-be.

    "Superstitious am I not,
      Nor fantastic--ah, and yet
    More things lie 'twixt Earth and Heaven
      Than philosophy may dream.

    "Pondering on the world and fate,
      Yawning I had dropped asleep,
    And I dreamed that I was lying
      Stretched beneath a mighty tree.

    "From the branches of this tree
      White celestial honey dripped
    Straight into my open jaws,
      Filling me with wondrous bliss.

    "Peering happily aloft
      Soon I spied within the leaves
    Seven pretty little bears
      Gliding up and down the boughs.

    "Delicate and dainty things,
      All with pelts of rosy hue,
    And their heavenly voices rang
      Like a melody of flutes!

    "As they sang an icy chill
      Seized my flesh, although my soul
    Like a flame went soaring straight
      Gleaming into highest Heaven."

    Thus with soft and quivering grunts,
      Spake our Atta Troll, then grew
    Silent in his wistful grief.
      Suddenly his ears he raised,

    And in strangest wise they twitched!
      Then from up his couch he sprang
    Trembling, bellowing with joy:
      "Children! do you hear that voice!

    "Are not those the dulcet tones
      Of your mother? Do I not
    My dear Mumma's grumbles know?--
      Mumma! Mumma! precious mate!"

    Like a madman with these words
      From the cave rushed Atta Troll
    Swift to his destruction--oh!
      To his ruin straight he plunged.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



            CANTO XXIV


    In the Vale of Roncesvalles,
      On that very spot where erst
    Charlemagne's great nephew fell,
      Gasping forth his warrior soul,

    Fell and perished Atta Troll,
      Fell through ambush, even as he
    Whom that Judas of the Knights,
      Ganelon of Mainz, betrayed.

    Oh! that noblest trait in bears--
      Conjugal affection--love--
    Formed a pitfall which Uraka
      In her evil craft prepared.

    For so truly mimicked she
      Coal-black Mumma's tender growls,
    That poor Atta Troll was lured
      From the safety of his lair.

    On desire's wings he ran
      Through the valley, halting oft
    By a rock with tender sniff,
      Thinking Mumma there lay hid.

    There Lascaro lay, alas,
      With his rifle. Swift he shot
    Through that gladsome heart a ball,
      And a crimson stream welled forth.

    Twice or thrice he shakes his head
      To and fro, at last he sinks
    Groaning, seized with ghastly shudders;--
      "Mumma!" is his final sob!

    Thus our noble hero fell--
      Perished thus. Immortal he
    Yet shall live in strains of bards,
      Resurrected after death.

    He shall rise again in song,
      And his wide renown shall stalk
    In this blunt trochaic verse
      O'er the round and living Earth.

    In Valhalla's Hall a shaft
      Shall King Ludwig build for him,--
    In Bavarian lapidary
      Style these words be there inscribed:

    ATTA TROLL, REFORMER, PURE,
      PIOUS: HUSBAND WARM AND TRUE,
    BY THE ZEIT-GEIST LED ASTRAY--
      WOOD-ENGENDERED SANS-CULOTTE:

    DANCING BADLY: YET IDEALS
      BEARING IN HIS SHAGGY BREAST:
    OFTTIMES STINKING VERY STRONGLY,
      TALENT NONE: BUT CHARACTER.

[Illustration]



            CANTO XXV


    Three-and-thirty wrinkled dames,
      Wearing on their heads their Basque
    Scarlet hoods of ancient style,
      Stood beside the village gate.

    One of them, like Deborah,
      Beat the tambourine and danced
    While she sang a hymn in praise
      Of the slayer of the bear.

    Four strong men in triumph bore
      Slaughtered Atta, who erect
    In his wicker litter sat
      Like some patient at a spa.

    To the rear, like relatives
      Of the dead, Lascaro came
    With Uraka, who abashed,
      Nodded to the right and left.

    Then the town-clerk at the hall
      Spoke as the procession came
    To a halt. Of many things
      Spoke that dapper little man.

