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Title: Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern, Vol. 16
Author: Various
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern, Vol. 16" ***

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                            LIBRARY OF THE
                       WORLD'S BEST LITERATURE
                          ANCIENT AND MODERN

                        CHARLES DUDLEY WARNER


                         GEORGE HENRY WARNER

                          ASSOCIATE EDITORS

                         Connoisseur Edition

                              VOL. XVI.

                               NEW YORK
                      THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY

                         Connoisseur Edition


                         _No_.    ..........

                         Copyright, 1896, by
                      R. S. PEALE AND J. A. HILL
                        _All rights reserved_

                         THE ADVISORY COUNCIL

    Professor of Hebrew,        HARVARD UNIVERSITY, Cambridge, Mass.

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

    Professor of History and Political Science,
                              PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, Princeton, N. J.

    Professor of Literature,     COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, New York City.

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

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

    Director of the Lick Observatory, and Astronomer,
                            UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, Berkeley, Cal.

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

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

    Professor of Greek and Latin Literature,
                                UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, Chicago, Ill.

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

    Professor of Literature in the
                   CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA, Washington, D. C.

                          TABLE OF CONTENTS

                               VOL. XVI

                                                    LIVED       PAGE
  AULUS GELLIUS                         Second Century A.D.     6253
    From 'Attic Nights': Origin, and Plan of the Book;
          The Vestal Virgins; The Secrets of the Senate;
          Plutarch and his Slave; Discussion on One of
          Solon's Laws; The Nature of Sight; Earliest
          Libraries; Realistic Acting; The Athlete's End

  GESTA ROMANORUM                                               6261
    Theodosius the Emperoure
    Ancelmus the Emperour
    How an Anchoress was Tempted by the Devil

  EDWARD GIBBON                                   1737-1794     6271
                           BY W. E. H. LECKY
    Foundation of Constantinople
    Character of Constantine
    Death of Julian
    Fall of Rome
    Mahomet's Death and Character
    The Alexandrian Library
    Final Ruin of Rome
      All from the 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

  WILLIAM SCHWENCK GILBERT                        1836-         6333
    Captain Reece
    The Yarn of the Nancy Bell
    The Bishop of Rum-ti-foo
    Gentle Alice Brown
    The Captain and the Mermaids
      All from the 'Bab Ballads'

  RICHARD WATSON GILDER                           1844-         6347
    Two Songs from 'The New Day'
    "Rose-Dark the Solemn Sunset"
    The Celestial Passion
    Non Sine Dolore
    On the Life Mask of Abraham Lincoln
    From 'The Great Remembrance'

  GIUSEPPE GIUSTI                                 1809-1850     6355
    Lullaby ('Gingillino')
    The Steam Guillotine

  WILLIAM EWART GLADSTONE                         1809-         6359
    Macaulay ('Gleanings of Past Years')

  EDWIN LAWRENCE GODKIN                           1831-         6373
    The Duty of Criticism in a Democracy ('Problems of
          Modern Democracy')

  GOETHE                                          1749-1832     6385
                           BY EDWARD DOWDEN
    From 'Faust,' Shelley's Translation
    Scenes from 'Faust', Bayard Taylor's Translation
    Mignon's Love and Longing ('Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship')
    Wilhelm Meister's Introduction to Shakespeare (same)
    Wilhelm Meister's Analysis of Hamlet (same)
    The Indenture (same)
    The Harper's Songs (same)
    Mignon's Song (same)
    Philina's Song (same)
    Wanderer's Night Songs
    The Elfin-King
    From 'The Wanderer's Storm Song'
    The Godlike
    Ergo Bibamus!
    Alexis and Dora
    Maxims and Reflections

  NIKOLAI VASILIEVITCH GOGOL                      1809-1852     6455
                         BY ISABEL F. HAPGOOD
    From 'The Inspector'
    Old-Fashioned Gentry ('Mirgorod')

  CARLO GOLDONI                                   1707-1793     6475
                      BY WILLIAM CRANSTON LAWTON
    First Love and Parting ('Memoirs of Carlo Goldoni')
    The Origin of Masks in the Italian Comedy (same)
    Purists and Pedantry (same)
    A Poet's Old Age (same)
    The Café

  MEÏR AARON GOLDSCHMIDT                          1819-1887     6493
    Assar and Mirjam ('Love Stories from Many Countries')

  OLIVER GOLDSMITH                                1728-1774     6501
                        BY CHARLES MILLS GAYLEY
    The Vicar's Family Become Ambitious ('The Vicar of Wakefield')
    New Misfortunes: But Offenses are Easily Pardoned Where
          There is Love at Bottom (same)
    Pictures from 'The Deserted Village'
    Contrasted National Types ('The Traveller')

  IVAN ALEKSANDROVITCH GONCHARÓF                  1812-         6533
                        BY NATHAN HASKELL DOLE

  THE BROTHERS DE GONCOURT                                      6549
               Edmond                             1822-1896
               Jules                              1830-1870
    Two Famous Men ('Journal of the De Goncourts')
    The Suicide ('Sister Philomène')
    The Awakening ('Renée Mauperin')

  EDMUND GOSSE                                    1849-         6565
    February in Rome
    Lying in the Grass

  RUDOLF VON GOTTSCHALL                           1823-         6571
    Heinrich Heine ('Portraits and Studies')

  JOHN GOWER                                      1325?-1408    6579
    Petronella ('Confessio Amantis')

  ULYSSES S. GRANT                                1822-1885     6593
                           BY HAMLIN GARLAND
    Early Life ('Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant')
    Grant's Courtship (same)
    A Texan Experience (same)
    The Surrender of General Lee (same)

  HENRY GRATTAN                                   1746-1820     6615
    On the Character of Chatham
    Of the Injustice of Disqualification of Catholics
          (Speech in Parliament)
    On the Downfall of Bonaparte (Speech in Parliament)

  THOMAS GRAY                                     1716-1771     6623
                       BY GEORGE PARSONS LATHROP
    Elegy Written in a Country Church-yard
    Ode on the Spring
    On a Distant Prospect of Eton College
    The Bard

  THE GREEK ANTHOLOGY                                           6637
                          BY TALCOTT WILLIAMS
    On the Athenian Dead at Platæa (Simonides); On the
         Lacedæmonian Dead at Platæa (Simonides); On a
         Sleeping Satyr (Plato); A Poet's Epitaph (Simmias
         of Thebes); Worship in Spring (Theætetus); Spring
         on the Coast (Leonidas of Tarentum); A Young Hero's
         Epitaph (Dioscorides); Love (Posidippus); Sorrow's
         Barren Grave (Heracleitus); To a Coy Maiden
         (Asclepiades); The Emptied Quiver (Mnesalcus);
         The Tale of Troy (Alpheus); Heaven Hath its Stars
         (Marcus Argentarius); Pan of the Sea-Cliff
         (Archias); Anacreon's Grave (Antipater of Sidon);
         Rest at Noon (Meleager); "In the Spring a Young
         Man's Fancy" (Meleager); Meleager's Own Epitaph
         (Meleager); Epilogue (Philodemus); Doctor and
         Divinity (Nicarchus); Love's Immortality (Strato);
         As the Flowers of the Field (Strato); Summer
         Sailing (Antiphilus); The Great Mysteries
         (Crinagoras); To Priapus of the Shore (Mæcius); The
         Common Lot (Ammianus); "To-morrow, and To-morrow"
         (Macedonius); The Palace Garden (Arabius); The
         Young Wife (Julianus Ægyptius); A Nameless Grave
         (Paulus Silentiarius); Resignation (Joannes
         Barbucallus); The House of the Righteous
         (Macedonius); Love's Ferriage (Agathias); On a
         Fowler (Isidorus) Anonymous: Youth and Riches; The
         Singing Reed; First Love again Remembered; Slave
         and Philosopher; Good-by to Childhood; Wishing;
         Hope and Experience; The Service of God; The Pure
         in Heart; The Water of Purity; Rose and Thorn;
         A Life's Wandering

                       FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS

                              VOLUME XVI

  The Alexander Romance (Colored Plate)                 Frontispiece
  Gibbon (Portrait)                                             6271
  Ruined Rome (Photograph)                                      6316
  Gladstone (Portrait)                                          6359
  Goethe (Portrait)                                             6385
  "Faust and Margaret in Prison" (Photogravure)                 6408
  "The Bride's Toilet" (Photogravure)                           6466
  Goldoni (Portrait)                                            6475
  Goldsmith (Portrait)                                          6501
  Grant (Portrait)                                              6593
  Gray (Portrait)                                               6623
  "Stoke Poges Church and Churchyard" (Photogravure)            6626

                          VIGNETTE PORTRAITS

  Gilbert                               Goncharof
  Gilder                                De Goncourt
  Giusti                                Gottschall
  Godkin                                Gower
  Gogol                                 Grattan



Perhaps Gellius's 'Attic Nights' may claim especial mention here, as one
of the earliest extant forerunners of this 'Library.' In the original
preface (given first among the citations), Gellius explains very clearly
the origin and scope of his work. It is not, however, a mere scrap-book.
There is original matter in many chapters. In particular, an ethical or
philosophic excerpt has often been framed in a little scene,--doubtless
imaginary,--and cast in the form of a dialogue. We get, even, pleasant
glimpses of autobiography from time to time. The author is not, however,
a deep or forceful character, on the whole. His heart is mostly set on

Yet Gellius has been an assiduous student, both in Greece and Italy; and
his book gives us an agreeable, probably an adequate, view of the fields
which are included in the general culture of his time. Despite its
title, the work is chiefly Roman. In history, biography, antiquities,
grammar, literary criticism, his materials and authors are prevailingly
Latin. He is perhaps most widely known and quoted on early Roman life
and usages. Thus, one of his chapters gives a mass of curious
information as to the choice of the Vestal Virgins. We are also largely
indebted to him for citations from lost authors. We have already quoted
under Ennius the sketch, in eighteen hexameters, of a scholar-soldier,
believed to be a genial self-portraiture. These lines are the finest
specimen we have of the 'Annales.' Similarly, under Cato, we have quoted
the chief fragment of the great Censor's Roman history. For both these
treasures we must thank Gellius. Indeed, throughout the wide fields of
Roman antiquities, history of literature, grammar, etc., we have to
depend chiefly upon various late Latin scrap-books and compilations,
most of which are not even made up at first hand from creative classical
authors. To Gellius, also, the imposing array of writers so constantly
named by him was evidently known chiefly through compendiums and
handbooks. It is suspicious, for instance, that he hardly quotes a poet
within a century of his own time. Repetitions, contradictions, etc., are

Despite its twenty "books" and nearly four hundred (short) chapters, the
work is not only light and readable for the most part, but quite modest
in total bulk: five hundred and fifty pages in the small page and
generous type of Hertz's Teubner text. There is an English translation
by Rev. W. Beloe, first printed in 1795, from which we quote below.
Professor Nettleship's (in his 'Essays in Latin Literature') has no
literary quality, but gives a careful analysis of Gellius's subjects and
probable sources. There is a revival of interest in this author in
recent years. We decidedly recommend Hertz's attractive volume to any
Latin student who wishes to browse beyond the narrow classical limits.



More pleasing works than the present may certainly be found: my object
in writing this was to provide my children, as well as myself, with that
kind of amusement in which they might properly relax and indulge
themselves at the intervals from more important business. I have
preserved the same accidental arrangement which I had before used in
making the collection. Whatever book came into my hand, whether it was
Greek or Latin, or whatever I heard that was either worthy of being
recorded or agreeable to my fancy, I wrote down without distinction and
without order. These things I treasured up to aid my memory, as it were
by a store-house of learning; so that when I wanted to refer to any
particular circumstance or word which I had at the moment forgotten, and
the books from which they were taken happened not to be at hand, I could
easily find and apply it. Thus the same irregularity will appear in
these commentaries as existed in the original annotations, which were
concisely written down without any method or arrangement in the course
of what I at different times had heard or read. As these observations at
first constituted my business and my amusement through many long winter
nights which I spent in Attica, I have given them the name of 'Attic
Nights.' ... It is an old proverb, "A jay has no concern with music, nor
a hog with perfumes:" but that the ill-humor and invidiousness of
certain ill-taught people may be still more exasperated, I shall borrow
a few verses from a chorus of Aristophanes; and what he, a man of most
exquisite humor, proposed as a law to the spectators of his play, I also
recommend to the readers of this volume, that the vulgar and unhallowed
herd, who are averse to the sports of the Muses, may not touch nor even
approach it. The verses are these:--

  Silent be they, and far from hence remove,
  By scenes like ours not likely to improve,
  Who never paid the honored Muse her rights,
  Who senseless live in wild, impure delights;
  I bid them once, I bid them twice begone,
  I bid them thrice, in still a louder tone:
  Far hence depart, whilst ye with dance and song
  Our solemn feast, our tuneful nights prolong.


The writers on the subject of taking a Vestal Virgin, of whom Labeo
Antistius is the most elaborate, have asserted that no one could be
taken who was less than six or more than ten years old. Neither could
she be taken unless both her father and mother were alive, if she had
any defect of voice or hearing, or indeed any personal blemish, or if
she herself or father had been made free; or if under the protection of
her grandfather, her father being alive; if one or both of her parents
were in actual servitude, or employed in mean occupations. She whose
sister was in this character might plead exemption, as might she whose
father was flamen, augur, one of the fifteen who had care of the sacred
books, or one of the seventeen who regulated the sacred feasts, or a
priest of Mars. Exemption was also granted to her who was betrothed to a
pontiff, and to the daughter of the sacred trumpeter. Capito Ateius has
also observed that the daughter of a man was ineligible who had no
establishment in Italy, and that his daughter might be excused who had
three children. But as soon as a Vestal Virgin is taken, conducted to
the vestibule of Vesta, and delivered to the pontiffs, she is from that
moment removed from her father's authority, without any form of
emancipation or loss of rank, and has also the right of making her will.
No more ancient records remain concerning the form and ceremony of
taking a virgin, except that the first virgin was taken by King Numa.
But we find a Papian law which provides that at the will of the supreme
pontiff twenty virgins should be chosen from the people; that these
should draw lots in the public assembly; and that the supreme pontiff
might take her whose lot it was, to become the servant of Vesta. But
this drawing of lots by the Papian law does not now seem necessary; for
if any person of ingenuous birth goes to the pontiff and offers his
daughter for this ministry, if she may be accepted without any violation
of what the ceremonies of religion enjoin, the Senate dispenses with the
Papian law. Moreover, a virgin is said to be taken, because she is taken
by the hand of the high priest from that parent under whose authority
she is, and led away as a captive in war. In the first book of Fabius
Pictor, we have the form of words which the supreme pontiff is to repeat
when he takes a virgin. It is this:--

"I take thee, beloved, as a priestess of Vesta, to perform religious
service, to discharge those duties with respect to the whole body of the
Roman people which the law most wisely requires of a priestess of

It is also said in those commentaries of Labeo which he wrote on the
Twelve Tables:--

"No Vestal Virgin can be heiress to any intestate person of either sex.
Such effects are said to belong to the public. It is inquired by what
right this is done?" When taken she is called _amata_, or beloved, by
the high priest; because Amata is said to have been the name of her who
was first taken.


It was formerly usual for the senators of Rome to enter the Senate-house
accompanied by their sons who had taken the prætexta. When something of
superior importance was discussed in the Senate, and the further
consideration adjourned to the day following, it was resolved that no
one should divulge the subject of their debates till it should be
formally decreed. The mother of the young Papirius, who had accompanied
his father to the Senate-house, inquired of her son what the senators
had been doing. The youth replied that he had been enjoined silence, and
was not at liberty to say. The woman became more anxious to know; the
secretness of the thing, and the silence of the youth, did but inflame
her curiosity. She therefore urged him with more vehement earnestness.
The young man, on the importunity of his mother, determined on a
humorous and pleasant fallacy: he said it was discussed in the Senate,
which would be most beneficial to the State--for one man to have two
wives, or for one woman to have two husbands. As soon as she heard this
she was much agitated, and leaving her house in great trepidation, went
to tell the other matrons what she had learned. The next day a troop of
matrons went to the Senate-house, and with tears and entreaties implored
that one woman might be suffered to have two husbands, rather than one
man to have two wives. The senators on entering the house were
astonished, and wondered what this intemperate proceeding of the women,
and their petition, could mean. The young Papirius, advancing to the
midst of the Senate, explained the pressing importunity of his mother,
his answer, and the matter as it was. The Senate, delighted with the
honor and ingenuity of the youth, made a decree that from that time no
youth should be suffered to enter the Senate with his father, this
Papirius alone excepted.


Plutarch once ordered a slave, who was an impudent and worthless fellow,
but who had paid some attention to books and philosophical disputations,
to be stripped (I know not for what fault) and whipped. As soon as his
punishment began, he averred that he did not deserve to be beaten; that
he had been guilty of no offense or crime. As they went on whipping him,
he called out louder, not with any cry of suffering or complaint, but
gravely reproaching his master. Such behavior, he said, was unworthy of
Plutarch; that anger disgraced a philosopher; that he had often disputed
on the mischiefs of anger; that he had written a very excellent book
about not giving place to anger; but that whatever he had said in that
book was now contradicted by the furious and ungovernable anger with
which he had now ordered him to be severely beaten. Plutarch then
replied with deliberate calmness:--"But why, rascal, do I now seem to
you to be in anger? Is it from my countenance, my voice, my color, or my
words, that you conceive me to be angry? I cannot think that my eyes
betray any ferocity, nor is my countenance disturbed or my voice
boisterous; neither do I foam at the mouth, nor are my cheeks red; nor
do I say anything indecent or to be repented of; nor do I tremble or
seem greatly agitated. These, though you may not know it, are the usual
signs of anger." Then, turning to the person who was whipping him:
"Whilst this man and I," said he, "are disputing, do you go on with your


In those very ancient laws of Solon which were inscribed at Athens on
wooden tables, and which, from veneration to him, the Athenians, to
render eternal, had sanctioned with punishments and religious oaths,
Aristotle relates there was one to this effect: If in any tumultuous
dissension a sedition should ensue, and the people divide themselves
into two parties, and from this irritation of their minds both sides
should take arms and fight; then he who in this unfortunate period of
civil discord should join himself to neither party, but should
individually withdraw himself from the common calamity of the city,
should be deprived of his house, his family and fortunes, and be driven
into exile from his country. When I had read this law of Solon, who was
eminent for his wisdom, I was at first impressed with great
astonishment, wondering for what reason he should think those men
deserving of punishment who withdrew themselves from sedition and a
civil war. Then a person who had profoundly and carefully examined the
use and purport of this law, affirmed that it was calculated not to
increase but terminate sedition; and indeed it really is so, for if all
the more respectable, who were at first unable to check sedition, and
could not overawe the divided and infatuated people, join themselves to
one part or other, it will happen that when they are divided on both
sides, and each party begins to be ruled and moderated by them, as men
of superior influence, harmony will by their means be sooner restored
and confirmed; for whilst they regulate and temper their own parties
respectively, they would rather see their opponents conciliated than
destroyed. Favorinus the philosopher was of opinion that the same thing
ought to be done in the disputes of brothers and of friends: that they
who are benevolently inclined to both sides, but have little influence
in restoring harmony, from being considered as doubtful friends, should
decidedly take one part or other; by which act they will obtain more
effectual power in restoring harmony to both. At present, says he, the
friends of both think they do well by leaving and deserting both, thus
giving them up to malignant or sordid lawyers, who inflame their
resentments and disputes from animosity or from avarice.


I have remarked various opinions among philosophers concerning the
causes of sight and the nature of vision. The Stoics affirm the causes
of sight to be an emission of radii from the eyes against those things
which are capable of being seen, with an expansion at the same time of
the air. But Epicurus thinks that there proceed from all bodies certain
images of the bodies themselves, and that these impress themselves upon
the eyes, and that thence arises the sense of sight. Plato is of opinion
that a species of fire and light issues from the eyes, and that this,
being united and continued either with the light of the sun or the light
of some other fire, by its own, added to the external force, enables us
to see whatever it meets and illuminates.

But on these things it is not worth while to trifle further; and I recur
to an opinion of the Neoptolemus of Ennius, whom I have before
mentioned: he thinks that we should taste of philosophy, but not plunge
in it over head and ears.


Pisistratus the tyrant is said to have been the first who supplied books
of the liberal sciences at Athens for public use. Afterwards the
Athenians themselves with great care and pains increased their number;
but all this multitude of books, Xerxes, when he obtained possession of
Athens and burned the whole of the city except the citadel, seized and
carried away to Persia. But King Seleucus, who was called Nicanor, many
years afterwards, was careful that all of them should be again carried
back to Athens.

A prodigious number of books were in succeeding times collected by the
Ptolemies in Egypt, to the amount of near seven hundred thousand
volumes. But in the first Alexandrine war the whole library, during the
plunder of the city, was destroyed by fire; not by any concerted design,
but accidentally by the auxiliary soldiers.


There was an actor in Greece of great celebrity, superior to the rest in
the grace and harmony of his voice and action. His name, it is said, was
Polus, and he acted in the tragedies of the more eminent poets, with
great knowledge and accuracy. This Polus lost by death his only and
beloved son. When he had sufficiently indulged his natural grief, he
returned to his employment. Being at this time to act the 'Electra' of
Sophocles at Athens, it was his part to carry an urn as containing the
bones of Orestes. The argument of the fable is so imagined that Electra,
who is presumed to carry the relics of her brother, laments and
commiserates his end, who is believed to have died a violent death.
Polus, therefore, clad in the mourning habit of Electra, took from the
tomb the bones and urn of his son, and as if embracing Orestes, filled
the place, not with the image and imitation, but with the sighs and
lamentations of unfeigned sorrow. Therefore, when a fable seemed to be
represented, real grief was displayed.


Milo of Crotona, a celebrated wrestler, who as is recorded was crowned
in the fiftieth Olympiad, met with a lamentable and extraordinary death.
When, now an old man, he had desisted from his athletic art and was
journeying alone in the woody parts of Italy, he saw an oak very near
the roadside, gaping in the middle of the trunk, with its branches
extended: willing, I suppose, to try what strength he had left, he put
his fingers into the fissure of the tree, and attempted to pluck aside
and separate the oak, and did actually tear and divide it in the middle;
but when the oak was thus split in two, and he relaxed his hold as
having accomplished his intention, upon a cessation of the force it
returned to its natural position, and left the man, when it united, with
his hands confined, to be torn by wild beasts.

                                       Translation of Rev. W. Beloe.


What are the 'Gesta Romanorum'? The most curious and interesting of all
collections of popular tales. Negatively, one thing they are not: that
is, they are not _Deeds of the Romans_, the acts of the heirs of the
Cæsars. All such allusions are the purest fantasy. The great "citee of
Rome," and some oddly dubbed emperor thereof, indeed the entire
background, are in truth as unhistorical and imaginary as the tale

Such stories are very old. So far back did they spring that it would be
idle to conjecture their origin. In the centuries long before Caxton,
the centuries before manuscript-writing filled up the leisure hours of
the monks, the 'Gesta,' both in the Orient and in the Occident, were
brought forth. Plain, direct, and unvarnished, they are the form in
which the men of ideas of those rude times approached and entertained,
by accounts of human joy and woe, their brother men of action. Every
race of historic importance, from the eastern Turanians to the western
Celts, has produced such legends. Sometimes they delight the lover of
folk-lore; sometimes they belong to the Dryasdust antiquarian. But our
'Gesta,' with their directness and naïveté, with their occasional beauty
of diction and fine touches of sympathy and imagination,--even with
their Northern lack of grace,--are properly a part of literature. In
these 'Deeds' is found the plot or ground-plan of such master works as
'King Lear' and the 'Merchant of Venice,' and the first cast of material
refined by Chaucer, Gower, Lydgate, Schiller, and other writers.

Among the people in mediaeval times such tales evidently passed from
mouth to mouth. They were the common food of fancy and delight to our
forefathers, as they gathered round the fire in stormy weather. Their
recital enlivened the women's unnumbered hours of spinning, weaving, and
embroidery. As the short days of the year came on, there must have been
calls for 'The Knights of Baldak and Lombardy,' 'The Three Caskets,' or
'The White and Black Daughters,' as nowadays we go to our book-shelves
for the stories that the race still loves, and ungraciously enjoy the
silent telling.

Such folk-stories as those in the 'Gesta' are in the main made of, must
have passed from district to district and even from nation to nation, by
many channels,--chief among them the constant wanderings of monks and
minstrels,--becoming the common heritage of many peoples, and passing
from secular to sacerdotal use. The mediæval Church, with the acuteness
that characterized it, seized on the pretty tales, and adding to them
the moralizing which a crude system of ethics enjoined, carried its
spoils to the pulpit. Even the fables of pagan Æsop were thus employed.

In the twelfth century the ecclesiastical forces were appropriating to
their use whatever secular rights and possessions came within their
grasp. A common ardor permitted and sustained this aggrandizement, and
the devotion that founded and swelled the mendicant orders of Francis
and Dominic, and led the populace to carry with prayers and
psalm-singing the stones of which great cathedrals were built, readily
gave their hearth-tales to illustrate texts and inculcate doctrines. A
habit of interpreting moral and religious precepts by allegory led to
the far-fetched, sometimes droll, and always naive "moralities" which
commonly follow each one of the 'Gesta.' The more popular the tale, the
more easily it held the attention; and the priests with telling
directness brought home the moral to the simple-minded. The innocent
joys and sad offenses of humanity interpreted the Church's whole system
of theology, and the stories, committed to writing by the priests, were
thus preserved.

The secular tales must have been used in the pulpit for some time before
their systematic collection was undertaken. The zeal for compiling
probably reached its height in the age of Pierre Bercheure, who died in
1362. To Bercheure, prior of the Benedictine Convent of St. Eloi at
Paris, the collection of 'Gesta Romanorum' has been ascribed. A German
scholar, however, Herr Österley, who published in 1872 the result of an
investigation of one hundred and sixty-five manuscripts, asserts that
the 'Gesta' were originally compiled towards the end of the thirteenth
century in England, from which country they were taken to the Continent,
there undergoing various alterations. "The popularity of the original
'Gesta,'" says Sir F. Madden, "not only on the Continent but among the
English clergy, appears to have induced some person, apparently in the
reign of Richard the Second, to undertake a similar compilation in this
country." The 'Anglo-Latin Gesta' is the immediate original of the early
English translation from which the following stories are taken, with
slight verbal changes.

The word _Gesta_, in mediæval Latin, means notable or historic act or
exploit. The Church, drawing all power, consequence, and grace from
Rome, naturally looked back to the Roman empire for historic examples.
In this fact we find the reason of the name. The tales betray an entire
ignorance of history. In one, for example, a statue is raised to Julius
Cæsar twenty-two years after the founding of Rome; while in another,
Socrates, Alexander, and the Emperor Claudius are living together in

It is a pleasant picture which such legends bring before our eyes. The
old parish church of England, which with its yards is a common
meeting-place for the people's fairs and wakes, and even for their
beer-brewing; the simple rustics forming the congregation; the tonsured
head of the priest rising above the pulpit,--a monk from the neighboring
abbey, who earns his brown bread and ale and venison by endeavors to
move the moral sentiments which lie at the root of the Anglo-Saxon
character and beneath the apparent stolidity of each yokel. Many of the
tales are unfit for reproduction in our more mincing times. The
faithlessness of wives--with no reference whatever to the faithlessness
of husbands--is a favorite theme with these ancient cenobites.

It is possible, Herr Österley thinks, that the conjecture of Francis
Douce may be true, and the 'Gesta' may after all have been compiled in
Germany. But the bulk of the evidence goes to prove an English origin.
The earliest editions were published at Utrecht and at Cologne. The
English translation, from the text of the Latin of the reign of Richard
II., was first printed by Wynkyn de Worde between 1510 and 1515. In 1577
Richard Robinson published a revised edition of Wynkyn de Worde's. The
work became again popular, and between 1648 and 1703 at least eight
issues were sold. An English translation by Charles Swan from the Latin
text was first published in 1824, and reissued under the editorship of
Thomas Wright in 1872 as a part of Bohn's Library.


Theodosius reigned a wise emperour in the cite of Rome, and mighty he
was of power; the which emperoure had three doughters. So it liked to
this emperour to knowe which of his doughters loved him best; and then
he said to the eldest doughter, "How much lovest thou me?" "Forsoth,"
quoth she, "more than I do myself." "Therefore," quoth he, "thou shalt
be heighly advanced;" and married her to a riche and mighty kyng. Then
he came to the second, and said to her, "Doughter, how muche lovest thou
me?" "As muche forsoth," she said, "as I do myself." So the emperoure
married her to a duke. And then he said to the third doughter, "How much
lovest thou me?" "Forsoth," quoth she, "as muche as ye be worthy, and no
more." Then said the emperoure, "Doughter, since thou lovest me no more,
thou shalt not be married so richely as thy sisters be." And then he
married her to an earl.

    [A] The story of King Lear and his three daughters.

After this it happened that the emperour held battle against the Kyng of
Egipt, and the kyng drove the emperour oute of the empire, in so muche
that the emperour had no place to abide inne. So he wrote lettres
ensealed with his ryng to his first doughter that said that she loved
him more than her self, for to pray her of succoring in that great need,
bycause he was put out of his empire. And when the doughter had red
these lettres she told it to the kyng her husband. Then quoth the kyng,
"It is good that we succor him in his need. I shall," quoth he, "gather
an host and help him in all that I can or may; and that will not be done
withoute great costage." "Yea," quoth she, "it were sufficiant if that
we would graunt him V knyghtes to be fellowship with him while he is
oute of his empire." And so it was done indeed; and the doughter wrote
again to the fader that other help might he not have, but V knyghtes of
the kynges to be in his fellowship, at the coste of the kyng her

And when the emperour heard this he was hevy in his hert and said,
"Alas! alas! all my trust was in her; for she said she loved me more
than herself, and therefore I advanced her so high."

Then he wrote to the second, that said she loved him as much as her
self. And when she had herd his lettres she shewed his erand to her
husband, and gave him in counsel that he should find him mete and drink
and clothing, honestly as for the state of such a lord, during tyme of
his nede; and when this was graunted she wrote lettres agein to hir

The Emperour was hevy with this answere, and said, "Since my two
doughters have thus grieved me, in sooth I shall prove the third."

And so he wrote to the third that she loved him as muche as he was
worthy; and prayed her of succor in his nede, and told her the answere
of her two sisters. So the third doughter, when she considered the
mischief of her fader, she told her husbond in this fourme: "My
worshipful lord, do succor me now in this great nede; my fadir is put
out of his empire and his heritage." Then spake he, "What were thy will
I did thereto?" "That ye gather a great host," quoth she, "and help him
to fight against his enemys." "I shall fulfill thy will," said the earl;
and gathered a greate hoste and wente with the emperour at his owne
costage to the battle, and had the victorye, and set the emperour again
in his heritage.

And then said the emperour, "Blessed be the hour I gat my yonest
doughter! I loved her lesse than any of the others, and now in my nede
she hath succored me, and the others have failed me, and therefore after
my deth she shall have mine empire." And so it was done in dede; for
after the deth of the emperour the youngest doughter reigned in his
sted, and ended peacefully.


Dere Frendis, this emperour may be called each worldly man, the which
hath three doughters. The first doughter, that saith, "I love my fadir
more than my self," is the worlde, whom a man loveth so well that he
expendeth all his life about it; but what tyme he shall be in nede of
deth, scarcely if the world will for all his love give him five
knyghtes, _scil._ v. boards for a coffin to lay his body inne in the
sepulcre. The second doughter, that loveth her fader as muche as her
selfe, is thy wife or thy children or thy kin, the whiche will haply
find thee in thy nede to the tyme that thou be put in the erthe. And the
third doughter, that loveth thee as muche as thou art worthy, is our
Lord God, whom we love too little. But if we come to him in tyme of oure
nede with a clene hert and mynd, withoute doute we shall have help of
him against the Kyng of Egipt, _scil._ the Devil; and he shall set us in
our owne heritage, _scil._ the kyngdome of heven. _Ad quod nos_ [etc.].


Ancelmus reigned emperour in the cite of Rome, and he wedded to wife
the Kinges doughter of Jerusalem, the which was a faire woman and long
dwelte in his company.

    [B] The story of the three caskets in 'The Merchant of

... Happing in a certaine evening as he walked after his supper in a
fair green, and thought of all the worlde, and especially that he had no
heir, and how that the Kinge of Naples strongly therefore noyed [harmed]
him each year; and so whenne it was night he went to bed and took a
sleep and dreamed this: He saw the firmament in its most clearnesse, and
more clear than it was wont to be, and the moon was more pale; and on a
parte of the moon was a faire-colored bird, and beside her stood two
beasts, the which nourished the bird with their heat and breath. After
this came divers beasts and birds flying, and they sang so sweetly that
the emperour was with the song awaked.

Thenne on the morrow the emperoure had great marvel of his sweven
[dream], and called to him divinours [soothsayers] and lords of all the
empire, and saide to them, "Deere frendes, telleth me what is the
interpretation of my sweven, and I shall reward you; and but if ye do,
ye shall be dead." And then they saide, "Lord, show to us this dream,
and we shall tell thee the interpretation of it." And then the emperour
told them as is saide before, from beginning to ending. And then they
were glad, and with a great gladnesse spake to him and saide, "Sir, this
was a good sweven. For the firmament that thou sawe so clear is the
empire, the which henceforth shall be in prosperity; the pale moon is
the empresse.... The little bird is the faire son whom the empresse
shall bryng forth, when time cometh; the two beasts been riche men and
wise men that shall be obedient to thy childe; the other beasts been
other folke, that never made homage and nowe shall be subject to thy
sone; the birds that sang so sweetly is the empire of Rome, that shall
joy of thy child's birth: and sir, this is the interpretacion of your

When the empresse heard this she was glad enough; and soon she bare a
faire sone, and thereof was made much joy. And when the King of Naples
heard that, he thought to himselfe: "I have longe time holden war
against the emperour, and it may not be but that it will be told to his
son, when that he cometh to his full age, howe that I have fought all my
life against his fader. Yea," thought he, "he is now a child, and it is
good that I procure for peace, that I may have rest of him when he is in
his best and I in my worste."

So he wrote lettres to the emperour for peace to be had; and the
emperour seeing that he did that more for cause of dread than of love,
he sent him worde again, and saide that he would make him surety of
peace, with condition that he would be in his servitude and yield him
homage all his life, each year. Thenne the kyng called his counsel and
asked of them what was best to do; and the lordes of his kyngdom saide
that it was goode to follow the emperour in his will:--"In the first ye
aske of him surety of peace; to that we say thus: Thou hast a doughter
and he hath a son; let matrimony be made between them, and so there
shall be good sikernesse [sureness]; also it is good to make him homage
and yield him rents." Thenne the kyng sent word to the emperour and
saide that he would fulfill his will in all points, and give his
doughter to his son in wife, if that it were pleasing to him.

This answer liked well the emperour. So lettres were made of this
covenaunt; and he made a shippe to be adeyned [prepared], to lead his
doughter with a certain of knightes and ladies to the emperour to be
married with his sone. And whenne they were in the shippe and hadde far
passed from the lande, there rose up a great horrible tempest, and
drowned all that were in the ship, except the maid. Thenne the maide set
all her hope strongly in God; and at the last the tempest ceased; but
then followed strongly a great whale to devoure this maid. And whenne
she saw that, she muche dreaded; and when the night come, the maid,
dreading that the whale would have swallowed the ship, smote fire at a
stone, and had great plenty of fire; and as long as the fire lasted the
whale durst come not near, but about cock's crow the mayde, for great
vexacion that she had with the tempest, fell asleep, and in her sleep
the fire went out; and when it was out the whale came nigh and swallowed
both the ship and the mayde. And when the mayde felt that she was in the
womb of a whale, she smote and made great fire, and grievously wounded
the whale with a little knife, in so much that the whale drew to the
land and died; for that is the kind to draw to the land when he shall

And in this time there was an earl named Pirius, and he walked in his
disport by the sea, and afore him he sawe the whale come toward the
land. He gathered great help and strength of men; and with diverse
instruments they smote the whale in every part of him. And when the
damsell heard the great strokes she cried with an high voice and saide,
"Gentle sirs, have pity on me, for I am the doughter of a king, and a
mayde have been since I was born." Whenne the earl heard this he
marveled greatly, and opened the whale and took oute the damsell. Thenne
the maide tolde by order how that she was a kyng's doughter, and how she
lost her goods in the sea, and how she should be married to the son of
the emperour. And when the earl heard these words he was glad, and helde
the maide with him a great while, till tyme that she was well comforted;
and then he sent her solemnly to the emperour. And whenne he saw her
coming, and heard that she had tribulacions in the sea, he had great
compassion for her in his heart, and saide to her, "Goode damsell, thou
hast suffered muche anger for the love of my son; nevertheless, if that
thou be worthy to have him I shall soon prove."

The emperour had made III. vessells, and the first was of clean [pure]
golde and full of precious stones outwarde, and within full of dead
bones; and it had a superscription in these words: _They that choose me
shall find in me that they deserve._ The second vessell was all of clean
silver, and full of worms: and outwarde it had this superscription:
_They that choose me shall find in me that nature and kind desireth._
And the third vessell was of lead and within was full of precious
stones, and without was set this scripture [inscription]: _They that
choose me shall find in me that God hath disposed._ These III. vessells
tooke the emperour and showed the maide, saying, "Lo! deer damsell, here
are three worthy vessellys, and if thou choose [the] one of these
wherein is profit and right to be chosen, then thou shalt have my son to
husband; and if thou choose that that is not profitable to thee nor to
no other, forsooth, thenne thou shalt not have him."

Whenne the doughter heard this and saw the three vessells, she lifted up
her eyes to God and saide:--"Thou, Lord, that knowest all things, graunt
me thy grace now in the need of this time, _scil._ that I may choose at
this time, wherethrough [through which] I may joy the son of the
emperour and have him to husband." Thenne she beheld the first vessell
that was so subtly [cunningly] made, and read the superscription; and
thenne she thought, "What have I deserved for to have so precious a
vessell? and though it be never so gay without, I know not how foul it
is within;" so she tolde the emperour that she would by no way choose
that. Thenne she looked to the second, that was of silver, and read the
superscription; and thenne she said, "My nature and kind asketh but
delectation of the flesh, forsooth, sir," quoth she; "and I refuse
this." Thenne she looked to the third, that was of lead, and read the
superscription, and then she, saide, "In sooth, God disposed never evil;
forsooth, that which God hath disposed will I take and choose."

And when the emperour sawe that he saide, "Goode damesell, open now that
vessell and see what thou hast found." And when it was opened it was
full of gold and precious stones. And thenne the emperour saide to her
again, "Damesell, thou hast wisely chosen and won my son to thine
husband." So the day was set of their bridal, and great joy was made;
and the son reigned after the decease of the fadir, the which made faire
ende. _Ad quod nos perducat!_ Amen.


Deere frendis, this emperour is the Father of Heaven, the whiche made
man ere he tooke flesh. The empress that conceived was the blessed
Virgin, that conceived by the annunciation of the angel. The firmament
was set in his most clearnesse, _scil._ the world was lighted in all its
parts by the concepcion of the empress Our Lady.... The little bird that
passed from the side of the moon is our Lord Jesus Christ, that was born
at midnight and lapped [wrapped] in clothes and set in the crib. The two
beasts are the oxen and the asses. The beasts that come from far parts
are the herds [shepherds] to whom the angels saide, _Ecce annuncio vobis
gaudium magnum_,--"Lo! I shew you a great joy." The birds that sang so
sweetly are angels of heaven, that sang _Gloria in excelsis Deo_. The
king that held such war is mankind, that was contrary to God while that
it was in power of the Devil; but when our Lord Jesus Christ was born,
then mankind inclined to God, and sent for peace to be had, when he took
baptism and saide that he gave him to God and forsook the Devil. Now the
king gave his doughter to the son of the emperour, _scil._ each one of
us ought to give to God our soul in matrimony; for he is ready to
receive her to his spouse [etc.].