    As, for instance, of the rise
      Of the navy, of the Press,
    Of the sugar-beet debates,
      And that hydra, party strife.

    All the feats of Louis Philippe
      Vaunted he unto the skies,--
    Of Lascaro then he spoke
      And his great heroic deed.

    "Thou Lascaro!" cried the clerk,
      As he mopped his streaming brow
    With his bright tri-coloured sash--
      "Thou Lascaro! thou that hast

    "Freed Hispania and France
      From that monster Atta Troll,
    By both lands shalt be acclaimed the
      Pyreneean Lafayette!"

    When Lascaro in official
      Wise thus heard himself announced
    As a hero, then he smiled
      In his beard and blushed for joy.

    And in stammering syllables
      And in broken phrases he
    Stuttered forth his gratitude
      For the honour shown to him.

    Wonder-smitten then stood all
      At the unexpected sight,
    And in low and timid tones
      Thus the ancient women spoke:

    "Did you hear Lascaro laugh?
      Did you see Lascaro blush?
    Did you hear Lascaro speak?
      He the witch's perished son!"

    On that very day they flayed
      Atta Troll. At auction they
    Sold his hide. A furrier bid
      Just an even hundred francs.

    And the furrier decked the skin
      Handsomely, and mounted it
    All on scarlet. For this work
      He demanded twice the cost.

    From a third hand Juliet
      Then received it. Now it lies
    As a rug before her bed
      In the city by the Seine.

    Oh, how many nights I've stood
      Barefoot on the earthly husk
    Of my hero great and true,
      On the hide of Atta Troll!

    Then by sorrow deeply touched
      Would I think of Schiller's words:
    "That which song would make eternal
      First must perish from the Earth."

[Illustration]



            CANTO XXVI


    What of Mumma? Mumma, ah!
      Is a woman. Frailty
    Is her name! Alas, that women
      Should be frail as porcelain!

    Now when Fate had parted her
      From her great and noble mate,
    Did she perish of her woe,
      Sinking into hopeless gloom?

    Nay, contrarywise, she lived
      Merrily as ever--danced
    For the public as before,
      Eager for their plaudits too.

    And at last a splendid place
      And support for all her days
    Was procured for her in Paris
      At the old Jardin-des-Plantes.

    There, last Sunday as I strolled
      Through that place with Juliet,
    Baring Nature's realms to her--
      Animal and vegetable,--

    Tall giraffes, and cedars brought
      Out of Lebanon, the huge
    Dromedary, golden pheasants,
      And the zebra;--chatting thus,--

    We at last stood still and leaned
      O'er the rampart of that pit
    Where the bears are safely penned--
      Heavens! what a sight we saw!

    There a huge bear from the wastes
      Of Siberia, snowy-white,
    Dallied in a love-feast sweet
      With a she-bear small and dark.

    This was Mumma! This, alas,
      Was the mate of Atta Troll!
    Well I knew her by the soft
      Glances of her dewy eye.

    It was she! the daughter dark
      Of the Southland! Mumma lives
    With a Russian now; she lives
      With this savage of the North!

    Smirking spake a negro then,
      Coming up with stealthy pace:
    "Could there be a fairer sight
      Than a pair of lovers, say?"

    Then I answered him: "Pray, who
      Honours me by this address?"
    Whereupon he cried amazed:
      "Have you quite forgotten me?

    "Why I am that Moorish prince
      Who beat drums in Freiligrath--
    Times were bad--in Germany
      I was lonely and forlorn.

    "Now as keeper I'm employed
      In this garden,--here I find
    All the flowers of my native
      Tropics,--lions, tigers, too.

    "Here I feel content and gay,
      Better than at German fairs,
    Where each day I beat the drum
      And was fed but scantily.

    "Late in wedlock was I bound
      To a blonde Alsatian cook,
    And within her arms I feel
      All my native joys again!