There was a woman some time in the world living that sawe the
wretchedness, the sins, and the unstableness that was in the worlde;
therefore she left all the worlde, and wente into the deserte, and lived
there many years with roots and grasse, and such fruit as she might
gete; and dranke water of the welle-spryng, for othere livelihood had
she none. Atte laste, when she had longe dwelled there in that place,
the Devil in likenesse of a woman, come to this holy woman's place; and
when he come there he knocked at the door. The holy woman come to the
door and asked what she would? She saide, "I pray thee, dame, that thou
wilt harbor me this night; for this day is at an end, and I am afeard
that wild beasts should devour me." The good woman saide, "For God's
love ye are welcome to me; and take such as God sendeth." They sat them
down together, and the good woman sat and read saints' lives and other
good things, till she come to this writing, "Every tree that bringeth
not forth good fruit shall be caste downe, and burnt in helle." "That is
sooth," saide the Fiend, "and therefore I am adread; for if we lead oure
life alone, therefore we shall have little meed, for when we dwelle
alone we profit none but oure self. Therefore it were better, me
thinketh, to go and dwelle among folke, for to give example to man and
woman dwelling in this worlde. Then shall we have much meed." When this
was saide they went to reste. This good woman thought faste in her heart
that she might not sleep nor have no rest, for the thing that the Fiend
had said. Anon this woman arose and saide to the other woman, "This
night might I have no reste for the words that thou saide yester even.
Therefore I wot never what is best to be done for us." Then the Devil
said to her again, "It is best to go forth to profit to othere that
shall be glad of oure coming, for that is much more worth than to live
alone." Then saide the woman to the Fiend, "Go we now forthe on oure
way, for me thinketh it is not evil to essay." And when she should go
oute at the door, she stood still, and said thus, "Now, sweet Lady,
Mother of mercy, and help at all need, now counsell me the beste, and
keep me both body and soule from deadly sin." When she had said these
words with good heart and with good will, oure Lady come and laide her
hande on her breast, and put her in again, and bade her that she should
abide there, and not be led by falsehood of oure Enemy. The Fiend anon
went away that she saw him no more there. Then she was full fain that
she was kept and not beguiled of her enemy. Then she said on this wise
to oure Blessed Lady that is full of mercy and goodnesse, "I thanke thee
nowe with all my heart, specially for this keeping and many more that
thou hast done to me oft since; and good Lady, keep me from
henceforward." Lo! here may men and women see how ready this good Lady
is to help her servants at all their need, when they call to her for
help, that they fall not in sin bestirring of the wicked enemy the false

[Illustration: EDWARD GIBBON.]




The history of Gibbon has been described by John Stuart Mill as the only
eighteenth-century history that has withstood nineteenth-century
criticism; and whatever objections modern critics may bring against some
of its parts, the substantial justice of this verdict will scarcely be
contested. No other history of that century has been so often reprinted,
annotated, and discussed, or remains to the present day a capital
authority on the great period of which it treats. As a composition it
stands unchallenged and conspicuous among the masterpieces of English
literature, while as a history it covers a space of more than twelve
hundred years, including some of the most momentous events in the annals
of mankind.

Gibbon was born at Putney, Surrey, April 27th, 1737. Though his father
was a member of Parliament and the owner of a moderate competence, the
author of this great work was essentially a self-educated man. Weak
health and almost constant illness in early boyhood broke up his school
life,--which appears to have been fitfully and most imperfectly
conducted,--withdrew him from boyish games, but also gave him, as it has
given to many other shy and sedentary boys, an early and inveterate
passion for reading. His reading, however, was very unlike that of an
ordinary boy. He has given a graphic picture of the ardor with which,
when he was only fourteen, he flung himself into serious but unguided
study; which was at first purely desultory, but gradually contracted
into historic lines, and soon concentrated itself mainly on that
Oriental history which he was one day so brilliantly to illuminate.
"Before I was sixteen," he says, "I had exhausted all that could be
learned in English of the Arabs and Persians, the Tartars and Turks; and
the same ardor led me to guess at the French of D'Herbelot, and to
construe the barbarous Latin of Pocock's 'Abulfaragius.'"

His health however gradually improved, and when he entered Magdalen
College, Oxford, it might have been expected that a new period of
intellectual development would have begun; but Oxford had at this time
sunk to the lowest depth of stagnation, and to Gibbon it proved
extremely uncongenial. He complained that he found no guidance, no
stimulus, and no discipline, and that the fourteen months he spent
there were the most idle and unprofitable of his life. They were very
unexpectedly cut short by his conversion to the Roman Catholic faith,
which he formally adopted at the age of sixteen.

This conversion is, on the whole, the most surprising incident of his
calm and uneventful life. The tendencies of the time, both in England
and on the Continent, were in a wholly different direction. The more
spiritual and emotional natures were now passing into the religious
revival of Wesley and Whitefield, which was slowly transforming the
character of the Anglican Church and laying the foundations of the great
Evangelical party. In other quarters the predominant tendencies were
towards unbelief, skepticism, or indifference. Nature seldom formed a
more skeptical intellect than that of Gibbon, and he was utterly without
the spiritual insight, or spiritual cravings, or overmastering
enthusiasms, that produce and explain most religious changes. Nor was he
in the least drawn towards Catholicism on its aesthetic side. He had
never come in contact with its worship or its professors; and to his
unimaginative, unimpassioned, and profoundly intellectual temperament,
no ideal type could be more uncongenial than that of the saint. He had
however from early youth been keenly interested in theological
controversies. He argued, like Lardner and Paley, that miracles are the
Divine attestation of orthodoxy. Middleton convinced him that unless the
Patristic writers were wholly undeserving of credit, the gift of
miracles continued in the Church during the fourth and fifth centuries;
and he was unable to resist the conclusion that during that period many
of the leading doctrines of Catholicism had passed into the Church. The
writings of the Jesuit Parsons, and still more the writings of Bossuet,
completed the work which Middleton had begun. Having arrived at this
conclusion, Gibbon acted on it with characteristic honesty, and was
received into the Church on the 8th of June, 1753.

The English universities were at this time purely Anglican bodies, and
the conversion of Gibbon excluded him from Oxford. His father
judiciously sent him to Lausanne to study with a Swiss pastor named
Pavilliard, with whom he spent five happy and profitable years. The
theological episode was soon terminated. Partly under the influence of
his teacher, but much more through his own reading and reflections, he
soon disentangled the purely intellectual ties that bound him to the
Church of Rome; and on Christmas Day, 1754, he received the sacrament in
the Protestant church of Lausanne.

His residence at Lausanne was very useful to him. He had access to books
in abundance, and his tutor, who was a man of great good sense and
amiability but of no remarkable capacity, very judiciously left his
industrious pupil to pursue his studies in his own way. "Hiving wisdom
with each studious year," as Byron so truly says, he speedily amassed a
store of learning which has seldom been equaled. His insatiable love of
knowledge, his rare capacity for concentrated, accurate, and fruitful
study, guided by a singularly sure and masculine judgment, soon made
him, in the true sense of the word, one of the best scholars of his
time. His learning, however, was not altogether of the kind that may be
found in a great university professor. Though the classical languages
became familiar to him, he never acquired or greatly valued the minute
and finished scholarship which is the boast of the chief English
schools; and careful students have observed that in following Greek
books he must have very largely used the Latin translations. Perhaps in
his capacity of historian this deficiency was rather an advantage than
the reverse. It saved him from the exaggerated value of classical form,
and from the neglect of the more corrupt literatures, to which English
scholars have been often prone. Gibbon always valued books mainly for
what they contained, and he had early learned the lesson which all good
historians should learn: that some of his most valuable materials will
be found in literatures that have no artistic merit; in writers who,
without theory and almost without criticism, simply relate the facts
which they have seen, and express in unsophisticated language the
beliefs and impressions of their time.

Lausanne and not Oxford was the real birthplace of his intellect, and he
returned from it almost a foreigner. French had become as familiar to
him as his own tongue; and his first book, a somewhat superficial essay
on the study of literature, was published in the French language. The
noble contemporary French literature filled him with delight, and he
found on the borders of the Lake of Geneva a highly cultivated society
to which he was soon introduced, and which probably gave him more real
pleasure than any in which he afterwards moved. With Voltaire himself he
had some slight acquaintance, and he at one time looked on him with
profound admiration; though fuller knowledge made him sensible of the
flaws in that splendid intellect. I am here concerned with the life of
Gibbon only in as far as it discloses the influences that contributed to
his master work, and among these influences the foreign element holds a
prominent place. There was little in Gibbon that was distinctively
English; his mind was essentially cosmopolitan. His tastes, ideals, and
modes of thought and feeling turned instinctively to the Continent.

In one respect this foreign type was of great advantage to his work.
Gibbon excels all other English historians in symmetry, proportion,
perspective, and arrangement, which are also the pre-eminent and
characteristic merits of the best French literature. We find in his
writing nothing of the great miscalculations of space that were made by
such writers as Macaulay and Buckle; nothing of the awkward repetitions,
the confused arrangement, the semi-detached and disjointed episodes that
mar the beauty of many other histories of no small merit. Vast and
multifarious as are the subjects which he has treated, his work is a
great whole, admirably woven in all its parts. On the other hand, his
foreign taste may perhaps be seen in his neglect of the Saxon element,
which is the most vigorous and homely element in English prose. Probably
in no other English writer does the Latin element so entirely
predominate. Gibbon never wrote an unmeaning and very seldom an obscure
sentence; he could always paint with sustained and stately eloquence an
illustrious character or a splendid scene: but he was wholly wanting in
the grace of simplicity, and a monotony of glitter and of mannerism is
the great defect of his style. He possessed, to a degree which even
Tacitus and Bacon had hardly surpassed, the supreme literary gift of
condensation, and it gives an admirable force and vividness to his
narrative; but it is sometimes carried to excess. Not unfrequently it is
attained by an excessive allusiveness, and a wide knowledge of the
subject is needed to enable the reader to perceive the full import and
meaning conveyed or hinted at by a mere turn of phrase. But though his
style is artificial and pedantic, and greatly wanting in flexibility, it
has a rare power of clinging to the memory, and it has profoundly
influenced English prose. That excellent judge Cardinal Newman has said
of Gibbon, "I seem to trace his vigorous condensation and peculiar
rhythm at every turn in the literature of the present day."

It is not necessary to relate here in any detail the later events of the
life of Gibbon. There was his enlistment as captain in the Hampshire
militia. It involved two and a half years of active service, extending
from May 1760 to December 1762; and as Gibbon afterwards acknowledged,
if it interrupted his studies and brought him into very uncongenial
duties and societies, it at least greatly enlarged his acquaintance with
English life, and also gave him a knowledge of the rudiments of military
science, which was not without its use to the historian of so many
battles. There was a long journey, lasting for two years and five
months, in France and Italy, which greatly confirmed his foreign
tendencies. In Paris he moved familiarly in some of the best French
literary society; and in Rome, as he tells us in a well-known passage,
while he sat "musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol while the
barefooted friars were singing vespers in the Temple of Jupiter" (which
is now the Church of the Ara Coeli),--on October 15th, 1764,--he first
conceived the idea of writing the history of the decline and fall of

There was also that very curious episode in his life, lasting from 1774
to 1782,--his appearance in the House of Commons. He had declined an
offer of his father's to purchase a seat for him in 1760; and fourteen
years later, when his father was dead, when his own circumstances were
considerably contracted, he received and accepted at the hands of a
family connection the offer of a seat. His Parliamentary career was
entirely undistinguished, and he never even opened his mouth in
debate,--a fact which was not forgotten when very recently another
historian was candidate for a seat in Parliament. In truth, this
somewhat shy and reserved scholar, with his fastidious taste, his
eminently judicial mind, and his highly condensed and elaborate style,
was singularly unfit for the rough work of Parliamentary discussion. No
one can read his books without perceiving that his English was not that
of a debater; and he has candidly admitted that he entered Parliament
without public spirit or serious interest in politics, and that he
valued it chiefly as leading to an office which might restore the
fortune which the extravagance of his father had greatly impaired. His
only real public service was the composition in French of a reply to the
French manifesto which was issued at the beginning of the war of 1778.
He voted steadily and placidly as a Tory, and it is not probable that in
doing so he did any violence to his opinions. Like Hume, he shrank with
an instinctive dislike from all popular agitations, from all turbulence,
passion, exaggeration, and enthusiasm; and a temperate and well-ordered
despotism was evidently his ideal. He showed it in the well-known
passage in which he extols the benevolent despotism of the Antonines as
without exception the happiest period in the history of mankind, and in
the unmixed horror with which he looked upon the French Revolution that
broke up the old landmarks of Europe, For three years he held an office
in the Board of Trade, which added considerably to his income without
adding greatly to his labors, and he supported steadily the American
policy of Lord North and the Coalition ministry of North and Fox; but
the loss of his office and the retirement of North soon drove him from
Parliament, and he shortly after took up his residence at Lausanne.

But before this time a considerable part of his great work had been
accomplished. The first quarto volume of the 'Decline and Fall' appeared
in February 1776. As is usually the case with historical works, it
occupied a much longer period than its successors, and was the fruit of
about ten years of labor. It passed rapidly through three editions,
received the enthusiastic eulogy of Hume and Robertson, and was no doubt
greatly assisted in its circulation by the storm of controversy that
arose about his Fifteenth and Sixteenth Chapters. In April 1781 two more
volumes appeared, and the three concluding volumes were published
together on the 8th of May, 1788, being the fifty-first birthday of the

A work of such magnitude, dealing with so vast a variety of subjects,
was certain to exhibit some flaws. The controversy at first turned
mainly upon its religious tendency. The complete skepticism of the
author, his aversion to the ecclesiastical type which dominated in the
period of which he wrote, and his unalterable conviction that
Christianity, by diverting the strength and enthusiasm of the Empire
from civic into ascetic and ecclesiastical channels, was a main cause of
the downfall of the Empire and of the triumph of barbarism, gave him a
bias which it was impossible to overlook. On no other subject is his
irony more bitter or his contempt so manifestly displayed. Few good
critics will deny that the growth of the ascetic spirit had a large part
in corroding and enfeebling the civic virtues of the Empire; but the
part which it played was that of intensifying a disease that had already
begun, and Gibbon, while exaggerating the amount of the evil, has very
imperfectly described the great services rendered even by a monastic
Church in laying the basis of another civilization and in mitigating the
calamities of the barbarian invasion. The causes he has given of the
spread of Christianity in the Fifteenth Chapter were for the most part
true causes, but there were others of which he was wholly insensible.
The strong moral enthusiasms that transform the character and inspire or
accelerate all great religious changes lay wholly beyond the sphere of
his realizations. His language about the Christian martyrs is the most
repulsive portion of his work; and his comparison of the sufferings
caused by pagan and Christian persecutions is greatly vitiated by the
fact that he only takes account of the number of deaths, and lays no
stress on the profuse employment of atrocious tortures, which was one of
the most distinct features of the pagan persecutions. At the same time,
though Gibbon displays in this field a manifest and a distorting bias,
he never, like some of his French contemporaries, sinks into the mere
partisan, awarding to one side unqualified eulogy and to the other
unqualified contempt. Let the reader who doubts this examine and compare
his masterly portraits of Julian and of Athanasius, and he will perceive
how clearly the great historian could recognize weaknesses in the
characters by which he was most attracted, and elements of true
greatness in those by which he was most repelled. A modern writer, in
treating of the history of religions, would have given a larger space to
comparative religion, and to the gradual, unconscious, and spontaneous
growth of myths in the twilight periods of the human mind. These however
were subjects which were scarcely known in the days of Gibbon, and he
cannot be blamed for not having discussed them.

Another class of objections which has been brought against him is that
he is weak upon the philosophical side, and deals with history mainly
as a mere chronicle of events, and not as a chain of causes and
consequences, a series of problems to be solved, a gradual evolution
which it is the task of the historian to explain. Coleridge, who
detested Gibbon and spoke of him with gross injustice, has put this
objection in the strongest form. He accuses him of having reduced
history to a mere collection of splendid anecdotes; of noting nothing
but what may produce an effect; of skipping from eminence to eminence
without ever taking his readers through the valleys between; of having
never made a single philosophical attempt to fathom the ultimate causes
of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, which is the very subject
of his history. That such charges are grossly exaggerated will be
apparent to any one who will carefully read the Second and Third
Chapters, describing the state and tendencies of the Empire under the
Antonines; or the chapters devoted to the rise and character of the
barbarians, to the spread of Christianity, to the influence of
monasticism, to the jurisprudence of the republic and of the Empire; nor
would it be difficult to collect many acute and profound philosophical
remarks from other portions of the history. Still, it may be admitted
that the philosophical side is not its strongest part. Social and
economical changes are sometimes inadequately examined and explained,
and we often desire fuller information about the manners and life of the
masses of the people. As far as concerns the age of the Antonines, this
want has been amply supplied by the great work of Friedländer.

History, like many other things in our generation, has fallen largely
into the hands of specialists; and it is inevitable that men who have
devoted their lives to a minute examination of short periods should be
able to detect some deficiencies and errors in a writer who traversed a
period of more than twelve hundred years. Many generations of scholars
have arisen since Gibbon; many new sources of knowledge have become
available, and archæology especially has thrown a flood of new light on
some of the subjects he treated. Though his knowledge and his narrative
are on the whole admirably sustained, there are periods which he knew
less well and treated less fully than others. His account of the
Crusades is generally acknowledged to be one of the most conspicuous of
these, and within the last few years there has arisen a school of
historians who protest against the low opinion of the Byzantine Empire
which was held by Gibbon, and was almost universal among scholars till
the present generation. That these writers have brought into relief
certain merits of the Lower Empire which Gibbon had neglected, will not
be denied; but it is perhaps too early to decide whether the reaction
has not, like most reactions, been carried to extravagance, and whether
in its general features the estimate of Gibbon is not nearer the truth
than some of those which are now put forward to replace it.

Much must no doubt be added to the work of Gibbon in order to bring it
up to the level of our present knowledge; but there is no sign that any
single work is likely to supersede it or to render it useless to the
student; nor does its survival depend only or even mainly on its great
literary qualities, which have made it one of the classics of the
language. In some of these qualities Hume was the equal of Gibbon and in
others his superior, and he brought to his history a more penetrating
and philosophical intellect and an equally calm and unenthusiastic
nature; but the study which Hume bestowed on his subject was so
superficial and his statements were often so inaccurate, that his work
is now never quoted as an authority. With Gibbon it is quite otherwise.
His marvelous industry, his almost unrivaled accuracy of detail, his
sincere love of truth, his rare discrimination and insight in weighing
testimony and in judging character, have given him a secure place among
the greatest historians of the world.

His life lasted only fifty-six years; he died in London on January 15th,
1794. With a single exception his history is his only work of real
importance. That exception is his admirable autobiography. Gibbon left
behind him six distinct sketches, which his friend Lord Sheffield put
together with singular skill. It is one of the best specimens of
self-portraiture in the language, reflecting with pellucid clearness
both the life and character, the merits and defects, of its author. He
was certainly neither a hero nor a saint; nor did he possess the moral
and intellectual qualities that dominate in the great conflicts of life,
sway the passions of men, appeal powerfully to the imagination, or
dazzle and impress in social intercourse. He was a little slow, a little
pompous, a little affected and pedantic. In the general type of his mind
and character he bore much more resemblance to Hume, Adam Smith, or
Reynolds, than to Johnson or Burke. A reserved scholar, who was rather
proud of being a man of the world; a confirmed bachelor, much wedded to
his comforts though caring nothing for luxury, he was eminently moderate
in his ambitions, and there was not a trace of passion or enthusiasm in
his nature. Such a man was not likely to inspire any strong devotion.
But his temper was most kindly, equable, and contented; he was a steady
friend, and he appears to have been always liked and honored in the
cultivated and uncontentious society in which he delighted. His life was
not a great one, but it was in all essentials blameless and happy. He
found the work which was most congenial to him. He pursued it with
admirable industry and with brilliant success, and he left behind him a
book which is not likely to be forgotten while the English language

                                         [Signature: W. E. H. Lecky]


Aurelian had no sooner secured the person and provinces of Tetricus,
than he turned his arms against Zenobia, the celebrated queen of Palmyra
and the East. Modern Europe has produced several illustrious women who
have sustained with glory the weight of empire; nor is our own age
destitute of such distinguished characters. But if we except the
doubtful achievements of Semiramis, Zenobia is perhaps the only female
whose superior genius broke through the servile indolence imposed on her
sex by the climate and manners of Asia. She claimed her descent from the
Macedonian kings of Egypt, equaled in beauty her ancestor Cleopatra, and
far surpassed that princess in chastity and valor. Zenobia was esteemed
the most lovely as well as the most heroic of her sex. She was of a dark
complexion (for in speaking of a lady these trifles become important).
Her teeth were of a pearly whiteness, and her large black eyes sparkled
with uncommon fire, tempered by the most attractive sweetness. Her voice
was strong and harmonious. Her manly understanding was strengthened and
adorned by study. She was not ignorant of the Latin tongue, but
possessed in equal perfection the Greek, the Syriac, and the Egyptian
languages. She had drawn up for her own use an epitome of Oriental
history, and familiarly compared the beauties of Homer and Plato under
the tuition of the sublime Longinus.

This accomplished woman gave her hand to Odenathus, who, from a private
station, raised himself to the dominion of the East. She soon became the
friend and companion of a hero. In the intervals of war, Odenathus
passionately delighted in the exercise of hunting; he pursued with ardor
the wild beasts of the desert,--lions, panthers, and bears; and the
ardor of Zenobia in that dangerous amusement was not inferior to his
own. She had inured her constitution to fatigue, disdained the use of a
covered carriage, generally appeared on horseback in a military habit,
and sometimes marched several miles on foot at the head of the troops.
The success of Odenathus was in a great measure ascribed to her
incomparable prudence and fortitude. Their splendid victories over the
Great King, whom they twice pursued as far as the gates of Ctesiphon,
laid the foundations of their united fame and power. The armies which
they commanded, and the provinces which they had saved, acknowledged
not any other sovereigns than their invincible chiefs. The Senate and
people of Rome revered a stranger who had avenged their captive emperor,
and even the insensible son of Valerian accepted Odenathus for his
legitimate colleague.

After a successful expedition against the Gothic plunderers of Asia, the
Palmyrenian prince returned to the city of Emesa in Syria. Invincible in
war, he was there cut off by domestic treason; and his favorite
amusement of hunting was the cause, or at least the occasion, of his
death. His nephew Mæonius presumed to dart his javelin before that of
his uncle; and though admonished of his error, repeated the same
insolence. As a monarch and as a sportsman, Odenathus was provoked, took
away his horse, a mark of ignominy among the barbarians, and chastised
the rash youth by a short confinement. The offense was soon forgot, but
the punishment was remembered; and Mæonius, with a few daring
associates, assassinated his uncle in the midst of a great
entertainment. Herod, the son of Odenathus, though not of Zenobia, a
young man of a soft and effeminate temper, was killed with his father.
But Mæonius obtained only the pleasure of revenge by this bloody deed.
He had scarcely time to assume the title of Augustus, before he was
sacrificed by Zenobia to the memory of her husband.

With the assistance of his most faithful friends, she immediately filled
the vacant throne, and governed with manly counsels Palmyra, Syria, and
the East, above five years. By the death of Odenathus, that authority
was at an end which the Senate had granted him only as a personal
distinction; but his martial widow, disdaining both the Senate and
Gallienus, obliged one of the Roman generals who was sent against her to
retreat into Europe, with the loss of his army and his reputation.
Instead of the little passions which so frequently perplex a female
reign, the steady administration of Zenobia was guided by the most
judicious maxims of policy. If it was expedient to pardon, she could
calm her resentment; if it was necessary to punish, she could impose
silence on the voice of pity. Her strict economy was accused of avarice;
yet on every proper occasion she appeared magnificent and liberal. The
neighboring States of Arabia, Armenia, and Persia dreaded her enmity and
solicited her alliance. To the dominions of Odenathus, which extended
from the Euphrates to the frontiers of Bithynia, his widow added the
inheritance of her ancestors, the populous and fertile kingdom of
Egypt. The Emperor Claudius acknowledged her merit, and was content that
while _he_ pursued the Gothic war, _she_ should assert the dignity of
the Empire in the East. The conduct however of Zenobia was attended with
some ambiguity, nor is it unlikely that she had conceived the design of
erecting an independent and hostile monarchy. She blended with the
popular manners of Roman princes the stately pomp of the courts of Asia,
and exacted from her subjects the same adoration that was paid to the
successors of Cyrus. She bestowed on her three sons a Latin education,
and often showed them to the troops adorned with the imperial purple.
For herself she reserved the diadem, with the splendid but doubtful
title of Queen of the East.

When Aurelian passed over into Asia against an adversary whose sex alone
could render her an object of contempt, his presence restored obedience
to the province of Bithynia, already shaken by the arms and intrigues of
Zenobia. Advancing at the head of his legions, he accepted the
submission of Ancyra, and was admitted into Tyana, after an obstinate
siege, by the help of a perfidious citizen. The generous though fierce
temper of Aurelian abandoned the traitor to the rage of the soldiers: a
superstitious reverence induced him to treat with lenity the countrymen
of Apollonius the philosopher. Antioch was deserted on his approach,
till the Emperor, by his salutary edicts, recalled the fugitives, and
granted a general pardon to all who from necessity rather than choice
had been engaged in the service of the Palmyrenian Queen. The unexpected
mildness of such a conduct reconciled the minds of the Syrians, and as
far as the gates of Emesa the wishes of the people seconded the terror
of his arms.

Zenobia would have ill deserved her reputation, had she indolently
permitted the Emperor of the West to approach within a hundred miles of
her capital. The fate of the East was decided in two great battles, so
similar in almost every circumstance that we can scarcely distinguish
them from each other, except by observing that the first was fought near
Antioch and the second near Emesa. In both the Queen of Palmyra animated
the armies by her presence, and devolved the execution of her orders on
Zabdas, who had already signalized his military talents by the conquest
of Egypt. The numerous forces of Zenobia consisted for the most part of
light archers, and of heavy cavalry clothed in complete steel. The
Moorish and Illyrian horse of Aurelian were unable to sustain the
ponderous charge of their antagonists. They fled in real or affected
disorder, engaged the Palmyrenians in a laborious pursuit, harassed them
by a desultory combat, and at length discomfited this impenetrable but
unwieldy body of cavalry. The light infantry, in the mean time, when
they had exhausted their quivers, remaining without protection against a
closer onset, exposed their naked sides to the swords of the legions.
Aurelian had chosen these veteran troops, who were usually stationed on
the Upper Danube, and whose valor had been severely tried in the
Alemannic war. After the defeat of Emesa, Zenobia found it impossible to
collect a third army. As far as the frontier of Egypt, the nations
subject to her empire had joined the standard of the conqueror, who
detached Probus, the bravest of his generals, to possess himself of the
Egyptian provinces. Palmyra was the last resource of the widow of
Odenathus. She retired within the walls of her capital, made every
preparation for a vigorous resistance, and declared, with the
intrepidity of a heroine, that the last moment of her reign and of her
life should be the same.

Amid the barren deserts of Arabia, a few cultivated spots rise like
islands out of the sandy ocean. Even the name of Tadmor, or Palmyra, by
its signification in the Syriac as well as in the Latin language,
denoted the multitude of palm-trees which afforded shade and verdure to
that temperate region. The air was pure, and the soil, watered by some
invaluable springs, was capable of producing fruits as well as corn.
A place possessed of such singular advantages, and situated at a
convenient distance between the Gulf of Persia and the Mediterranean,[C]
was soon frequented by the caravans which conveyed to the nations of
Europe a considerable part of the rich commodities of India. Palmyra
insensibly increased into an opulent and independent city, and
connecting the Roman and the Parthian monarchies by the mutual benefits
of commerce, was suffered to observe a humble neutrality, till at length
after the victories of Trajan the little republic sunk into the bosom of
Rome, and flourished more than one hundred and fifty years in the
subordinate though honorable rank of a colony. It was during that
peaceful period, if we may judge from a few remaining inscriptions, that
the wealthy Palmyrenians constructed those temples, palaces, and
porticos of Grecian architecture whose ruins, scattered over an extent
of several miles, have deserved the curiosity of our travelers. The
elevation of Odenathus and Zenobia appeared to reflect new splendor on
their country, and Palmyra for a while stood forth the rival of Rome:
but the competition was fatal, and ages of prosperity were sacrificed to
a moment of glory.

    [C] Five hundred and thirty-seven miles from Seleucia, two
    hundred and three from the nearest coast of Syria, according
    to Pliny.

In his march over the sandy desert between Emesa and Palmyra, the
Emperor Aurelian was perpetually harassed by the Arabs; nor could he
always defend his army, and especially his baggage, from those flying
troops of active and daring robbers who watched the moment of surprise
and eluded the slow pursuit of the legions. The siege of Palmyra was an
object far more difficult and important, and the Emperor, who with
incessant vigor pressed the attacks in person, was himself wounded with
a dart. "The Roman people," says Aurelian, in an original letter, "speak
with contempt of the war which I am waging against a woman. They are
ignorant both of the character and of the power of Zenobia. It is
impossible to enumerate her warlike preparations of stones, of arrows,
and of every species of missile weapons. Every part of the walls is
provided with two or three _balistæ_, and artificial fires are thrown
from her military engines. The fear of punishment has armed her with a
desperate courage. Yet still I trust in the protecting deities of Rome,
who have hitherto been favorable to all my undertakings." Doubtful,
however, of the protection of the gods and of the event of the siege,
Aurelian judged it more prudent to offer terms of an advantageous
capitulation: to the Queen, a splendid retreat; to the citizens, their
ancient privileges. His proposals were obstinately rejected, and the
refusal was accompanied with insult.

The firmness of Zenobia was supported by the hope that in a very short
time famine would compel the Roman army to repass the desert, and by the
reasonable expectation that the kings of the East, and particularly the
Persian monarch, would arm in the defense of their most natural ally.
But fortune and the perseverance of Aurelian overcame every obstacle.
The death of Sapor, which happened about this time, distracted the
counsels of Persia, and the inconsiderable succors that attempted to
relieve Palmyra were easily intercepted either by the arms or the
liberality of the Emperor. From every part of Syria a regular succession
of convoys safely arrived in the camp, which was increased by the return
of Probus with his victorious troops from the conquest of Egypt. It was
then that Zenobia resolved to fly. She mounted the fleetest of her
dromedaries, and had already reached the banks of the Euphrates, about
sixty miles from Palmyra, when she was overtaken by the pursuit of
Aurelian's light horse, seized, and brought back a captive to the feet
of the Emperor. Her capital soon afterwards surrendered, and was treated
with unexpected lenity. The arms, horses, and camels, with an immense
treasure of gold, silver, silk, and precious stones, were all delivered
to the conqueror, who, leaving only a garrison of six hundred archers,
returned to Emesa and employed some time in the distribution of rewards
and punishments at the end of so memorable a war, which restored to the
obedience of Rome those provinces that had renounced their allegiance
since the captivity of Valerian.

When the Syrian Queen was brought into the presence of Aurelian he
sternly asked her, How she had presumed to rise in arms against the
emperors of Rome! The answer of Zenobia was a prudent mixture of respect
and firmness: "Because I disdained to consider as Roman emperors an
Aureolus or a Gallienus. You alone I acknowledge as my conqueror and my
sovereign." But as female fortitude is commonly artificial, so it is
seldom steady or consistent. The courage of Zenobia deserted her in the
hour of trial; she trembled at the angry clamors of the soldiers, who
called aloud for her immediate execution, forgot the generous despair of
Cleopatra which she had proposed as her model, and ignominiously
purchased life by the sacrifice of her fame and her friends. It was to
their counsels, which governed the weakness of her sex, that she imputed
the guilt of her obstinate resistance; it was on their heads that she
directed the vengeance of the cruel Aurelian. The fame of Longinus, who
was included among the numerous and perhaps innocent victims of her
fear, will survive that of the Queen who betrayed or the tyrant who
condemned him. Genius and learning were incapable of moving a fierce
unlettered soldier, but they had served to elevate and harmonize the
soul of Longinus. Without uttering a complaint he calmly followed the
executioner, pitying his unhappy mistress, and bestowing comfort on his
afflicted friends....

But, however in the treatment of his unfortunate rivals Aurelian might
indulge his pride, he behaved towards them with a generous clemency
which was seldom exercised by the ancient conquerors. Princes who
without success had defended their throne or freedom, were frequently
strangled in prison as soon as the triumphal pomp ascended the Capitol.
These usurpers, whom their defeat had convicted of the crime of treason,
were permitted to spend their lives in affluence and honorable repose.
The Emperor presented Zenobia with an elegant villa at Tibur, or Tivoli,
about twenty miles from the capital; the Syrian queen insensibly sunk
into a Roman matron, her daughters married into noble families, and her
race was not yet extinct in the fifth century.


We are at present qualified to view the advantageous position of
Constantinople, which appears to have been formed by nature for the
centre and capital of a great monarchy. Situated in the forty-first
degree of latitude, the imperial city commanded from her seven hills the
opposite shores of Europe and Asia; the climate was healthy and
temperate, the soil fertile, the harbor secure and capacious; and the
approach on the side of the continent was of small extent and easy
defense. The Bosphorus and the Hellespont may be considered as the two
gates of Constantinople; and the prince who possessed those important
passages could always shut them against a naval enemy and open them to
the fleets of commerce. The preservation of the eastern provinces may in
some degree be ascribed to the policy of Constantine, as the barbarians
of the Euxine, who in the preceding age had poured their armaments into
the heart of the Mediterranean, soon desisted from the exercise of
piracy, and despaired of forcing this insurmountable barrier. When the
gates of the Hellespont and Bosphorus were shut, the capital still
enjoyed within their spacious inclosure every production which could
supply the wants or gratify the luxury of its numerous inhabitants. The
sea-coasts of Thrace and Bithynia, which languish under the weight of
Turkish oppression, still exhibit a rich prospect of vineyards, of
gardens, and of plentiful harvests; and the Propontis has ever been
renowned for an inexhaustible store of the most exquisite fish, that are
taken in their stated seasons without skill and almost without labor.
But when the passages of the straits were thrown open for trade, they
alternately admitted the natural and artificial riches of the North and
South, of the Euxine and of the Mediterranean. Whatever rude commodities
were collected in the forests of Germany and Scythia, as far as the
sources of the Tanais and the Borysthenes; whatsoever was manufactured
by the skill of Europe or Asia; the corn of Egypt, and the gems and
spices of the farthest India, were brought by the varying winds into the
port of Constantinople, which for many ages attracted the commerce of
the ancient world.

The prospect of beauty, of safety, and of wealth, united in a single
spot, was sufficient to justify the choice of Constantine. But as some
decent mixture of prodigy and fable has in every age been supposed to
reflect a becoming majesty on the origin of great cities, the Emperor
was desirous of ascribing his resolution, not so much to the uncertain
counsels of human policy as to the infallible and eternal decrees of
Divine wisdom. In one of his laws he has been careful to instruct
posterity that in obedience to the commands of God he laid the
everlasting foundations of Constantinople: and though he has not
condescended to relate in what manner the celestial inspiration was
communicated to his mind, the defect of his modest silence has been
liberally supplied by the ingenuity of succeeding writers, who describe
the nocturnal vision which appeared to the fancy of Constantine as he
slept within the walls of Byzantium. The tutelar genius of the city, a
venerable matron sinking under the weight of years and infirmities, was
suddenly transformed into a blooming maid, whom his own hands adorned
with all the symbols of imperial greatness. The monarch awoke,
interpreted the auspicious omen, and obeyed without hesitation the will
of Heaven. The day which gave birth to a city or colony was celebrated
by the Romans with such ceremonies as had been ordained by a generous
superstition; and though Constantine might omit some rites which savored
too strongly of their pagan origin, yet he was anxious to leave a deep
impression of hope and respect on the minds of the spectators. On foot,
with a lance in his hand, the Emperor himself led the solemn procession,
and directed the line which was traced as the boundary of the destined
capital; till the growing circumference was observed with astonishment
by the assistants, who at length ventured to observe that he had already
exceeded the most ample measure of a great city. "I shall still
advance," replied Constantine, "till HE, the invisible guide who marches
before me, thinks proper to stop." Without presuming to investigate the
nature or motives of this extraordinary conductor, we shall content
ourselves with the more humble task of describing the extent and limits
of Constantinople.

In the actual state of the city, the palace and gardens of the Seraglio
occupy the eastern promontory, the first of the seven hills, and cover
about one hundred and fifty acres of our own measure. The seat of
Turkish jealousy and despotism is erected on the foundations of a
Grecian republic; but it may be supposed that the Byzantines were
tempted by the conveniency of the harbor to extend their habitations on
that side beyond the modern limits of the Seraglio. The new walls of
Constantine stretched from the port to the Propontis across the enlarged
breadth of the triangle, at a distance of fifteen stadia from the
ancient fortification; and with the city of Byzantium they inclosed five
of the seven hills which, to the eyes of those who approach
Constantinople, appear to rise above each other in beautiful order.
About a century after the death of the founder, the new buildings,
extending on one side up the harbor and on the other along the
Propontis, already covered the narrow ridge of the sixth and the broad
summit of the seventh hill. The necessity of protecting those suburbs
from the incessant inroads of the barbarians engaged the younger
Theodosius to surround his capital with an adequate and permanent
inclosure of walls. From the eastern promontory to the Golden Gate, the
extreme length of Constantinople was about three Roman miles; the
circumference measured between ten and eleven, and the surface might be
computed as equal to about two thousand English acres. It is impossible
to justify the vain and credulous exaggerations of modern travelers, who
have sometimes stretched the limits of Constantinople over the adjacent
villages of the European, and even of the Asiatic coast. But the suburbs
of Pera and Galata, though situate beyond the harbor, may deserve to be
considered as a part of the city; and this addition may perhaps
authorize the measure of a Byzantine historian, who assigns sixteen
Greek (about fourteen Roman) miles for the circumference of his native
city. Such an extent may not seem unworthy of an imperial residence. Yet
Constantinople must yield to Babylon and Thebes, to ancient Rome, to
London, and even to Paris.

The master of the Roman world, who aspired to erect an eternal monument
of the glories of his reign, could employ in the prosecution of that
great work the wealth, the labor, and all that yet remained of the
genius of obedient millions. Some estimate may be formed of the expense
bestowed with imperial liberality on the foundation of Constantinople,
by the allowance of about two millions five hundred thousand pounds for
the construction of the walls, the porticos, and the aqueducts. The
forests that overshadowed the shores of the Euxine, and the celebrated
quarries of white marble in the little island of Proconnesus, supplied
an inexhaustible stock of materials, ready to be conveyed, by the
convenience of a short water carriage, to the harbor of Byzantium. A
multitude of laborers and artificers urged the conclusion of the work
with incessant toil; but the impatience of Constantine soon discovered
that, in the decline of the arts, the skill as well as numbers of his
architects bore a very unequal proportion to the greatness of his
designs. The magistrates of the most distant provinces were therefore
directed to institute schools, to appoint professors, and by the hopes
of rewards and privileges to engage in the study and practice of
architecture a sufficient number of ingenious youths who had received a
liberal education. The buildings of the new city were executed by such
artificers as the reign of Constantine could afford; but they were
decorated by the hands of the most celebrated masters of the age of
Pericles and Alexander. To revive the genius of Phidias and Lysippus
surpassed indeed the power of a Roman emperor; but the immortal
productions which they had bequeathed to posterity were exposed without
defense to the rapacious vanity of a despot. By his commands the cities
of Greece and Asia were despoiled of their most valuable ornaments. The
trophies of memorable wars, the objects of religious veneration, the
most finished statues of the gods and heroes, of the sages and poets of
ancient times, contributed to the splendid triumph of Constantinople,
and gave occasion to the remark of the historian Cedrenus, who observes
with some enthusiasm that nothing seemed wanting except the souls of the
illustrious men whom these admirable monuments were intended to
represent. But it is not in the city of Constantine, nor in the
declining period of an empire, when the human mind was depressed by
civil and religious slavery, that we should seek for the souls of Homer
and of Demosthenes.

During the siege of Byzantium, the conqueror had pitched his tent on the
commanding eminence of the second hill. To perpetuate the memory of his
success, he chose the same advantageous position for the principal
Forum, which appears to have been of a circular or rather elliptical
form. The two opposite entrances formed triumphal arches; the porticos
which inclosed it on every side were filled with statues; and the
centre of the Forum was occupied by a lofty column, of which a mutilated
fragment is now degraded by the appellation of the _burnt pillar_. This
column was erected on a pedestal of white marble twenty feet high, and
was composed of ten pieces of porphyry, each of which measured about ten
feet in height and about thirty-three in circumference. On the summit of
the pillar, above one hundred and twenty feet from the ground, stood the
colossal statue of Apollo. It was of bronze, had been transported either
from Athens or from a town of Phrygia, and was supposed to be the work
of Phidias. The artist had represented the god of day, or as it was
afterwards interpreted, the Emperor Constantine himself with a sceptre
in his right hand, the globe of the world in his left, and a crown of
rays glittering on his head. The Circus, or Hippodrome, was a stately
building about four hundred paces in length and one hundred in breadth.
The space between the two _metæ_ or goals was filled with statues and
obelisks; and we may still remark a very singular fragment of
antiquity--the bodies of three serpents twisted into one pillar of
brass. Their triple heads had once supported the golden tripod which,
after the defeat of Xerxes, was consecrated in the temple of Delphi by
the victorious Greeks. The beauty of the Hippodrome has been long since
defaced by the rude hands of the Turkish conquerors; but under the
similar appellation of Atmeidan, it still serves as a place of exercise
for their horses. From the throne whence the Emperor viewed the
Circensian games, a winding staircase descended to the palace: a
magnificent edifice which scarcely yielded to the residence of Rome
itself, and which, together with the dependent courts, gardens, and
porticos, covered a considerable extent of ground upon the banks of
the Propontis between the Hippodrome and the church of St. Sophia.
We might likewise celebrate the baths, which still retained the name
of Zeuxippus, after they had been enriched by the munificence of
Constantine with lofty columns, various marbles, and above threescore
statues of bronze. But we should deviate from the design of this history
if we attempted minutely to describe the different buildings or quarters
of the city. It may be sufficient to observe that whatever could adorn
the dignity of a great capital, or contribute to the benefit or pleasure
of its numerous inhabitants, was contained within the walls of
Constantinople. A particular description, composed about a century after
its foundation, enumerates a capitol or school of learning, a circus,
two theatres, eight public and one hundred and fifty-three private
baths, fifty-two porticos, five granaries, eight aqueducts or reservoirs
of water, four spacious halls for the meetings of the senate or courts
of justice, fourteen churches, fourteen palaces, and four thousand three
hundred and eighty-eight houses which for their size or beauty deserved
to be distinguished from the multitude of plebeian habitations.