    "And her feet remind me ever
      Of my blessèd elephants,
    And her French has quite the ring
      Of my sable mother-tongue.

    "When she coughs, the rattle fierce
      Moves me of that famous drum
    Which, bedecked with human skulls,
      Drove the snakes and lions far.

    "But when moonlight charms her mood,
      Like a crocodile she weeps,
    Which from out some luke-warm stream
      Lifts to gape in cooler air.

    "And she cooks me dainty bits.
      See, I thrive! I feed again
    As upon the Niger I
      Fed with gusto African!

    "Mark the nicely rounded paunch
      I possess! Behold it peeps
    From my shirt like some black moon
      Stealing forth from whitest clouds."

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



            CANTO XXVII

    (To August Varnhagen von Ense)


      "Heavens! where, dear Ludoviso,
    Did you steal this crazy stuff?"
    With these words did Cardinal
      D'Este Ariosto greet

    When that poet read his work
      On Orlando's madness. This
    He unto His Eminence
      Humbly sought to dedicate.

    Yes, Varnhagen, dear old friend,
      Yes, I see these very words
    Tremble on thy lips, that same
      Faint and devastating smile.

    Sometimes o'er a book thou laughest,
      Then again in earnestness
    Thy high forehead wrinkles o'er
      As old memories come to thee.

    Hark unto the dreams of youth!
      Such Chamisso dreamed with me,
    And Brentano, Fouqué, too,
      In blue nights beneath the moon.

    Comes no sound of saintly chimes
      From that vanished forest fane,
    And no tinkling of the gay
      Unforgotten cap-and-bells?

    Through the choir of nightingales
      Rumbles now the growl of bears,
    Low and fierce, and changes then
      To the gibbering of ghosts!

    Madness in the guise of sense,
      Wisdom with a broken spine!
    Dying sobs which suddenly
      Into hollow laughter pass!

    Aye, my friend, such strains arise
      From the dream-time that is dead,
    Though some modern trills may oft
      Caper through the ancient theme.

    Spite of waywardness thou'lt find
      Here and there a note of pain;--
    To thy well-proved mildness now
      Do I recommend my song!

    'Tis, perchance, the final strain
      Of the pure and free Romance:--
    In to-day's wild battle-clash,
      Miserably it must end.

    Other times and other birds!
      Other birds and other songs!
    What a chattering as of geese
      That had saved a capitol!

    What a chirping!--sparrows these
      Penny tapers in their claws,
    Yet have they assumed the ways
      Of Jove's eagle with the bolt.

    What a cooing! Turtle-doves,
      Cloyed with love, now long to hate,
    And thenceforth in place of Venus'
      They would drag Bellona's car!

    What a buzz that shakes the skies!--
      These must be the great May-beetles
    Of the nation's dawning Spring,
      With a Viking fury seized!

    Other times and other birds!
      Other birds and other songs;--
    These, perchance, might yield delight
      Were I blest with other ears!

[Illustration]



NOTES TO "ATTA TROLL"

BY DR. OSCAR LEVY



PREFACE

THE GOD OF SCHELLING. The German philosopher Schelling (1775-1854) was
at first a follower of Spinoza, and had published in his youth a
pantheistic philosophy which had made him famous. In later life he began
to doubt his former beliefs, and promised to the world another and more
Christian explanation of God and the universe. The promised book,
however, never appeared.

The gap, thus left by Schelling, has since been filled up by a host of
more courageous, if less conscientious, investigators.

"SEA-SURROUNDED SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN" OYSTERS. "Schleswig-Holstein
Meerumschlungen (sea-surrounded)" was the German Marseillaise after 1846
and again in 1863-64.

ARNOLD RUGE (1802-1880) was the leader of the New Hegelian school, and
published certain famous annuals for art and science at Halle. In 1848
he was elected to the Parliament at Frankfort, but was forced to flee to
London, where he struck up a fast friendship with Mazzini. In the
Revolutionary Committee of London he represented Germany, as
Ledru-Rollin represented France and Mazzini Italy.

CHRISTIAN-GERMANIC. One of the favourite phrases and shibboleths of the
Romantic School, which may still be heard in the Germany of to-day.

FERDINAND FREILIGRATH (1810-1876). A well-known poet and skilful
translator of French and English poets, such as Burns, Byron, Thomas
Moore, and Victor Hugo. His own poems betray his dependence upon Hugo.
Frederick William IV, King of Prussia, bestowed a pension upon him in
1842. When his friends, however, charged him with having sold himself to
the Government, the poet refused the pension. Thereafter he devoted
himself more and more to the democratic party and wrote many political
poems. In 1848 he went abroad, living in London the greater part of the
time. He returned to Germany in 1868, and in 1870 published several
patriotic poems which met with great acclaim.

The sudden conversion from international Democracy to Nationalism is
easily explained. Modern states have become democratic, and
democrats--but they alone--find it easy to feel comfortable and
patriotic in such a milieu.


CANTO I

DON CARLOS. After the death of Ferdinand VII of Spain (1833) a lengthy
civil war broke out between his younger brother, Don Carlos, and the
Queen-widow Christina, who had assumed the regency for her daughter
Isabella.

SCHNAPPHAHNSKI. A comic word composed of the German word "schnappen,"
to snap, and "hahn," cock. It has also been incorporated into French in
the form "chenapan." It is applied here to Prince Felix Lichnowski
(1814-1848), who left the Prussian Army in 1838 and entered the service
of Don Carlos, who appointed him a brigadier-general. After his return
from Spain, Lichnowski wrote his "Reminiscences," the publication of
which involved him in a duel in which he was badly wounded. The
"Reminiscences" are couched in Heine's own style, and their hero is
called Schnapphahnski.

JULIET. Juliet is to be understood as referring to Heine's mistress and
subsequent wife, Mathilde.


CANTO II

QUEEN MARIA CHRISTINA. She was the wife of Ferdinand VII and assumed the
regency after his death. Soon after the king's demise, she married a
member of her bodyguard, one Don Ferdinand Muñoz, who was afterwards
given the title of Duke of Rianzares. She bore him several children.

PUTANA. Italian for strumpet.


CANTO IV

MASSMANN. A German philologist and one of Heine's favourite butts. He
was one of the most enthusiastic advocates of German gymnastics.
Athletics was one of the pet ideas of the German patriots; the
Government, however, held it in suspicion, inasmuch as the so-called
"Turner" (gymnasts) cherished political ambitions. In time, however, the
exercise of the muscles cured the revolutionary brain-fag, and the
Government was enabled to assume a sort of protectorship over
gymnastics. Though enthusiastically carried on to this very day in
Germany, the movement no longer has any political significance.

FRESH, PIOUS, GAY, AND FREE. FRISCH, FROMM, FRÖHLICH, FREI--the four
F's--formed the motto of the German "Turner."


CANTO V

BATAVIA. Apparently a well-known female ape in Heine's day, trained in
theatrical feats of skill.

FREILIGRATH (see above). As a refuge from the crassness of his times,
Freiligrath usually chose exotic themes for his poems, frequently
African in nature, as, for instance, in his "Löwenritt." The allusion to
the mule (in German "camel," which bears the same opprobrious meaning as
"ass") gives us reason to believe that Heine's preface must not be taken
too seriously and that his opinion of the poet Freiligrath was by no
means a high one.

FRIEDRICH LUDWIG GEORG VON RAUMER (1781-1873). A well-known German
historian, author of the "History of the Hohenstaufens."


CANTO VIII

TUISKION. The god whom the Germans, according to Tacitus (vide
"Germania," cap. II) regard as the original father of their race.