The populousness of his favored city was the next and most serious
object of the attention of its founder. In the dark ages which succeeded
the translation of the empire, the remote and the immediate consequences
of that memorable event were strangely confounded by the vanity of the
Greeks and the credulity of the Latins. It was asserted and believed
that all the noble families of Rome, the Senate, and the equestrian
order, with their innumerable attendants, had followed their Emperor to
the banks of the Propontis; that a spurious race of strangers and
plebeians was left to possess the solitude of the ancient capital; and
that the lands of Italy, long since converted into gardens, were at once
deprived of cultivation and inhabitants. In the course of this history
such exaggerations will be reduced to their just value: yet, since the
growth of Constantinople cannot be ascribed to the general increase of
mankind and of industry, it must be admitted that this artificial colony
was raised at the expense of the ancient cities of the empire. Many
opulent senators of Rome and of the eastern provinces were probably
invited by Constantine to adopt for their country the fortunate spot
which he had chosen for his own residence. The invitations of a master
are scarcely to be distinguished from commands; and the liberality of
the Emperor obtained a ready and cheerful obedience. He bestowed on his
favorites the palaces which he had built in the several quarters of the
city, assigned them lands and pensions for the support of their dignity,
and alienated the demesnes of Pontus and Asia to grant hereditary
estates by the easy tenure of maintaining a house in the capital. But
these encouragements and obligations soon became superfluous, and were
gradually abolished. Wherever the seat of government is fixed, a
considerable part of the public revenue will be expended by the prince
himself, by his ministers, by the officers of justice, and by the
domestics of the palace. The most wealthy of the provincials will be
attracted by the powerful motives of interest and duty, of amusement
and curiosity. A third and more numerous class of inhabitants will
insensibly be formed, of servants, of artificers, and of merchants, who
derive their subsistence from their own labor and from the wants or
luxury of the superior ranks. In less than a century Constantinople
disputed with Rome itself the pre-eminence of riches and numbers. New
piles of buildings, crowded together with too little regard to health or
convenience, scarcely allowed the intervals of narrow streets for the
perpetual throng of men, of horses, and of carriages. The allotted space
of ground was insufficient to contain the increasing people; and the
additional foundations, which on either side were advanced into the sea,
might alone have composed a very considerable city.

The frequent and regular distributions of wine and oil, of corn or
bread, of money or provisions, had almost exempted the poorer citizens
of Rome from the necessity of labor. The magnificence of the first
Cæsars was in some measure imitated by the founder of Constantinople;
but his liberality, however it might excite the applause of the people,
has incurred the censure of posterity. A nation of legislators and
conquerors might assert their claim to the harvests of Africa, which had
been purchased with their blood; and it was artfully contrived by
Augustus that in the enjoyment of plenty the Romans should lose the
memory of freedom. But the prodigality of Constantine could not be
excused by any consideration either of public or private interest; and
the annual tribute of corn imposed upon Egypt for the benefit of his new
capital was applied to feed a lazy and insolent populace at the expense
of the husbandmen of an industrious province. Some other regulations of
this Emperor are less liable to blame, but they are less deserving of
notice. He divided Constantinople into fourteen regions or quarters,
dignified the public council with the appellation of senate,
communicated to the citizens the privileges of Italy, and bestowed on
the rising city the title of colony, the first and most favored daughter
of ancient Rome. The venerable parent still maintained the legal and
acknowledged supremacy which was due to her age, her dignity, and to the
remembrance of her former greatness.

As Constantine urged the progress of the work with the impatience of a
lover, the walls, the porticos, and the principal edifices were
completed in a few years, or according to another account, in a few
months; but this extraordinary diligence should excite the less
admiration, since many of the buildings were finished in so hasty and
imperfect a manner that under the succeeding reign they were preserved
with difficulty from impending ruin. But while they displayed the vigor
and freshness of youth, the founder prepared to celebrate the dedication
of his city. The games and largesses which crowned the pomp of this
memorable festival may easily be supposed; but there is one circumstance
of a more singular and permanent nature which ought not entirely to be
overlooked. As often as the birthday of the city returned, the statue of
Constantine, framed by his order, of gilt wood, and bearing in its right
hand a small image of the genius of the place, was erected on a
triumphal car. The guards, carrying white tapers and clothed in their
richest apparel, accompanied the solemn procession as it moved through
the Hippodrome. When it was opposite to the throne of the reigning
emperor, he rose from his seat, and with grateful reverence adored the
memory of his predecessor. At the festival of the dedication an edict,
engraved on a column of marble, bestowed the title of SECOND or NEW ROME
on the city of Constantine. But the name of Constantinople has prevailed
over that honorable epithet, and after the revolution of fourteen
centuries still perpetuates the fame of its author.


The character of the prince who removed the seat of empire, and
introduced such important changes into the civil and religious
constitution of his country, has fixed the attention and divided the
opinions of mankind. By the grateful zeal of the Christians, the
deliverer of the Church has been decorated with every attribute of a
hero and even of a saint, while the discontent of the vanquished party
has compared Constantine to the most abhorred of those tyrants who by
their vice and weakness dishonored the imperial purple. The same
passions have in some degree been perpetuated to succeeding generations,
and the character of Constantine is considered, even in the present age,
as an object either of satire or of panegyric. By the impartial union of
those defects which are confessed by his warmest admirers, and of those
virtues which are acknowledged by his most implacable enemies, we might
hope to delineate a just portrait of that extraordinary man which the
truth and candor of history should adopt without a blush. But it would
soon appear, that the vain attempt to blend such discordant colors and
to reconcile such inconsistent qualities must produce a figure monstrous
rather than human, unless it is viewed in its proper and distinct
lights, by a careful separation of the different periods of the reign of

The person as well as the mind of Constantine had been enriched by
nature with her choicest endowments. His stature was lofty, his
countenance majestic, his deportment graceful, his strength and activity
were displayed in every manly exercise, and from his earliest youth to a
very advanced season of life he preserved the vigor of his constitution
by a strict adherence to the domestic virtues of chastity and
temperance. He delighted in the social intercourse of familiar
conversation; and though he might sometimes indulge his disposition to
raillery with less reserve than was required by the severe dignity of
his station, the courtesy and liberality of his manners gained the
hearts of all who approached him. The sincerity of his friendship has
been suspected; yet he showed on some occasions that he was not
incapable of a warm and lasting attachment. The disadvantage of an
illiterate education had not prevented him from forming a just estimate
of the value of learning; and the arts and sciences derived some
encouragement from the munificent protection of Constantine. In the
dispatch of business, his diligence was indefatigable; and the active
powers of his mind were almost continually exercised in reading,
writing, or meditating, in giving audience to ambassadors, and in
examining the complaints of his subjects. Even those who censured the
propriety of his measures were compelled to acknowledge that he
possessed magnanimity to conceive and patience to execute the most
arduous designs, without being checked either by the prejudices of
education or by the clamors of the multitude. In the field he infused
his own intrepid spirit into the troops, whom he conducted with the
talents of a consummate general; and to his abilities, rather than to
his fortune, we may ascribe the signal victories which he obtained over
the foreign and domestic foes of the republic. He loved glory as the
reward, perhaps as the motive, of his labors. The boundless ambition
which, from the moment of his accepting the purple at York, appears as
the ruling passion of his soul, may be justified by the dangers of his
own situation, by the character of his rivals, by the consciousness of
superior merit, and by the prospect that his success would enable him to
restore peace and order to the distracted empire. In his civil wars
against Maxentius and Licinius he had engaged on his side the
inclinations of the people, who compared the undissembled vices of those
tyrants with the spirit of wisdom and justice which seemed to direct the
general tenor of the administration of Constantine.

Had Constantine fallen on the banks of the Tiber, or even in the plains
of Hadrianople, such is the character which, with a few exceptions, he
might have transmitted to posterity. But the conclusion of his reign
(according to the moderate and indeed tender sentence of a writer of the
same age) degraded him from the rank which he had acquired among the
most deserving of the Roman princes. In the life of Augustus we behold
the tyrant of the republic converted, almost by imperceptible degrees,
into the father of his country and of human kind. In that of Constantine
we may contemplate a hero who had so long inspired his subjects with
love and his enemies with terror, degenerating into a cruel and
dissolute monarch, corrupted by his fortune or raised by conquest above
the necessity of dissimulation. The general peace which he maintained
during the last fourteen years of his reign was a period of apparent
splendor rather than of real prosperity; and the old age of Constantine
was disgraced by the opposite yet reconcilable vices of rapaciousness
and prodigality. The accumulated treasures found in the palaces of
Maxentius and Licinius were lavishly consumed; the various innovations
introduced by the conqueror were attended with an increasing expense;
the cost of his buildings, his court, and his festivals required an
immediate and plentiful supply; and the oppression of the people was the
only fund which could support the magnificence of the sovereign. His
unworthy favorites, enriched by the boundless liberality of their
master, usurped with impunity the privilege of rapine and corruption. A
secret but universal decay was felt in every part of the public
administration; and the Emperor himself, though he still retained the
obedience, gradually lost the esteem of his subjects. The dress and
manners which towards the decline of life he chose to affect, served
only to degrade him in the eyes of mankind. The Asiatic pomp which had
been adopted by the pride of Diocletian assumed an air of softness and
effeminacy in the person of Constantine. He is represented with false
hair of various colors, laboriously arranged by the skillful artists of
the times; a diadem of a new and more expensive fashion; a profusion of
gems and pearls, of collars and bracelets, and a variegated flowing robe
of silk, most curiously embroidered with flowers of gold. In such
apparel, scarcely to be excused by the youth and folly of Elagabulus, we
are at a loss to discover the wisdom of an aged monarch and the
simplicity of a Roman veteran. A mind thus relaxed by prosperity and
indulgence was incapable of rising to that magnanimity which disdains
suspicion and dares to forgive. The deaths of Maximian and Licinius may
perhaps be justified by the maxims of policy as they are taught in the
schools of tyrants; but an impartial narrative of the executions, or
rather murders, which sullied the declining age of Constantine, will
suggest to our most candid thoughts the idea of a prince who could
sacrifice without reluctance the laws of justice and the feelings of
nature, to the dictates either of his passions or of his interest.

The same fortune which so invariably followed the standard of
Constantine seemed to secure the hopes and comforts of his domestic
life. Those among his predecessors who had enjoyed the longest and most
prosperous reigns, Augustus, Trajan, and Diocletian, had been
disappointed of posterity; and the frequent revolutions had never
allowed sufficient time for any imperial family to grow up and multiply
under the shade of the purple. But the royalty of the Flavian line,
which had been first ennobled by the Gothic Claudius, descended through
several generations; and Constantine himself derived from his royal
father the hereditary honors which he transmitted to his children. The
Emperor had been twice married. Minervina, the obscure but lawful object
of his youthful attachment, had left him only one son, who was called
Crispus. By Fausta, the daughter of Maximian, he had three daughters,
and three sons known by the kindred names of Constantine, Constantius,
and Constans. The unambitious brothers of the great Constantine, Julius
Constantius, Dalmatius, and Hannibalianus, were permitted to enjoy the
most honorable rank and the most affluent fortune that could be
consistent with a private station. The youngest of the three lived
without a name and died without posterity. His two elder brothers
obtained in marriage the daughters of wealthy senators, and propagated
new branches of the imperial race. Gallus and Julian afterwards became
the most illustrious of the children of Julius Constantius the
_Patrician_. The two sons of Dalmatius, who had been decorated with the
vain title of _censor_, were named Dalmatius and Hannibalianus. The two
sisters of the great Constantine, Anastasia and Eutropia, were bestowed
on Optatus and Nepotianus, two senators of noble birth and of consular
dignity. His third sister, Constantia, was distinguished by her
pre-eminence of greatness and of misery. She remained the widow of the
vanquished Licinius; and it was by her entreaties that an innocent boy,
the offspring of their marriage, preserved for some time his life, the
title of Caesar, and a precarious hope of the succession. Besides the
females and the allies of the Flavian house, ten or twelve males to whom
the language of modern courts would apply the title of princes of the
blood, seemed, according to the order of their birth, to be destined
either to inherit or to support the throne of Constantine. But in less
than thirty years this numerous and increasing family was reduced to the
persons of Constantius and Julian, who alone had survived a series of
crimes and calamities such as the tragic poets have deplored in the
devoted lines of Pelops and of Cadmus.


While Julian struggled with the almost insuperable difficulties of his
situation, the silent hours of the night were still devoted to study and
contemplation. Whenever he closed his eyes in short and interrupted
slumbers, his mind was agitated with painful anxiety; nor can it be
thought surprising that the Genius of the Empire should once more appear
before him, covering with a funeral veil his head and his horn of
abundance, and slowly retiring from the imperial tent. The monarch
started from his couch, and stepping forth to refresh his wearied
spirits with the coolness of the midnight air, he beheld a fiery meteor
which shot athwart the sky and suddenly vanished. Julian was convinced
that he had seen the menacing countenance of the god of war; the council
which he summoned of Tuscan Haruspices unanimously pronounced that he
should abstain from action; but on this occasion necessity and reason
were more prevalent than superstition, and the trumpets sounded at the
break of day. The army marched through a hilly country, and the hills
had been secretly occupied by the Persians. Julian led the van with the
skill and attention of a consummate general; he was alarmed by the
intelligence that his rear was suddenly attacked. The heat of the
weather had tempted him to lay aside his cuirass; but he snatched a
shield from one of his attendants and hastened with a sufficient
reinforcement to the relief of the rear guard. A similar danger recalled
the intrepid prince to the defense of the front; and as he galloped
between the columns, the centre of the left was attacked and almost
overpowered by a furious charge of the Persian cavalry and elephants.
This huge body was soon defeated by the well-timed evolution of the
light infantry, who aimed their weapons, with dexterity and effect,
against the backs of the horsemen and the legs of the elephants. The
Barbarians fled; and Julian, who was foremost in every danger, animated
the pursuit with his voice and gestures. His trembling guards, scattered
and oppressed by the disorderly throng of friends and enemies, reminded
their fearless sovereign that he was without armor, and conjured him to
decline the fall of the impending ruin. As they exclaimed, a cloud of
darts and arrows was discharged from the flying squadrons; and a
javelin, after razing the skin of his arm, transpierced the ribs and
fixed in the inferior part of the liver. Julian attempted to draw the
deadly weapon from his side, but his fingers were cut by the sharpness
of the steel, and he fell senseless from his horse. His guards flew to
his relief, and the wounded Emperor was gently raised from the ground
and conveyed out of the tumult of the battle into an adjacent tent. The
report of the melancholy event passed from rank to rank; but the grief
of the Romans inspired them with invincible valor and the desire of
revenge. The bloody and obstinate conflict was maintained by the two
armies till they were separated by the total darkness of the night. The
Persians derived some honor from the advantage which they obtained
against the left wing, where Anatolius, master of the offices, was
slain, and the præfect Sallust very narrowly escaped. But the event of
the day was adverse to the Barbarians. They abandoned the field, their
two generals Meranes and Nohordates, fifty nobles or satraps, and a
multitude of their bravest soldiers; and the success of the Romans, if
Julian had survived, might have been improved into a decisive and useful

The first words that Julian uttered after his recovery from the fainting
fit into which he had been thrown by loss of blood, were expressive of
his martial spirit. He called for his horse and arms, and was impatient
to rush into the battle. His remaining strength was exhausted by the
painful effort, and the surgeons who examined his wound discovered the
symptoms of approaching death. He employed the awful moments with the
firm temper of a hero and a sage; the philosophers who had accompanied
him in this fatal expedition compared the tent of Julian with the prison
of Socrates; and the spectators whom duty or friendship or curiosity had
assembled round his couch listened with respectful grief to the funeral
oration of their dying emperor:--"Friends and fellow soldiers, the
seasonable period of my departure is now arrived, and I discharge, with
the cheerfulness of a ready debtor, the demands of nature. I have
learned from philosophy how much the soul is more excellent than the
body; and that the separation of the nobler substance should be the
subject of joy rather than of affliction. I have learned from religion
that an earthly death has often been the reward of piety; and I accept,
as a favor of the gods, the mortal stroke that secures me from the
danger of disgracing a character which has hitherto been supported by
virtue and fortitude. I die without remorse, as I have lived without
guilt. I am pleased to reflect on the innocence of my private life; and
I can affirm with confidence that the supreme authority, that emanation
of the Divine power, has been preserved in my hands pure and immaculate.
Detesting the corrupt and destructive maxims of despotism, I have
considered the happiness of the people as the end of government.
Submitting my actions to the laws of prudence, of justice, and of
moderation, I have trusted the event to the care of Providence. Peace
was the object of my counsels as long as peace was consistent with the
public welfare; but when the imperious voice of my country summoned me
to arms, I exposed my person to the dangers of war with the clear
foreknowledge (which I had acquired from the art of divination) that I
was destined to fall by the sword. I now offer my tribute of gratitude
to the Eternal Being, who has not suffered me to perish by the cruelty
of a tyrant, by the secret dagger of conspiracy, or by the slow tortures
of lingering disease. He has given me, in the midst of an honorable
career, a splendid and glorious departure from this world; and I hold it
equally absurd, equally base, to solicit or to decline the stroke of
fate. Thus much I have attempted to say; but my strength fails me, and I
feel the approach of death. I shall cautiously refrain from any word
that may tend to influence your suffrages in the election of an emperor.
My choice might be imprudent or injudicious; and if it should not be
ratified by the consent of the army, it might be fatal to the person
whom I should recommend. I shall only, as a good citizen, express my
hopes that the Romans may be blessed with the government of a virtuous
sovereign." After this discourse, which Julian pronounced in a firm and
gentle tone of voice, he distributed by a military testament the remains
of his private fortune; and making some inquiry why Anatolius was not
present, he understood from the answer of Sallust that Anatolius was
killed, and bewailed with amiable inconsistency the loss of his friend.
At the same time he reproved the immoderate grief of the spectators, and
conjured them not to disgrace by unmanly tears the fate of a prince who
in a few moments would be united with heaven and with the stars. The
spectators were silent; and Julian entered into a metaphysical argument
with the philosophers Priscus and Maximus on the nature of the soul. The
efforts which he made, of mind as well as body, most probably hastened
his death. His wound began to bleed with fresh violence; his respiration
was embarrassed by the swelling of the veins; he called for a draught of
cold water, and as soon as he had drunk it expired without pain, about
the hour of midnight. Such was the end of that extraordinary man, in the
thirty-second year of his age, after a reign of one year and about eight
months from the death of Constantius. In his last moments he displayed,
perhaps with some ostentation, the love of virtue and of fame which had
been the ruling passions of his life.


At the hour of midnight the Salarian gate was silently opened, and the
inhabitants were awakened by the tremendous sound of the Gothic trumpet.
Eleven hundred and sixty-three years after the foundation of Rome, the
imperial city which had subdued and civilized so considerable a part of
mankind was delivered to the licentious fury of the tribes of Germany
and Scythia.

The proclamation of Alaric, when he forced his entrance into a
vanquished city, discovered however some regard for the laws of
humanity and religion. He encouraged his troops boldly to seize the
rewards of valor, and to enrich themselves with the spoils of a wealthy
and effeminate people; but he exhorted them at the same time to spare
the lives of the unresisting citizens, and to respect the churches of
the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul as holy and inviolable sanctuaries.
Amidst the horrors of a nocturnal tumult, several of the Christian Goths
displayed the fervor of a recent conversion; and some instances of their
uncommon piety and moderation are related, and perhaps adorned, by the
zeal of ecclesiastical writers. While the Barbarians roamed through the
city in quest of prey, the humble dwelling of an aged virgin who had
devoted her life to the service of the altar was forced open by one of
the powerful Goths. He immediately demanded, though in civil language,
all the gold and silver in her possession; and was astonished at the
readiness with which she conducted him to a splendid hoard of massy
plate of the richest materials and the most curious workmanship. The
Barbarian viewed with wonder and delight this valuable acquisition, till
he was interrupted by a serious admonition addressed to him in the
following words: "These," said she, "are the consecrated vessels
belonging to St. Peter; if you presume to touch them, the sacrilegious
deed will remain on your conscience. For my part, I dare not keep what I
am unable to defend." The Gothic captain, struck with reverential awe,
dispatched a messenger to inform the King of the treasure which he had
discovered, and received a peremptory order from Alaric that all the
consecrated plate and ornaments should be transported, without damage or
delay, to the church of the Apostle. From the extremity, perhaps, of the
Quirinal hill, to the distant quarter of the Vatican, a numerous
detachment of Goths, marching in order of battle through the principal
streets, protected with glittering arms the long train of their devout
companions, who bore aloft on their heads the sacred vessels of gold and
silver; and the martial shouts of the Barbarians were mingled with the
sound of religious psalmody. From all the adjacent houses a crowd of
Christians hastened to join this edifying procession; and a multitude of
fugitives, without distinction of age, or rank, or even of sect, had the
good fortune to escape to the secure and hospitable sanctuary of the
Vatican. The learned work 'Concerning the City of God' was professedly
composed by St. Augustine to justify the ways of Providence in the
destruction of the Roman greatness. He celebrates with peculiar
satisfaction this memorable triumph of Christ, and insults his
adversaries by challenging them to produce some similar example of a
town taken by storm, in which the fabulous gods of antiquity had been
able to protect either themselves or their deluded votaries.

In the sack of Rome, some rare and extraordinary examples of Barbarian
virtue have been deservedly applauded. But the holy precincts of the
Vatican and the Apostolic churches could receive a very small proportion
of the Roman people; many thousand warriors, more especially of the Huns
who served under the standard of Alaric, were strangers to the name, or
at least to the faith, of Christ; and we may suspect without any breach
of charity or candor that in the hour of savage license, when every
passion was inflamed and every restraint was removed, the precepts of
the gospel seldom influenced the behavior of the Gothic Christians. The
writers the best disposed to exaggerate their clemency have freely
confessed that a cruel slaughter was made of the Romans, and that the
streets of the city were filled with dead bodies, which remained without
burial during the general consternation. The despair of the citizens was
sometimes converted into fury; and whenever the Barbarians were provoked
by opposition, they extended the promiscuous massacre to the feeble, the
innocent, and the helpless. The private revenge of forty thousand slaves
was exercised without pity or remorse; and the ignominious lashes which
they had formerly received were washed away in the blood of the guilty
or obnoxious families. The matrons and virgins of Rome were exposed to
injuries more dreadful, in the apprehension of chastity, than death

The want of youth, or beauty, or chastity protected the greatest part of
the Roman women from the danger of a rape. But avarice is an insatiate
and universal passion, since the enjoyment of almost every object that
can afford pleasure to the different tastes and tempers of mankind may
be procured by the possession of wealth. In the pillage of Rome, a just
preference was given to gold and jewels, which contain the greatest
value in the smallest compass and weight; but after these portable
riches had been removed by the more diligent robbers, the palaces of
Rome were rudely stripped of their splendid and costly furniture. The
sideboards of massy plate, and the variegated wardrobes of silk and
purple, were irregularly piled in the wagons that always followed the
march of a Gothic army. The most exquisite works of art were roughly
handled or wantonly destroyed; many a statue was melted for the sake of
the precious materials; and many a vase, in the division of the spoil,
was shivered into fragments by the stroke of a battle-axe. The
acquisition of riches served only to stimulate the avarice of the
rapacious Barbarians, who proceeded by threats, by blows, and by
tortures, to force from their prisoners the confession of hidden
treasure. Visible splendor and expense were alleged as the proof of a
plentiful fortune; the appearance of poverty was imputed to a
parsimonious disposition; and the obstinacy of some misers, who endured
the most cruel torments before they would discover the secret object of
their affection, was fatal to many unhappy wretches, who expired under
the lash for refusing to reveal their imaginary treasures. The edifices
of Rome, though the damage has been much exaggerated, received some
injury from the violence of the Goths. At their entrance through the
Salarian gate, they fired the adjacent houses to guide their march and
to distract the attention of the citizens; the flames, which encountered
no obstacle in the disorder of the night, consumed many private and
public buildings; and the ruins of the palace of Sallust remained, in
the age of Justinian, a stately monument of the Gothic conflagration.
Yet a contemporary historian has observed that fire could scarcely
consume the enormous beams of solid brass, and that the strength of man
was insufficient to subvert the foundations of ancient structures. Some
truth may possibly be concealed in his devout assertion that the wrath
of Heaven supplied the imperfections of hostile rage, and that the proud
Forum of Rome, decorated with the statues of so many gods and heroes,
was leveled in the dust by the stroke of lightning....

It was not easy to compute the multitudes who, from an honorable station
and a prosperous future, were suddenly reduced to the miserable
condition of captives and exiles.... The nations who invaded the Roman
empire had driven before them into Italy whole troops of hungry and
affrighted provincials, less apprehensive of servitude than of famine.
The calamities of Rome and Italy dispersed the inhabitants to the most
lonely, the most secure, the most distant places of refuge.... The
Italian fugitives were dispersed through the provinces, along the coast
of Egypt and Asia, as far as Constantinople and Jerusalem; and the
village of Bethlem, the solitary residence of St. Jerom and his female
converts, was crowded with illustrious beggars of either sex and every
age, who excited the public compassion by the remembrance of their past
fortune. This awful catastrophe of Rome filled the astonished empire
with grief and terror. So interesting a contrast of greatness and ruin
disposed the fond credulity of the people to deplore, and even to
exaggerate, the afflictions of the queen of cities. The clergy, who
applied to recent events the lofty metaphors of Oriental prophecy, were
sometimes tempted to confound the destruction of the capital and the
dissolution of the globe.


I need not explain that _silk_ is originally spun from the bowels of a
caterpillar, and that it composes the golden tomb from whence a worm
emerges in the form of a butterfly. Till the reign of Justinian, the
silkworms who feed on the leaves of the white mulberry-tree were
confined to China; those of the pine, the oak, and the ash were common
in the forests both of Asia and Europe: but as their education is more
difficult, and their produce more uncertain, they were generally
neglected, except in the little island of Ceos, near the coast of
Attica. A thin gauze was procured from their webs, and this Cean
manufacture, the invention of a woman, for female use, was long admired
both in the East and at Rome. Whatever suspicions may be raised by the
garments of the Medes and Assyrians, Virgil is the most ancient writer
who expressly mentions the soft wool which was combed from the trees of
the Seres or Chinese; and this natural error, less marvelous than the
truth, was slowly corrected by the knowledge of a valuable insect, the
first artificer of the luxury of nations. That rare and elegant luxury
was censured, in the reign of Tiberius, by the gravest of the Romans;
and Pliny, in affected though forcible language, has condemned the
thirst of gain which explores the last confines of the earth for the
pernicious purpose of exposing to the public eye naked draperies and
transparent matrons. A dress which showed the turn of the limbs, the
color of the skin, might gratify vanity or provoke desire; the silks
which had been closely woven in China were sometimes unraveled by the
Phoenician women, and the precious materials were multiplied by a
looser texture and the intermixture of linen threads. Two hundred years
after the age of Pliny the use of pure or even of mixed silks was
confined to the female sex, till the opulent citizens of Rome and the
provinces were insensibly familiarized with the example of Elagabalus,
the first who, by this effeminate habit, had sullied the dignity of an
emperor and a man. Aurelian complained that a pound of silk was sold at
Rome for twelve ounces of gold; but the supply increased with the
demand, and the price diminished with the supply. If accident or
monopoly sometimes raised the value even above the standard of Aurelian,
the manufacturers of Tyre and Berytus were sometimes compelled, by the
operation of the same causes, to content themselves with a ninth part of
that extravagant rate. A law was thought necessary to discriminate the
dress of comedians from that of senators; and of the silk exported from
its native country the far greater part was consumed by the subjects of
Justinian. They were still more intimately acquainted with a shell-fish
of the Mediterranean, surnamed the silkworm of the sea: the fine wool or
hair by which the mother-of-pearl affixes itself to the rock is now
manufactured for curiosity rather than use; and a robe obtained from the
same singular materials was the gift of the Roman Emperor to the satraps
of Armenia.

A valuable merchandise of small bulk is capable of defraying the expense
of land carriage; and the caravans traversed the whole latitude of Asia
in two hundred and forty-three days from the Chinese Ocean to the
sea-coast of Syria. Silk was immediately delivered to the Romans by the
Persian merchants who frequented the fairs of Armenia and Nisibis; but
this trade, which in the intervals of truce was oppressed by avarice and
jealousy, was totally interrupted by the long wars of the rival
monarchies. The great king might proudly number Sogdiana, and even
_Serica_, among the provinces of his empire: but his real dominion was
bounded by the Oxus; and his useful intercourse with the Sogdoites
beyond the river depended on the pleasure of their conquerors the white
Huns, and the Turks, who successively reigned over that industrious
people. Yet the most savage dominion has not extirpated the seeds of
agriculture and commerce, in a region which is celebrated as one of the
four gardens of Asia; the cities of Samarcand and Bochara are
advantageously seated for the exchange of its various productions; and
their merchants purchased from the Chinese the raw or manufactured silk
which they transported into Persia for the use of the Roman Empire. In
the vain capital of China, the Sogdian caravans were entertained as the
suppliant embassies of tributary kingdoms; and if they returned in
safety, the bold adventure was rewarded with exorbitant gain. But the
difficult and perilous march from Samarcand to the first town of Shensi
could not be performed in less than sixty, eighty, or one hundred days:
as soon as they had passed the Jaxartes they entered the desert; and the
wandering hordes, unless they are restrained by armies and garrisons,
have always considered the citizen and the traveler as the objects of
lawful rapine. To escape the Tartar robbers and the tyrants of Persia,
the silk caravans explored a more southern road; they traversed the
mountains of Thibet, descended the streams of the Ganges or the Indus,
and patiently expected, in the ports of Guzerat and Malabar, the annual
fleets of the West. But the dangers of the desert were found less
intolerable than toil, hunger, and the loss of time; the attempt was
seldom renewed, and the only European who has passed that unfrequented
way applauds his own diligence, that in nine months after his departure
from Pekin, he reached the mouth of the Indus. The ocean, however, was
open to the free communication of mankind. From the great river to the
tropic of Cancer, the provinces of China were subdued and civilized by
the emperors of the North; they were filled about the time of the
Christian era with cities and men, mulberry-trees and their precious
inhabitants; and if the Chinese, with the knowledge of the compass, had
possessed the genius of the Greeks or Phoenicians, they might have
spread their discoveries over the southern hemisphere. I am not
qualified to examine, and I am not disposed to believe, their distant
voyages to the Persian Gulf or the Cape of Good Hope; but their
ancestors might equal the labors and success of the present race, and
the sphere of their navigation might extend from the Isles of Japan to
the Straits of Malacca,--the pillars, if we may apply that name, of an
Oriental Hercules. Without losing sight of land, they might sail along
the coast to the extreme promontory of Achin, which is annually visited
by ten or twelve ships laden with the productions, the manufactures, and
even the artificers of China; the Island of Sumatra and the opposite
peninsula are faintly delineated as the regions of gold and silver; and
the trading cities named in the geography of Ptolemy may indicate that
this wealth was not solely derived from the mines. The direct interval
between Sumatra and Ceylon is about three hundred leagues: the Chinese
and Indian navigators were conducted by the flight of birds and
periodical winds; and the ocean might be securely traversed in
square-built ships, which instead of iron were sewed together with the
strong thread of the cocoanut. Ceylon, Serendib, or Taprobana, was
divided between two hostile princes; one of whom possessed the
mountains, the elephants, and the luminous carbuncle, and the other
enjoyed the more solid riches of domestic industry, foreign trade, and
the capacious harbor of Trinquemale, which received and dismissed the
fleets of the East and West. In this hospitable isle, at an equal
distance (as it was computed) from their respective countries, the silk
merchants of China, who had collected in their voyages aloes, cloves,
nutmeg, and sandal-wood, maintained a free and beneficial commerce with
the inhabitants of the Persian Gulf. The subjects of the great king
exalted, without a rival, his power and magnificence; and the Roman, who
confounded their vanity by comparing his paltry coin with a gold medal
of the Emperor Anastasius, had sailed to Ceylon in an Æthiopian ship as
a simple passenger.

As silk became of indispensable use, the Emperor Justinian saw with
concern that the Persians had occupied by land and sea the monopoly of
this important supply, and that the wealth of his subjects was
continually drained by a nation of enemies and idolaters. An active
government would have restored the trade of Egypt and the navigation of
the Red Sea, which had decayed with the prosperity of the empire; and
the Roman vessels might have sailed, for the purchase of silk, to the
ports of Ceylon, of Malacca, or even of China. Justinian embraced a more
humble expedient, and solicited the aid of his Christian allies, the
Æthiopians of Abyssinia, who had recently acquired the arts of
navigation, the spirit of trade, and the seaport of Adulis, still
decorated with the trophies of a Grecian conqueror. Along the African
coast they penetrated to the Equator in search of gold, emeralds, and
aromatics; but they wisely declined an unequal competition, in which
they must be always prevented by the vicinity of the Persians to the
markets of India; and the Emperor submitted to the disappointment till
his wishes were gratified by an unexpected event. The gospel had been
preached to the Indians; a bishop already governed the Christians of St.
Thomas on the pepper coast of Malabar; a church was planted in Ceylon,
and the missionaries pursued the footsteps of commerce to the
extremities of Asia. Two Persian monks had long resided in China,
perhaps in the royal city of Nankin, the seat of a monarch addicted to
foreign superstitions, and who actually received an embassy from the
Isle of Ceylon. Amidst their pious occupations they viewed with a
curious eye the common dress of the Chinese, the manufactures of silk,
and the myriads of silkworms, whose education (either on trees or in
houses) had once been considered as the labor of queens. They soon
discovered that it was impracticable to transport the short-lived
insect, but that in the eggs a numerous progeny might be preserved and
multiplied in a distant climate. Religion or interest had more power
over the Persian monks than the love of their country: after a long
journey they arrived at Constantinople, imparted their project to the
Emperor, and were liberally encouraged by the gifts and promises of
Justinian. To the historians of that prince, a campaign at the foot of
Mount Caucasus has seemed more deserving of a minute relation than the
labors of these missionaries of commerce, who again entered China,
deceived a jealous people by concealing the eggs of the silkworm in a
hollow cane, and returned in triumph with the spoils of the East. Under
their direction the eggs were hatched at the proper season by the
artificial heat of dung; the worms were fed with mulberry leaves; they
lived and labored in a foreign climate; a sufficient number of
butterflies were saved to propagate the race, and trees were planted to
supply the nourishment of the rising generations. Experience and
reflection corrected the errors of a new attempt, and the Sogdoite
ambassadors acknowledged in the succeeding reign that the Romans were
not inferior to the natives of China in the education of the insects and
the manufactures of silk, in which both China and Constantinople have
been surpassed by the industry of modern Europe. I am not insensible of
the benefits of elegant luxury; yet I reflect with some pain that if the
importers of silk had introduced the art of printing, already practiced
by the Chinese, the comedies of Menander and the entire decades of Livy
would have been perpetuated in the editions of the sixth century.


Till the age of sixty-three years, the strength of Mahomet was equal to
the temporal and spiritual fatigues of his mission. His epileptic fits,
an absurd calumny of the Greeks, would be an object of pity rather than
abhorrence; but he seriously believed that he was poisoned at Chaibar by
the revenge of a Jewish female. During four years the health of the
prophet declined; his infirmities increased; but his mortal disease was
a fever of fourteen days which deprived him by intervals of the use of
reason. As soon as he was conscious of his danger, he edified his
brethren by the humility of his virtue or penitence. "If there be any
man," said the apostle from the pulpit, "whom I have unjustly scourged,
I submit my own back to the lash of retaliation. Have I aspersed the
reputation of a Mussulman? let him proclaim _my_ thoughts in the face of
the congregation. Has any one been despoiled of his goods? the little
that I possess shall compensate the principal and the interest of the
debt." "Yes," replied a voice from the crowd, "I am entitled to three
drams of silver." Mahomet heard the complaint, satisfied the demand, and
thanked his creditor for accusing him in this world rather than at the
day of judgment. He beheld with temperate firmness the approach of
death; enfranchised his slaves (seventeen men, as they are named, and
eleven women), minutely directed the order of his funeral, and moderated
the lamentations of his weeping friends, on whom he bestowed the
benediction of peace. Till the third day before his death, he regularly
performed the function of public prayer: the choice of Abubeker to
supply his place appeared to mark that ancient and faithful friend as
his successor in the sacerdotal and regal office; but he prudently
declined the risk and envy of a more explicit nomination. At a moment
when his faculties were visibly impaired, he called for pen and ink to
write, or more properly, to dictate, a Divine book, the sum and
accomplishment of all his revelations: a dispute arose in the chamber
whether he should be allowed to supersede the authority of the Koran,
and the prophet was forced to reprove the indecent vehemence of his
disciples. If the slightest credit may be afforded to the traditions of
his wives and companions, he maintained, in the bosom of his family, and
to the last moments of his life, the dignity of an apostle and the faith
of an enthusiast; described the visits of Gabriel, who bade an
everlasting farewell to the earth, and expressed his lively confidence
not only of the mercy but of the favor of the Supreme Being. In a
familiar discourse he had mentioned his special prerogative, that the
angel of death was not allowed to take his soul till he had respectfully
asked the permission of the prophet. The request was granted; and
Mahomet immediately fell into the agony of his dissolution: his head was
reclined on the lap of Ayesha, the best beloved of all his wives; he
fainted with the violence of pain; recovering his spirits, he raised his
eyes towards the roof of the house, and with a steady look, though a
faltering voice, uttered the last broken though articulate words:--"O
God! ... pardon my sins ... Yes ... I come ... among my fellow-citizens
on high;" and thus peaceably expired on a carpet spread upon the floor.
An expedition for the conquest of Syria was stopped by this mournful
event: the army halted at the gates of Medina, the chiefs were assembled
round their dying master. The city, more especially the house, of the
prophet, was a scene of clamorous sorrow or silent despair: fanaticism
alone could suggest a ray of hope and consolation. "How can he be
dead--our witness, our intercessor, our mediator with God? By God, he is
not dead: like Moses and Jesus, he is wrapped in a holy trance, and
speedily will he return to his faithful people." The evidence of sense
was disregarded, and Omar, unsheathing his cimeter, threatened to strike
off the heads of the infidels who should dare to affirm that the prophet
was no more. The tumult was appeased by the weight and moderation of
Abubeker. "Is it Mahomet," said he to Omar and the multitude, "or the
God of Mahomet, whom you worship? The God of Mahomet liveth forever; but
the apostle was a mortal like ourselves, and according to his own
prediction, he has experienced the common fate of mortality." He was
piously interred by the hands of his nearest kinsman, on the same spot
on which he expired. Medina has been sanctified by the death and burial
of Mahomet, and the innumerable pilgrims of Mecca often turn aside from
the way, to bow in voluntary devotion before the simple tomb of the

At the conclusion of the life of Mahomet it may perhaps be expected that
I should balance his faults and virtues, that I should decide whether
the title of enthusiast or impostor more properly belongs to that
extraordinary man. Had I been intimately conversant with the son of
Abdallah, the task would still be difficult and the success uncertain:
at the distance of twelve centuries, I darkly contemplate his shade
through a cloud of religious incense; and could I truly delineate the
portrait of an hour, the fleeting resemblance would not equally apply to
the solitary of Mount Hera, to the preacher of Mecca, and to the
conqueror of Arabia. The author of a mighty revolution appears to have
been endowed with a pious and contemplative disposition; so soon as
marriage had raised him above the pressure of want, he avoided the paths
of ambition and avarice; and till the age of forty he lived with
innocence, and would have died without a name. The unity of God is an
idea most congenial to nature and reason; and a slight conversation with
the Jews and Christians would teach him to despise and detest the
idolatry of Mecca. It was the duty of a man and a citizen to impart the
doctrine of salvation, to rescue his country from the dominion of sin
and error. The energy of a mind incessantly bent on the same object
would convert a general obligation into a particular call; the warm
suggestions of the understanding or the fancy would be felt as the
inspirations of Heaven; the labor of thought would expire in rapture and
vision; and the inward sensation, the invisible monitor, would be
described with the form and attributes of an angel of God. From
enthusiasm to imposture the step is perilous and slippery: the dæmon of
Socrates affords a memorable instance how a wise man may deceive
himself, how a good man may deceive others, how the conscience may
slumber in a mixed and middle state between self-illusion and voluntary
fraud. Charity may believe that the original motives of Mahomet were
those of pure and genuine benevolence; but a human missionary is
incapable of cherishing the obstinate unbelievers who reject his claims,
despise his arguments, and persecute his life; he might forgive his
personal adversaries, he may lawfully hate the enemies of God; the stern
passions of pride and revenge were kindled in the bosom of Mahomet, and
he sighed, like the prophet of Nineveh, for the destruction of the
rebels whom he had condemned. The injustice of Mecca and the choice of
Medina transformed the citizen into a prince, the humble preacher into
the leader of armies; but his sword was consecrated by the example of
the saints, and the same God who afflicts a sinful world with pestilence
and earthquakes might inspire for their conversion or chastisement the
valor of his servants. In the exercise of political government, he was
compelled to abate of the stern rigor of fanaticism, to comply in some
measure with the prejudices and passions of his followers, and to employ
even the vices of mankind as the instruments of their salvation. The use
of fraud and perfidy, of cruelty and injustice, were often subservient
to the propagation of the faith; and Mahomet commanded or approved the
assassination of the Jews and idolaters who had escaped from the field
of battle. By the repetition of such acts the character of Mahomet must
have been gradually stained; and the influence of such pernicious habits
would be poorly compensated by the practice of the personal and social
virtues which are necessary to maintain the reputation of a prophet
among his sectaries and friends. Of his last years, ambition was the
ruling passion; and a politician will suspect that he secretly smiled
(the victorious impostor!) at the enthusiasm of his youth and the
credulity of his proselytes. A philosopher will observe that _their_
credulity and _his_ success would tend more strongly to fortify the
assurance of his Divine mission; that his interest and religion were
inseparately connected; and that his conscience would be soothed by the
persuasion that he alone was absolved by the Deity from the obligation
of positive and moral laws. If he retained any vestige of his native
innocence, the sins of Mahomet may be allowed as an evidence of his
sincerity. In the support of truth, the arts of fraud and fiction may be
deemed less criminal; and he would have started at the foulness of the
means, had he not been satisfied of the importance and justice of the
end. Even in a conqueror or a priest, I can surprise a word or action of
unaffected humanity; and the decree of Mahomet that in the sale of
captives the mothers should never be separated from their children, may
suspend or moderate the censure of the historian.

The good sense of Mahomet despised the pomp of royalty; the apostle of
God submitted to the menial offices of the family; he kindled the fire,
swept the floor, milked the ewes, and mended with his own hands his
shoes and his woolen garment. Disdaining the penance and merit of a
hermit, he observed, without effort or vanity, the abstemious diet of an
Arab and a soldier. On solemn occasions he feasted his companions with
rustic and hospitable plenty; but in his domestic life, many weeks would
elapse without a fire being kindled on the hearth of the prophet. The
interdiction of wine was confirmed by his example; his hunger was
appeased with a sparing allowance of barley bread; he delighted in the
taste of milk and honey, but his ordinary food consisted of dates and
water. Perfumes and women were the two sensual enjoyments which his
nature required and his religion did not forbid; and Mahomet affirmed
that the fervor of his devotion was increased by these innocent
pleasures. The heat of the climate inflames the blood of the Arabs, and
their libidinous complexion has been noticed by the writers of
antiquity. Their incontinence was regulated by the civil and religious
laws of the Koran; their incestuous alliances were blamed; the boundless
license of polygamy was reduced to four legitimate wives or concubines:
their rights both of bed and of dowry were equitably determined; the
freedom of divorce was discouraged; adultery was condemned as a capital
offense; and fornication in either sex was punished with a hundred
stripes. Such were the calm and rational precepts of the legislator, but
in his private conduct Mahomet indulged the appetites of a man and
abused the claims of a prophet. A special revelation dispensed him from
the laws which he had imposed on his nation: the female sex, without
reserve, was abandoned to his desires; and this singular prerogative
excited the envy rather than the scandal, the veneration rather than the
envy, of the devout Mussulmans. If we remember the seven hundred wives
and three hundred concubines of the wise Solomon, we shall applaud the
modesty of the Arabian, who espoused no more than seventeen or fifteen
wives; eleven are enumerated, who occupied at Medina their separate
apartments round the house of the apostle, and enjoyed in their turns
the favor of his conjugal society. What is singular enough, they were
all widows, excepting only Ayesha, the daughter of Abubeker. _She_ was
doubtless a virgin, since Mahomet consummated his nuptials (such is the
premature ripeness of the climate) when she was only nine years of age.
The youth, the beauty, the spirit of Ayesha gave her a superior
ascendant; she was beloved and trusted by the prophet, and after his
death the daughter of Abubeker was long revered as the mother of the
faithful. Her behavior had been ambiguous and indiscreet; in a nocturnal
march she was accidentally left behind, and in the morning Ayesha
returned to the camp with a man. The temper of Mahomet was inclined to
jealousy; but a Divine revelation assured him of her innocence: he
chastised her accusers, and published a law of domestic peace, that no
woman should be condemned unless four male witnesses had seen her in the
act of adultery. In his adventures with Zeineb the wife of Zeid, and
with Mary, an Egyptian captive, the amorous prophet forgot the interest
of his reputation. At the house of Zeid, his freedman and adopted son,
he beheld in a loose undress the beauty of Zeineb, and burst forth into
an ejaculation of devotion and desire. The servile, or grateful,
freedman understood the hint, and yielded without hesitation to the love
of his benefactor. But as the filial relation had excited some doubt and
scandal, the angel Gabriel descended from heaven to ratify the deed, to
annul the adoption, and gently to reprove the apostle for distrusting
the indulgence of his God. One of his wives, Hafna the daughter of Omar,
surprised him on her own bed, in the embraces of his Egyptian captive:
she promised secrecy and forgiveness; he swore that he would renounce
the possession of Mary. Both parties forgot their engagements; and
Gabriel again descended with a chapter of the Koran, to absolve him from
his oath and to exhort him freely to enjoy his captives and concubines,
without listening to the clamors of his wives. In a solitary retreat of
thirty days, he labored, alone with Mary, to fulfill the commands of the
angel. When his love and revenge were satiated, he summoned to his
presence his eleven wives, reproached their disobedience and
indiscretion, and threatened them with a sentence of divorce, both in
this world and in the next; a dreadful sentence, since those who had
ascended the bed of the prophet were forever excluded from the hope of a
second marriage. Perhaps the incontinence of Mahomet may be palliated by
the tradition of his natural or preternatural gifts; he united the manly
virtue of thirty of the children of Adam; and the apostle might rival
the thirteenth labor of the Grecian Hercules. A more serious and decent
excuse may be drawn from his fidelity to Cadijah. During the twenty-four
years of their marriage, her youthful husband abstained from the right
of polygamy, and the pride or tenderness of the venerable matron was
never insulted by the society of a rival. After her death he placed her
in the rank of the four perfect women, with the sister of Moses, the
mother of Jesus, and Fatima, the best beloved of his daughters. "Was she
not old?" said Ayesha, with the insolence of a blooming beauty: "has not
God given you a better in her place?" "No, by God," said Mahomet, with
an effusion of honest gratitude, "there never can be a better! She
believed in me when men despised me; she relieved my wants when I was
poor and persecuted by the world."


I should deceive the expectation of the reader if I passed in silence
the fate of the Alexandrian library as it is described by the learned
Abulpharagius. The spirit of Amrou was more curious and liberal than
that of his brethren, and in his leisure hours the Arabian chief was
pleased with the conversation of John, the last disciple of Ammonius,
and who derived the surname of _Philoponus_ from his laborious studies
of grammar and philosophy. Emboldened by this familiar intercourse,
Philoponus presumed to solicit a gift, inestimable in _his_ opinion,
contemptible in that of the Barbarians--the royal library, which alone
among the spoils of Alexandria had not been appropriated by the visit
and the seal of the conqueror. Amrou was inclined to gratify the wish of
the grammarian, but his rigid integrity refused to alienate the minutest
object without the consent of the caliph; and the well-known answer of
Omar was inspired by the ignorance of a fanatic: "If these writings of
the Greeks agree with the book of God, they are useless, and need not be
preserved; if they disagree, they are pernicious, and ought to be
destroyed." The sentence was executed with blind obedience, the volumes
of paper or parchment were distributed to the four thousand baths of the
city; and such was their incredible multitude, that six months were
barely sufficient for the consumption of this precious fuel. Since the
Dynasties of Abulpharagius have been given to the world in a Latin
version, the tale has been repeatedly transcribed; and every scholar,
with pious indignation, has deplored the irreparable shipwreck of the
learning, the arts, and the genius, of antiquity. For my own part, I am
strongly tempted to deny both the fact and the consequences. The fact is
indeed marvelous. "Read and wonder!" says the historian himself; and the
solitary report of a stranger who wrote at the end of six hundred years
on the confines of Media is overbalanced by the silence of two annalists
of a more early date, both Christians, both natives of Egypt, and the
most ancient of whom, the patriarch Eutychius, has amply described the
conquest of Alexandria. The rigid sentence of Omar is repugnant to the
sound and orthodox precept of the Mahometan casuists: they expressly
declare that the religious books of the Jews and Christians which are
acquired by the right of war should never be committed to the flames;
and that the works of profane science, historians or poets, physicians
or philosophers, may be lawfully applied to the use of the faithful. A
more destructive zeal may perhaps be attributed to the first successors
of Mahomet; yet in this instance, the conflagration would have speedily
expired in the deficiency of materials. I shall not recapitulate the
disasters of the Alexandrian library, the involuntary flame that was
kindled by Cæsar in his own defense, or the mischievous bigotry of the
Christians, who studied to destroy the monuments of idolatry. But if we
gradually descend from the age of the Antonines to that of Theodosius,
we shall learn from a chain of contemporary witnesses that the royal
palace and the temple of Serapis no longer contained the four, or the
seven, hundred thousand volumes which had been assembled by the
curiosity and magnificence of the Ptolemies. Perhaps the church and seat
of the patriarchs might be enriched with a repository of books; but if
the ponderous mass of Arian and Monophysite controversy were indeed
consumed in the public baths, a philosopher may allow, with a smile,
that it was ultimately devoted to the benefit of mankind. I sincerely
regret the more valuable libraries which have been involved in the ruin
of the Roman Empire; but when I seriously compute the lapse of ages, the
waste of ignorance, and the calamities of war, our treasures, rather
than our losses, are the objects of my surprise. Many curious and
interesting facts are buried in oblivion; the three great historians of
Rome have been transmitted to our hands in a mutilated state, and we are
deprived of many pleasing compositions of the lyric, iambic, and
dramatic poetry of the Greeks. Yet we should gratefully remember that
the mischances of time and accident have spared the classic works to
which the suffrage of antiquity had adjudged the first place of genius
and glory; the teachers of ancient knowledge who are still extant had
perused and compared the writings of their predecessors; nor can it
fairly be presumed that any important truth, any useful discovery in art
or nature, has been snatched away from the curiosity of modern ages.

  [Illustration: _RUINED ROME._
  From a Photograph.


In the last days of Pope Eugenius the Fourth, two of his servants, the
learned Poggius and a friend, ascended the Capitoline Hill, reposed
themselves among the ruins of columns and temples, and viewed from that
commanding spot the wide and various prospect of desolation. The place
and the object gave ample scope for moralizing on the vicissitudes of
fortune, which spares neither man nor the proudest of his works, which
buries empires and cities in a common grave; and it was agreed that in
proportion to her former greatness the fall of Rome was the more awful
and deplorable. "Her primeval state, such as she might appear in a
remote age, when Evander entertained the stranger of Troy, has been
delineated by the fancy of Virgil. This Tarpeian Rock was then a savage
and solitary thicket; in the time of the poet it was crowned with the
golden roofs of a temple; the temple is overthrown, the gold has been
pillaged, the wheel of fortune has accomplished her revolution, and the
sacred ground is again disfigured with thorns and brambles. The hill of
the Capitol, on which we sit, was formerly the head of the Roman Empire,
the citadel of the earth, the terror of kings; illustrated by the
footsteps of so many triumphs, enriched with the spoils and tributes of
so many nations. This spectacle of the world, how is it fallen! how
changed! how defaced! The path of victory is obliterated by vines, and
the benches of the senators are concealed by a dunghill. Cast your eyes
on the Palatine Hill, and seek among the shapeless and enormous
fragments the marble theatre, the obelisks, the colossal statues, the
porticos of Nero's palace; survey the other hills of the city,--the
vacant space is interrupted only by ruins and gardens. The Forum of the
Roman people, where they assembled to enact their laws and elect their
magistrates, is now inclosed for the cultivation of pot-herbs, or thrown
open for the reception of swine and buffaloes. The public and private
edifices that were founded for eternity lie prostrate, naked, and
broken, like the limbs of a mighty giant; and the ruin is the more
visible, from the stupendous relics that have survived the injuries of
time and fortune."

These relics are minutely described by Poggius, one of the first who
raised his eyes from the monuments of legendary to those of classic
superstition. 1. Besides a bridge, an arch, a sepulchre, and the
pyramid of Cestius, he could discern, of the age of the republic, a
double row of vaults in the salt office of the Capitol, which were
inscribed with the name and munificence of Catulus. 2. Eleven temples
were visible in some degree, from the perfect form of the Pantheon to
the three arches and a marble column of the temple of Peace which
Vespasian erected after the civil wars and the Jewish triumph. 3. Of the
number which he rashly defines, of seven _thermæ_, or public baths, none
were sufficiently entire to represent the use and distribution of the
several parts; but those of Diocletian and Antoninus Caracalla still
retained the titles of the founders and astonished the curious spectator
who in observing their solidity and extent, the variety of marbles, the
size and multitude of the columns, compared the labor and expense with
the use and importance. Of the baths of Constantine, of Alexander, of
Domitian, or rather of Titus, some vestige might yet be found. 4. The
triumphal arches of Titus, Severus, and Constantine were entire, both
the structure and the inscriptions; a falling fragment was honored with
the name of Trajan; and two arches then extant in the Flaminian Way have
been ascribed to the baser memory of Faustina and Gallienus. 5. After
the wonder of the Coliseum, Poggius might have overlooked a small
amphitheatre of brick, most probably for the use of the prætorian camp;
the theatres of Marcellus and Pompey were occupied in a great measure by
public and private buildings; and in the Circus, Agonalis and Maximus,
little more than the situation and the form could be investigated. 6.
The columns of Trajan and Antonine were still erect; but the Egyptian
obelisks were broken or buried. A people of gods and heroes, the
workmanship of art, was reduced to one equestrian figure of gilt brass
and to five marble statues, of which the most conspicuous were the two
horses of Phidias and Praxiteles. 7. The two mausoleums or sepulchres of
Augustus and Hadrian could not totally be lost; but the former was only
visible as a mound of earth, and the latter, the castle of St. Angelo,
had acquired the name and appearance of a modern fortress. With the
addition of some separate and nameless columns, such were the remains of
the ancient city; for the marks of a more recent structure might be
detected in the walls, which formed a circumference of ten miles,
included three hundred and seventy-nine turrets, and opened into the
country by thirteen gates.

This melancholy picture was drawn above nine hundred years after the
fall of the Western Empire, and even of the Gothic kingdom of Italy. A
long period of distress and anarchy, in which empire, and arts, and
riches had migrated from the banks of the Tiber, was incapable of
restoring or adorning the city; and as all that is human must retrograde
if it do not advance, every successive age must have hastened the ruin
of the works of antiquity. To measure the progress of decay, and to
ascertain, at each era, the state of each edifice, would be an endless
and a useless labor; and I shall content myself with two observations
which will introduce a short inquiry into the general causes and
effects. 1. Two hundred years before the eloquent complaint of Poggius,
an anonymous writer composed a description of Rome. His ignorance may
repeat the same objects under strange and fabulous names. Yet this
barbarous topographer had eyes and ears; he could observe the visible
remains; he could listen to the tradition of the people; and he
distinctly enumerates seven theatres, eleven baths, twelve arches, and
eighteen palaces, of which many had disappeared before the time of
Poggius. It is apparent that many stately monuments of antiquity
survived till a late period, and that the principles of destruction
acted with vigorous and increasing energy in the thirteenth and
fourteenth centuries. 2. The same reflection must be applied to the
three last ages; and we should vainly seek the Septizonium of Severus,
which is celebrated by Petrarch and the antiquarians of the sixteenth
century. While the Roman edifices were still entire, the first blows,
however weighty and impetuous, were resisted by the solidity of the mass
and the harmony of the parts; but the slightest touch would precipitate
the fragments of arches and columns that already nodded to their fall.

After a diligent inquiry, I can discern four principal causes of the
ruin of Rome, which continued to operate in a period of more than a
thousand years. I. The injuries of time and nature. II. The hostile
attacks of the Barbarians and Christians. III. The use and abuse of the
materials. And IV. The domestic quarrels of the Romans.

I. The art of man is able to construct monuments far more permanent than
the narrow span of his own existence; yet these monuments, like himself,
are perishable and frail; and in the boundless annals of time his life
and his labors must equally be measured as a fleeting moment. Of a
simple and solid edifice it is not easy, however, to circumscribe the
duration. As the wonders of ancient days, the Pyramids attracted the
curiosity of the ancients: a hundred generations, the leaves of autumn,
have dropped into the grave; and after the fall of the Pharaohs and
Ptolemies, the Cæsars and caliphs, the same Pyramids stand erect and
unshaken above the floods of the Nile. A complex figure of various and
minute parts is more accessible to injury and decay; and the silent
lapse of time is often accelerated by hurricanes and earthquakes, by
fires and inundations. The air and earth have doubtless been shaken, and
the lofty turrets of Rome have tottered from their foundations, but the
seven hills do not appear to be placed on the great cavities of the
globe; nor has the city in any age been exposed to the convulsions of
nature which in the climate of Antioch, Lisbon, or Lima, have crumbled
in a few moments the works of ages in the dust. Fire is the most
powerful agent of life and death: the rapid mischief may be kindled and
propagated by the industry or negligence of mankind; and every period of
the Roman annals is marked by the repetition of similar calamities. A
memorable conflagration, the guilt or misfortune of Nero's reign,
continued, though with unequal fury, either six or nine days.
Innumerable buildings, crowded in close and crooked streets, supplied
perpetual fuel for the flames; and when they ceased, four only of the
fourteen regions were left entire; three were totally destroyed, and
seven were deformed by the relics of smoking and lacerated edifices. In
the full meridian of empire, the metropolis arose with fresh beauty from
her ashes; yet the memory of the old deplored the irreparable losses,
the arts of Greece, the trophies of victory, the monuments of primitive
or fabulous antiquity. In the days of distress and anarchy every wound
is mortal, every fall irretrievable; nor can the damage be restored
either by the public care of government or the activity of private
interest. Yet two causes may be alleged, which render the calamity of
fire more destructive to a flourishing than a decayed city. 1. The more
combustible materials of brick, timber, and metals are first melted and
consumed, but the flames may play without injury or effect on the naked
walls and massy arches that have been despoiled of their ornaments. 2.
It is among the common and plebeian habitations that a mischievous spark
is most easily blown to a conflagration; but as soon as they are
devoured, the greater edifices which have resisted or escaped are left
as so many islands in a state of solitude and safety. From her
situation, Rome is exposed to the danger of frequent inundations.
Without excepting the Tiber, the rivers that descend from either side of
the Apennine have a short and irregular course; a shallow stream in the
summer heats; an impetuous torrent when it is swelled in the spring or
winter by the fall of rain and the melting of the snows. When the
current is repelled from the sea by adverse winds, when the ordinary bed
is inadequate to the weight of waters, they rise above the banks and
overspread without limits or control the plains and cities of the
adjacent country. Soon after the triumph of the first Punic War, the
Tiber was increased by unusual rains; and the inundation, surpassing all
former measure of time and place, destroyed all the buildings that were
situate below the hills of Rome. According to the variety of ground, the
same mischief was produced by different means; and the edifices were
either swept away by the sudden impulse, or dissolved and undermined by
the long continuance of the flood. Under the reign of Augustus the same
calamity was renewed: the lawless river overturned the palaces and
temples on its banks; and after the labors of the Emperor in cleansing
and widening the bed that was incumbered with ruins, the vigilance of
his successors was exercised by similar dangers and designs. The project
of diverting into new channels the Tiber itself, or some of the
dependent streams, was long opposed by superstition and local interests;
nor did the use compensate the toil and costs of the tardy and imperfect
execution. The servitude of rivers is the noblest and most important
victory which man has obtained over the licentiousness of nature; and if
such were the ravages of the Tiber under a firm and active government,
what could oppose, or who can enumerate, the injuries of the city after
the fall of the Western Empire? A remedy was at length produced by the
evil itself: the accumulation of rubbish and the earth that has been
washed down from the hills is supposed to have elevated the plain of
Rome fourteen or fifteen feet perhaps above the ancient level: and the
modern city is less accessible to the attacks of the river.

II. The crowd of writers of every nation who impute the destruction of
the Roman monuments to the Goths and the Christians, have neglected to
inquire how far they were animated by a hostile principle, and how far
they possessed the means and the leisure to satiate their enmity. In the
preceding volumes of this history I have described the triumph of
barbarism and religion; and I can only resume in a few words their real
or imaginary connection with the ruin of ancient Rome. Our fancy may
create or adopt a pleasing romance: that the Goths and Vandals sallied
from Scandinavia, ardent to avenge the flight of Odin, to break the
chains and to chastise the oppressors of mankind; that they wished to
burn the records of classic literature, and to found their national
architecture on the broken members of the Tuscan and Corinthian orders.
But in simple truth, the Northern conquerors were neither sufficiently
savage nor sufficiently refined to entertain such aspiring ideas of
destruction and revenge. The shepherds of Scythia and Germany had been
educated in the armies of the Empire, whose discipline they acquired and
whose weakness they invaded; with the familiar use of the Latin tongue,
they had learned to reverence the name and titles of Rome; and though
incapable of emulating, they were more inclined to admire than to
abolish the arts and studies of a brighter period. In the transient
possession of a rich and unresisting capital, the soldiers of Alaric and
Genseric were stimulated by the passions of a victorious army; amidst
the wanton indulgence of lust or cruelty, portable wealth was the object
of their search; nor could they derive either pride or pleasure from the
unprofitable reflection that they had battered to the ground the works
of the consuls and Cæsars. Their moments were indeed precious: the Goths
evacuated Rome on the sixth, the Vandals on the fifteenth day, and
though it be far more difficult to build than to destroy, their hasty
assault would have made a slight impression on the solid piles of
antiquity. We may remember that both Alaric and Genseric affected to
spare the buildings of the city; that they subsisted in strength and
beauty under the auspicious government of Theodoric; and that the
momentary resentment of Totila was disarmed by his own temper and the
advice of his friends and enemies. From these innocent Barbarians the
reproach may be transferred to the Catholics of Rome. The statues,
altars, and houses of the dæmons were an abomination in their eyes; and
in the absolute command of the city, they might labor with zeal and
perseverance to erase the idolatry of their ancestors. The demolition of
the temples in the East affords to _them_ an example of conduct, and to
_us_ an argument of belief; and it is probable that a portion of guilt
or merit may be imputed with justice to the Roman proselytes. Yet their
abhorrence was confined to the monuments of heathen superstition; and
the civil structures that were dedicated to the business or pleasure of
society might be preserved without injury or scandal. The change of
religion was accomplished not by a popular tumult, but by the decrees of
the emperors, of the Senate, and of time. Of the Christian hierarchy,
the bishops of Rome were commonly the most prudent and least fanatic;
nor can any positive charge be opposed to the meritorious act of saving
and converting the majestic structure of the Pantheon.

III. The value of any object that supplies the wants or pleasures of
mankind is compounded of its substance and its form, of the materials
and the manufacture. Its price must depend on the number of persons by
whom it may be acquired and used; on the extent of the market; and
consequently on the ease or difficulty of remote exportation according
to the nature of the commodity, its local situation, and the temporary
circumstances of the world. The Barbarian conquerors of Rome usurped in
a moment the toil and treasure of successive ages; but except the
luxuries of immediate consumption, they must view without desire all
that could not be removed from the city in the Gothic wagons or the
fleet of the Vandals. Gold and silver were the first objects of their
avarice; as in every country, and in the smallest compass, they
represent the most ample command of the industry and possessions of
mankind. A vase or a statue of those precious metals might tempt the
vanity of some Barbarian chief; but the grosser multitude, regardless of
the form, was tenacious only of the substance; and the melted ingots
might be readily divided and stamped into the current coin of the
empire. The less active or less fortunate robbers were reduced to the
baser plunder of brass, lead, iron, and copper: whatever had escaped the
Goths and Vandals was pillaged by the Greek tyrants; and the Emperor
Constans in his rapacious visit stripped the bronze tiles from the roof
of the Pantheon. The edifices of Rome might be considered as a vast and
various mine: the first labor of extracting the materials was already
performed; the metals were purified and cast; the marbles were hewn and
polished; and after foreign and domestic rapine had been satiated, the
remains of the city, could a purchaser have been found, were still
venal. The monuments of antiquity had been left naked of their precious
ornaments; but the Romans would demolish with their own hands the arches
and walls, if the hope of profit could surpass the cost of the labor and
exportation. If Charlemagne had fixed in Italy the seat of the Western
Empire, his genius would have aspired to restore, rather than to
violate, the works of the Cæsars: but policy confined the French monarch
to the forests of Germany; his taste could be gratified only by
destruction; and the new palace of Aix-la-Chapelle was decorated with
the marbles of Ravenna and Rome. Five hundred years after Charlemagne, a
king of Sicily, Robert,--the wisest and most liberal sovereign of the
age,--was supplied with the same materials by the easy navigation of the
Tiber and the sea; and Petrarch sighs an indignant complaint that the
ancient capital of the world should adorn from her own bowels the
slothful luxury of Naples. But these examples of plunder or purchase
were rare in the darker ages; and the Romans, alone and unenvied, might
have applied to their private or public use the remaining structures of
antiquity, if in their present form and situation they had not been
useless in a great measure to the city and its inhabitants. The walls
still described the old circumference, but the city had descended from
the seven hills into the Campus Martius; and some of the noblest
monuments which had braved the injuries of time were left in a desert,
far remote from the habitations of mankind. The palaces of the senators
were no longer adapted to the manners or fortunes of their indigent
successors: the use of baths and porticos was forgotten; in the sixth
century the games of the theatre, amphitheatre, and circus had been
interrupted; some temples were devoted to the prevailing worship, but
the Christian churches preferred the holy figure of the cross; and
fashion, or reason, had distributed after a peculiar model the cells and
offices of the cloister. Under the ecclesiastical reign, the number of
these pious foundations was enormously multiplied; and the city was
crowded with forty monasteries of men, twenty of women, and sixty
chapters and colleges of canons and priests, who aggravated instead of
relieving the depopulation of the tenth century. But if the forms of
ancient architecture were disregarded by a people insensible of their
use and beauty, the plentiful materials were applied to every call of
necessity or superstition; till the fairest columns of the Ionic and
Corinthian orders, the richest marbles of Paros and Numidia, were
degraded, perhaps to the support of a convent or a stable. The daily
havoc which is perpetrated by the Turks in the cities of Greece and Asia
may afford a melancholy example; and in the gradual destruction of the
monuments of Rome, Sixtus the Fifth may alone be excused for employing
the stones of the Septizonium in the glorious edifice of St. Peter's.
A fragment, a ruin, howsoever mangled or profaned, may be viewed with
pleasure and regret; but the greater part of the marble was deprived of
substance, as well as of place and proportion: it was burnt to lime for
the purpose of cement. Since the arrival of Poggius, the temple of
Concord and many capital structures had vanished from his eyes; and
an epigram of the same age expresses a just and pious fear that the
continuance of this practice would finally annihilate all the monuments
of antiquity. The smallness of their numbers was the sole check on the
demands and depredations of the Romans. The imagination of Petrarch
might create the presence of a mighty people; and I hesitate to believe
that even in the fourteenth century they could be reduced to a
contemptible list of thirty-three thousand inhabitants. From that period
to the reign of Leo the Tenth, if they multiplied to the amount of
eighty-five thousand, the increase of citizens was in some degree
pernicious to the ancient city.

IV. I have reserved for the last, the most potent and forcible cause of
destruction, the domestic hostilities of the Romans themselves. Under
the dominion of the Greek and French emperors, the peace of the city was
disturbed by accidental though frequent seditions: it is from the
decline of the latter, from the beginning of the tenth century, that we
may date the licentiousness of private war, which violated with impunity
the laws of the Code and the gospel, without respecting the majesty of
the absent sovereign or the presence and person of the vicar of Christ.
In a dark period of five hundred years, Rome was perpetually afflicted
by the sanguinary quarrels of the nobles and the people, the Guelphs and
Ghibelines, the Colonna and Ursini; and if much has escaped the
knowledge, and much is unworthy of the notice, of history, I have
exposed in the two preceding chapters the causes and effects of the
public disorders. At such a time, when every quarrel was decided by the
sword and none could trust their lives or properties to the impotence of
law, the powerful citizens were armed for safety, or offense, against
the domestic enemies whom they feared or hated. Except Venice alone, the
same dangers and designs were common to all the free republics of Italy;
and the nobles usurped the prerogative of fortifying their houses and
erecting strong towers that were capable of resisting a sudden attack.
The cities were filled with these hostile edifices; and the example of
Lucca, which contained three hundred towers, her law which confined
their height to the measure of fourscore feet, may be extended with
suitable latitude to the more opulent and populous States. The first
step of the senator Brancaleone in the establishment of peace and
justice, was to demolish (as we have already seen) one hundred and forty
of the towers of Rome; and in the last days of anarchy and discord, as
late as the reign of Martin the Fifth, forty-four still stood in one of
the thirteen or fourteen regions of the city. To this mischievous
purpose the remains of antiquity were most readily adapted: the temples
and arches afforded a broad and solid basis for the new structures of
brick and stone; and we can name the modern turrets that were raised on
the triumphal monuments of Julius Cæsar, Titus, and the Antonines. With
some slight alterations, a theatre, an amphitheatre, a mausoleum, was
transformed into a strong and spacious citadel. I need not repeat that
the mole of Adrian has assumed the title and form of the castle of St.
Angelo; the Septizonium of Severus was capable of standing against a
royal army; the sepulchre of Metella has sunk under its outworks; the
theatres of Pompey and Marcellus were occupied by the Savelli and Ursini
families; and the rough fortress has been gradually softened to the
splendor and elegance of an Italian palace. Even the churches were
encompassed with arms and bulwarks, and the military engines on the roof
of St. Peter's were the terror of the Vatican and the scandal of the
Christian world. Whatever is fortified will be attacked; and whatever is
attacked may be destroyed. Could the Romans have wrested from the popes
the castle of St. Angelo, they had resolved by a public decree to
annihilate that monument of servitude. Every building of defense was
exposed to a siege; and in every siege the arts and engines of
destruction were laboriously employed. After the death of Nicholas the
Fourth, Rome, without a sovereign or a senate, was abandoned six months
to the fury of civil war. "The houses," says a cardinal and poet of the
times, "were crushed by the weight and velocity of enormous stones; the
walls were perforated by the strokes of the battering-ram; the towers
were involved in fire and smoke; and the assailants were stimulated by
rapine and revenge." The work was consummated by the tyranny of the
laws; and the factions of Italy alternately exercised a blind and
thoughtless vengeance on their adversaries, whose houses and castles
they razed to the ground. In comparing the _days_ of foreign, with the
_ages_ of domestic hostility, we must pronounce that the latter have
been far more ruinous to the city; and our opinion is confirmed by the
evidence of Petrarch. "Behold," says the laureate, "the relics of Rome,
the image of her pristine greatness! neither time nor the Barbarian can
boast the merit of this stupendous destruction: it was perpetrated by
her own citizens, by the most illustrious of her sons; and your
ancestors [he writes to a noble Annibaldi] have done with battering-ram
what the Punic hero could not accomplish with the sword." The influence
of the two last principles of decay must in some degree be multiplied by
each other, since the houses and towers which were subverted by civil
war required a new and perpetual supply from the monuments of antiquity.

These general observations may be separately applied to the amphitheatre
of Titus, which has obtained the name of the Coliseum, either from its
magnitude or from Nero's colossal statue; an edifice, had it been left
to time and nature, which might perhaps have claimed an eternal
duration. The curious antiquaries who have computed the numbers and
seats are disposed to believe that above the upper row of stone steps
the amphitheatre was encircled and elevated with several stages of
wooden galleries, which were repeatedly consumed by fire, and restored
by the emperors. Whatever was precious, or portable, or profane, the
statues of gods and heroes, and the costly ornaments of sculpture which
were cast in brass or overspread with leaves of silver and gold, became
the first prey of conquest or fanaticism, of the avarice of the
Barbarians or the Christians. In the massy stones of the Coliseum, many
holes are discerned; and the two most probable conjectures represent the
various accidents of its decay. These stones were connected by solid
links of brass or iron, nor had the eye of rapine overlooked the value
of the baser metals; the vacant space was converted into a fair or
market; the artisans of the Coliseum are mentioned in an ancient survey;
and the chasms were perforated or enlarged to receive the poles that
supported the shops or tents of the mechanic trades. Reduced to its
naked majesty, the Flavian amphitheatre was contemplated with awe and
admiration by the pilgrims of the North; and their rude enthusiasm broke
forth in a sublime proverbial expression, which is recorded in the
eighth century, in the fragments of the venerable Bede: "As long as the
Coliseum stands, Rome shall stand; when the Coliseum falls, Rome will
fall; when Rome falls, the world will fall." In the modern system of war
a situation commanded by the three hills would not be chosen for a
fortress: but the strength of the walls and arches could resist the
engines of assault; a numerous garrison might be lodged in the
inclosure; and while one faction occupied the Vatican and the Capitol,
the other was intrenched in the Lateran and the Coliseum.

The abolition at Rome of the ancient games must be understood with some
latitude; and the carnival sports of the Testacean Mount and the Circus
Agonalis were regulated by the law or custom of the city. The senator
presided with dignity and pomp to adjudge and distribute the prizes, the
gold ring, or the _pallium_, as it was styled, of cloth or silk. A
tribute on the Jews supplied the annual expense; and the races on foot,
on horseback, or in chariots, were ennobled by a tilt and tournament of
seventy-two of the Roman youth. In the year 1332 a bull-feast, after the
fashion of the Moors and Spaniards, was celebrated in the Coliseum
itself; and the living manners are painted in a diary of the times. A
convenient order of benches was restored, and a general proclamation as
far as Rimini and Ravenna invited the nobles to exercise their skill and
courage in this perilous adventure. The Roman ladies were marshaled in
three squadrons and seated in three balconies, which on this day, the
third of September, were lined with scarlet cloth. The fair Jacova di
Rovere led the matrons from beyond the Tiber, a pure and native race who
still represent the features and character of antiquity. The remainder
of the city was divided as usual between the Colonna and Ursini: the two
factions were proud of the number and beauty of their female bands: the
charms of Savella Ursini are mentioned with praise, and the Colonna
regretted the absence of the youngest of their house, who had sprained
her ankle in the garden of Nero's tower. The lots of the champions were
drawn by an old and respectable citizen; and they descended into the
arena, or pit, to encounter the wild bulls, on foot as it should seem,
with a single spear. Amidst the crowd, our annalist has selected the
names, colors, and devices of twenty of the most conspicuous knights.
Several of the names are the most illustrious of Rome and the
ecclesiastical State: Malatesta, Polenta, Della Valle, Cafarello,
Savelli, Capoccio, Conti, Annibaldi, Altieri, Corsi: the colors were
adapted to their taste and situation: the devices are expressive of
hope or despair, and breathe the spirit of gallantry and arms. "I am
alone, like the youngest of the Horatii," the confidence of an intrepid
stranger; "I live disconsolate," a weeping widower; "I burn under the
ashes," a discreet lover; "I adore Lavinia, or Lucretia," the ambiguous
declaration of a modern passion; "My faith is as pure," the motto of a
white livery; "Who is stronger than myself?" of a lion's hide; "If I am
drowned in blood, what a pleasant death!" the wish of ferocious courage.
The pride or prudence of the Ursini restrained them from the field,
which was occupied by three of their hereditary rivals, whose
inscriptions denoted the lofty greatness of the Colonna name: "Though
sad, I am strong;" "Strong as I am great;" "If I fall," addressing
himself to the spectators, "you fall with me"--intimating (says the
contemporary writer) that while the other families were the subjects of
the Vatican, they alone were the supporters of the Capitol. The combats
of the amphitheatre were dangerous and bloody. Every champion
successively encountered a wild bull; and the victory may be ascribed to
the quadrupeds, since no more than eleven were left on the field, with
the loss of nine wounded and eighteen killed on the side of their
adversaries. Some of the noblest families might mourn; but the pomp of
the funerals in the churches of St. John Lateran and Sta. Maria Maggiore
afforded a second holiday to the people. Doubtless it was not in such
conflicts that the blood of the Romans should have been shed: yet in
blaming their rashness we are compelled to applaud their gallantry; and
the noble volunteers who display their magnificence and risk their lives
under the balconies of the fair, excite a more generous sympathy than
the thousands of captives and malefactors who were reluctantly dragged
to the scene of slaughter.

This use of the amphitheatre was a rare, perhaps a singular, festival:
the demand for the materials was a daily and continual want which the
citizens could gratify without restraint or remorse. In the fourteenth
century a scandalous act of concord secured to both factions the
privilege of extracting stones from the free and common quarry of the
Coliseum; and Poggius laments that the greater part of these stones had
been burnt to lime by the folly of the Romans. To check this abuse, and
to prevent the nocturnal crimes that might be perpetrated in the vast
and gloomy recess, Eugenius the Fourth surrounded it with a wall; and by
a charter long extant, granted both the ground and edifice to the monks
of an adjacent convent. After his death the wall was overthrown in a
tumult of the people; and had they themselves respected the noblest
monument of their fathers, they might have justified the resolve that it
should never be degraded to private property. The inside was damaged;
but in the middle of the sixteenth century, an era of taste and
learning, the exterior circumference of one thousand six hundred and
twelve feet was still entire and inviolate; a triple elevation of
fourscore arches which rose to the height of one hundred and eight feet.
Of the present ruin, the nephews of Paul the Third are the guilty
agents; and every traveler who views the Farnese palace may curse the
sacrilege and luxury of these upstart princes. A similar reproach is
applied to the Barberini; and the repetition of injury might be dreaded
from every reign, till the Coliseum was placed under the safeguard of
religion by the most liberal of the pontiffs, Benedict the Fourteenth,
who consecrated a spot which persecution and fable had stained with the
blood of so many Christian martyrs.

When Petrarch first gratified his eyes with a view of those monuments,
whose scattered fragments so far surpass the most eloquent descriptions,
he was astonished at the supine indifference of the Romans themselves;
he was humbled rather than elated by the discovery that, except his
friend Rienzi and one of the Colonna, a stranger of the Rhône was more
conversant with these antiquities than the nobles and natives of the
metropolis. The ignorance and credulity of the Romans are elaborately
displayed in the old survey of the city, which was composed about the
beginning of the thirteenth century; and without dwelling on the
manifold errors of name and place, the legend of the Capitol may provoke
a smile of contempt and indignation. "The Capitol," says the anonymous
writer, "is so named as being the head of the world, where the consuls
and senators formerly resided for the government of the city and the
globe. The strong and lofty walls were covered with glass and gold, and
crowned with a roof of the richest and most curious carving. Below the
citadel stood a palace, of gold for the greatest part, decorated with
precious stones, and whose value might be esteemed at one-third of the
world itself. The statues of all the provinces were arranged in order,
each with a small bell suspended from its neck; and such was the
contrivance of art magic, that if the province rebelled against Rome the
statue turned round to that quarter of the heavens, the bell rang, the
prophet of the Capitol reported the prodigy, and the Senate was
admonished of the impending danger." A second example, of less
importance though of equal absurdity, may be drawn from the two marble
horses, led by two naked youths, which have since been transported from
the baths of Constantine to the Quirinal Hill. The groundless
application of the names of Phidias and Praxiteles may perhaps be
excused: but these Grecian sculptors should not have been removed above
four hundred years from the age of Pericles to that of Tiberius; they
should not have been transformed into two philosophers or magicians,
whose nakedness was the symbol of truth or knowledge, who revealed to
the Emperor his most secret actions, and after refusing all pecuniary
recompense, solicited the honor of leaving this eternal monument of
themselves. Thus, awake to the power of magic, the Romans were
insensible to the beauties of art: no more than five statues were
visible to the eyes of Poggius; and of the multitudes which chance or
design had buried under the ruins, the resurrection was fortunately
delayed till a safer and more enlightened age. The Nile, which now
adorns the Vatican, had been explored by some laborers in digging a
vineyard near the temple, or convent, of the Minerva: but the impatient
proprietor, who was tormented by some visits of curiosity, restored the
unprofitable marble to its former grave. The discovery of the statue of
Pompey, ten feet in length, was the occasion of a lawsuit. It had been
found under a partition wall: the equitable judge had pronounced that
the head should be separated from the body to satisfy the claims of the
contiguous owners; and the sentence would have been executed if the
intercession of a cardinal and the liberality of a pope had not rescued
the Roman hero from the hands of his barbarous countrymen.