LUDWIG FEUERBACH (1804-1872). An honest thinker, who recognised that
there was an unbridgable gulf between philosophy and theology. He left
the Hegelian school, which can be so well adapted to the need of
theologians, and considered as the only source of religion--the human
brain. "The Gods are only the personified wishes of men," he used to
say. He brought German philosophy down from the clouds to cookery by
declaring: "Der Mensch ist, was er isst" ("Man is what he eats"). He was
a believer in what he called "Healthy sensuality," which made him the
philosopher of artists in the 'thirties and 'forties of the last
century, amongst others of Richard Wagner. The latter, however,
afterwards repented, and, by way of Schopenhauer, turned Christian.

Feuerbach came from a family that would have been the delight of Sir
Francis Galton, author of "Hereditary Genius." Feuerbach's father was a
famous jurist, who had five sons, all of whom attained the honour of
appearing in the German Encyclopædias. The philosopher was the fourth
son. Again: the famous painter Anselm Feuerbach was his nephew, the son
of his eldest brother.

BRUNO BAUER (1809-1882). A destructive commentator of the New Testament.
He belonged to the school of "higher" criticism which has done so much
to "lower" Christianity in the eyes of savants and professors and so
little in those of mankind at large. His "Critique of the Evangelistic
History of Saint John" (1840) and his "Critique of the Evangelistic
Synoptists" (1841-42) had just been published when Heine wrote "Atta
Troll."


CANTO IX

MOSES MENDELSOHN (1729-1786). Grandfather of the famous composer. He was
a Jewish philosopher and a friend of Lessing's, who, it is supposed,
took him as his model for "Nathan the Wise." He freed his German
co-religionaries from the oppressive influence of the Talmud.


CANTO X

PROPERTY IS THEFT. A dictum of Prudhon.


CANTO XII

REIGN OF DWARFS. The approaching rule of clever little trades-people,
whose turn it will soon be if democracy progresses as at present.
Compare Nietzsche's "Zarathustra," Part III, 49, "The Bedwarfing
Virtue": "I pass through this people and keep mine eyes open: they have
become _smaller_, and ever become _smaller: the reason thereof is their
doctrine of happiness and virtue_."

THIS CONCLUSION. "Lo, I kiss, therefore I live"--a witty travesty of
Descartes' "Cogito, ergo sum."


CANTO XIV

SO I TOOK TO HUNTING BEARS. Heine considers Atta Troll, the bear bred by
the French Revolution, as a much greater and more dangerous foe, and
therefore a worthier opponent of his than the sorry German bears--or
patriots--with whom he was forced to contend in his native country and
who incessantly worried (and still worry) him.


CANTO XV

CAGOTS. The remnant of an ancient tribe, driven out of human society as
unclean--Cagot from _Canis gothicus_. The Cagots may still be found in
obscure parts of the French Pyrenees; they have their own language and
are distinguished by their yellow skins from the peoples of Western
Europe. In the Middle Ages they were persecuted as heretics and were
excluded from all contact with their neighbours. They were forced to
bear a tag upon their clothes so that they might be known as inferiors.
Even to-day, despite the fact that they possess the same rights as other
Frenchmen, they are considered as somewhat debased and unclean.


CANTO XVIII

THE WILD HUNT which Heine describes in this canto is an old German
legend which poets and painters have found to be a fertile source of
inspiration. The wild huntsman must ride through the world every night,
followed by all evil-doers, and wherever he appears, thither, according
to old folk-belief, does misfortune come. Tradition herds all the foes
of Christianity among this rout of evil-doers; for this reason does
Heine include Goethe--the "great pagan," as the Germans call him--in
that crew. There have been other foes of Christianity since, and some
very great figures amongst them, so that in time the Wild Huntsman's
Company may become quite presentable.

HENGSTENBERG (1802-1869). A fanatical theologian professor at Berlin who
made an attack upon Goethe's "Elective Affinities," which then had not
yet become a classic, and was thus still liable to the attacks of the
"learned."

FRANZ HORN. A contemporary of Heine's of no particular importance, a
poet of the Romantic School and a verbose literary historian. He wrote a
work in five volumes upon Shakespeare's plays. In this he interprets the
poet in a wholly romantic sense and winds up by presenting him as an
enthusiastic Christian.


CANTO XIX

ABUNDA--in the Celtic (Breton) folk-lore Dame Abonde and even Dame
Habonde. The Celtic element (as, for instance, the legend of King
Arthur's Round Table) played a great part in the romantic poetry of
Germany, and later in the music dramas of Wagner. Romanticism is
therefore represented in Heine's poem by the fairy Abunda, in
contradistinction to the Greek and Semitic inspiration--represented by
Diana and Herodias. Heine's conception of Herodias as being in love with
the Baptist and taking her revenge on him for his Josephian attitude
towards her, has, no doubt, influenced later writers on the subject,
especially Flaubert and Oscar Wilde, save that these had not the courage
(nor perhaps the insight) to regard the hero in question as a
"block-head."


CANTO XX

SIX-AND-THIRTY KINGS. At once an allusion to Shakespeare's "A kingdom
for a horse!" ("Richard III") and a side-stroke glancing at the various
kings and princes of Germany--some thirty-six in Heine's time.


CANTO XXI

HELLISH HERBS. The foul and mouldy herbs and medicines in Uraka's hut
represent a collection of remedies for the cure and preservation of
decaying feudalism and Christian mediævalism, which, however, no remedy
can restore to health. The smell in Uraka's hut is the smell of the
"rotting past," that, in spite of all nostrums and artificial revivals,
goes on decomposing. The stuffed birds which glare so fixedly and
forlorn, and have long bills like human noses, are members of Heine's
own race. These stuffed birds are the symbols of Judaism which according
to our Hellenistic poet, possesses, as religion, as little life as the
Christianity that is based upon it.


CANTO XXII

A SWABIAN BARD. The Swabian school of poetry, of which Uhland was the
leader, was the chief representative of German Chauvinism in Heine's
day. W. Menzel, the critic who denounced "Young Germany" to the
Government, belonged to this school. Börne answered him in his "Menzel
der Franzosenfresser" ("The Gallophobe"), and Heine mocked at him in his
paper "The Denunciator." Gustav Pfizer (who had provoked Heine) and Karl
Meyer were members of the Swabian school, and prided themselves
particularly upon their morality and religiosity, for which reason they
set themselves in antagonism to the "heathen" Goethe. Goethe, on his
part, estimated this school as little as did Heine. In a letter to
Zelter dated October 5, 1831, Goethe writes thus of Pfizer: "...I read a
poem lately by Gustav Pfizer ... the poet appears to have real talent
and is evidently a very good man. But as I read I was oppressed by a
certain poverty of spirit in the piece and put the little book away at
once, for with the advance of the cholera it is well to shield oneself
against all debilitating influences. The work is dedicated to Uhland,
and one might well doubt if anything exciting, thorough, or humanly
compelling could be produced from those regions in which he is master. I
will therefore not rail at the work, but simply leave it alone. _It is
really marvellous how these little men are able to throw their
goody-religious-poetic beggar's cloak so cleverly about their shoulders
that, whenever an elbow happens to stick out, one is tempted to consider
this as a deliberate poetic intention_."

METZEL-SOUP. A Swabian soup of the country districts, glorified in the
poetry of Uhland. It is usually prepared from the "insides" of pigs.

CHRISTOPHER FRIEDRICH K. VON KÖLLE (1781-1848). A Privy Councillor of
the Legation of Würtemberg--composer of many poems and political
pamphlets.

JUSTINUS KERNER (1786-1862) was also a poet of the Swabian school. He
believed in spirits, and made many observations and experiments in his
house at Weinsburg in order to obtain some knowledge of the
supernatural world. Thousands of those who believed, or wished to
believe, came to his "séances." He worked in conjunction with a
celebrated medium of his time, and later published a very successful
book about this lady. Heine, no doubt, had this medium in mind when he
mentioned Kerner.