But the clouds of barbarism were gradually dispelled, and the peaceful
authority of Martin the Fifth and his successors restored the ornaments
of the city as well as the order of the ecclesiastical State. The
improvements of Rome since the fifteenth century have not been the
spontaneous produce of freedom and industry. The first and most natural
root of a great city is the labor and populousness of the adjacent
country, which supplies the materials of subsistence, of manufactures,
and of foreign trade. But the greater part of the Campagna of Rome is
reduced to a dreary and desolate wilderness; the overgrown estates of
the princes and the clergy are cultivated by the lazy hands of indigent
and hopeless vassals; and the scanty harvests are confined or exported
for the benefit of a monopoly. A second and more artificial cause of the
growth of a metropolis is the residence of a monarch, the expense of a
luxurious court, and the tributes of dependent provinces. Those
provinces and tributes had been lost in the fall of the Empire: and if
some streams of the silver of Peru and the gold of Brazil have been
attracted by the Vatican, the revenues of the cardinals, the fees of
office, the oblations of pilgrims and clients, and the remnant of
ecclesiastical taxes, afford a poor and precarious supply, which
maintains however the idleness of the court and city. The population of
Rome, far below the measure of the great capitals of Europe, does not
exceed one hundred and seventy thousand inhabitants; and within the
spacious inclosure of the walls the largest portion of the seven hills
is overspread with vineyards and ruins. The beauty and splendor of the
modern city may be ascribed to the abuses of the government, to the
influence of superstition. Each reign (the exceptions are rare) has been
marked by the rapid elevation of a new family, enriched by the childless
pontiff at the expense of the Church and country. The palaces of these
fortunate nephews are the most costly monuments of elegance and
servitude: the perfect arts of architecture, painting, and sculpture
have been prostituted in their service; and their galleries and gardens
are decorated with the most precious works of antiquity which taste or
vanity has prompted them to collect. The ecclesiastical revenues were
more decently employed by the popes themselves in the pomp of the
Catholic worship; but it is superfluous to enumerate their pious
foundations of altars, chapels, and churches, since these lesser stars
are eclipsed by the sun of the Vatican, by the dome of St. Peter, the
most glorious structure that ever has been applied to the use of
religion. The fame of Julius the Second, Leo the Tenth, and Sixtus the
Fifth is accompanied by the superior merit of Bramante and Fontana, of
Raphael and Michael Angelo; and the same munificence which had been
displayed in palaces and temples was directed with equal zeal to revive
and emulate the labors of antiquity. Prostrate obelisks were raised from
the ground and erected in the most conspicuous places; of the eleven
aqueducts of the Cæsars and consuls, three were restored; the artificial
rivers were conducted over a long series of old, or of new arches, to
discharge into marble basins a flood of salubrious and refreshing
waters: and the spectator, impatient to ascend the steps of St. Peter's,
is detained by a column of Egyptian granite, which rises between two
lofty and perpetual fountains to the height of one hundred and twenty
feet. The map, the description, the monuments of ancient Rome have been
elucidated by the diligence of the antiquarian and the student; and the
footsteps of heroes, the relics, not of superstition but of empire, are
devoutly visited by a new race of pilgrims from the remote and once
savage countries of the North.

             All the foregoing selections are made from 'The History
             of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'



[Illustration: WILLIAM S. GILBERT]

When, after appearing from time to time in the London Fun, the 'Bab
Ballads' were published in book form in 1870, everybody, young and old,
found them provocative of hearty laughter. "Much sound and little
sense," was the title-page motto. Perhaps the fact that Mr. Gilbert's
readers did not know why they laughed was one great charm of the
ballads. The humor was felt, not analyzed, and involved no mental
fatigue. If there was "little sense," no continuity of meaning, there
was usually significant suggestion; and social foibles were touched off
with good-natured irony in a delightfully inconsequent fashion. The
"much sound" was a spirited lyric swing which clung to the memory,
a rich rhythm, and a rollicking spontaneity, which disregarded
considerations of grammar and pronunciation in a way that only added
to the fun.

The 'Bab Ballads,' and 'More Bab Ballads' which appeared in 1872, have
become classic. In many of them may be found the germs of the librettos
which have made Gilbert famous in comic opera. 'Pinafore,' 'The Mikado,'
'Patience,' and many others of a long and well-known list written to Sir
Arthur Sullivan's music, have furnished the public with many popular
songs. A volume of dainty lyrics has been made up from them; and,
entitled 'Songs of a Savoyard' (from the Savoy Theatre of London, where
the operas were first represented), was published in 1890.

Mr. Gilbert was born in London November 18th, 1836, and educated in that
city; after his graduation from the University of London he studied law,
and was called to the bar of the Inner Temple in 1863. Five years later
he became a captain of the Royal Aberdeenshire Highlanders. The success
of his first play, 'Dulcamara,' in 1866, led him to abandon the law, and
he has since devoted himself to authorship.


  Of all the ships upon the blue,
  No ship contained a better crew
  Than that of worthy Captain Reece,
  Commanding of The Mantlepiece.

  He was adored by all his men,
  For worthy Captain Reece, R.N.,
  Did all that lay within him to
  Promote the comfort of his crew.

  If ever they were dull or sad,
  Their captain danced to them like mad,
  Or told, to make the time pass by,
  Droll legends of his infancy.

  A feather-bed had every man,
  Warm slippers and hot-water can,
  Brown Windsor from the captain's store;
  A valet, too, to every four.

  Did they with thirst in summer burn,
  Lo! seltzogenes at every turn;
  And on all very sultry days
  Cream ices handed round on trays.

  Then, currant wine and ginger pops
  Stood handily on all the "tops";
  And also, with amusement rife,
  A "Zoetrope, or Wheel of Life."

  New volumes came across the sea
  From Mr. Mudie's libraree;
  The Times and Saturday Review
  Beguiled the leisure of the crew.

  Kind-hearted Captain Reece, R.N.,
  Was quite devoted to his men;
  In point of fact, good Captain Reece
  Beatified The Mantelpiece.

  One summer eve, at half-past ten,
  He said (addressing all his men):--
  "Come, tell me, please, what I can do
  To please and gratify my crew.

  "By any reasonable plan
  I'll make you happy if I can,--
  My own convenience count as _nil:_
  It is my duty, and I will."

  Then up and answered William Lee
  (The kindly captain's coxwain he,
  A nervous, shy, low-spoken man);
  He cleared his throat, and thus began:--

  "You have a daughter, Captain Reece,
  Ten female cousins and a niece,
  A ma, if what I'm told is true,
  Six sisters, and an aunt or two.

  "Now, somehow, sir, it seems to me,
  More friendly-like we all should be,
  If you united of 'em to
  Unmarried members of the crew.

  "If you'd ameliorate our life,
  Let each select from them a wife;
  And as for nervous me, old pal,
  Give me your own enchanting gal!"

  Good Captain Reece, that worthy man,
  Debated on his coxwain's plan:--
  "I quite agree," he said, "O Bill:
  It is my duty, and I will.

  "My daughter, that enchanting gurl,
  Has just been promised to an Earl,
  And all my other familee
  To peers of various degree.

  "But what are dukes and viscounts to
  The happiness of all my crew?
  The word I gave you I'll fulfill;
  It is my duty, and I will.

  "As you desire it shall befall;
  I'll settle thousands on you all,
  And I shall be, despite my hoard,
  The only bachelor on board."

  The boatswain of the Mantelpiece,
  He blushed and spoke to Captain Reece:--
  "I beg your Honor's leave," he said:--
  "If you would wish to go and wed,

  "I have a widowed mother who
  Would be the very thing for you--
  She long has loved you from afar:
  She washes for you, Captain R."

  The captain saw the dame that day--
  Addressed her in his playful way:--
  "And did it want a wedding ring?
  It was a tempting ickle sing!

  "Well, well, the chaplain I will seek,
  We'll all be married this day week
  At yonder church upon the hill;
  It is my duty, and I will!"

  The sisters, cousins, aunts, and niece,
  And widowed ma of Captain Reece,
  Attended there as they were bid:
  It was their duty, and they did.


  'Twas on the shores that round our coast
    From Deal to Ramsgate span,
  That I found alone on a piece of stone
    An elderly naval man.

  His hair was weedy, his beard was long,
    And weedy and long was he;
  And I heard this wight on the shore recite,
    In a singular minor key:--

  "Oh, I am a cook, and a captain bold,
    And the mate of the Nancy brig,
  And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
    And the crew of the captain's gig."

  And he shook his fists and he tore his hair,
    Till I really felt afraid,
  For I couldn't help thinking the man had been drinking,
    And so I simply said:--

  "O elderly man, it's little I know
    Of the duties of men of the sea,
  And I'll eat my hand if I understand
    However you can be

  "At once a cook, and a captain bold,
    And the mate of the Nancy brig,
  And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
    And the crew of the captain's gig."

  And he gave a hitch to his trousers, which
    Is a trick all seamen larn,
  And having got rid of a thumping quid,
    He spun his painful yarn:--

  "'Twas in the good ship Nancy Bell
    That we sailed to the Indian Sea,
  And there on a reef we come to grief,
    Which has often occurred to me.

  "And pretty nigh all the crew was drowned
    (There was seventy-seven o' soul),
  And only ten of the Nancy's men
    Said 'Here!' to the muster-roll.

  "There was me and the cook and the captain bold,
    And the mate of the Nancy brig,
  And the bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
    And the crew of the captain's gig.

  "For a month we'd neither wittles nor drink,
    Till a-hungry we did feel;
  So we drawed a lot, and accordin', shot
    The captain for our meal.

  "The next lot fell to the Nancy's mate,
    And a delicate dish he made;
  Then our appetite with the midshipmite
    We seven survivors stayed.

  "And then we murdered the bo'sun tight,
    And he much resembled pig;
  Then we wittled free, did the cook and me
    On the crew of the captain's gig.

  "Then only the cook and me was left,
    And the delicate question, 'Which
  Of us two goes to the kettle?' arose,
    And we argued it out as sich.

  "For I loved that cook as a brother, I did,
    And the cook he worshiped me;
  But we'd both be blowed if we'd either be stowed
    In the other chap's hold, you see.

  "'I'll be eat if you dines off me,' says Tom;
    'Yes, that,' says I, 'you'll be:
  I'm boiled if I die, my friend,' quoth I;
    And 'Exactly so,' quoth he.

  "Says he, 'Dear James, to murder me
    Were a foolish thing to do,
  For don't you see that you can't cook _me_,
    While I can--and will--cook _you_?'

  "So he boils the water, and takes the salt
    And the pepper in portions true
  (Which he never forgot), and some chopped shalot,
    And some sage and parsley too.

  "'Come here,' says he, with a proper pride,
    Which his smiling features tell;
  "'Twill soothing be if I let you see
    How extremely nice you'll smell.'

  "And he stirred it round and round and round,
    And he sniffed at the foaming froth;
  When I ups with his heels, and smothers his squeals
    In the scum of the boiling broth.

  "And I eat that cook in a week or less,
    And--as I eating be
  The last of his chops, why, I almost drops,
    For a wessel in sight I see!

       *       *       *       *       *

  "And I never larf, and I never smile,
    And I never lark nor play,
  But sit and croak, and a single joke
    I have--which is to say:--

  "'Oh, I am a cook, and a captain bold,
    And the mate of the Nancy brig,
  And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
    And the crew of the captain's gig!'"


  From east and south the holy clan
  Of bishops gathered to a man;
  To Synod, called Pan-Anglican,
    In flocking crowds they came.
  Among them was a bishop who
  Had lately been appointed to
  The balmy isle of Rum-ti-Foo,
    And Peter was his name.

  His people--twenty-three in sum--
  They played the eloquent tum-tum,
  And lived on scalps served up in rum--
    The only sauce they knew.
  When first good Bishop Peter came
  (For Peter was that bishop's name),
  To humor them, he did the same
    As they of Rum-ti-Foo.

  His flock, I've often heard him tell,
  (His name was Peter) loved him well,
  And summoned by the sound of bell,
    In crowds together came.
  "Oh, massa, why you go away?
  Oh, Massa Peter, please to stay."
  (They called him Peter, people say,
    Because it was his name.)

  He told them all good boys to be,
  And sailed away across the sea;
  At London Bridge that bishop he
    Arrived one Tuesday night;
  And as that night he homeward strode
  To his Pan-Anglican abode,
  He passed along the Borough Road,
    And saw a gruesome sight.

  He saw a crowd assembled round
  A person dancing on the ground,
  Who straight began to leap and bound
    With all his might and main.
  To see that dancing man he stopped,
  Who twirled and wriggled, skipped and hopped,
  Then down incontinently dropped,
    And then sprang up again.

  The bishop chuckled at the sight.
  "This style of dancing would delight
  A simple Rum-ti-Foozleite:
    I'll learn it if I can,
  To please the tribe when I get back."
  He begged the man to teach his knack.
  "Right reverend sir, in half a crack!"
    Replied that dancing man.

  The dancing man he worked away,
  And taught the bishop every day;
  The dancer skipped like any fay--
    Good Peter did the same.
  The bishop buckled to his task,
  With _battements_ and _pas de basque_.
  (I'll tell you, if you care to ask,
    That Peter was his name.)

  "Come, walk like this," the dancer said;
  "Stick out your toes--stick in your head,
  Stalk on with quick, galvanic tread--
    Your fingers thus extend;
  The attitude's considered quaint."
  The weary bishop, feeling faint,
  Replied, "I do not say it ain't,
    But 'Time!' my Christian friend!"

  "We now proceed to something new:
  Dance as the Paynes and Lauris do,
  Like this--one, two--one, two--one, two."
    The bishop, never proud,
  But in an overwhelming heat
  (His name was Peter, I repeat)
  Performed the Payne and Lauri feat,
    And puffed his thanks aloud.

  Another game the dancer planned:
  "Just take your ankle in your hand,
  And try, my lord, if you can stand--
    Your body stiff and stark.
  If when revisiting your see
  You learnt to hop on shore, like me,
  The novelty would striking be,
    And must attract remark."

  "No," said the worthy bishop, "no;
  That is a length to which, I trow,
  Colonial bishops cannot go.
    You may express surprise
  At finding bishops deal in pride--
  But if that trick I ever tried,
  I should appear undignified
    In Rum-ti-Foozle's eyes.

  "The islanders of Rum-ti-Foo
  Are well-conducted persons, who
  Approve a joke as much as you,
    And laugh at it as such;
  But if they saw their bishop land,
  His leg supported in his hand,
  The joke they wouldn't understand--
    'Twould pain them very much!"


  It was a robber's daughter, and her name was Alice Brown;
  Her father was the terror of a small Italian town;
  Her mother was a foolish, weak, but amiable old thing:
  But it isn't of her parents that I'm going for to sing.

  As Alice was a-sitting at her window-sill one day,
  A beautiful young gentleman he chanced to pass that way;
  She cast her eyes upon him, and he looked so good and true,
  That she thought, "I could be happy with a gentleman like you!"

  And every morning passed her house that cream of gentlemen;
  She knew she might expect him at a quarter unto ten;
  A sorter in the Custom-house, it was his daily road
  (The Custom-house was fifteen minutes' walk from her abode).

  But Alice was a pious girl, who knew it wasn't wise
  To look at strange young sorters with expressive purple eyes;
  So she sought the village priest to whom her family confessed,
  The priest by whom their little sins were carefully assessed.

  "O holy father," Alice said, "'twould grieve you, would it not,
  To discover that I was a most disreputable lot?
  Of all unhappy sinners I'm the most unhappy one!"
  The padre said, "Whatever have you been and gone and done?"

  "I have helped mamma to steal a little kiddy from its dad,
  I've assisted dear papa in cutting up a little lad,
  I've planned a little burglary and forged a little cheque,
  And slain a little baby for the coral on its neck!"

  The worthy pastor heaved a sigh, and dropped a silent tear,
  And said, "You mustn't judge yourself too heavily, my dear:
  It's wrong to murder babies, little corals for to fleece;
  But sins like these one expiates at half-a-crown apiece.

  "Girls will be girls--you're very young, and flighty in your mind;
  Old heads upon young shoulders we must not expect to find;
  We mustn't be too hard upon these little girlish tricks--
  Let's see--five crimes at half-a-crown--exactly twelve-and-six."

  "O father," little Alice cried, "your kindness makes me weep,
  You do these little things for me so singularly cheap;
  Your thoughtful liberality I never can forget;
  But oh! there is another crime I haven't mentioned yet!

  "A pleasant-looking gentleman, with pretty purple eyes,
  I've noticed at my window, as I've sat a-catching flies;
  He passes by it every day as certain as can be--
  I blush to say I've winked at him and he has winked at me!"

  "For shame!" said Father Paul, "my erring daughter! On my word,
  This is the most distressing news that I have ever heard.
  Why, naughty girl, your excellent papa has pledged your hand
  To a promising young robber, the lieutenant of his band!

  "This dreadful piece of news will pain your worthy parents so!
  They are the most remunerative customers I know;
  For many, many years they've kept starvation from my doors:
  I never knew so criminal a family as yours!

  "The common country folk in this insipid neighborhood
  Have nothing to confess, they're so ridiculously good;
  And if you marry any one respectable at all,
  Why, you'll reform, and what will then become of Father Paul?"

  The worthy priest, he up and drew his cowl upon his crown,
  And started off in haste to tell the news to Robber Brown--
  To tell him how his daughter, who was now for marriage fit,
  Had winked upon a sorter, who reciprocated it.

  Good Robber Brown he muffled up his anger pretty well;
  He said, "I have a notion, and that notion I will tell:
  I will nab this gay young sorter, terrify him into fits,
  And get my gentle wife to chop him into little bits.

  "I've studied human nature, and I know a thing or two:
  Though a girl may fondly love a living gent, as many do--
  A feeling of disgust upon her senses there will fall
  When she looks upon his body chopped particularly small."

  He traced that gallant sorter to a still suburban square;
  He watched his opportunity, and seized him unaware;
  He took a life-preserver and he hit him on the head,
  And Mrs. Brown dissected him before she went to bed.

  And pretty little Alice grew more settled in her mind;
  She never more was guilty of a weakness of the kind;
  Until at length good Robber Brown bestowed her pretty hand
  On the promising young robber, the lieutenant of his band.


  I sing a legend of the sea,
  So hard-a-port upon your lee!
    A ship on starboard tack!
  She's bound upon a private cruise--
  (This is the kind of spice I use
    To give a salt-sea smack).

  Behold, on every afternoon
  (Save in a gale or strong monsoon)
    Great Captain Capel Cleggs
  (Great morally, though rather short)
  Sat at an open weather-port
    And aired his shapely legs.

  And mermaids hung around in flocks,
  On cable chains and distant rocks,
    To gaze upon those limbs;
  For legs like those, of flesh and bone,
  Are things "not generally known"
    To any merman timbs.

  But mermen didn't seem to care
  Much time (as far as I'm aware)
    With Cleggs's legs to spend;
  Though mermaids swam around all day
  And gazed, exclaiming, "_That's_ the way
    A gentleman should end!

  "A pair of legs with well-cut knees,
  And calves and ankles such as these
    Which we in rapture hail,
  Are far more eloquent, it's clear
  (When clothed in silk and kerseymere),
    Than any nasty tail."

  And Cleggs--a worthy, kind old boy--
  Rejoiced to add to others' joy,
    And when the day was dry,
  Because it pleased the lookers-on,
  He sat from morn till night--though con-
    Stitutionally shy.

  At first the mermen laughed, "Pooh! pooh!"
  But finally they jealous grew,
    And sounded loud recalls;
  But vainly. So these fishy males
  Declared they too would clothe their tails
    In silken hose and smalls.

  They set to work, these watermen,
  And made their nether robes--but when
    They drew with dainty touch
  The kerseymere upon their tails,
  They found it scraped against their scales,
    And hurt them very much.

  The silk, besides, with which they chose
  To deck their tails by way of hose
    (They never thought of shoon)
  For such a use was much too thin,--
  It tore against the caudal fin,
    And "went in ladders" soon.

  So they designed another plan:
  They sent their most seductive man,
    This note to him to show:--
  "Our Monarch sends to Captain Cleggs
  His humble compliments, and begs
    He'll join him down below;

  "We've pleasant homes below the sea--
  Besides, if Captain Cleggs should be
    (As our advices say)
  A judge of mermaids, he will find
  Our lady fish of every kind
    Inspection will repay."

  Good Capel sent a kind reply,
  For Capel thought he could descry
    An admirable plan
  To study all their ways and laws--
  (But not their lady fish, because
    He was a married man).

  The merman sank--the captain too
  Jumped overboard, and dropped from view
    Like stone from catapult;
  And when he reached the merman's lair,
  He certainly was welcomed there,
    But ah! with what result!

  They didn't let him learn their law,
  Or make a note of what he saw,
    Or interesting mem.;
  The lady fish he couldn't find,
  But that, of course, he didn't mind--
    He didn't come for them.

  For though when Captain Capel sank,
  The mermen drawn in double rank
    Gave him a hearty hail,
  Yet when secure of Captain Cleggs,
  They cut off both his lovely legs,
    And gave him _such_ a tail!

  When Captain Cleggs returned aboard,
  His blithesome crew convulsive roar'd,
    To see him altered so.
  The admiralty did insist
  That he upon the half-pay list
    Immediately should go.

  In vain declared the poor old salt,
  "It's my misfortune--not my fault,"
    With tear and trembling lip--
  In vain poor Capel begged and begged.
  "A man must be completely legged
    Who rules a British ship."

  So spake the stern First Lord aloud,--
  He was a wag, though very proud,--
    And much rejoiced to say,
  "You're only half a captain now--
  And so, my worthy friend, I vow
    You'll only get half-pay!"

         All the above selections are made from 'Fifty Bab Ballads.'



[Illustration: RICHARD W. GILDER]

Richard Watson Gilder is the son of a clergyman, the Rev. William H.
Gilder, who published two literary reviews in Philadelphia. He was born
in Bordentown, New Jersey, February 8th, 1844, and with such ancestry
and home influence came easily to journalism and literary work. He got
his schooling in the Bellevue Seminary, which was founded by his father.
As with so many young Americans of the time, the war came to interrupt
his studies; and in 1863 he served in the "Emergency Corps," in the
defense of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Mr. Gilder is one of the American
writers who have successfully combined journalism and literature. He
began by doing newspaper work, and then by a natural transition became
in 1869 editor of Hours at Home, and shortly thereafter associate editor
of Scribner's Magazine with Dr. J. G. Holland. This representative
monthly was changed in name to The Century, and upon the death of Dr.
Holland in 1881 Mr. Gilder became its editor-in-chief. His influence in
this conspicuous position has been wholesome and helpful in the
encouraging of literature, and in the discussion of current questions of
importance through a popular medium which reaches great numbers of the
American people. The Century under his direction has been receptive to
young writers and artists of ability, and many since known to fame made
their maiden appearance in its pages.

In addition to his influence on the literary movement, Mr. Gilder has
been active in philanthropic and political work. He has secured
legislation for the improvement of tenements in cities; he has taken
interest in the formation of public kindergartens; and given of his time
and strength to further other reforms. His influence in New York City,
too, has been a factor in developing the social aspects of literary and
art life there. From Dickinson College he has received the degree of
LL.D., and from Princeton that of L.H.D.

Mr. Gilder's reputation as a writer is based upon his verse. Only very
occasionally does he publish an essay, though thoughtful, strongly
written editorials from his pen in his magazine are frequent. But it is
his verse-writing that has given him his place--a distinct and honorable
one--in American letters. The fine quality and promise of his work was
recognized upon the publication of 'The New Day' in 1875, a first volume
which was warmly received. It showed the influence of Italian studies,
and contained lyric work of much imaginative beauty. The musicalness of
it and the delicately ideal treatment of the love passion were
noticeable characteristics. In his subsequent books--'The Celestial
Passion,' 1887; 'Lyrics,' 1885 and 1887; 'Two Worlds, and Other Poems,'
1891; 'The Great Remembrance, and Other Poems,' 1893: the contents of
these being gathered finally into the one volume 'Five Books of Song,'
1894--he has given further proof of his genuine lyric gift, his work in
later years having a wider range of themes, a broadening vision and
deepening purpose. He remains nevertheless essentially a lyrist, a maker
of songs; a thorough artist who has seriousness, dignity, and charm. His
is an earnest nature, sensitive alike to vital contemporaneous problems
and to the honey-sweet voice of the Ideal.

    [All the following citations from Mr. Gilder's poems are
    copyrighted, and are reprinted here by special permission
    of the author and his publishers.]



  Not from the whole wide world I chose thee,
  Sweetheart, light of the land and the sea!
  The wide, wide world could not inclose thee--
  For thou art the whole wide world to me.


  Years have flown since I knew thee first,
  And I know thee as water is known of thirst;
  Yet I knew thee of old at the first sweet sight,
  And thou art strange to me, Love, to-night.


  Rose-dark the solemn sunset
    That holds my thought of thee;
  With one star in the heavens
    And one star in the sea.

  On high no lamp is lighted,
    Nor where the long waves flow.
  Save the one star of evening
    And the shadow star below.

  Light of my life, the darkness
    Comes with the twilight dream;
  Thou art the bright star shining,
    And I but the shadowy gleam.


        What, then, is Life,--what Death?
            Thus the Answerer saith;
      O faithless mortal, bend thy head and listen:

          Down o'er the vibrant strings,
  That thrill, and moan, and mourn, and glisten,
          The Master draws his bow.
  A voiceless pause: then upward, see, it springs,
  Free as a bird with unimprisoned wings!
          In twain the chord was cloven,
            While, shaken with woe,
  With breaks of instant joy all interwoven,
      Piercing the heart with lyric knife,
          On, on the ceaseless music sings,
            Restless, intense, serene;--
  Life is the downward stroke; the upward, Life;
            Death but the pause between.

  Then spake the Questioner: If 't were only this,
          Ah, who could face the abyss
  That plunges steep athwart each human breath?
          If the new birth of Death
  Meant only more of Life as mortals know it,
  What priestly balm, what song of highest poet,
    Could heal one sentient soul's immitigable pain?
              All, all were vain!
  If, having soared pure spirit at the last,
  Free from the impertinence and warp of flesh
  We find half joy, half pain, on every blast;
    Are caught again in closer-woven mesh--
          Ah! who would care to die
  From out these fields and hills, and this familiar sky;
  These firm, sure hands that compass us, this dear humanity?

            Again the Answerer saith:--
            O ye of little faith,
        Shall then the spirit prove craven,
      And Death's divine deliverance but give
            A summer rest and haven?
    By all most noble in us, by the light that streams
            Into our waking dreams,
      Ah, we who know what Life is, let us live!
        Clearer and freer, who shall doubt?
    Something of dust and darkness cast forever out;
      But Life, still Life, that leads to higher Life,
  Even though the highest be not free from immortal strife.

      The highest! Soul of man, oh be thou bold,
      And to the brink of thought draw near, behold!
                Where, on the earth's green sod,
      Where, where in all the universe of God,
                Hath strife forever ceased?
      When hath not some great orb flashed into space
    The terror of its doom? When hath no human face
                Turned earthward in despair,
    For that some horrid sin had stamped its image there?

      If at our passing Life be Life increased,
      And we ourselves flame pure unfettered soul,
      Like the Eternal Power that made the whole
                And lives in all he made
  From shore of matter to the unknown spirit shore;
              If, sire to son, and tree to limb,
      Cycle on countless cycle more and more
              We grow to be like him;
      If he lives on, serene and unafraid,
      Through all his light, his love, his living thought,
      One with the sufferer, be it soul or star;
      If he escape not pain, what beings that are
  Can e'er escape while Life leads on and up the unseen way and far?
      If he escape not, by whom all was wrought,
              Then shall not we,
      Whate'er of godlike solace still may be,--
  For in all worlds there is no Life without a pang, and can be naught.

      No Life without a pang! It were not Life,
              If ended were the strife--
      Man were not man, nor God were truly God!
                    See from the sod
      The lark thrill skyward in an arrow of song:
                Even so from pain and wrong
      Upsprings the exultant spirit, wild and free.
      He knows not all the joy of liberty
      Who never yet was crushed 'neath heavy woe.
                  He doth not know,
            Nor can, the bliss of being brave
    Who never hath faced death, nor with unquailing eye
                Hath measured his own grave.
        Courage, and pity, and divinest scorn--
    Self-scorn, self-pity, and high courage of the soul;
                The passion for the goal;
        The strength to never yield though all be lost--
                    All these are born
        Of endless strife; this is the eternal cost
        Of every lovely thought that through the portal
        Of human minds doth pass with following light.
              Blanch not, O trembling mortal!
        But with extreme and terrible delight
                     Know thou the truth,
        Nor let thy heart be heavy with false ruth.

        No passing burden is our earthly sorrow,
        That shall depart in some mysterious morrow.
        'Tis His one universe where'er we are--
        One changeless law from sun to viewless star.
        Were sorrow evil here, evil it were forever,
    Beyond the scope and help of our most keen endeavor
                    God doth not dote,
        His everlasting purpose shall not fail.
        Here where our ears are weary with the wail
  And weeping of the sufferers; there where the Pleiads float--
        Here, there, forever, pain most dread and dire
    Doth bring the intensest bliss, the dearest and most sure.
        'Tis not from Life aside, it doth endure
        Deep in the secret heart of all existence.
              It is the inward fire,
    The heavenly urge, and the divine insistence.
    Uplift thine eyes, O Questioner, from the sod!
              It were no longer Life,
              If ended were the strife;
    Man were not man, God were not truly God.



          If songs were perfume, color, wild desire;
                      If poets' words were fire
          That burned to blood in purple-pulsing veins;
    If with a bird-like thrill the moments throbbed to hours;
                      If summer's rains
      Turned drop by drop to shy, sweet, maiden flowers;
      If God made flowers with light and music in them,
              And saddened hearts could win them;
              If loosened petals touched the ground
                      With a caressing sound;
                      If love's eyes uttered word
        No listening lover e'er before had heard;
        If silent thoughts spake with a bugle's voice;
    If flame passed into song and cried, "Rejoice! Rejoice!"
    If words could picture life's, hope's, heaven's eclipse
    When the last kiss has fallen on dying eyes and lips;
                      If all of mortal woe
      Struck on one heart with breathless blow on blow;
      If melody were tears, and tears were starry gleams
      That shone in evening's amethystine dreams;
    Ah yes, if notes were stars, each star a different hue,
                      Trembling to earth in dew;
            Or if the boreal pulsings, rose and white,
            Made a majestic music in the night;
            If all the orbs lost in the light of day
    In the deep, silent blue began their harps to play;
    And when in frightening skies the lightnings flashed
                      And storm-clouds crashed,
  If every stroke of light and sound were but excess of beauty;
            If human syllables could e'er refashion
                    That fierce electric passion;
    If other art could match (as were the poet's duty)
        The grieving, and the rapture, and the thunder
                    Of that keen hour of wonder,--
    That light as if of heaven, that blackness as of hell,--
    How Paderewski plays then might I dare to tell.


      How Paderewski plays! And was it he
      Or some disbodied spirit which had rushed
      From silence into singing; and had crushed
      Into one startled hour a life's felicity,
  And highest bliss of knowledge--that all life, grief, wrong,
      Turn at the last to beauty and to song!


  What is a sonnet? 'Tis the pearly shell
    That murmurs of the far-off murmuring sea;
    A precious jewel carved most curiously;
  It is a little picture painted well.
  What is a sonnet? 'Tis the tear that fell
    From a great poet's hidden ecstasy;
    A two-edged sword, a star, a song--ah me!
  Sometimes a heavy-tolling funeral bell.
    This was the flame that shook with Dante's breath;
      The solemn organ whereon Milton played,
  And the clear glass where Shakespeare's shadow falls:
    A sea this is--beware who ventureth!
      For like a fiord the narrow floor is laid
  Mid-ocean deep to the sheer mountain walls.


From 'The Great Remembrance'

  Land that we love! Thou Future of the World!
    Thou refuge of the noble heart oppressed!
  Oh, never be thy shining image hurled
    From its high place in the adoring breast
  Of him who worships thee with jealous love!
  Keep thou thy starry forehead as the dove
    All white, and to the eternal Dawn inclined!
    Thou art not for thyself, but for mankind,
  And to despair of thee were to despair
    Of man, of man's high destiny, of God!
    Of thee should man despair, the journey trod
  Upward, through unknown eons, stair on stair,
    By this our race, with bleeding feet and slow,
    Were but the pathway to a darker woe
  Than yet was visioned by the heavy heart
    Of prophet. To despair of thee! Ah no!
  For thou thyself art Hope; Hope of the World thou art!


  This bronze doth keep the very form and mold
    Of our great martyr's face. Yes, this is he:
    That brow all wisdom, all benignity;
  That human, humorous mouth; those cheeks that hold
  Like some harsh landscape all the summer's gold;
    That spirit fit for sorrow, as the sea
    For storms to beat on; the lone agony
  Those silent, patient lips too well foretold.
  Yes, this is he who ruled a world of men
    As might some prophet of the elder day--
    Brooding above the tempest and the fray
  With deep-eyed thought and more than mortal ken.
  A power was his beyond the touch of art
  Or armèd strength--his pure and mighty heart.


  Call me not dead when I, indeed, have gone
    Into the company of the ever-living
    High and most glorious poets! Let thanksgiving
  Rather be made. Say:--"He at last hath won
  Rest and release, converse supreme and wise,
    Music and song and light of immortal faces;
    To-day, perhaps, wandering in starry places,
  He hath met Keats, and known him by his eyes.
  To-morrow (who can say?) Shakespeare may pass,
    And our lost friend just catch one syllable
    Of that three-centuried wit that kept so well;
  Or Milton; or Dante, looking on the grass
    Thinking of Beatrice, and listening still
    To chanted hymns that sound from the heavenly hill."


From 'The New Day'

  Through love to light! Oh, wonderful the way
  That leads from darkness to the perfect day!
  From darkness and from sorrow of the night
  To morning that comes singing o'er the sea.
  Through love to light! Through light, O God, to thee,
  Who art the love of love, the eternal light of light!



[Illustration: GIUSEPPE GIUSTI]

Giuseppe Giusti, an Italian satirical poet, was born of an influential
family, May 12th, 1809, in the little village of Monsummano, which lies
between Pistoja and Pescia, and was in every fibre of his nature a
Tuscan. As a child he imbibed the healthful, sunny atmosphere of that
Campagna, and grew up loving the world and his comrades, but with a
dislike of study which convinced himself and his friends that he was
born to no purpose. He was early destined to the bar, and began his law
studies in Pistoja and Lucca, completing them a number of years later at
Pisa, where he obtained his degree of doctor.

In 1834 he went to Florence, under pretence of practicing with the
advocate Capoquadri; but here as elsewhere he spent his time in the
world of gayety, whose fascination and whose absurdity he seems to have
felt with equal keenness. His dislike of study found its exception in
his love of Dante, of whom he was a reverent student. He was himself
continually versifying, and his early romantic lyrics are inspired by
lofty thought. His penetrating humor, however, and his instinctive
sarcasm, whose expression was never unkind, led him soon to abandon
idealism and to distinguish himself in the field of satire, which has no
purer representative than he. His compositions are short and terse, and
are seldom blemished by personalities. He was wont to say that absurd
persons did not merit even the fame of infamy. He leveled his wit
against the lethargy and immoralities of the times, and revealed them
clear-cut in the light of his own stern principles and patriotism.

The admiration and confidence which he now began to receive from the
public was to him a matter almost of consternation, wont as he was to
consider himself a good-for-nothing. He confesses somewhat bashfully
however that there was always within him, half afraid of itself, an
instinct of power which led him to say in his heart, Who knows what I
may be with time? His frail constitution and almost incessant physical
suffering account for a natural indolence against which he constantly
inveighs, but above which he was powerless to rise except at vehement
intervals. No carelessness, however, marks his work. He was a tireless
reviser, and possessed the rare power of cutting, polishing, and
finishing his work with exquisite nicety, without robbing it of vigor.
His writings exerted a distinct political and moral influence. His is
not alone the voice of pitiless and mocking irony, but it is that of the
humanitarian, who in overthrow and destruction sees only the first step
toward the creation of something better. When war broke out he laid
aside his pen, saying that this was no time for a poet to pull down, and
that his was not the power to build up. His health forbade his entering
the army, which was a cause of poignant sorrow to him. His faith in
Italy and her people and in the final triumph of unity remained unshaken
and sublime in the midst of every reverse.

His mastery of the Tuscan dialect and his elegance of idiom won him
membership in the Accademia della Crusca; but his love for Tuscany was
always subservient to his love for Italy. To those who favored the
division of the peninsula, he used to reply that he had but one
fatherland, and that was a unit. He died in Florence, March 31, 1850, at
the home of his devoted friend the Marquis Gino Capponi. In the teeth of
Austrian prohibition, a throng of grateful and loving citizens followed
his body to the church of San Miniato al Monte, remembering that at a
time when freedom of thought was deemed treason, this man had fearlessly
raised the battle-cry and prepared the way for the insurrection of 1848.
Besides his satires, Giusti has left us a life of the poet Giuseppe
Parini, a collection of Tuscan proverbs, and an unedited essay on the
'Divine Comedy.'


From 'Gingillino'

    [The poem of 'Gingillino,' one of Giusti's finest satires, is
    full of personal hits, greatly enjoyed by the author's
    countrymen. The 'Lullaby' is sung by a number of personified
    Vices round the cradle of the infant Gingillino, who, having
    come into the world naked and possessed of nothing, is
    admonished how to behave if he would go out of it well dressed
    and rich. A few verses only are given out of the many. The
    whole poem was one of the most popular of all Giusti's

  Cry not, dear baby,
    Of nothing possessed;
  But if thou wouldst, dear,
    Expire well dressed....

  Let nothing vex thee,--
    Love's silly story,
  Ghosts of grand festivals
    Spectres of glory;

  Let naught annoy thee:
    The burdens of fame,
  The manifold perils
    That wait on a name.

  Content thyself, baby,
    With learning to read:
  Don't be vainglorious;
    That's all thou canst need.

  All promptings of genius
    Confine in thy breast,
  If thou wouldst, baby,
    Expire well dressed....

  Let not God nor Devil
    Concern thy poor wits,
  And tell no more truth
    Than politeness permits.

  With thy soul and thy body,
    Still worship the Real;
  Nor ever attempt
    To pursue the Ideal.

  As for thy scruples,
    Let them be suppressed,
  If thou wouldst, baby,
    Expire well dressed.

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


    [The monarch satirized in this poem was Francesco IV., Duke of
    Modena, a petty Nero, who executed not a few of the Italian
    patriots of 1831.]

  A most wonderful steam-machine,
    One time set up in China-land,
  Outdid the insatiate guillotine,
    For in three hours, you understand,
  It cut off a hundred thousand heads
                In a row, like hospital beds.

  This innovation stirred a breeze,
    And some of the bonzes even thought
  Their barbarous country by degrees
    To civilization might be brought,
  Leaving Europeans, with their schools,
                Looking like fools.

  The Emperor was an honest man--
    A little stiff, and dull of pate;
  Like other asses, hard and slow.
    He loved his subjects and the State,
  And patronized all clever men
                Within his ken.

  His people did not like to pay
    Their taxes and their other dues,--
  They cheated the revenue, sad to say:
    So their good ruler thought he'd choose
  As the best argument he'd seen,
                This sweet machine.

  The thing's achievements were so great,
    They gained a pension for the man,--
  The executioner of State,--
    Who got a patent for his plan,
  Besides becoming a Mandarin
                Of great Pekin.

  A courtier cried: "Good guillotine!
    Let's up and christen it, I say!"
  "Ah, why," cries to his counselor keen
    A Nero of our present day,
  "Why was not born within _my_ State
                A man so great?"

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

[Illustration: WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE.]



In view of his distinguished career, it is interesting to know that it
is a part of Mr. Gladstone's unresting ambition to take a place among
the literary men of the time, and to guide the thoughts of his
countrymen in literary as well as in political, social, and economic
subjects. Mr. Gladstone's preparation to become a man of letters was
extensive. Born in Liverpool December 29th, 1809, he was sent to Eton
and afterwards to Oxford, where he took the highest honors, and was the
most remarkable graduate of his generation. His fellow students carried
away a vivid recollection of his _viva voce_ examination for his degree:
the tall figure, the flashing eye, the mobile countenance, in the midst
of the crowd who pressed to hear him, while the examiners plied him with
questions till, tested in some difficult point in theology, the
candidate exclaimed, "Not yet, if you please" and began to pour forth a
fresh store of learning and argument.

From the university Mr. Gladstone carried away two passions--the one for
Greek literature, especially Greek poetry, the other for Christian
theology. The Oxford that formed these tastes was intensely conservative
in politics, representing the aristocratic system of English society and
the exclusiveness of the Established Church, whose creed was that of the
fourth century. Ecclesiasticism is not friendly to literature; but how
far Oxford's most loyal son was permeated by ecclesiasticism is a matter
of opinion. Fortunately, personality is stronger than dogma, and ideas
than literary form; and Mr. Gladstone, than whom few men outside the
profession of letters have written more, is always sure of an
intelligent hearing. His discussion of a subject seems to invest it with
some of his own marvelous vitality; and when he selects a book for
review, he is said to make the fortune of both publisher and author, if
only the title be used as a crotchet to hang his sermon on.

And this not merely because curiosity is excited concerning the opinion
of the greatest living Englishman (for notwithstanding his political
vacillations, his views on inward and higher subjects have little
changed since his Oxford days, and may easily be prognosticated), but on
account of the subtlety and fertility of his mind and the adroitness of
his argument. Plunging into the heart of the subject, he is at the same
time working round it, holding it up for inspection in one light and
then in another, reasoning from this premise and that; while the string
of elucidations and explanations grows longer and longer, and the
atmosphere of complexity thickens. It was out of such an atmosphere that
a barrister advised his client, a bigamist, to get Mr. Gladstone to
explain away one of his wives.

When Mr. Gladstone made his debut as an author, he locked horns with
Macaulay in the characteristic paper 'Church and State' (1837). He
published his 'Studies in Homer and the Homeric Age' in 1858, 'Juventus
Mundi' in 1869, 'Homeric Synchronism' in 1857. In 1879 most of his
essays, political, social, economic, religious, and literary, written
between 1843 and 1879, were collected in seven volumes, and appeared
under the title of 'Gleanings of Past Years.' He has published a very
great number of smaller writings not reprinted.

From that time to the present, neither his industry nor his energy has
abated; but he is probably at his best in the several remarkable essays
on Blanco White, Bishop Patterson, Tennyson, Leopardi, and the position
of the Church of England. The reader spoiled for the Scotch quality of
weight by the "light touch" which is the graceful weapon of the age,
wonders, when reading these essays, that Mr. Gladstone has not more
assiduously cultivated the instinct of style,--sentence-making. Milton
himself has not a higher conception of the business of literature; and
when discussing these congenial themes, Mr. Gladstone's enthusiasm does
not degenerate into vehemence, nor does he descend from the high moral
plane from which he views the world.

It is the province of the specialist to appraise Mr. Gladstone's Homeric
writings; but even the specialist will not, perhaps, forbear to quote
the axiom of the pugilist in the Iliad concerning the fate of him who
would be skillful in all arts. No man is less a Greek in temperament,
but no man cherishes deeper admiration for the Greek genius, and nowhere
else is a more vivid picture of the life and politics of the heroic age
held up to the unlearned. While the critic may question technical
accuracy, or plausible structures built on insufficient data, the laity
will remember how earnestly Mr. Gladstone insists that Homer is his own
best interpreter, and that the student of the Iliad must go to the Greek
text and not elsewhere for accurate knowledge.

But Greek literature is only one of Mr. Gladstone's two passions, and
not the paramount one. That he would have been a great theologian had he
been other than Mr. Gladstone, is generally admitted. And it is
interesting to note that while he glories in the combats of the heroes
of Hellas, his enthusiasm is as quickly kindled by the humilities of
the early Church. He recognizes the prophetic quality of Homer, but he
bows before the sublimer genius of an Isaiah, and sees in the lives and
writings of the early Fathers the perfect bloom of human genius and


From 'Gleanings of Past Years'

Lord Macaulay lived a life of no more than fifty-nine years and three
months. But it was an extraordinarily full life, of sustained exertion;
a high table-land, without depressions. If in its outer aspect there
be anything wearisome, it is only the wearisomeness of reiterated
splendors, and of success so uniform as to be almost monotonous. He
speaks of himself as idle; but his idleness was more active, and carried
with it hour by hour a greater expenditure of brain power, than what
most men regard as their serious employments. He might well have been,
in his mental career, the spoiled child of fortune; for all he tried
succeeded, all he touched turned into gems and gold. In a happy
childhood he evinced extreme precocity. His academical career gave
sufficient, though not redundant, promise of after celebrity. The new
Golden Age he imparted to the Edinburgh Review, and his first and most
important, if not best, Parliamentary speeches in the grand crisis of
the first Reform Bill, achieved for him, years before he had reached the
middle point of life, what may justly be termed an immense distinction.

For a century and more, perhaps no man in this country, with the
exceptions of Mr. Pitt and of Lord Byron, had attained at thirty-two the
fame of Macaulay. His Parliamentary success and his literary eminence
were each of them enough, as they stood at this date, to intoxicate any
brain and heart of a meaner order. But to these was added, in his case,
an amount and quality of social attentions such as invariably partake of
adulation and idolatry, and as perhaps the high circles of London never
before or since have lavished on a man whose claims lay only in himself,
and not in his descent, his rank, or his possessions....

One of the very first things that must strike the observer of this man
is, that he was very unlike to any other man. And yet this unlikeness,
this monopoly of the model in which he was made, did not spring from
violent or eccentric features of originality, for eccentricity he had
none whatever, but from the peculiar mode in which the ingredients were
put together to make up the composition. In one sense, beyond doubt,
such powers as his famous memory, his rare power of illustration, his
command of language, separated him broadly from others: but gifts like
these do not make the man; and we now for the first time know that he
possessed, in a far larger sense, the stamp of a real and strong
individuality. The most splendid and complete assemblage of intellectual
endowments does not of itself suffice to create an interest of the kind
that is, and will be, now felt in Macaulay. It is from ethical gifts
alone that such an interest can spring.

These existed in him not only in abundance, but in forms distant from
and even contrasted with the fashion of his intellectual faculties, and
in conjunctions which come near to paradox. Behind the mask of splendor
lay a singular simplicity; behind a literary severity which sometimes
approached to vengeance, an extreme tenderness; behind a rigid
repudiation of the sentimental, a sensibility at all times quick, and in
the latest times almost threatening to sap, though never sapping, his
manhood. He who as speaker and writer seemed above all others to
represent the age and the world, had the real centre of his being in the
simplest domestic tastes and joys. He for whom the mysteries of human
life, thought, and destiny appear to have neither charm nor terror, and
whose writings seem audibly to boast in every page of being bounded by
the visible horizon of the practical and work-day sphere, yet in his
virtues and in the combination of them; in his freshness, bounty,
bravery; in his unshrinking devotion both to causes and to persons; and
most of all, perhaps, in the thoroughly inborn and spontaneous character
of all these gifts,--really recalls the age of chivalry and the
lineaments of the ideal. The peculiarity, the _differentia_ (so to
speak) of Macaulay seems to us to lie in this: that while as we frankly
think, there is much to question--nay, much here and there to regret or
even censure--in his writings, the excess, or defect, or whatever it may
be, is never really ethical, but is in all cases due to something in the
structure and habits of his intellect. And again, it is pretty plain
that the faults of that intellect were immediately associated with its
excellences: it was in some sense, to use the language of his own
Milton, "dark with excessive bright."...

His moderation in luxuries and pleasures is the more notable and
praiseworthy because he was a man who, with extreme healthiness of
faculty, enjoyed keenly what he enjoyed at all. Take in proof the
following hearty notice of a dinner _a quattr' occhi_ to his friend:
"Ellis came to dinner at seven. I gave him a lobster curry, woodcock,
and macaroni. I think that I will note dinners, as honest Pepys did."

His love of books was intense, and was curiously developed. In a walk he
would devour a play or a volume. Once, indeed, his performance embraced
no less than fourteen Books of the Odyssey. "His way of life," says Mr.
Trevelyan, "would have been deemed solitary by others; but it was not
solitary to him." This development blossomed into a peculiar specialism.
Henderson's 'Iceland' was "a favorite breakfast-book" with him. "Some
books which I would never dream of opening at dinner please me at
breakfast, and _vice versá_!" There is more subtlety in this distinction
than could easily be found in any passage of his writings. But how
quietly both meals are handed over to the dominion of the master
propensity! This devotion, however, was not without its drawbacks.
Thought, apart from books and from composition, perhaps he disliked;
certainly he eschewed. Crossing that evil-minded sea the Irish Channel
at night in rough weather, he is disabled from reading; he wraps himself
in a pea-jacket and sits upon the deck. What is his employment? He
cannot sleep, or does not. What an opportunity for moving onward in the
processes of thought, which ought to weigh on the historian! The wild
yet soothing music of the waves would have helped him to watch the
verging this way or that of the judicial scales, or to dive into the
problems of human life and action which history continually is called
upon to sound. No, he cared for none of this. He set about the marvelous
feat of going over 'Paradise Lost' from memory, when he found he could
still repeat half of it. In a word, he was always conversing, or
recollecting, or reading, or composing; but reflecting never.

The laboriousness of Macaulay as an author demands our gratitude; all
the more because his natural speech was in sentences of set and ordered
structure, well-nigh ready for the press. It is delightful to find that
the most successful prose writer of the day was also the most
painstaking. Here is indeed a literary conscience. The very same
gratification may be expressed with reference to our most successful
poet, Mr. Tennyson. Great is the praise due to the poet; still greater,
from the nature of the case, that share which falls to the lot of
Macaulay. For a poet's diligence is, all along, a honeyed work. He is
ever traveling in flowery meads. Macaulay, on the other hand,
unshrinkingly went through an immense mass of inquiry, which even he
sometimes felt to be irksome, and which to most men would have been
intolerable. He was perpetually picking the grain of corn out of the
bushel of chaff. He freely chose to undergo the dust and heat and strain
of battle, before he would challenge from the public the crown of
victory. And in every way it was remarkable that he should maintain his
lofty standard of conception and performance. Mediocrity is now, as
formerly, dangerous, commonly fatal, to the poet; but among even the
successful writers of prose, those who rise sensibly above it are the
very rarest exceptions. The tests of excellence in prose are as much
less palpable as the public appetite is less fastidious. Moreover, we
are moving downward in this respect. The proportion of middling to good
writing constantly and rapidly increases. With the average of
performance, the standard of judgment progressively declines. The
inexorable conscientiousness of Macaulay, his determination to put out
nothing from his hand which his hand was still capable of improving, was
a perfect godsend to the best hopes of our slipshod generation.

It was naturally consequent upon this habit of treating composition in
the spirit of art, that he should extend to the body of his books much
of the regard and care which he so profusely bestowed upon their soul.
We have accordingly had in him, at the time when the need was greatest,
a most vigilant guardian of the language. We seem to detect rare and
slight evidences of carelessness in his Journal: of which we can only
say that in a production of the moment, written for himself alone, we
are surprised that they are not more numerous and considerable. In
general society, carelessness of usage is almost universal, and it is
exceedingly difficult for an individual, however vigilant, to avoid
catching some of the trashy or faulty usages which are continually in
his ear. But in his published works his grammar, his orthography, nay,
his punctuation (too often surrendered to the printer), are faultless.
On these questions, and on the lawfulness or unlawfulness of a word, he
may even be called an authority without appeal; and we cannot doubt that
we owe it to his works, and to their boundless circulation, that we have
not in this age witnessed a more rapid corruption and degeneration of
the language.

To the literary success of Macaulay it would be difficult to find a
parallel in the history of recent authorship. For this and probably for
all future centuries, we are to regard the public as the patron of
literary men; and as a patron abler than any that went before to heap
both fame and fortune on its favorites. Setting aside works of which the
primary purpose was entertainment, Tennyson alone among the writers of
our age, in point of public favor and of emolument following upon it,
comes near to Macaulay. But Tennyson was laboriously cultivating his
gifts for many years before he acquired a position in the eye of the
nation. Macaulay, fresh from college in 1825, astonished the world by
his brilliant and most imposing essay on Milton. Full-orbed, he was seen
above the horizon; and full-orbed after thirty-five years of constantly
emitted splendor, he sank beneath it.

His gains from literature were extraordinary. The check for £20,000 is
known to all. But his accumulation was reduced by his bounty; and his
profits would, it is evident, have been far larger still had he dealt
with the products of his mind on the principles of economic science
(which however he heartily professed), and sold his wares in the dearest
market, as he undoubtedly acquired them in the cheapest. No one can
measure the elevation of Macaulay's character above the mercenary level,
without bearing in mind that for ten years after 1825 he was a poor and
a contented man, though ministering to the wants of a father and a
family reduced in circumstances; though in the blaze of literary and
political success; and though he must have been conscious from the first
of the possession of a gift which by a less congenial and more
compulsory use would have rapidly led him to opulence. Yet of the
comforts and advantages, both social and physical, from which he thus
forbore, it is so plain that he at all times formed no misanthropic or
ascetic, but on the contrary a very liberal and genial estimate. It is
truly touching to find that never, except as a minister, until 1851,
when he had already lived fifty years of his fifty-nine, did this
favorite of fortune, this idol of society, allow himself the luxury of a

It has been observed that neither in art nor letters did Macaulay
display that faculty of the higher criticism which depends upon certain
refined perceptions and the power of subtle analysis. His analysis was
always rough, hasty, and sweeping, and his perceptions robust. By these
properties it was that he was so eminently [Greek: phortikos], not in
the vulgar sense of an appeal to spurious sentiment, but as one bearing
his reader along by violence, as the River Scamander tried to bear
Achilles. Yet he was never pretentious; and he said frankly of himself
that a criticism like that of Lessing in his 'Laocoön,' or of Goethe on
'Hamlet,' filled him with wonder and despair. His intense devotion to
the great work of Dante is not perhaps in keeping with the general tenor
of his tastes and attachments, but is in itself a circumstance of much

We remember however at least one observation of Macaulay's in regard to
art, which is worth preserving. He observed that the mixture of gold
with ivory in great works of ancient art--for example, in the Jupiter of
Phidias--was probably a condescension to the tastes of the people who
were to be the worshipers of the statue; and he noticed that in
Christian times it has most rarely happened that productions great in
art have also been the objects of warm popular veneration....

It has been felt and pointed out in many quarters that Macaulay as a
writer was the child, and became the type, of his country and his age.
As fifty years ago the inscription "Bath" used to be carried on our
letter-paper, so the word "English" is, as it were, in the water-mark of
every leaf of Macaulay's writing. His country was not the Empire, nor
was it the United Kingdom. It was not even Great Britain. Though he was
descended in the higher, that is the paternal, half from Scottish
ancestry, and was linked specially with that country through the signal
virtues, the victorious labors, and the considerable reputation of his
father Zachary,--his country was England. On this little spot he
concentrated a force of admiration and of worship which might have
covered all the world. But as in space, so in time, it was limited. It
was the England of his own age.

The higher energies of his life were as completely summed up in the
present as those of Walter Scott were projected upon the past. He would
not have filled an Abbotsford with armor and relics of the Middle Ages.
He judges the men and institutions and events of other times by the
instruments and measures of the present. The characters whom he admires
are those who would have conformed to the type that was before his eyes:
who would have moved with effect in the court, the camp, the senate,
the drawing-room of to-day. He contemplates the past with no
_desiderium_, no regretful longing, no sense of things admirable which
are also lost and irrecoverable. Upon this limitation of his retrospects
it follows in natural sequence that of the future he has no glowing
anticipations, and even the present he is not apt to contemplate on its
mysterious and ideal side. As in respect to his personal capacity of
loving, so in regard to the corresponding literary power. The faculty
was singularly intense, and yet it was spent within a narrow circle.
There is a marked sign of this narrowness, in his disinclination even to
look at the works of contemporaries whose tone or manner he disliked.

It appears that this dislike, and the ignorance consequent upon it,
applied to the works of Carlyle. Now, we may have much or little faith
in Carlyle as a philosopher or as a historian. Half-lights and
half-truths may be the utmost which, in these departments, his works
will be found to yield. But the total want of sympathy is the more
noteworthy, because the resemblances, though partial, are both numerous
and substantial between these two remarkable men and powerful writers,
as well in their strength as in their weakness. Both are honest; and
both, notwithstanding honesty, are partisans. Each is vastly, though
diversely, powerful in expression; and each is more powerful in
expression than in thought. Both are, though variously, poets using the
vehicle of prose. Both have the power of portraitures, extraordinary for
vividness and strength. For comprehensive disquisition, for balanced and
impartial judgments, the world will probably resort to neither; and if
Carlyle gains on the comparison in his strong sense of the inward and
the ideal, he loses in the absolute and violent character of his
one-sidedness. Without doubt, Carlyle's licentious though striking
peculiarities of style have been of a nature allowably to repel, so far
as they go, one who was so rigid as Macaulay in his literary orthodoxy,
and who so highly appreciated, and with such expenditure of labor, all
that relates to the exterior or body of a book. Still, if there be
resemblances so strong, the want of appreciation, which has possibly
been reciprocal, seems to be partly of that nature which Aristotle would
have explained by his favorite proverb, [Greek: keramens keramei].[D]
The discrepancy is like the discrepancy of colors that are too near.
Carlyle is at least a great fact in the literature of his time, and has
contributed largely,--in some respects too largely,--toward forming its
characteristic habits of thought. But on these very grounds he should
not have been excluded from the horizon of a mind like Macaulay's, with
all its large and varied and most active interests....

    [D] Potter [detests] potter.

There have been other men of our own generation, though very few, who if
they have not equaled have approached Macaulay in power of memory, and
who have certainly exceeded him in the unfailing accuracy of their
recollections; and yet not in accuracy as to dates or names or
quotations, or other matters of hard fact, when the question was one
simply between ay and no. In these he may have been without a rival. In
a list of kings, or popes, or senior wranglers, or prime ministers, or
battles, or palaces, or as to the houses in Pall Mall or about Leicester
Square, he might be followed with implicit confidence. But a large and
important class of human recollections are not of this order:
recollections for example of characters, of feelings, of opinions; of
the intrinsic nature, details, and bearings of occurrences. And here it
was that Macaulay's wealth "was unto him an occasion of falling." And
that in two ways. First, the possessor of such a vehicle as his memory
could not but have something of an overweening confidence in what it
told him; and quite apart from any tendency to be vain or overbearing,
he could hardly enjoy the benefits of that caution which arises from
self-interest, and the sad experience of frequent falls. But what is
more, the possessor of so powerful a fancy could not but illuminate with
the colors it supplied, the matters which he gathered into his great
magazine, wherever the definiteness of their outline was not so rigid as
to defy or disarm the action of the intruding and falsifying faculty.
Imagination could not alter the date of the battle of Marathon, of the
Council of Nice, or the crowning of Pepin; but it might seriously or
even fundamentally disturb the balance of light and dark in his account
of the opinions of Milton or of Laud, or his estimate of the effects of
the Protectorate or the Restoration, or of the character and even the
adulteries of William III. He could detect justly this want of dry light
in others; he probably suspected it in himself; but it was hardly
possible for him to be enough upon his guard against the distracting
action of a faculty at once so vigorous, so crafty, and so pleasurable
in its intense activity.

Hence arose, it seems reasonable to believe, that charge of partisanship
against Macaulay as a historian, on which much has been and probably
much more will be said. He may not have possessed that scrupulously
tender sense of obligation, that nice tact of exact justice, which is
among the very rarest as well as the most precious of human virtues. But
there never was a writer less capable of intentional unfairness. This
during his lifetime was the belief of his friends, but was hardly
admitted by opponents. His biographer has really lifted the question out
of the range of controversy. He wrote for truth, but of course for truth
such as he saw it; and his sight was colored from within. This color,
once attached, was what in manufacture is called a mordant; it was a
fast color: he could not distinguish between what his mind had received
and what his mind had imparted. Hence, when he was wrong, he could not
see that he was wrong; and of those calamities which are due to the
intellect only, and not the heart, there can hardly be a greater....

However true it may be that Macaulay was a far more consummate workman
in the manner than in the matter of his works, we do not doubt that the
works contain, in multitudes, passages of high emotion and ennobling
sentiment, just awards of praise and blame, and solid expositions of
principle, social, moral, and constitutional. They are pervaded by a
generous love of liberty; and their atmosphere is pure and bracing,
their general aim and basis morally sound. Of the qualifications of this
eulogy we have spoken, and have yet to speak. But we can speak of the
style of the works with little qualification. We do not indeed venture
to assert that his style ought to be imitated. Yet this is not because
it was vicious, but because it was individual and incommunicable. It was
one of those gifts of which, when it had been conferred, Nature broke
the mold. That it is the head of all literary styles we do not allege;
but it is different from them all, and perhaps more different from them
all than they are usually different from one another. We speak only of
natural styles, of styles where the manner waits upon the matter, and
not where an artificial structure has been reared either to hide or to
make up for poverty of substance.

It is paramount in the union of ease in movement with perspicuity of
matter, of both with real splendor, and of all with immense rapidity and
striking force. From any other pen, such masses of ornament would be
tawdry; with him they are only rich. As a model of art concealing art,
the finest cabinet pictures of Holland are almost his only rivals. Like
Pascal, he makes the heaviest subject light; like Burke, he embellishes
the barrenest. When he walks over arid plains, the springs of milk and
honey, as in a march of Bacchus, seem to rise beneath his tread. The
repast he serves is always sumptuous, but it seems to create an appetite
proportioned to its abundance; for who has ever heard of the reader that
was cloyed with Macaulay? In none, perhaps, of our prose writers are
lessons such as he gives of truth and beauty, of virtue and of freedom,
so vividly associated with delight. Could some magician but do for the
career of life what he has done for the arm-chair and the study, what a
change would pass on the face (at least) of the world we live in, what
an accession of recruits would there be to the professing followers of

The truth is that Macaulay was not only accustomed, like many more of
us, to go out hobby-riding, but from the portentous vigor of the animal
he mounted was liable more than most of us to be run away with. His
merit is that he could keep his seat in the wildest steeple-chase; but
as the object in view is arbitrarily chosen, so it is reached by cutting
up the fields, spoiling the crops, and spoiling or breaking down the
fences needful to secure for labor its profit, and to man at large the
full enjoyment of the fruits of the earth. Such is the overpowering glow
of color, such the fascination of the grouping in the first sketches
which he draws, that when he has grown hot upon his work he seems to
lose all sense of the restraints of fact and the laws of moderation; he
vents the strangest paradoxes, sets up the most violent caricatures, and
handles the false weight and measure as effectively as if he did it
knowingly. A man so able and so upright is never indeed wholly wrong. He
never for a moment consciously pursues anything but truth. But truth
depends, above all, on proportion and relation. The preterhuman
vividness with which Macaulay sees his object, absolutely casts a shadow
upon what lies around; he loses his perspective; and imagination,
impelled headlong by the strong consciousness of honesty in purpose,
achieves the work of fraud. All things for him stand in violent contrast
to one another. For the shadows, the gradations, the middle and
transition touches, which make up the bulk of human life, character,
and action, he has neither eye nor taste. They are not taken account of
in his practice, and they at length die away from the ranges of his

In Macaulay all history is scenic; and philosophy he scarcely seems to
touch, except on the outer side, where it opens into action. Not only
does he habitually present facts in forms of beauty, but the fashioning
of the form predominates over, and is injurious to, the absolute and
balanced presentation of the subject. Macaulay was a master in
execution, rather than in what painting or music terms expression. He
did not fetch from the depths, nor soar to the heights; but his power
upon the surface was rare and marvelous, and it is upon the surface that
an ordinary life is passed and that its imagery is found. He mingled,
then, like Homer, the functions of the poet and the chronicler: but what
Homer did was due to his time; what Macaulay did, to his temperament.

The 'History' of Macaulay, whatever else it may be, is the work not of a
journeyman but of a great artist, and a great artist who lavishly
bestowed upon it all his powers. Such a work, once committed to the
press, can hardly die. It is not because it has been translated into a
crowd of languages, nor because it has been sold in hundreds of
thousands, that we believe it will live; but because, however open it
may be to criticism, it has in it the character of a true and very high
work of art....

Whether he will subsist as a standard and supreme authority is another
question. Wherever and whenever read, he will be read with fascination,
with delight, with wonder. And with copious instruction too; but also
with copious reserve, with questioning scrutiny, with liberty to reject
and with much exercise of that liberty. The contemporary mind may in
rare cases be taken by storm; but posterity, never. The tribunal of the
present is accessible to influence; that of the future is incorrupt. The
coming generations will not give Macaulay up; but they will probably
attach much less value than we have done to his _ipse dixit_. They will
hardly accept from him his net solutions of literary, and still less of
historic problems. Yet they will obtain, from his marked and telling
points of view, great aid in solving them. We sometimes fancy that ere
long there will be editions of his works in which his readers may be
saved from pitfalls by brief, respectful, and judicious commentary; and
that his great achievements may be at once commemorated and corrected by
men of slower pace, of drier light, and of more tranquil, broad-set,
and comprehensive judgment. For his works are in many respects among the
prodigies of literature; in some, they have never been surpassed. As
lights that have shone through the whole universe of letters, they have
made their title to a place in the solid firmament of fame. But the tree
is greater and better than its fruit; and greater and better yet than
the works themselves are the lofty aims and conceptions, the large
heart, the independent, manful mind, the pure and noble career, which in
this Biography have disclosed to us the true figure of the man who wrote



[Illustration: EDWIN L. GODKIN]

Among the men in the United States who through the agency of the press
have molded intelligent public opinion, Edwin Lawrence Godkin deserves
an honorable place. In the columns of the New York Nation and the New
York Evening Post, he has for a generation given editorial utterance to
his views upon economic, civic, political, and international questions,
this work being supplemented by occasional incisive and scholarly
articles in the best periodicals. His clientèle has been drawn mainly
from that powerful minority which is made up of the educated, thoughtful
men and women of the country. To this high function Mr. Godkin has
contributed exceptional gifts and qualifications; and that in its
exercise he has been a force for good, is beyond dispute.

Born in Moyne, Ireland, in 1831, he was educated at Queen's College,
Belfast. Then came the more practical education derived from a
familiarity with men and things, for in early manhood he began newspaper
work as war correspondent, in Turkey and the Crimea, of the London Daily
News. As correspondent of this paper he came to the United States and
settled here, being admitted to the New York bar in 1858. But journalism
was to be his life work; and in 1865 he became the editor of The Nation,
a weekly,--succeeding the Round Table, but at once taking a much more
important place as a journal of political and literary discussion,--and
the next year its proprietor. In 1881 he also became one of the owners
and the controlling editor of the New York Evening Post, a daily, and
his contributions since then have appeared in both papers, which bear to
each other the relation of a daily and weekly edition. Thus he has been
in active journalistic service for more than thirty years.

From this slight biographical outline it may be seen that Mr. Godkin
brought to the pursuit of his profession and to the study of American
institutions some valuable qualifications. A college-bred man of wide
experience, an adoptive American able to judge by the comparative
method, a careful student of the philosophy of government, from
Aristotle to Sir Henry Maine, his views combine in an unusual degree the
practical and the theoretical. No doubt he has in his writings what to
some will seem the defect of his quality. There is in him a certain
haughtiness of temper, and what seems like impatient contempt for the
opponent in argument, which, conjoined with a notable power of invective
and satire in dealing with what he deems to be fallacious, are likely to
arouse opposition. Hence the feeling in some quarters that Mr. Godkin is
not at heart an American, but a captious critic, with sympathies ill
suited to a democratic government.

This opinion is not justified by a fair examination of his writings. He
has on the contrary and in the true sense proved himself a true
American. He has spoken wise words upon many of the social and political
problems of our day. He has defended democracy from the charge of
failure, pointing out that here in the United States social defects,
wrongly ascribed by foreign critics to the form of government, have been
incidental to the settling of a vast new country. He has stated with
clearness and cogency the inadvisability of allowing the government
paternal power in finance and tariff legislation. He has preached the
difference between cheap jingoism or political partisanship, and the
enlightened Americanism which puts its finger upon weak points,
criticizing in order to correct and purify. Mr. Godkin, in this, has
been a consistent worker in a cause of which Lowell was a noble prophet.
And in regard of literary excellence, his editorial writing is often a
model of lucid, sinewy English style; while his more deliberated essays
have been admirable for calm dignity, polish, and organic exposition,
with an air of good breeding over it all. The influence of such a man,
both as writer and thinker, especially in a land like the United States,
has been most salutary.


From 'Problems of Modern Democracy.' Copyright 1896, by Charles
Scribner's Sons, New York

No intelligent man can or ought to ignore the part which hope of better
things plays in our present social system. It has largely, among the
working classes, taken the place of religious belief. They have brought
their heaven down to earth, and are literally looking forward to a sort
of New Jerusalem, in which all comforts and many of the luxuries of life
will be within easy reach of all. The great success of Utopian works
like Bellamy's shows the hold which these ideas have taken of the
popular mind. The world has to have a religion of some kind, and the
hope of better food and clothing, more leisure, and a greater variety of
amusements, has become the religion of the working classes. Hope makes
them peaceful, industrious, and resigned under present suffering. A
Frenchman saw a ragged pauper spend his last few cents on a lottery
ticket, and asked him how he could commit such a folly. "In order to
have something to hope for," he said. And from this point of view the
outlay was undoubtedly excusable. It is literally hope which makes the
world go round, and one of the hardest things an educated man who opens
his mouth about public affairs has to do, is to say one word or anything
to dampen or destroy it. Yet his highest duty is to speak the truth.

Luckily, there is one truth which can always be spoken without offense,
and that is that on the whole the race advances through the increase of
intelligence and the improvement of character, and has not advanced in
any other way. The great amelioration in the condition of the working
classes in Europe within this century, including the increasing power of
the trades-unions, is the result not of any increase of benevolence in
the upper classes, but of the growth of knowledge and self-reliance and
foresight among the working classes themselves. The changes in
legislation which have improved their condition are changes which they
have demanded. When a workingman becomes a capitalist, and raises
himself in any way above his early condition, it is rarely the result of
miracle or accident. It is due to his superior intelligence and thrift.
Nothing, on the whole, can be more delusive than official and other
inquiries into the labor problem through commissions and legislative
committees. They all assume that there is some secret in the relations
of labor and capital which can be found out by taking testimony. But
they never find anything out. Their reports during the last fifty years
would make a small library, but they never tell us anything new. They
are meant to pacify and amuse the laborer, and they do so; but to their
constant failure to do anything more we owe some of the Socialist
movement. The Socialists believe this failure due to want of will, and
that Karl Marx has discovered the great truth of the situation, which
is, that labor is entitled to the whole product. The great law which
Nature seems to have prescribed for the government of the world, and the
only law of human society which we are able to extract from history, is
that the more intelligent and thoughtful of the race shall inherit the
earth and have the best time, and that all others shall find life on the
whole dull and unprofitable. Socialism is an attempt to contravene this
law and insure a good time to everybody, independently of character and
talents; but Nature will see that she is not frustrated or brought to
naught, and I do not think educated men should ever cease to call
attention to this fact; that is, ever cease to preach hopefulness, not
to everybody, but to good people. This is no bar to benevolence to bad
people or any people; but our first duty is loyalty to the great
qualities of our kind, to the great human virtues which raise the
civilized man above the savage.

There is probably no government in the world to-day as stable as that of
the United States. The chief advantage of democratic government is, in a
country like this, the enormous force it can command on an emergency. By
"emergency" I mean the suppression of an insurrection or the conduct of
a foreign war. But it is not equally strong in the ordinary work of
administration. A good many governments, by far inferior to it in
strength, fill the offices, collect the taxes, administer justice, and
do the work of legislation with much greater efficiency. One cause of
this inefficiency is that the popular standard in such matters is low,
and that it resents dissatisfaction as an assumption of superiority.
When a man says these and those things ought not to be, his neighbors,
who find no fault with them, naturally accuse him of giving himself
airs. It seems as if he thought he knew more than they did, and was
trying to impose his plans on them. The consequence is that in a land of
pure equality, as this is, critics are always an unpopular class, and
criticism is in some sense an odious work. The only condemnation passed
on the governmental acts or systems is apt to come from the opposite
party in the form of what is called "arraignment," which generally
consists in wholesale abuse of the party in power, treating all their
acts, small or great, as due to folly or depravity, and all their public
men as either fools or knaves. Of course this makes but small impression
on the public mind. It is taken to indicate not so much a desire to
improve the public service as to get hold of the offices, and has as a
general rule but little effect. Parties lose their hold on power through
some conspicuously obnoxious acts or failures; never, or very rarely,
through the judgments passed on them by hostile writers or orators. And
yet nothing is more necessary to successful government than abundant
criticism from sources not open to the suspicion of particular interest.
There is nothing which bad governments so much dislike and resent as
criticism, and have in past ages taken so much pains to put down. In
fact, a history of the civil liberty would consist largely of an account
of the resistance to criticism on the part of rulers. One of the first
acts of a successful tyranny or despotism is always the silencing of the
press or the establishment of a censorship.

Popular objection to criticism is however senseless, because it is
through criticism--that is, through discrimination between two things,
customs, or courses--that the race has managed to come out of the woods
and lead a civilized life. The first man who objected to the general
nakedness, and advised his fellows to put on clothes, was the first
critic. Criticism of a high tariff recommends a low tariff; criticism of
monarchy recommends a republic; criticism of vice recommends virtue. In
fact, almost every act of life, in the practice of a profession or the
conduct of a business, condemns one course and suggests another. The
word means _judging_, and judgment is the highest of the human
faculties, the one which most distinguishes us from the animals.

There is probably nothing from which the public service of the country
suffers more to-day than the silence of its educated class; that is, the
small amount of criticism which comes from the disinterested and
competent sources. It is a very rare thing for an educated man to say
anything publicly about the questions of the day. He is absorbed in
science, or art, or literature, in the practice of his profession, or in
the conduct of his business; and if he has any interest at all in public
affairs, it is a languid one. He is silent because he does not much
care, or because he does not wish to embarrass the administration or
"hurt the party," or because he does not feel that anything he could say
would make much difference. So that on the whole, it is very rarely that
the instructed opinion of the country is ever heard on any subject. The
report of the Bar Association on the nomination of Maynard in New York
was a remarkable exception to this rule. Some improvement in this
direction has been made by the appearance of the set of people known as
the "Mugwumps," who are, in the main, men of cultivation. They have been
defined in various ways. They are known to the masses mainly as
"kickers"; that is, dissatisfied, querulous people, who complain of
everybody and cannot submit to party discipline. But they are the only
critics who do not criticize in the interest of party, but simply in
that of good government. They are a kind of personage whom the bulk of
the voters know nothing about and find it difficult to understand, and
consequently load with ridicule and abuse. But their movement, though
its visible recognizable effects on elections may be small, has done
inestimable service in slackening the bonds of party discipline, in
making the expression of open dissent from party programmes respectable
and common, and in increasing the unreliable vote in large States like
New York. It is of the last importance that this unreliable vote--that
is, the vote which party leaders cannot count on with certainty--should
be large in such States. The mere fear of it prevents a great many

But in criticism one always has hard work in steering a straight course
between optimism and pessimism. These are the Scylla and Charybdis of
the critic's career. Almost every man who thinks or speaks about public
affairs is either an optimist or a pessimist; which he is, depends a
good deal on temperament, but often on character. The political jobber
or corruptionist is almost always an optimist. So is the prosperous
business man. So is nearly every politician, because the optimist is
nearly always the more popular of the two. As a general rule, people
like cheerful men and the promise of good times. The kill-joy and bearer
of bad news has always been an odious character. But for the cultivated
man there is no virtue in either optimism or pessimism. Some people
think it a duty to be optimistic, and for some people it may be a duty;
but one of the great uses of education is to teach us to be neither one
nor the other. In the management of our personal affairs, we try to be
neither one nor the other. In business, a persistent and uproarious
optimist would certainly have poor credit. And why? Because in business
the trustworthy man, as everybody knows, is the man who sees things as
they are: and to see things as they are, without glamor or illusion, is
the first condition of worldly success. It is absolutely essential in
war, in finance, in law, in every field of human activity in which the
future has to be thought of and provided for. It is just as essential in
politics. The only reason why it is not thought as essential in politics
is, the punishment for failure or neglect comes in politics more

The pessimist has generally a bad name, but there is a good deal to be
said for him. To take a recent illustration, the man who took
pessimistic views of the silver movement was for nearly twenty years
under a cloud. This gloomy anticipation of 1873 was not realized until
1893. For a thousand years after Marcus Aurelius, the pessimist, if I
may use the expression, was "cock of the walk." He certainly has no
reason to be ashamed of his rôle in the Eastern world for a thousand
years after the Mohammedan Hegira. In Italy and Spain he has not needed
to hang his head since the Renaissance. In fact, if we take various
nations and long reaches of time, we shall find that the gloomy man has
been nearly as often justified by the course of events as the cheerful
one. Neither of them has any special claim to a hearing on public
affairs. A persistent optimist, although he may be a most agreeable man
in family life, is likely, in business or politics, to be just as
foolish and unbearable as a persistent pessimist. He is as much out of
harmony with the order of nature. The universe is not governed on
optimistic any more than on pessimistic principles. The best and wisest
of men make their mistakes and have their share of sorrow and sickness
and losses. So also the most happily situated nations must suffer from
internal discord, the blunders of statesmen, and the madness of the
people. What Cato said in the Senate of the conditions of success,
"vigilando, agendo, bene consulendo, prospere omnia cedunt," is as true
to-day as it was two thousand years ago. We must remember that though
the optimist may be the pleasantest man to have about us, he is the
least likely to take precautions; that is, the least likely to watch and
work for success. We owe a great deal of our slovenly legislation to his
presence in large numbers in Congress and the legislatures. The great
suffering through which we are now passing, in consequence of the
persistence in our silver purchases, is the direct result of unreasoning
optimism. Its promoters disregarded the warnings of economists and
financiers because they believed that somehow, they did not know how,
the thing would come out right in the end. The silver collapse, together
with the Civil War over slavery, are striking illustrations to occur in
one century, of the fact that if things come out right in the end, it is
often after periods of great suffering and disaster. Could people have
foreseen how the slavery controversy would end, what frantic efforts
would have been made for peaceful abolition! Could people have foreseen
the panic of last year, with its wide-spread disaster, what haste would
have been made to stop the silver purchases! And yet the experience of
mankind afforded abundant reason for anticipating both results.

This leads me to say that the reason why educated men should try and
keep a fair mental balance between both pessimism and optimism, is that
there has come over the world in the last twenty-five or thirty years a
very great change of opinion touching the relations of the government to
the community. When Europe settled down to peaceful work after the great
wars of the French Revolution, it was possessed with the idea that the
freedom of the individual was all that was needed for public prosperity
and private happiness. The old government interference with people's
movements and doings was supposed to be the reason why nations had not
been happy in the past. This became the creed, in this country, of the
Democratic party, which came into existence after the foundation of the
federal government. At the same time there grew up here the popular idea
of the American character, in which individualism was the most marked
trait. If you are not familiar with it in your own time, you may
remember it in the literature of the earlier half of the century. The
typical American was always the architect of his own fortunes. He sailed
the seas and penetrated the forest, and built cities and lynched the
horse thieves, and fought the Indians and dug the mines, without
anybody's help or support. He had even an ill-concealed contempt for
regular troops, as men under control and discipline. He scorned
government for any other purposes than security and the administration
of justice. This was the kind of American that Tocqueville found here in
1833. He says:--

     "The European often sees in the public functionaries simply
     force; the American sees nothing but law. One may then say
     that in America a man never obeys a man, or anything but
     justice and law. Consequently he has formed of himself an
     opinion which is often exaggerated, but is always salutary.
     He trusts without fear to his own strength, which appears to
     him equal to anything. A private individual conceives some
     sort of enterprise. Even if this enterprise have some sort of
     connection with the public welfare, it never occurs to him to
     address himself to the government in order to obtain its aid.
     He makes his plan known, offers to carry it out, calls other
     individuals to his aid, and struggles with all his might
     against any obstacles there may be in his way. Often,
     without doubt, he succeeds less well than the State would in
     his place; but in the long run the general result of
     individual enterprises far surpasses anything the government
     could do."

Now there is no doubt that if this type of character has not passed
away, it has been greatly modified; and it has been modified by two
agencies--the "labor problem," as it is called, and legislative
protection to native industry. I am not going to make an argument about
the value of this protection in promoting native industry, or about its
value from the industrial point of view. We may or we may not owe to it
the individual progress and prosperity of the United States. About that
I do not propose to say anything. What I want to say is that the
doctrine that it is a function of government, not simply to foster
industry in general, but to consider the case of every particular
industry and give it the protection that it needs, could not be preached
and practiced for thirty years in a community like this, without
modifying the old American conception of the relation of the government
to the individual. It makes the government, in a certain sense, a
partner in every industrial enterprise, and makes every Presidential
election an affair of the pocket to every miner and manufacturer and to
his men; for the men have for fully thirty years been told that the
amount of their wages would depend, to a certain extent at least, on the
way the election went. The notion that the government owes assistance to
individuals in carrying on business and making a livelihood has in fact,
largely through the tariff discussions, permeated a very large class of
the community, and has materially changed what I may call the American
outlook. It has greatly reinforced among the foreign-born population the
socialistic ideas which many bring here with them, of the powers and
duties of the State toward labor; for it is preached vehemently by the
employing class.

What makes this look the more serious is, that our political and social
manners are not adapted to it. In Europe, the State is possessed of an
administrative machine which has a finish, efficacy, and permanence
unknown here. Tocqueville comments on its absence among us; and it is,
as all the advocates of civil-service reform know, very difficult to
supply. All the agencies of the government suffer from the imposition on
them of what I may call non-American duties. For instance, a
custom-house organized as a political machine was never intended to
collect the enormous sum of duties which must pass through its hands
under our tariff. A post-office whose master has to be changed every
four years to "placate" Tammany, or the anti-Snappers, or any other body
of politicians, was never intended to handle the huge mass which
American mails have now become. One of the greatest objections to the
income tax is the prying into people's affairs which it involves. No man
likes to tell what his income is to every stranger, much less to a
politician, which our collectors are sure to be. Secrecy on the part of
the collector is in fact essential to reconcile people to it in England
or Germany, where it is firmly established; but our collectors sell
their lists to the newspapers in order to make the contributors pay up.