CANTO XXIII

BALDOMERO ESPARTERO (1792-1879). A celebrated Spanish general who fought
against Don Carlos on the side of Maria Christina. He was later given
the title of Duke of Vittoria.

EMILIA GALOTTI. This refers to the heroine of Lessing's drama of the
same name, in which old Odoardo Galotti slays his daughter in order to
protect her from dishonour. The theme is derived from the story of
Virginia and Tarquin.

"NO ROSE WOULD HE PLUCK, ETC." Lessing's drama closes thus: "_Odoardo_:
'God! what have I done!' _Emilia_: 'Thou hast merely plucked a rose ere
the storm reft it of its petals.'"


CANTO XXIV

GANELON OF MAINZ was the stepfather of Roland, against whom he bore a
grudge. He contrived to bring about his destruction by betraying him to
the Saracens, who over-powered and killed him in the Valley of
Roncesvalles, as related in the well-known "Chanson de Roland."

VALHALLA'S HALL. King Ludwig I of Bavaria ordered a Greek temple to be
built on the banks of the Danube near Regensburg, to which he gave the
name of Valhalla. In this the busts of all great Germans are placed--as,
for instance, with great ceremony, that of Bismarck some years ago, and
recently that of Wagner. Atta Troll's epitaph is a satirical imitation
of the poetic effusions of Ludwig I, who considered himself a poet but
was nothing more than an affected versifier. His mania for compression
and for participial forms (not to be tolerated in German) more than once
drew the arrows of Heine's wit. The last line: "Talent none, but
character," has become a familiar phrase in Germany.


CANTO XXV

PYRENEEAN LAFAYETTE. Lafayette fought for the Revolution in France as
well as in America.

"THAT WHICH SONG WOULD MAKE ETERNAL," &c. A quotation in a semi-satiric
vein from Schiller's "The Gods of Greece."


CANTO XXVI

DROVE THE SNAKES AND LIONS FAR. A burlesque quotation from
Freiligrath's poem "Der Löwenritt," from which also the reference later
on to the crocodile is taken.


CANTO XXVII

VARNHAGEN VON ENSE (1785-1858). After abandoning his career as a
diplomat, von Ense married the celebrated Rahel. He lived in Berlin,
where the salon of his wife became the meeting-ground for artists and
writers. In his youth he associated closely with the romantics--de la
Motte Fouqué, Chamisso, and Clemens Brentano, the brother of Bettina von
Arnim. Though imitating the heavy and cautious style of the later Goethe
he was a good writer, and his biographies of celebrated men belong to
the best in German literature. He endeavoured, but without success, to
win over the all-powerful Austrian Minister Metternich to the cause of
"Young Germany."

OTHER TIMES AND OTHER BIRDS! These words refer to the new generation of
poets--Georg Herwegh, Friedrich Freiligrath, Dingelstedt, Hoffmann von
Fallersleben, and Anastasius Grün--who came upon the scene about 1840,
cherished mechanic-democratic ideals and brought about the Revolution of
1848. Heine, by nature an aristocratic poet, who instinctively dreaded
the competition of "noble bears," saw all his loftiest principles
trodden into the mire by these Utopian hot-heads and the crew of
politicians that came storming after them. This doctrinaire and
numerical interpretation of the rights of man--for which rights in their
proper application the poet himself had fought so valiantly--caused him
great unhappiness. He now saw his fairest concepts (as is made clear in
his own introduction) distorted as in some crooked mirror, and so,
filled with anger, grief and disgust, he conceived and wrote his
lyrico-satiric masterpiece, "Atta Troll." The poem has been
misunderstood to this very day, for the mechanics and theorists have
practically won. _The day it is understood, their reign will be over_.

PRINTED AT THE BALLANTYNE PRESS LONDON


NOTES OF THE TRANSCRIBER

Three instances of "Willy Pogàny" were corrected to "Willy Pogány."

"ond entreaties" was changed to "fond entreaties."





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