In all these things, we are trying to meet the burdens and
responsibilities of much older societies with the machinery of a much
earlier and simpler state of things. It is high time to halt in this
progress until our administrative system has been brought up to the
level even of our present requirements. It is quite true that, with our
system of State and federal constitutions laying prohibitions on the
Legislature and Congress, any great extension of the sphere of
government in our time seems very unlikely. Yet the assumption by
Congress, with the support of the Supreme Court, of the power to issue
paper money in time of peace, the power to make prolonged purchases of a
commodity like silver, the power to impose an income tax, to execute
great public works, and to protect native industry, are powers large
enough to effect a great change in the constitution of society and in
the distribution of wealth, such as, it is safe to say, in the present
state of human culture, no government ought to have and exercise.

One hears every day from educated people some addition to the number of
things which "governments" ought to do, but for which any government we
have at present is totally unfit. One listens to them with amazement,
when looking at the material of which our government is composed,--for
the matter of that, of which all governments are composed; for I suppose
there is no question that all legislative bodies in the world have in
twenty years run down in quality. The parliamentary system is apparently
failing to meet the demands of modern democratic society, and is falling
into some disrepute; but it would seem as if there was at present just
as little chance of a substitute of any kind as of the dethronement of
universal suffrage. It will probably last indefinitely, and be as good
or as bad as its constituents make it. But this probable extension of
the powers and functions of government makes more necessary than ever a
free expression of opinion, and especially of educated opinion. We may
rail at "mere talk" as much as we please, but the probability is that
the affairs of nations and of men will be more and more regulated by
talk. The amount of talk which is now expended on all subjects of human
interest--and in "talk" I include contributions to periodical
literature--is something of which no previous age has had the smallest
conception. Of course it varies infinitely in quality. A very large
proportion of it does no good beyond relieving the feelings of the
talker. Political philosophers maintain, and with good reason, that one
of its greatest uses is keeping down discontent under popular
government. It is undoubtedly true that it is an immense relief to a man
with a grievance to express his feelings about it in words, even if he
knows that his words will have no immediate effect. Self-love is apt to
prevent most men from thinking that anything they say with passion or
earnestness will utterly and finally fail. But still it is safe to
suppose that one half of the talk of the world on subjects of general
interest is waste. But the other half certainly tells. We know this from
the change in ideas from generation to generation. We see that opinions
which at one time everybody held became absurd in the course of half a
century--opinions about religion and morals and manners and government.
Nearly every man of my age can recall old opinions of his own on
subjects of general interest, which he once thought highly respectable,
and which he is now almost ashamed of having ever held. He does not
remember when he changed them, or why, but somehow they have passed away
from him.

In communities these changes are often very striking. The
transformation, for instance, of the England of Cromwell into the
England of Queen Anne, or of the New England of Cotton Mather into the
New England of Theodore Parker and Emerson, was very extraordinary, but
it would be very difficult to say in detail what brought it about or
when it began. Lecky has some curious observations in his "History of
Rationalism" on these silent changes in new beliefs, apropos of the
disappearance of the belief in witchcraft. Nobody could say what had
swept it away; but it appeared that in a certain year people were ready
to burn old women as witches, and a few years later were ready to laugh
at or pity any one who thought old women could be witches. "At one
period," says he, "we find every one disposed to believe in witches; at
a later period we find this predisposition has silently passed away."
The belief in witchcraft may perhaps be considered a somewhat violent
illustration, like the change in public opinion about slavery in this
country. But there can be no doubt that it is talk--somebody's,
anybody's, everybody's talk--by which these changes are wrought, by
which each generation comes to feel and think differently from its

No one ever talks freely about anything without contributing something,
let it be ever so little, to the unseen forces which carry the race on
to its final destiny. Even if he does not make a positive impression, he
counteracts or modifies some other impression, or sets in motion some
train of ideas in some one else, which helps to change the face of the
world. So I shall, in disregard of the great laudation of silence which
filled the earth in the days of Carlyle, say that one of the functions
of an educated man is to talk; and of course he should try to talk

[Illustration: GOETHE.]




Johann Wolfgang Goethe was born at Frankfort-on-the-Main on August 28th,
1749, and died at Weimar on March 22d, 1832. His great life, extending
over upwards of fourscore years, makes him a man of the eighteenth
century and also of the nineteenth. He belongs not only to German but to
European literature. And in the history of European literature his
position is that of successor to Voltaire and Rousseau. Humanity, as
Voltaire said, had lost its title-deeds, and the task of the eighteenth
century was to recover them. Under all Voltaire's zeal for destruction
in matters of religious belief lay a positive faith and a creative
sentiment,--a faith in human intellect and the sentiment of social
justice. What indefatigable toil! what indefatigable play! Surely it was
not all to establish a negation. Voltaire poured a gay yet bitter _élan_
into the intellectual movement of his time. Yet amid his various efforts
for humanity he wanted love; he wanted reverence. And although a
positive tendency underlies his achievements, we are warranted in
repeating the common sentence, that upon the whole he destroyed more
than he built up.

Voltaire fought to enfranchise the understanding. Rousseau dreamed,
brooded, suffered, to emancipate the heart. A wave of passion, or at
least of sentiment, swept over Europe with the 'Nouvelle Héloise,' the
'Émile,' the 'Confessions.' It was Rousseau, exclaims Byron, who "threw
enchantment over passion," who "knew how to make madness beautiful."
Such an emancipation of the heart was felt, in the eighteenth century,
to be a blessed deliverance from the material interests and the eager
yet too arid speculation of the age. But Byron in that same passage of
'Childe Harold' names Rousseau "the self-torturing sophist." And a
sophist Rousseau was. His intellect fed upon fictions, and dangerous
fictions,--fictions respecting nature, respecting the individual man,
respecting human society. Therefore his intellect failed to illuminate,
clarify, tranquilize his heart. His emotions were turbid, restless, and
lacking in sanity.

Here then were Goethe's two great predecessors: one a most vivacious
intelligence, the other a brooding sensibility; one aiming at an
emancipation of the understanding, but deficient in reverence and in
love; the other aiming at an emancipation of the affections, but
deficient in sanity of thought. In what relation stood Goethe to these
great forces of the eighteenth century?

In his old age Goethe, speaking of Voltaire, uses the words "a universal
source of light." But as a young man he was repelled by "the factious
dishonesty of Voltaire, and his perversion of so many worthy subjects."
"He would never have done," says Goethe, "with degrading religion and
the sacred books, for the sake of injuring priestcraft, as they called
it." Goethe, indeed, did not deny a use to the spirit of negation.
Mephistopheles lives and works. Yet he lives and works as the unwilling
servant of the Lord, and the service he renders is to provoke men from
indolence to activity.

Into the influence of Rousseau, on the contrary, and into the general
movement of feeling to which Rousseau belonged, Goethe in his youth was
caught, almost inevitably; and he abandoned himself to it for a time, it
might seem without restraint.

Yet Goethe differed from Rousseau as profoundly as he differed from
Voltaire. Rousseau's undisciplined sensibility, morbidly excited by the
harshness or imagined harshness of his fellows, by bodily torment, by
broodings in solitude, became at last one quivering mass of disease. "No
tragedy had ever a fifth act so squalid." What a contrast to the closing
scenes of Goethe's life in that house of his, like a modest temple of
the Muses, listening to Plutarch read aloud by his daughter-in-law, or
serenely active, "ohne Hast aber ohne Rast" (without haste, but without
rest), in widening his sympathies with men or enlarging his knowledge of

How was this? Why did the ways part so widely for Rousseau and for

The young creator of 'Werther' may seem to have started on his career as
a German Rousseau. In reality, 'Werther' expressed only a fragment of
Goethe's total self. A reserve force of will and an intellect growing
daily in clearness and in energy would not permit him to end as Rousseau
ended. In 'Götz von Berlichingen' there goes up a cry for freedom; it
presents the more masculine side of that spirit of revolt from the bonds
of the eighteenth century, that "return to nature," which is presented
in its more feminine aspects by 'Werther.' But by degrees it became
evident to Goethe that the only true ideal of freedom is a liberation
not of the passions, not of the intellect, but of the whole man; that
this involves a conciliation of all the powers and faculties within us;
and that such a conciliation can be effected only by degrees, and by
steadfast toil.

And so we find him willing during ten years at Weimar to undertake work
which might appear to be fatal to the development of his genius. To
reform army administration, make good roads, work the mines with
energetic intelligence, restore the finances to order,--was this fit
employment for one born to be a poet? Except a few lyrics and the prose
'Iphigenie,' these years produced no literary work of importance; yet
Goethe himself speaks of them as his "zweite Schriftstellerepoche."--his
second epoch as a writer. They were needful to make him a master in the
art of life, needful to put him into possession of all his powers.
Men of genius are quick growers; but men of the highest genius, which
includes the wisdom of human life, are not speedily ripe. Goethe
had entered literature early; he had stormed the avenues. Now at
six-and-twenty he was a chief figure in German, even in European,
literature; and from twenty-six to thirty-seven he published, we may
say nothing. But though he ceased to astonish the world, he was well
employed in widening the basis of his existence; in organizing his
faculties; in conciliating passions, intellect, and will; in applying
his mind to the real world; in endeavoring to comprehend it aright; in
testing and training his powers by practical activity.

A time came when he felt that his will and skill were mature; that he
was no longer an apprentice in the art of living, but a master
craftsman. Tasks that had grown irksome and were felt to be a
distraction from higher duties, he now abandoned. Goethe fled for a time
to Italy, there to receive his degree in the high school of life, and to
start upon a course of more advanced studies. Thenceforward until his
closing days the record is one of almost uninterrupted labor in his
proper fields of literature, art, and science. "In Rome," he wrote, "I
have for the first time found myself, for the first time come into
harmony with myself, and grown happy and rational." He had found
himself, because his passions and his intellect now co-operated; his
pursuit of truth had all the ardor of a first love; his pursuit of
beauty was not a fantastic chase, but was subject to rational law; and
his effort after truth and his effort after beauty were alike supported
by an adult will.

His task, regarded as a whole, was to do over again the work of the
Renascence. But whereas the Renascence had been a large national or
European movement, advancing towards its ends partly through popular
passions and a new enthusiasm, the work which Goethe accomplished was
more an affair of intelligence, criticism, conscious self-direction. It
was less of a flood sweeping away old dikes and dams, and more of a dawn
quietly and gradually drawing back the borders of darkness and widening
the skirts of light. A completely developed human being, for the uses of
the world,--this was the ideal in which Goethe's thoughts centred, and
towards which his most important writings constantly tend. A completely
developed State or commonwealth should follow, as an ideal arising out
of the needs and demands of a complete individual. Goethe knew that
growth comes not by self-observation and self-analysis, but by exercise.
Therefore he turned himself and would turn his disciples to action, to
the objective world; and in order that this action may be profitable, it
must be definite and within a limited sphere. He preaches
self-renunciation; but the self-renunciation he commends is not
self-mortification; it is the active self-abandonment of devotion to our
appropriate work. Such is the teaching of 'Wilhelm Meister': it traces
the progress of a youth far from extraordinary, yet having within him
the capacity for growth, progress through a thousand errors and
illusions, from splendid dreams to modest reality. Life is discovered by
Wilhelm to be a difficult piece of scholarship. The cry for freedom in
'Götz,' the limitless sigh of passion heard in 'Werther,' are heard no
more. If freedom is to be attained, it can only be through obedience; if
we are to "return to nature," it cannot be in Rousseau's way but through
a wise art of living, an art not at odds with nature, but its

  "This is an art which does mend nature--but
  The art itself is nature."

If we ask,--for this, after all, is the capital question of
criticism,--What has Goethe done to make us better? the answer is: He
has made each of us aspire and endeavor to be no fragment of manhood,
but a man; he has taught us that to squander ourselves in vain desires
is the road to spiritual poverty; that to discover our appropriate work,
and to embody our passion in such work, is the way to true wealth; that
such passion and such toil must be not servile, but glad and free; that
the use of our intelligence is not chiefly to destroy, but to guide our
activity in construction; and that in doing our best work we incorporate
ourselves in the best possible way in the life of our fellows. Such
lessons may seem obvious; but they had not been taught by Goethe's great
predecessors, Voltaire and Rousseau. Goethe, unlike Voltaire, inculcates
reverence and love; unlike Rousseau, he teaches us to see objects
clearly as they are, he trains us to sanity. And Europe needed sanity in
the days of Revolution and in the days which followed of Reaction.

Sanity for the imagination Goethe found in classical art. The young
leader of the Romantic revival in Germany resigned his leadership; he
seemed to his contemporaries to have lost the fire and impulse of his
youth; his work was found cold and formal. A great change had indeed
taken place within him; but his ardor had only grown steadier and
stronger, extending now to every part of his complex nature. The change
was a transition from what is merely inward and personal to what is
outward and general. Goethe cared less than formerly to fling out his
private passions, and cared more to comprehend the world and human life
and to interpret these through art. He did not go into bondage under the
authority of the ancients; but he found their methods right, and he
endeavored to work as they had worked. For a time the reaction carried
him too far: in seeking for what is general, he sometimes passed on to
what is abstract, and so was forced into the error of offering symbols
to represent these abstractions, instead of bodying forth his ideas in
imaginative creations. But in the noble drama of 'Iphigenie,' in the
epic-idyll of 'Hermann und Dorothea,' and in many of the ballads written
during his period of close companionship with Schiller, we have examples
of art at once modern in sentiment and classical in method.

Goethe's faith in the methods of classical art never passed away, but
his narrow exclusiveness yielded. He became, with certain guiding
principles which served as a control, a great eclectic, appropriating to
his own uses whatever he perceived to be excellent. As in 'Hermann und
Dorothea' he unites the influences of Greek art with true German
feeling, so in his collection of short lyrics, the 'West-Östlicher
Divan' (West-Eastern Divan), he brings together the genius of the Orient
and that of the Western world, and sheds over both the spiritual
illumination of the wisdom of his elder years. Gradually his creative
powers waned, but he was still interested in all--except perhaps
politics--that can concern the mind; he was still the greatest of
critics, entering with his intelligence into everything and
understanding everything, as nearly universal in his sympathies as a
human mind can be. The Goethe of these elder years is seen to most
advantage in the 'Conversations with Eckermann.'

The most invulnerable of Goethe's writings are his lyrical poems;
against the best of these, criticism can allege nothing. They need no
interpreter. But the reader who studies them in chronological order will
observe that as time went on, the lyric which is a spontaneous jet of
feeling is replaced by the lyric in which there is constructive art and
considerate evolution. In the poems of the 'West-Östlicher Divan' Goethe
returns to the lyric of spontaneity, but their inspiration is rather
that of a gracious wisdom, at once serious and playful, than of passion.

His period of romance and sentiment is best represented by 'The Sorrows
of Werther.' His adult wisdom of life is found most abundantly in
'Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship.' The world has long since agreed that
if Goethe is to be represented by a single work, it shall be by 'Faust.'
And even those who perceive that 'Faust' is best understood by being
taken along with Goethe's other writings--his early 'Prometheus,' his
autobiography, his travels in Italy, his classical dramas, his
scientific studies, his work as a critic, his vast correspondence, his
conversations in old age--cannot quarrel with the judgment of the world.

'Faust,' if we include under that name the First and the Second Parts,
is the work of Goethe's whole life. Begun and even far advanced in early
manhood, it was taken up again in his midmost years, and was completed
with a faltering hand in the closing season of his old age. What it
loses in unity, or at least in harmonious development as a piece of art,
it gains in autobiographical interest. All his works, Goethe said,
constituted a great confession. More than any other of his writings,
'Faust' is the confession of his life.

There are two ways in which a reader may deal with 'Faust.' He may
choose for his own delight a fragment, detach it and disregard the rest;
he may view this fragment, if he pleases, as a whole, as a rounded work
of art. Such a reader will refuse to pass beyond the First Part of the
vast encyclopædic poem. To do this is legitimate. The earliest form in
which we possess the drama, that of the transcript made by Fräulein von
Göchhausen, is a tragedy which might be named 'The Tragedy of Margaret.'
Possibilities of further development lay in the subject, were indeed
required by the subject, and Goethe had probably already conceived
certain of them; yet the stadium in the progress of Faust's history
included in 'The Tragedy of Margaret' had a unity in itself. But a
reader may approach 'Faust' otherwise; he may view it as expressing the
complete mind of Goethe on some of the deepest problems of human life.
Viewing it thus, he must accept the whole work as Goethe has given it;
he must hold in abeyance, at least for a time, his own particular
likings and dislikes. While keeping his mind open to all the poetry of
Faust, he will soon discover that here is something more than a poem. It
may be unfortunate for the work of art that it belongs, certainly in its
execution, possibly even in the growth of its conception, to far
sundered periods of its author's career, when his feelings respecting
art were different, when his capacity for rendering his ideas was now
more and now less adequate. Such a reader, however, would part with
nothing: in what is admirable he finds the master's hand; in what is
feeble he discovers the same hand, but faltering, and pathetic in its
infirmity. He is interested in 'Faust' not solely or chiefly as 'The
Tragedy of Margaret': he finds in it the intellect, the character, the
life of Goethe; it is a repository of the deepest thoughts and feelings
concerning human existence of a wise seer, a repository in which he laid
by those thoughts and feelings during sixty years of his mortal

From early manhood to extreme old age 'Faust' was with Goethe, receiving
now and again, in Frankfort, in Weimar, in Rome, some new accession. We
can distinguish the strata or formations of youth, of manhood, and of
the closing years. We recognize by their diversities of style those
parts which were written when creation was swift and almost involuntary,
a passion and a joy, and those parts through which Goethe labored at an
old man's pace, accomplishing to-day a hand's-breadth, to-morrow perhaps
less, and binding blank pages into his manuscript, that the sight of the
gaps might irritate him to produce. What unity can such a work possess,
except that which comes from the fact that it all proceeded from a
single mind, and that some main threads of thought--for it would be rash
to speak of a ground idea--run through the several parts and bind them
together? 'Faust' has not the unity of a lake whose circuit the eye can
contemplate, a crystal set among the hills. Its unity is that of a
river, rising far away in mountain solitudes, winding below many a
mirrored cliff, passing the habitations of men, temple and mart, fields
of rural toil and fields of war, reaching it may be dull levels, and
forgetting the bright speed it had, until at last the dash of waves is
heard, and its course is accomplished; but from first to last one
stream, proceeding from a single source. Tourists may pick out a
picturesque fragment of its wanderings, and this is well; but perhaps it
is better to find the poetry of its entire career, from its cloudy
cradle to the flats where it loses itself in the ocean.

The first part of 'Faust' is itself the work of more periods than one.
The original conception may belong to Goethe's student days at
Strassburg. He had grown weary of the four Faculties,--alas, even of
theology; he had known a maiden as fair and sweet and simple as
Gretchen, and he had left her widowed of her first love; and there in
Strassburg was the presence of that old Cathedral, which inspired so
terrible a scene in the 'Faust.' From Strassburg he returned to
Frankfort, and no moments of his career of authorship were more fruitful
than these which preceded the first Weimar years. It was in the heart of
the Storm and Stress; it was the time of 'Götz' and 'Mahomet' and the
'Wandering Jew' and 'Werther' and 'Prometheus.' Here in Faust was
another and a nobler Werther seeking the infinite; here was another
Prometheus, a Titan shackled yet unsubduable. By Goethe's twenty-sixth
year the chief portions of the 'Faust, a Fragment,' published when he
was forty-one, had been written. But two scenes were added in Rome,--one
of these strange in its fantasy, the Witches' Kitchen,--as if to show
that the poet of the North was not quite enslaved by the beauty of
classic art. It was in the last decade of the eighteenth century that
Schiller succeeded in persuading Goethe to open his Faust papers, and
try to recover the threads of his design. Not until 1808, Goethe's
fifty-ninth year, was the First Part published as we now possess it. It
is therefore incorrect to speak of this Part as the work of the author's
youth; even here a series of strata belonging to different periods can
be distinguished, and critics have contended that even in this Part may
be discovered two schemes or plans not wholly in harmony each with the

The first Fragment was written, as has been said, in the spirit of the
Storm and Stress. Goethe was weary of the four Faculties. The magic work
of the time which was to restore vigor and joy to men was _Nature_. This
is the theme of the opening scene of 'Faust.' Among old instruments and
dusty folios and ancestral lumber and brute skeletons, away from Nature
and her living founts of inspiration, the old scholar has found neither
joy nor true knowledge. He opens the book of Nostradamus and gazes upon
the sign of the Macrocosm; here in a symbol he beholds the life and
energy of nature:--

  "Where shall I grasp thee, infinite Nature, where?
  Ye breasts, ye fountains of all life whereon
  Hang heaven and earth."

He cannot grasp them; and then turning from the great Cosmos, he thinks
he may at least dare to invoke the spirit of our own mother planet
Earth. But to Faust, with eyes bleared with the dust of the study, to
Faust, living in his own speculations or in dogmatic systems, the aspect
of the Earth Spirit--a living fire--is terrible. He falls back upon
himself almost despairing, when the famulus Wagner enters. What Werner
was to the idealist Wilhelm Meister, Wagner is to the idealist Faust:
the mere scraping together of a little hoard of barren facts contents
Wagner; such grief, such despair as Faust's, are for this Philistine of
learning impossible. And then the fragment of 1790 passes on to
Mephistopheles. Whether or not Goethe found the features of his critical
demon in Herder (as Grimm supposes), and afterwards united these to the
more pronounced likeness in his friend Mephistopheles Merck, matters
little. Whether Herder and Merck had been present or not, Goethe would
have found Mephistopheles in his own heart. For the contrast between the
idealist Faust and the realist Mephistopheles exists in some form or
other in almost every great creation of Goethe. It is the contrast
between Werther and Albert, between Tasso and Antonio, between Edward
and the Captain. Sometimes the nobler spirit of worldliness is dwelt on,
as in the case of Antonio; sometimes the cold, hard, cynical side, as in
the case of Mephistopheles. The theme of Faust as originally conceived
was the turning of an idealist from his own private thoughts and dreams
to the real world; from all that is unnatural,--systems, speculations,
barren knowledge,--to nature and the founts of life; from the solitary
cell to the company of men; to action, beauty, life, and love. If he
can really succeed in achieving this wisely and well, Faust is saved. He
is delivered from solitude, the inane of speculation, the vagueness of
idealism, and made one with the band of his toiling fellows. But to
accompany him there is the spirit of base worldliness, the realist, the
cynic, who sees the meaner side of all that is actual, who if possible
will seduce Faust into accepting the world apart from that elevating
spirit which ennobles actual life, who will try to baffle and degrade
Faust by degrading all that he now seeks,--action and beauty and life
and love.

It is Goethe himself who is at odds with himself,--the realist Goethe
set over against the idealist Goethe; and Mephistopheles is the base
realist, the cynic whose endeavor is to mar the union of high poetry and
high prose in human life, which union of high poetry with high prose
Goethe always looked upon as the true condition of man's activity. In
the Prologue in Heaven, written when Schiller had persuaded Goethe to
take up the threads of his play, the Lord speaks of Faust as his
servant. Mephistopheles wagers that he will seduce Faust from his
allegiance to the Highest. The Lord does not wager; he _knows_:--

  "Though now he serve me in a maze of doubt,
    Yet I will lead him soon where all is clear;
  The gardener knows, when first the bushes sprout,
    That bloom and fruit will deck the riper year."

These vague passionate longings of Faust after truth and reality and
life and love are not evil; they are good: they are as yet indeed but
the sprouting of the immature leaf and bud, but the Lord sees in these
the fruit that is to be. Therefore let Mephistopheles, the spirit of
negation, try his worst, and at the last discover how an earnest
striver's ways are justified by God. Faust may wander, err, fall,
grievously offend,--"as long as man lives, man errs;" but for him who
ever strives upward, through all his errors, there is redemption in the

The poem belongs to its epoch. Faust is the idealist, Mephistopheles is
the realist, of the eighteenth century. Faust aspires to nature and
freedom like one who had drunk deeply of Rousseau. Mephistopheles speaks
like a degraded disciple of Voltaire, who has lost his master's positive
faith in the human reason. Goethe can accept as his own neither the
position of Voltaire nor that of Rousseau; but actually he started in
life as an antagonist of Voltaire and a disciple of Rousseau, and in
like manner his Faust starts on his career as one who longs for a
"return to nature." While from merely negative criticism nothing
virtuous can be born, the vague longings of one who loves and hopes
promise measureless good.

Faust's vast aspirations, then, are not sinful; they only need to be
limited and directed to suitable ends. It is as God's servant that he
goes forth with the Demon from his study to the world. And
Mephistopheles's first attempt to degrade Faust is a failure. In the
orgy of Auerbach's cellar, while the boisterous young bloods clash their
glasses, the old scholar sits silent, isolated, ashamed. It is only by
infecting his blood with the witch's poison that Mephistopheles can lay
hold of the spirit of Faust even for a time; and had he not seen in the
mirror that vision of Helena, whom he rightly loves, and whom indeed he
needs, he could not have put to his lips the filthy brewage of the
witch. But now indeed he is snared; the poison rages in his veins; for
one hour he is transformed into what the world basely calls a man of
pleasure. Yet Faust is not wholly lost: his better self, the untrained,
untamed idealist, begins to reassert its power; the fumes of the poison
dissipate themselves. Guilty though he be, his love of Margaret is not
what Mephistopheles requires that it should be: it is not calculating,
egoistic, cynical, nor dull, easeful, and lethargic. It is not the crime
of an experienced worldling nor of a dull, low liver: it is the crime of
one whose unwise heart and untaught imagination delude him; and
therefore though his fall be deep, it is not fatal. The wrong he has
wrought may be blind and terrible as that of Othello to Desdemona; but
it is not the serpentine stinging of an Iago or a Mephistopheles.

So through anguish and remorse Faust is doing off the swathe-bands of
delusion, learning to master his will, learning his own heart, learning
the meaning of existence: he does not part from his ideal self, his high
aspirations, his ardent hopes; he is rather transforming these into
realities; he is advancing from dreams to facts, so that in the end,
when his life becomes a lofty prose, it may be interpenetrated by a
noble poetry.

It were long to trace the history of Faust through the ever purifying
and ascending scale of energies exhibited in the Second Part of the
drama. Affairs of State, science, art, war--all that Goethe had known by
experience--appear in this encyclopædic poem. One word, however, must be
said respecting the 'Helena.' It is a mistake to view this central
portion of the Second Part as solely or chiefly an allegory of the
wedlock of classic and romantic art. As science is shown to form a
needful part of Faust's turning from the inane of metaphysics to the
positive world, so from the Greek spirit he learns sanity and strength;
the deliverance of the ideal man in Faust is aided by the beauty and the
healthfulness of classic art. Through beauty, as Schiller tried to show
in his letters on 'Æsthetic Culture,' we attain to freedom. Faust is not
an artist, but a _man_; Helena is but one of the spirits whose influence
is needed to make him real and elevated. It is she who qualifies him
for achieving practical work in a high, ideal spirit.

The Fourth Act of the Second Part is wholly concerned with practical
work. What is this which engages the student of the metaphysic cell, who
had gone through the four Faculties, and is now once again grown old?
What is this? Only well-defined and useful activity. He has rescued some
acres of arable land from the rage of the barren sea.

But Faust is not yet wholly delivered from evil; his activity is useful,
indeed, but it lacks the finer grace of charity. He commissions
Mephistopheles to destroy the cottage of old Philemon and Baucis, which
stands in the way of his territorial improvements. It is the last crime
of the unregenerate will. The four gray women--Care and Blame and Want
and Crime--now assail him; but there is virtue in him to the last.
However it may be with himself, grant only that ages hence the children
of men, free and happy, may dwell upon the soil which he has saved for
their place of labor and of love,--grant but this, and even in the
anticipation of it he is made possessor of the highest bliss. Nor indeed
is higher permitted to man on earth. And now that Faust has at last
found satisfaction, and said to the passing moment, "Stay, thou art so
fair," the time has come for Mephistopheles to claim his soul. But in
this very aspiration after the perfect joy of others--not his own--Faust
is forever delivered from the Evil One. The gray old man lies stretched
upon the sand. Higher powers than those of his own will take him, guard
him, lead him forward. The messengers of God bear away his immortal
part. All Holy Hermits, all Holy Innocents, all Holy Virgins, the less
and the greater Angels, and redeemed women who have sinned and sorrowed
and have been purified, aid in his ultimate purification. It is the same
thought which was interpreted in a lower key when Wilhelm Meister's fate
was intrusted to Natalia. Usefulness is good; activity is good: but over
all these should soar and brood the Divine graces of life, and love the
chief of these. That which leads us farther than all the rest is what
Goethe names "the imperishable womanly grace," that of love. And so the
great mystery-play reaches its close.

                                          [Signature: Edward Dowden]

    BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE.--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born at
    Frankfort-on-the-Main, August 28th, 1749; he attended the
    University of Leipzig 1765-1768, and went to Strassburg in
    1770, where he met Herder, made the acquaintance of
    Shakespeare, and in 1771 took his degree. 'Götz von
    Berlichingen' in 1773 announced the dawn of a new era in
    German letters, and in 1774 'The Sorrows of Werther' made the
    poet world-famous. In 1775 Goethe accepted the invitation of
    Duke Carl August and went to Weimar, which remained
    thenceforth his home. The Italian journey, marking an epoch in
    the poet's life, took place in 1786-1787. The 'Faust Fragment'
    appeared in 1790. The friendship with Schiller, also of
    far-reaching importance in Goethe's life, began in 1794 and
    was terminated only by Schiller's death in 1805. 'Hermann and
    Dorothea' was published in 1797. In 1806 Goethe married
    Christiane Vulpius. The First Part of 'Faust' appeared in
    1808;--in 1816 the poet is at work upon his 'Autobiography'
    and the 'Italian Journey'; the first part of 'Wilhelm
    Meister's Apprenticeship' appeared in 1821, and was completed
    in 1829. 'Faust' was finished on July 20th, 1831. Goethe died
    at Weimar on March 22d, 1832.



Shelley's Translation

                  The sun makes music as of old
                    Amid the rival spheres of heaven,
                  On its predestined circle rolled
                    With thunder speed; the angels even
                  Draw strength from gazing on its glance,
                    Though none its meaning fathom may
                  The world's unwithered countenance
                    Is bright as at creation's day.

                  And swift and swift with rapid lightness
                    The adorned earth spins silently,
                  Alternating Elysian brightness
                    With deep and dreadful night; the sea
                  Foams in broad billows from the deep
                    Up to the rocks, and rocks and ocean,
                  Onward, with spheres which never sleep,
                    Are hurried in eternal motion.
                  And tempests in contention roar
                    From land to sea, from sea to land;
                  And raging, weave a chain of power,
                    Which girds the earth as with a band.
                  A flashing desolation there
                    Flames before the thunder's way;
                  But thy servants, Lord, revere
                    The gentle changes of thy day.


                  The angels draw strength from thy glance,
                    Though no one comprehend thee may;
                  Thy world's unwithered countenance
                    Is bright as on creation's day.


Translated by Bayard Taylor

    All the following selections from 'Faust' are from Taylor's
    translation. Copyright 1870, by Bayard Taylor, and reprinted
    here by permission of and special agreement with Mrs. Taylor,
    and Houghton, Mifflin & Co., publishers, Boston.



      Oh, happy he, who still renews
        The hope from Error's deeps to rise forever!
      That which one does not know, one needs to use,
        And what one knows, one uses never.
      But let us not, by such despondence, so
        The fortune of this hour embitter!
      Mark how, beneath the evening sunlight's glow,
        The green-embosomed houses glitter!
      The glow retreats; done is the day of toil;
        It yonder hastes, new fields of life exploring;
      Ah, that no wing can lift me from the soil,
        Upon its track to follow, follow soaring!
      Then would I see eternal Evening gild
        The silent world beneath me glowing,
  On fire each mountain-peak, with peace each valley filled,
      The silver brook to golden rivers flowing.
      The mountain chain, with all its gorges deep,
    Would then no more impede my godlike motion;
    And now before mine eyes expands the ocean
        With all its bays, in shining sleep!
      Yet finally the weary god is sinking;
        The new-born impulse fires my mind.--
        I hasten on, his beams eternal drinking.
          The Day before me and the Night behind.
  Above me heaven unfurled, the floor of waves beneath me,--
         A glorious dream! though now the glories fade.
         Alas! the wings that lift the mind no aid
      Of wings to lift the body can bequeath me.
           Yet in each soul is born the pleasure
         Of yearning onward, upward and away.
      When o'er our heads, lost in the vaulted azure,
           The lark sends down his flickering lay,
           When over crags and piny highlands
             The poising eagle slowly soars,
           And over plains and lakes and islands
             The crane sails by to other shores.


      I've had, myself, at times, some odd caprices,
      But never yet such impulse felt, as this is.
      One soon fatigues on woods and fields to look,
        Nor would I beg the bird his wing to spare us:
        How otherwise the mental raptures bear us
          From page to page, from book to book!
        Then winter nights take loveliness untold,
     As warmer life in every limb had crowned you;
  And when your hands unroll some parchment rare and old,
     All heaven descends, and opens bright around you!


      One impulse art thou conscious of, at best;
         Oh, never seek to know the other!
      Two souls, alas! reside within my breast,
    And each withdraws from, and repels, its brother.
      One with tenacious organs holds in love
    And clinging lust the world in its embraces;
      The other strongly sweeps, this dust above,
            Into the high ancestral spaces.
            If there be airy spirits near,
    'Twixt heaven and earth on potent errands fleeing,
       Let them drop down the golden atmosphere,
    And bear me forth to new and varied being!
       Yea, if a magic mantle once were mine,
          To waft me o'er the world at pleasure,
     I would not for the costliest stores of treasure--
       Not for a monarch's robe--the gift resign.



  Canst thou, poor Devil, give me whatsoever?
        When was a human soul, in its supreme endeavor.
        E'er understood by such as thou?
  Yet hast thou food which never satiates now:
        The restless, ruddy gold hast thou,
  That runs quicksilver-like one's fingers through;
  A game whose winnings no man ever knew;
        A maid that even from my breast
  Beckons my neighbor with her wanton glances,
            And Honor's godlike zest,
       The meteor that a moment dances,--
    Show me the fruits that, ere they're gathered, rot,
  And trees that daily with new leafage clothe them!


        Such a demand alarms me not:
      Such treasures have I, and can show them.
  But still the time may reach us, good my friend,
    When peace we crave, and more luxurious diet.


  When on an idler's bed I stretch myself in quiet,
        There let at once my record end!
      Canst thou with lying flattery rule me,
        Until self-pleased myself I see,--
      Canst thou with rich enjoyment fool me,
        Let that day be the last for me!
  The bet I offer.




                      And heartily!
  When thus I hail the Moment flying:
    "Ah, still delay--thou art so fair!"--
  Then bind me in thy bonds undying,
    My final ruin then declare!
  Then let the death-bell chime the token,
    Then art thou from thy service free!
  The clock may stop, the hand be broken,
    Then Time be finished unto me!


  FAUST [_alone_]

  Spirit sublime, thou gav'st me, gav'st me all
  For which I prayed. Not unto me in vain
  Hast thou thy countenance revealed in fire.
  Thou gav'st me nature as a kingdom grand,
  With power to feel and to enjoy it. Thou
  Not only cold, amazed acquaintance yield'st,
  But grantest that in her profoundest breast
  I gaze, as in the bosom of a friend.
  The ranks of living creatures thou dost lead
  Before me, teaching me to know my brothers
  In air and water and the silent wood.
  And when the storm in forests roars and grinds,
  The giant firs, in falling, neighbor boughs
  And neighbor trunks with crushing weight bear down,
  And falling, fill the hills with hollow thunders,--
  Then to the cave secure thou leadest me,
  Then show'st me mine own self, and in my breast
  The deep mysterious miracles unfold.
  And when the perfect moon before my gaze
  Comes up with soothing light, around me float
  From every precipice and thicket damp
  The silvery phantoms of the ages past,
  And temper the austere delight of thought.

  That nothing can be perfect unto Man
  I now am conscious. With this ecstasy,
  Which brings me near and nearer to the gods,
  Thou gav'st the comrade, whom I now no more
  Can do without, though, cold and scornful, he
  Demeans me to myself, and with a breath,
  A word, transforms thy gifts to nothingness.
  Within my breast he fans a lawless fire,
  Unwearied, for that fair and lovely form:
  Thus in desire I hasten to enjoyment,
  And in enjoyment pine to feel desire.

  MARGARET [_At the spinning-wheel, alone_]

  My peace is gone,
  My heart is sore:
  I never shall find it,
  Ah, nevermore!

  Save I have him near,
  The grave is here;
  The world is gall
  And bitterness all.

  My poor weak head
    Is racked and crazed;
  My thought is lost,
    My senses mazed.

  My peace is gone,
    My heart is sore:
  I never shall find it,
    Ah, nevermore!

  To see him, him only,
    At the pane I sit;
  To meet him, him only,
    The house I quit.

  His lofty gait,
    His noble size,
  The smile of his mouth,
    The power of his eyes,

  And the magic flow
    Of his talk, the bliss
  In the clasp of his hand,
    And ah! his kiss!

  My peace is gone,
    My heart is sore:
  I never shall find it,
    Ah, nevermore!

  My bosom yearns
    For him alone;
  Ah, dared I clasp him,
    And hold, and own!

  And kiss his mouth
    To heart's desire,
  And on his kisses
    At last expire!



  Promise me, Henry!--


  What I can!


    How is't with thy religion, pray?
  Thou art a dear, good-hearted man,
    And yet, I think, dost not incline that way.


  Leave that, my child! Thou know'st my love is tender;
  For love, my blood and life would I surrender,
  And as for faith and church, I grant to each his own.


  That's not enough: we must believe thereon.


  Must we?


              Would that I had some influence!
  Then, too, thou honorest not the Holy Sacraments.


  I honor them.


                  Desiring no possession.
  'Tis long since thou hast been to mass or to confession.
  Believest thou in God?


                  My darling, who shall dare
  "I believe in God!" to say?
    Ask priest or sage the answer to declare,
        And it will seem a mocking play,
  A sarcasm on the asker.


                     Then thou believest not!


  Hear me not falsely, sweetest countenance!
            Who dare express Him?
            And who profess Him,
          Saying: I believe in Him!
            Who, feeling, seeing,
            Deny His being,
          Saying: I believe Him not!
            The All-enfolding,
            The All-upholding,
          Folds and upholds he not
            Thee, me, Himself?
    Arches not there the sky above us?
    Lies not beneath us, firm, the earth?
        And rise not, on us shining
        Friendly, the everlasting stars?
        Look I not, eye to eye, on thee,
        And feel'st not, thronging
        To head and heart, the force,
        Still weaving its eternal secret,
        Invisible, visible, round thy life?
    Vast as it is, fill with that force thy heart,
  And when thou in the feeling wholly blessed art,
        Call it, then, what thou wilt,--
      Call it Bliss! Heart! Love! God!--
        I have no name to give it!
             Feeling is all in all:
        The Name is sound and smoke,
        Obscuring Heaven's clear glow.


  All that is fine and good, to hear it so:
  Much the same way the preacher spoke,
  Only with slightly different phrases.


            The same thing, in all places,
  All hearts that beat beneath the heavenly day--
    Each in its language--say;
  Then why not I in mine as well?


  To hear it thus, it may seem passable;
  And yet some hitch in't there must be,
  For thou hast no Christianity.


  Dear love!


              I've long been grieved to see
  That thou art in such company.


  How so?


              The man who with thee goes, thy mate,
    Within my deepest, inmost soul I hate.
          In all my life there's nothing
  Has given my heart so keen a pang of loathing
      As his repulsive face has done.


  Nay, fear him not, my sweetest one!


  I feel his presence like something ill.
  I've else, for all, a kindly will,
  But, much as my heart to see thee yearneth,
  The secret horror of him returneth;
  And I think the man a knave, as I live!
  If I do him wrong, may God forgive!


  There must be such queer birds, however.


    Live with the like of him may I never!
    When once inside the door comes he,
    He looks around so sneeringly,
            And half in wrath:
  One sees that in nothing no interest he hath:
  'Tis written on his very forehead
  That love, to him, is a thing abhorred.
  I am so happy on thine arm,
  So free, so yielding, and so warm,
  And in his presence stifled seems my heart.


  Foreboding angel that thou art!


    _In a niche of the wall a shrine, with an image of the Mater
    Dolorosa. Pots of flowers before it_

  MARGARET [_Putting fresh flowers in the pots_]

            Incline, O Maiden,
            Thou sorrow-laden,
  Thy gracious countenance upon my pain!

            The sword thy heart in,
            With anguish smarting,
  Thou lookest up to where thy Son is slain!

            Thou seest the Father;
            The sad sighs gather,
  And bear aloft thy sorrow and his pain!

            Ah, past guessing,
            Beyond expressing,
  The pangs that wring my flesh and bone!
    Why this anxious heart so burneth,
    Why it trembleth, why it yearneth,
  Knowest thou, and thou alone!

    Where'er I go, what sorrow,
    What woe, what woe and sorrow
      Within my bosom aches!
    Alone, and ah! unsleeping,
    I'm weeping, weeping, weeping,--
      The heart within me breaks.

    The pots before my window,
      Alas! my tears did wet,
    As in the early morning
      For thee these flowers I set.
    Within my lonely chamber
      The morning sun shone red:
    I sat in utter sorrow,
      Already on my bed.

  Help! rescue me from death and stain!
                  O Maiden!
                Thou sorrow-laden,
  Incline thy countenance upon my pain!



  _With a bunch of keys and a lamp, before an iron door_

  A shudder, long unfelt, comes o'er me;
  Mankind's collected woe o'erwhelms me here.
  She dwells within the dark, damp walls before me,
        And all her crime was a delusion dear!
            What! I delay to free her?
            I dread, once again to see her?
  On! my shrinking but lingers Death more near.

       [_He grasps the lock: the sound of singing is heard inside._]

       _My mother the harlot,
         Who put me to death;
       My father the varlet,
         Who eaten me hath!
       Little sister, so good,
       Laid my bones in the wood,
     In the damp moss and clay:
  Then was I a beautiful bird o' the wood:
       Fly away! Fly away!_

  FAUST [_unlocking_]

        She does not dream her lover listens near;
  That he the rattling chain, the rustling straw, can hear.

  MARGARET [_hiding herself on the pallet_]

  Woe! woe! They come. O death of bitterness!

  FAUST [_whispering_]

  Hush! hush! The hour is come that frees thee.

  MARGARET [_throwing herself before him_]

  Art thou a man? then pity my distress!


  Thy cries will wake the guards, and they will seize thee!

                     [_He takes hold of the fetters to unlock them._

  MARGARET [_on her knees_]

  Who, headsman! unto thee such power
        Over me could give?
  Thou'rt come for me at midnight hour:
      Have mercy on me; let me live!
  Is't not soon enough when morning chime has rung?
                                                       [_She rises._
      And I am yet so young, so young!
      And now death comes, and ruin!
    I, too, was fair, and that was my undoing.
      My love was near, but now he's far;
  Torn lies the wreath, scattered the blossoms are.
      Seize me not thus so violently!
    Spare me! What have I done to thee?
      Let me not vainly entreat thee!
  I never chanced, in all my days, to meet thee!


  Shall I outlive this misery?


        Now am I wholly in thy might.
              But let me suckle, first, my baby!
        I blissed it all this livelong night;
              They took 't away, to vex me, maybe,
        And now they say I killed the child outright.
            And never shall I be glad again.
  They sing songs about me! 'tis bad of the folk to do it!
        There's an old story has the same refrain;
            Who bade them so construe it?

  FAUST [_falling upon his knees_]

  Here lieth one who loves thee ever,
  The thraldom of thy woe to sever.

  MARGARET [_flinging herself beside him_]

  Oh let us kneel, and call the saints to hide us!
            Under the steps beside us,
            The threshold under,
            Hell heaves in thunder!
            The Evil One
            With terrible wrath
            Seeketh a path
            His prey to discover!

  FAUST [_aloud_]

  Margaret! Margaret!

  MARGARET [_attentively listening_]

  That was the voice of my lover!

                   [_She springs to her feet: the fetters fall off._

        Where is he? I heard him call me.
        I am free! No one shall enthrall me.
              To his neck will I fly,
              On his bosom lie!
  On the threshold he stood, and _Margaret!_ calling,
  'Midst of hell's howling and noises appalling,
  'Midst of the wrathful, infernal derision,
  I knew the sweet sound of the voice of the vision!


  'Tis I!


  'Tis thou! O, say it once again!
                                                    [_Clasping him._
  'Tis he! 'tis he! Where now is all my pain?
  The anguish of the dungeon, and the chain?
      'Tis thou! Thou comest to save me,
                  And I am saved!
              Again the street I see
              Where first I looked on thee;
    And the garden, brightly blooming,
    Where I and Martha wait thy coming.

  FAUST [_struggling to leave_]

  Come! Come with me!

  Photogravure from a Drawing by A. Leisen-Mayer.]


              Delay, now!
  So fain I stay, when thou delayest!
                                                   [_Caressing him._


              Away, now!
        If longer here thou stayest,
  We shall be made to dearly rue it.


         Kiss me!--canst no longer do it?
      My friend, so short a time thou 'rt missing,
        And hast unlearned thy kissing?
      Why is my heart so anxious, on thy breast?
    Where once a heaven thy glances did create me,
      A heaven thy loving words expressed,
  And thou didst kiss as thou wouldst suffocate me--
                      Kiss me!
                  Or I'll kiss thee!
                                                [_She embraces him._
  Ah, woe! thy lips are chill,
      And still.
  How changed in fashion
      Thy passion!
  Who has done me this ill?
                                         [_She turns away from him._


  Come, follow me! My darling, be more bold:
  I'll clasp thee, soon, with warmth a thousandfold;
        But follow now! 'Tis all I beg of thee.

  MARGARET [_turning to him_]

  And is it thou? Thou, surely, certainly?


  'Tis I! Come on!


                      Thou wilt unloose my chain,
  And in thy lap wilt take me once again.
  How comes it that thou dost not shrink from me?--
  Say, dost thou know, my friend, whom thou mak'st free?


  Come! come! The night already vanisheth.


      My mother have I put to death;
      I've drowned the baby born to thee.
      Was it not given to thee and me?
  Thee, too!--'Tis thou! It scarcely true doth seem--
      Give me thy hand! 'Tis not a dream!
      Thy dear, dear hand!--But, ah, 'tis wet!
      Why, wipe it off! Methinks that yet
            There's blood thereon.
          Ah, God! what hast thou done?
          Nay, sheathe thy sword at last!
            Do not affray me!


  Oh, let the past be past!
    Thy words will slay me!


      No, no! Thou must outlive us.
  Now I'll tell thee the graves to give us:
      Thou must begin to-morrow
          The work of sorrow!
      The best place give to my mother,
      Then close at her side my brother,
          And me a little away,
      But not too very far, I pray!
  And here, on my right breast, my baby lay!
      Nobody else will lie beside me!--
      Ah, within thine arms to hide me,
  That was a sweet and a gracious bliss,
  But no more, no more can I attain it!
  I would force myself on thee and constrain it,
      And it seems thou repellest my kiss:
      And yet 'tis thou, so good, so kind to see!


  If thou feelest it is I, then come with me!


  Out yonder?


  To freedom.


      If the grave is there,
    Death lying in wait, then come!
    From here to eternal rest:
    No further step--no, no!
  Thou goest away! O Henry, if I could go!


  Thou canst! Just will it! Open stands the door.


  I dare not go: there's no hope any more.
  Why should I fly? They'll still my steps waylay!
  It is so wretched, forced to beg my living,
  And a bad conscience sharper misery giving!
  It is so wretched, to be strange, forsaken,
  And I'd still be followed and taken!


  I'll stay with thee.


      Be quick! Be quick!
      Save thy perishing child!
      Away! Follow the ridge
      Up by the brook,
      Over the bridge,
      Into the wood,
  To the left, where the plank is placed
      In the pool!
      Seize it in haste!
      'Tis trying to rise,
      'Tis struggling still!
      Save it! Save it!


      Recall thy wandering will!
  One step, and thou art free at last!


      If the mountain we had only passed!
      There sits my mother upon a stone,--
          I feel an icy shiver!
      There sits my mother upon a stone,
        And her head is wagging ever.
  She beckons, she nods not, her heavy head falls o'er;
      She slept so long that she wakes no more.
        She slept, while we were caressing:
        Ah, those were the days of blessing!


  Here words and prayers are nothing worth;
  I'll venture, then, to bear thee forth.


  No--let me go! I'll suffer no force!
  Grasp me not so murderously!
  I've done, else, all things for the love of thee.


  The day dawns: Dearest! Dearest!


  Day? Yes, the day comes,--the last day breaks for me!
          My wedding day it was to be!
      Tell no one thou hast been with Margaret!
        Woe for my garland! The chances
          Are over--'tis all in vain!
          We shall meet once again,
            But not at the dances!
      The crowd is thronging, no word is spoken:
              The square below
          And the streets overflow:
      The death-bell tolls, the wand is broken.
      I am seized, and bound, and delivered--
         Shoved to the block--they give the sign!
      Now over each neck has quivered
        The blade that is quivering over mine.
          Dumb lies the world like the grave!


  Oh, had I ne'er been born!

  MEPHISTOPHELES [_appears outside_]

      Off! or you're lost ere morn.
  Useless talking, delaying, and praying!
  My horses are neighing:
  The morning twilight is near.


  What rises up from the threshold here?
      He! he! suffer him not!
  What does he want in this holy spot?
  He seeks me!


  Thou shalt live.


  Judgment of God! myself to thee I give.


  Come! or I'll leave her in the lurch, and thee!


  Thine am I, Father! rescue me!
  Ye angels, holy cohorts, guard me,
  Camp around, and from evil ward me!
  Henry! I shudder to think of thee.


  She is judged!

  VOICE [_from above_]

  She is saved!


  Hither to me!
                                        [_He disappears with Faust._

  VOICE [_from within, dying away_]

  Henry! Henry!


  LEMURES [_Digging with mocking gestures_]

  In youth when I did love, did love,
    Methought it was very sweet;
  When 'twas jolly and merry every way,
    And I blithely moved my feet.

  But now old Age, with his stealing steps,
    Hath clawed me with his crutch:
  I stumbled over the door of a grave;
    Why leave they open such?

  FAUST [_Comes forth from the palace, groping his way along the

  How I rejoice to hear the clattering spade!
    It is the crowd, for me in service moiling,
  Till Earth be reconciled to toiling,
  Till the proud waves be stayed,
    And the sea girded with a rigid zone.


  And yet thou'rt laboring for us alone,
    With all thy dikes and bulwarks daring;
    Since thou for Neptune art preparing--
  The Ocean Devil--carousal great.
    In every way shall ye be stranded;
    The elements with us are banded,
  And ruin is the certain fate.






                    However possible,
    Collect a crowd of men with vigor,
    Spur by indulgence, praise, or rigor,--
    Reward, allure, conscript, compel!
  Each day report me, and correctly note
  How grows in length the undertaken moat.

  MEPHISTOPHELES [_half aloud_]

  When they to me the information gave,
  They spake not of a moat, but of--_a grave_.


    Below the hills a marshy plain
  Infects what I so long have been retrieving;
    This stagnant pool likewise to drain
  Were now my latest and my best achieving.
  To many millions let me furnish soil,
  Though not secure, yet free to active toil;
  Green, fertile fields, where men and herds go forth
  At once, with comfort, on the newest earth,
  And swiftly settled on the hill's firm base,
  Created by the bold, industrious race.
  A land like Paradise here, round about;
  Up to the brink the tide may roar without,
  And though it gnaw, to burst with force the limit,
  By common impulse all unite to hem it.
  Yes! to this thought I hold with firm persistence;
    The last result of wisdom stamps it true:
  He only earns his freedom and existence
    Who daily conquers them anew.
  Thus here, by dangers girt, shall glide away
  Of childhood, manhood, age, the vigorous day:
  And such a throng I fain would see,--
  Stand on free soil among a people free!
  Then dared I hail the Moment fleeing:
    "_Ah, still delay--thou art so fair!_"
  The traces cannot, of mine earthly being,
    In æons perish,--they are there!
  In proud fore-feeling of such lofty bliss,
  I now enjoy the highest Moment,--this!
                            [_Faust sinks back: the Lemures take him
                            and lay him upon the ground._]


  No joy could sate him, and suffice no bliss!
    To catch but shifting shapes was his endeavor:
  The latest, poorest, emptiest Moment--this,--
    He wished to hold it fast forever.
  Me he resisted in such vigorous wise,
  But Time is lord, on earth the old man lies.
  The clock stands still--


              Stands still! silent as midnight, now!
  The index falls.


  It falls; and it is finished, here!


  'Tis past!


              Past! a stupid word.
              If past, then why?
  Past and pure Naught, complete monotony!
  What good for us, this endlessly creating?--
  What is created then annihilating?
  "And now it's past!" Why read a page so twisted?
  'Tis just the same as if it ne'er existed,
  Yet goes in circles round as if it had, however:
  I'd rather choose, instead, the Void forever.


  ANGELS [_Soaring in the higher atmosphere, bearing the immortal part
  of Faust_]

  The noble spirit now is free,
    And saved from evil scheming:
  Whoe'er aspires unweariedly
    Is not beyond redeeming.
  And if he feels the grace of love
    That from on high is given,
  The blessed hosts, that wait above,
    Shall welcome him to heaven!


  They, the roses, freely spended
  By the penitent, the glorious,
  Helped to make the fight victorious,
  And the lofty work is ended.
  We this precious soul have won us;
  Evil ones we forced to shun us;
  Devils fled us when we hit them:
  'Stead of pangs of hell, that bit them,
  Love pangs felt they, sharper, vaster:
  Even he, old Satan Master,
  Pierced with keenest pain retreated.
  Now rejoice! The work's completed!


  Earth's residue to bear
    Hath sorely pressed us;
  It were not pure and fair,
    Though 'twere asbestus.
  When every element
    The mind's high forces
  Have seized, subdued, and blent,
   No angel divorces
  Twin natures single grown,
    That inly mate them:
  Eternal love alone
    Can separate them.


  Mist-like on heights above,
    We now are seeing
  Nearer and nearer move
    Spiritual Being.
  The clouds are growing clear;
  And moving throngs appear
      Of blessed boys,
  Free from the earthly gloom,
      In circling poise,
    Who taste the cheer
  Of the new springtime bloom
    Of the upper sphere.
  Let them inaugurate
  Him to the perfect state,
    Now, as their peer!


  Gladly receive we now
    Him, as a chrysalis:
  Therefore achieve we now
    Pledge of our bliss.
  The earth-flakes dissipate
    That cling around him!
  See, he is fair and great!
    Divine Life hath crowned him.

  DOCTOR MARIANUS [_In the highest, purest cell_]

  Free is the view at last,
    The spirit lifted:
  There women, floating past,
    Are upward drifted:
  The Glorious One therein,
    With star-crown tender,--
  The pure, the Heavenly Queen,
    I know her splendor.


  Highest Mistress of the World!
    Let me in the azure
  Tent of Heaven, in light unfurled,
    Here thy Mystery measure!
  Justify sweet thoughts that move
    Breast of man to meet thee,
  And with holy bliss of love
    Bear him up to greet thee!
  With unconquered courage we
    Do thy bidding highest;
  But at once shall gentle be,
    When thou pacifiest.
  Virgin, pure in brightest sheen,
    Mother sweet, supernal,--
  Unto us Elected Queen,
    Peer of Gods Eternal!
      Light clouds are circling
        Around her splendor,--
      Penitent women
        Of natures tender,
      Her knees embracing,
        Ether respiring,
        Mercy requiring!
      Thou, in immaculate ray,
        Mercy not leavest,
      And the lightly led astray,
        Who trust thee, receivest!
  In their weakness fallen at length,
    Hard it is to save them:
  Who can crush, by native strength,
    Vices that enslave them?
  Whose the foot that may not slip
    On the surface slanting?
  Whom befool not eye and lip,
    Breath and voice enchanting?

    _The_ Mater Gloriosa _soars into the space_


  To heights thou'rt speeding
      Of endless Eden:
    Receive our pleading,
      Transcendent Maiden,
      With mercy laden!

  MAGNA PECCATRIX [_St. Luke_, vii. 36]

  By the love before him kneeling,--
    Him, thy Son, a Godlike vision;
  By the tears like balsam stealing,
    Spite of Pharisees' derision;
  By the box, whose ointment precious
    Shed its spice and odors cheery;
  By the locks, whose softest meshes
    Dried the holy feet and weary!--

  MULIER SAMARITANA [_St. John_, iv.]

  By that well, the ancient station
    Whither Abram's flocks were driven;
  By the jar, whose restoration
    To the Savior's lips was given;
  By the fountain pure and vernal,
    Thence its present bounty spending,--
  Overflowing, bright, eternal,
    Watering the worlds unending!--

  MARIA ÆGYPTIACA [_Acta Sanctorum_]

  By the place where the immortal
    Body of the Lord hath lain;
  By the arm which, from the portal,
    Warning, thrust me back again;
  By the forty years' repentance
    In the lonely desert land;
  By the blissful farewell sentence
    Which I wrote upon the sand!--


  Thou thy presence not deniest
    Unto sinful women ever,--
  Liftest them to win the highest
    Gain of penitent endeavor,--
  So, from this good soul withdraw not--
    Who but once forgot, transgressing,
  Who her loving error saw not--
    Pardon adequate, and blessing!

  UNA POENITENTIUM [_Formerly named Margaret, stealing closer_]

            Incline, O Maiden,
            With mercy laden,
            In light unfading,
  Thy gracious countenance upon my bliss!
            My loved, my lover,
            His trials over
  In yonder world, returns to me in this!

  BLESSED BOYS [_Approaching in hovering circles_]

  With mighty limbs he towers
    Already above us;
  He, for this love of ours,
    Will richlier love us.
  Early were we removed,
    Ere Life could reach us;
  Yet he hath learned and proved,
    And he will teach us.

  THE PENITENT [_Formerly named Margaret_]

  The spirit choir around him seeing,
    New to himself, he scarce divines
  His heritage of new-born Being,
    When like the Holy Host he shines.
  Behold, how he each band hath cloven
    The earthly life had round him thrown,
  And through his garb, of ether woven,
    The early force of youth is shown!
  Vouchsafe to me that I instruct him!
    Still dazzles him the Day's new glare.


  Rise thou to higher spheres! Conduct him,
    Who, feeling thee, shall follow there!

  DOCTOR MARIANUS [_Prostrate, adoring_]

  Penitents, look up, elate.
    Where she beams salvation;
  Gratefully to blessed fate
    Grow, in re-creation!
  Be our souls, as they have been,
    Dedicate to thee!
  Virgin Holy, Mother, Queen,
    Goddess, gracious be!


  All things transitory
    But as symbols are sent:
  Earth's insufficiency
    Here grows to Event:
  The Indescribable,
    Here it is done:
  The Woman Soul leadeth us
    Upward and on!


From 'Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship.' Carlyle's Translation

Nothing is more touching than the first disclosure of a love which has
been nursed in silence; of a faith grown strong in secret, and which at
last comes forth in the hour of need and reveals itself to him who
formerly has reckoned it of small account. The bud which had been closed
so long and firmly was now ripe to burst its swathings, and Wilhelm's
heart could never have been readier to welcome the impressions of

She stood before him, and noticed his disquietude. "Master!" she cried,
"if thou art unhappy, what will become of Mignon?" "Dear little
creature," said he, taking her hands, "thou too art part of my
anxieties. I must go hence." She looked at his eyes, glistening with
restrained tears, and knelt down with vehemence before him. He kept her
hands; she laid her head upon his knees, and remained quite still. He
played with her hair, patted her, and spoke kindly to her. She continued
motionless for a considerable time. At last he felt a sort of
palpitating movement in her, which began very softly, and then by
degrees, with increasing violence, diffused itself over all her frame.
"What ails thee, Mignon?" cried he; "what ails thee?" She raised her
little head, looked at him, and all at once laid her hand upon her
heart, with the countenance of one repressing the utterance of pain. He
raised her up, and she fell upon his breast; he pressed her towards him,
and kissed her. She replied not by any pressure of the hand, by any
motion whatever. She held firmly against her heart; and all at once gave
a cry, which was accompanied by spasmodic movements of the body. She
started up, and immediately fell down before him, as if broken in every
joint. It was an excruciating moment! "My child!" cried he, raising her
up and clasping her fast,--"my child, what ails thee?" The palpitations
continued, spreading from the heart over all the lax and powerless
limbs; she was merely hanging in his arms. All at once she again became
quite stiff, like one enduring the sharpest corporeal agony; and soon
with a new vehemence all her frame once more became alive, and she threw
herself about his neck, like a bent spring that is closing; while in her
soul, as it were, a strong rent took place, and at the same moment a
stream of tears flowed from her shut eyes into his bosom. He held her
fast. She wept, and no tongue can express the force of these tears. Her
long hair had loosened, and was hanging down before her; it seemed as if
her whole being was melting incessantly into a brook of tears. Her rigid
limbs were again become relaxed; her inmost soul was pouring itself
forth; in the wild confusion of the moment, Wilhelm was afraid she would
dissolve in his arms, and leave nothing there for him to grasp. He held
her faster and faster. "My child!" cried he, "my child! thou art indeed
mine, if that word can comfort thee. Thou art mine! I will keep thee,
I will never forsake thee!" Her tears continued flowing. At last she
raised herself; a faint gladness shone upon her face. "My father!"
cried she, "thou wilt not forsake me? Wilt be my father? I am thy

Softly, at this moment, the harp began to sound before the door; the old
man brought his most affecting songs as an evening offering to our
friend, who, holding his child ever faster in his arms, enjoyed the most
pure and undescribable felicity.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Know'st thou the land where citron-apples bloom,
  And oranges like gold in leafy gloom,
  A gentle wind from deep-blue heaven blows,
  The myrtle thick, and high the laurel grows?
  Know'st thou it then?
                          'Tis there! Tis there,
  O my true loved one, thou with me must go!

  Know'st thou the house, its porch with pillars tall?
  The rooms do glitter, glitters bright the hall,
  And marble statues stand, and look each one:
  What's this, poor child, to thee they've done?
  Know'st thou it then?
                          'Tis there! 'Tis there,
  O my protector, thou with me must go!

  "Know'st thou the hill, the bridge that hangs on cloud?
  The mules in mist grope o'er the torrent loud,
  In caves lie coiled the dragon's ancient brood,
  The crag leaps down, and over it the flood:
  Know'st thou it then?
                          'Tis there! 'Tis there
  Our way runs: O my father, wilt thou go?"

Next morning, on looking for Mignon about the house, Wilhelm did not
find her, but was informed that she had gone out early with Melina, who
had risen betimes to receive the wardrobe and other apparatus of his

After the space of some hours, Wilhelm heard the sound of music before
his door. At first he thought it was the harper come again to visit him;
but he soon distinguished the tones of a cithern, and the voice which
began to sing was Mignon's. Wilhelm opened the door; the child came in,
and sang him the song we have just given above.

The music and general expression of it pleased our friend extremely,
though he could not understand all the words. He made her once more
repeat the stanzas, and explain them; he wrote them down, and translated
them into his native language. But the originality of its turns he could
imitate only from afar: its childlike innocence of expression vanished
from it in the process of reducing its broken phraseology to uniformity,
and combining its disjointed parts. The charm of the tune, moreover, was
entirely incomparable.

She began every verse in a stately and solemn manner, as if she wished
to draw attention towards something wonderful, as if she had something
weighty to communicate. In the third line, her tones became deeper and
gloomier; the "Know'st thou it then?" was uttered with a show of mystery
and eager circumspectness; in the "'Tis there! 'Tis there!" lay a
boundless longing; and her "With me must go!" she modified at each
repetition, so that now it appeared to entreat and implore, now to impel
and persuade.

On finishing her song for the second time, she stood silent for a
moment, looked keenly at Wilhelm, and asked him, "_Know'st_ thou the
land?" "It must mean Italy," said Wilhelm: "where didst thou get the
little song?" "Italy!" said Mignon, with an earnest air. "If thou go to
Italy, take me along with thee; for I am too cold here." "Hast thou been
there already, little dear?" said Wilhelm. But the child was silent, and
nothing more could be got out of her.


From 'Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship.' Carlyle's Translation

"Have you never," said Jarno, taking him aside, "read one of
Shakespeare's plays?"

"No," replied Wilhelm: "since the time when they became more known in
Germany, I have myself grown unacquainted with the theatre; and I know
not whether I should now rejoice that an old taste and occupation of my
youth, has been by chance renewed. In the mean time, all that I have
heard of these plays has excited little wish to become acquainted with
such extraordinary monsters, which appear to set probability and dignity
alike at defiance."

"I would advise you," said the other, "to make a trial, notwithstanding:
it can do one no harm to look at what is extraordinary with one's own
eyes. I will lend you a volume or two; and you cannot better spend your
time than by casting everything aside, and retiring to the solitude of
your old habitation, to look into the magic lantern of that unknown
world. It is sinful of you to waste your hours in dressing out these
apes to look more human, and teaching dogs to dance. One thing only I
require,--you must not cavil at the form; the rest I can leave to your
own good sense and feeling."

The horses were standing at the door; and Jarno mounted with some other
cavaliers, to go and hunt. Wilhelm looked after him with sadness. He
would fain have spoken much with this man who though in a harsh,
unfriendly way, gave him new ideas,--ideas that he had need of.

Oftentimes a man, when approaching some development of his powers,
capacities, and conceptions, gets into a perplexity from which a prudent
friend might easily deliver him. He resembles a traveler, who, at but a
short distance from the inn he is to rest at, falls into the water: were
any one to catch him then and pull him to the bank, with one good
wetting it were over; whereas, though he struggles out himself, it is
often at the side where he tumbled in, and he has to make a wide and
weary circuit before reaching his appointed object.

Wilhelm now began to have an inkling that things went forward in the
world differently from what he had supposed. He now viewed close at hand
the solemn and imposing life of the great and distinguished, and
wondered at the easy dignity which they contrived to give it. An army on
its march, a princely hero at the head of it, such a multitude of
co-operating warriors, such a multitude of crowding worshipers, exalted
his imagination. In this mood he received the promised books; and ere
long, as may be easily supposed, the stream of that mighty genius laid
hold of him and led him down to a shoreless ocean, where he soon
completely forgot and lost himself....

Wilhelm had scarcely read one or two of Shakespeare's plays, till their
effect on him became so strong that he could go no further. His whole
soul was in commotion. He sought an opportunity to speak with Jarno; to
whom, on meeting with him, he expressed his boundless gratitude for such
delicious entertainment.

"I clearly enough foresaw," said Jarno, "that you would not remain
insensible to the charms of the most extraordinary and most admirable of
all writers."

"Yes!" exclaimed our friend: "I cannot recollect that any book, any man,
any incident of my life, has produced such important effects on me, as
the precious works to which by your kindness I have been directed. They
seem as if they were performances of some celestial genius descending
among men, to make them by the mildest instructions acquainted with
themselves. They are no fictions! You would think, while reading them,
you stood before the inclosed awful Books of Fate, while the whirlwind
of most impassioned life was howling through the leaves, and tossing
them fiercely to and fro. The strength and tenderness, the power and
peacefulness of this man, have so astonished and transported me, that I
long vehemently for the time when I shall have it in my power to read

"Bravo!" said Jarno, holding out his hand, and squeezing our friend's.
"This is as it should be! And the consequences which I hope for will
likewise surely follow."

"I wish," said Wilhelm, "I could but disclose to you all that is going
on within me even now. All the anticipations I have ever had regarding
man and his destiny, which have accompanied me from youth upwards often
unobserved by myself, I find developed and fulfilled in Shakespeare's
writings. It seems as if he cleared up every one of our enigmas to us,
though we cannot say, Here or there is the word of solution. His men
appear like natural men, and yet they are not. These, the most
mysterious and complex productions of creation, here act before us as if
they were watches, whose dial-plates and cases were of crystal, which
pointed out according to their use the course of the hours and minutes;
while at the same time you could discern the combination of wheels and
springs that turn them. The few glances I have cast over Shakespeare's
world incite me, more than anything beside, to quicken my footsteps
forward into the actual world, to mingle in the flood of destinies that
is suspended over it; and at length, if I shall prosper, to draw a few
cups from the great ocean of true nature, and to distribute them from
off the stage among the thirsting people of my native land."


From 'Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship'

Seeing the company so favorably disposed, Wilhelm now hoped he might
further have it in his power to converse with them on the poetic merit
of the pieces which might come before them. "It is not enough," said he
next day, when they were all again assembled, "for the actor merely to
glance over a dramatic work, to judge of it by his first impression, and
thus without investigation to declare his satisfaction or
dissatisfaction with it. Such things may be allowed in a spectator,
whose purpose it is rather to be entertained and moved than formally to
criticize. But the actor, on the other hand, should be prepared to give
a reason for his praise or censure: and how shall he do this if he have
not taught himself to penetrate the sense, the views, and feelings of
his author? A common error is, to form a judgment of a drama from a
single part in it; and to look upon this part itself in an isolated
point of view, not in its connection with the whole. I have noticed this
within a few days so clearly in my own conduct, that I will give you the
account as an example, if you please to hear me patiently.

"You all know Shakespeare's incomparable 'Hamlet': our public reading of
it at the Castle yielded every one of us the greatest satisfaction. On
that occasion we proposed to act the piece; and I, not knowing what I
undertook, engaged to play the Prince's part. This I conceived that I
was studying, while I began to get by heart the strongest passages, the
soliloquies, and those scenes in which force of soul, vehemence, and
elevation of feeling have the freest scope; where the agitated heart is
allowed to display itself with touching expressiveness.

"I further conceived that I was penetrating quite into the spirit of the
character, while I endeavored as it were to take upon myself the load of
deep melancholy under which my prototype was laboring, and in this humor
to pursue him through the strange labyrinths of his caprices and his
singularities. Thus learning, thus practicing, I doubted not but I
should by-and-by become one person with my hero.

"But the farther I advanced, the more difficult did it become for me to
form any image of the whole, in its general bearings; till at last it
seemed as if impossible. I next went through the entire piece, without
interruption; but here too I found much that I could not away with. At
one time the characters, at another time the manner of displaying them,
seemed inconsistent; and I almost despaired of finding any general tint,
in which I might present my whole part with all its shadings and
variations. In such devious paths I toiled, and wandered long in vain;
till at length a hope arose that I might reach my aim in quite a new

"I set about investigating every trace of Hamlet's character, as it had
shown itself before his father's death: I endeavored to distinguish what
in it was independent of this mournful event; independent of the
terrible events that followed; and what most probably the young man
would have been, had no such thing occurred.

"Soft, and from a noble stem, this royal flower had sprung up under the
immediate influences of majesty; the idea of moral rectitude with that
of princely elevation, the feeling of the good and dignified with the
consciousness of high birth, had in him been unfolded simultaneously. He
was a prince, by birth a prince; and he wished to reign, only that good
men might be good without obstruction. Pleasing in form, polished by
nature, courteous from the heart, he was meant to be the pattern of
youth and the joy of the world.

"Without any prominent passion, his love for Ophelia was a still
presentiment of sweet wants. His zeal in knightly accomplishments was
not entirely his own; it needed to be quickened and inflamed by praise
bestowed on others for excelling in them. Pure in sentiment, he knew the
honorable-minded, and could prize the rest which an upright spirit
tastes on the bosom of a friend. To a certain degree, he had learned to
discern and value the good and the beautiful in arts and sciences; the
mean, the vulgar was offensive to him: and if hatred could take root in
his tender soul, it was only so far as to make him properly despise the
false and changeful insects of a court, and play with them in easy
scorn. He was calm in his temper, artless in his conduct, neither
pleased with idleness nor too violently eager for employment. The
routine of a university he seemed to continue when at court. He
possessed more mirth of humor than of heart; he was a good companion,
pliant, courteous, discreet, and able to forget and forgive an injury,
yet never able to unite himself with those who overstept the limits of
the right, the good, and the becoming.

"When we read the piece again, you shall judge whether I am yet on the
proper track. I hope at least to bring forward passages that shall
support my opinion in its main points."

This delineation was received with warm approval; the company imagined
they foresaw that Hamlet's manner of proceeding might now be very
satisfactorily explained; they applauded this method of penetrating into
the spirit of a writer. Each of them proposed to himself to take up some
piece, and study it on these principles, and so unfold the author's
meaning ....

Loving Shakespeare as our friend did, he failed not to lead round the
conversation to the merits of that dramatist. Expressing, as he
entertained, the liveliest hopes of the new epoch which these exquisite
productions must form in Germany, he ere long introduced his 'Hamlet,'
who had busied him so much of late.

Serlo declared that he would long ago have played the piece, had this
been possible, and that he himself would willingly engage to act
Polonius. He added with a smile, "An Ophelia too will certainly turn up,
if we had but a Prince."

Wilhelm did not notice that Aurelia seemed a little hurt at her
brother's sarcasm. Our friend was in his proper vein, becoming copious
and didactic, expounding how he would have 'Hamlet' played. He
circumstantially delivered to his hearers the opinions we before saw him
busied with; taking all the trouble possible to make his notion of the
matter acceptable, skeptical as Serlo showed himself regarding it. "Well
then," said the latter finally, "suppose we grant you all this, what
will you explain by it?"

"Much, everything," said Wilhelm. "Conceive a prince such as I have
painted him, and that his father suddenly dies. Ambition and the love of
rule are not the passions that inspire him. As a king's son, he would
have been contented; but now he is first constrained to consider the
difference which separates a sovereign from a subject. The crown was not
hereditary; yet a longer possession of it by his father would have
strengthened the pretensions of an only son, and secured his hopes of
the succession. In place of this, he now beholds himself excluded by his
uncle, in spite of specious promises, most probably forever. He is now
poor in goods and favor, and a stranger in the scene which from youth he
had looked upon as his inheritance. His temper here assumes its first
mournful tinge. He feels that now he is not more, that he is less, than
a private nobleman; he offers himself as the servant of every one; he is
not courteous and condescending, he is needy and degraded.

"His past condition he remembers as a vanished dream. It is in vain that
his uncle strives to cheer him, to present his situation in another
point of view. The feeling of his nothingness will not leave him.

"The second stroke that came upon him wounded deeper, bowed still more.
It was the marriage of his mother. The faithful tender son had yet a
mother, when his father passed away. He hoped in the company of his
surviving, noble-minded parent, to reverence the heroic form of the
departed; but his mother too he loses, and it is something worse than
death that robs him of her. The trustful image which a good child loves
to form of its parents is gone. With the dead there is no help; on the
living no hold. She also is a woman, and her name is Frailty, like that
of all her sex.

"Now first does he feel himself completely bent and orphaned; and no
happiness of life can repay what he has lost. Not reflective or
sorrowful by nature, reflection and sorrow have become for him a heavy
obligation. It is thus that we see him first enter on the scene. I do
not think that I have mixed aught foreign with the piece, or overcharged
a single feature of it."

Serlo looked at his sister and said, "Did I give thee a false picture of
our friend? He begins well; he has still many things to tell us, many to
persuade us of." Wilhelm asseverated loudly that he meant not to
persuade but to convince; he begged for another moment's patience.

"Figure to yourselves this youth," cried he, "this son of princes;
conceive him vividly, bring his state before your eyes, and then observe
him when he learns that his father's spirit walks; stand by him in the
terrors of the night, when the venerable ghost itself appears before
him. A horrid shudder passes over him; he speaks to the mysterious form;
he sees it beckon him; he follows it, and hears. The fearful accusation
of his uncle rings in his ears; the summons to revenge, and the piercing
oft-repeated prayer, Remember me!

"And when the ghost has vanished, who is it that stands before us? A
young hero panting for vengeance? A prince by birth, rejoicing to be
called to punish the usurper of his crown? No! trouble and astonishment
take hold of the solitary young man; he grows bitter against smiling
villains, swears that he will not forget the spirit, and concludes with
the significant ejaculation:--

  "'The time is out of joint: O cursed spite,
  That ever I was born to set it right!'

"In these words, I imagine, will be found the key to Hamlet's whole
procedure. To me it is clear that Shakespeare meant, in the present
case, to represent the effects of a great action laid upon a soul unfit
for the performance of it. In this view the whole piece seems to me to
be composed. There is an oak-tree planted in a costly jar, which should
have borne only pleasant flowers in its bosom; the roots expand, the jar
is shivered.

"A lovely, pure, noble, and most moral nature, without the strength of
nerve which forms a hero, sinks beneath a burden which it cannot bear
and must not cast away. All duties are holy for him; the present is too
hard. Impossibilities have been required of him, not in themselves
impossibilities, but such for him. He winds, and turns, and torments
himself; he advances and recoils; is ever put in mind, ever puts himself
in mind; at last does all but lose his purpose from his thoughts; yet
still without recovering his peace of mind."

Aurelia seemed to give but little heed to what was passing; at last she
conducted Wilhelm to another room, and going to the window, and looking
out at the starry sky she said to him, "You have still much to tell us
about Hamlet; I will not hurry you; my brother must hear it as well as
I; but let me beg to know your thoughts about Ophelia."

"Of her there cannot much be said," he answered; "for a few master
strokes complete her character. The whole being of Ophelia floats in
sweet and ripe sensation. Kindness for the Prince, to whose hand she may
aspire, flows so spontaneously, her tender heart obeys its impulses so
unresistingly, that both father and brother are afraid; both give her
warning harshly and directly. Decorum, like the thin lawn upon her
bosom, cannot hide the soft, still movements of her heart; it on the
contrary betrays them. Her fancy is smit; her silent modesty breathes
amiable desire; and if the friendly goddess Opportunity should shake the
tree, its fruit would fall."

"And then," said Aurelia, "when she beholds herself forsaken, cast away,
despised; when all is inverted in the soul of her crazed lover, and the
highest changes to the lowest, and instead of the sweet cup of love he
offers her the bitter cup of woe--"

"Her heart breaks," cried Wilhelm; "the whole structure of her being is
loosened from its joinings; her father's death strikes fiercely against
it; and the fair edifice altogether crumbles into fragments...."

Serlo, at this moment entering, inquired about his sister; and looking
in the book which our friend had hold of, cried, "So you are again at
'Hamlet'? Very good! Many doubts have arisen in me, which seem not a
little to impair the canonical aspect of the piece as you would have it
viewed. The English themselves have admitted that its chief interest
concludes with the third act; the last two lagging sorrily on, and
scarcely uniting with the rest: and certainly about the end it seems to
stand stock still."

"It is very possible," said Wilhelm, "that some individuals of a nation
which has so many masterpieces to feel proud of, may be led by prejudice
and narrowness of mind to form false judgments; but this cannot hinder
us from looking with our own eyes, and doing justice where we see it
due. I am very far from censuring the plan of 'Hamlet': on the other
hand, I believe there never was a grander one invented; nay, it is not
invented, it is real."

"How do you demonstrate that?" inquired Serlo.

"I will not demonstrate anything," said Wilhelm; "I will merely show you
what my own conceptions of it are."

Aurelia rose up from her cushion, leaned upon her hand, and looked at
Wilhelm; who, with the firmest assurance that he was in the right, went
on as follows:--

"It pleases us, it flatters us to see a hero acting on his own strength;
loving and hating as his heart directs him; undertaking and completing;
casting every obstacle aside; and at length attaining some great object
which he aimed at. Poets and historians would willingly persuade us that
so proud a lot may fall to man. In 'Hamlet' we are taught another
lesson: the hero is without a plan, but the piece is full of plan. Here
we have no villain punished on some self-conceived and rigidly
accomplished scheme of vengeance: a horrid deed occurs; it rolls itself
along with all its consequences, dragging guiltless persons also in its
course; the perpetrator seems as if he would evade the abyss which is
made ready for him, yet he plunges in, at the very point by which he
thinks he shall escape and happily complete his course.

"For it is the property of crime to extend its mischief over innocence,
as it is of virtue to extend its blessings over many that deserve them
not; while frequently the author of the one or of the other is not
punished or rewarded at all. Here in this play of ours, how strange! The
Pit of Darkness sends its spirit and demands revenge; in vain! All
circumstances tend one way, and hurry to revenge; in vain! Neither
earthly nor infernal thing may bring about what is reserved for Fate
alone. The hour of judgment comes: the wicked falls with the good; one
race is mowed away, that another may spring up."

After a pause, in which they looked at one another, Serlo said: "You pay
no great compliment to Providence, in thus exalting Shakespeare; and
besides, it appears to me that for the honor of your poet, as others for
the honor of Providence, you ascribe to him an object and a plan which
he himself had never thought of."

"Let me also put a question," said Aurelia. "I have looked at Ophelia's
part again; I am contented with it, and conceive that under certain
circumstances I could play it. But tell me, should not the poet have
furnished the insane maiden with another sort of songs? Could not one
select some fragments out of melancholy ballads for this purpose? What
have double meanings and lascivious insipidities to do in the mouth of
such a noble-minded person?"

"Dear friend," said Wilhelm, "even here I cannot yield you one iota. In
these singularities, in this apparent impropriety, a deep sense is hid.
Do we not understand from the very first what the mind of the good
soft-hearted girl was busied with? Silently she lived within herself,
yet she scarce concealed her wishes, her longing; the tones of desire
were in secret ringing through her soul; and how often may she have
attempted, like an unskillful nurse, to lull her senses to repose with
songs which only kept them more awake? But at last, when her
self-command is altogether gone, when the secrets of her heart are
hovering on her tongue, that tongue betrays her; and in the innocence of
insanity she solaces herself, unmindful of king or queen, with the echo
of her loose and well-beloved songs, 'Tomorrow is Saint Valentine's
Day,' and 'By Gis and by Saint Charity.'

"I am much mistaken," cried he, "if I have not now discovered how the
whole is to be managed; nay, I am convinced that Shakespeare himself
would have arranged it so, had not his mind been too exclusively
directed to the ruling interest, and perhaps misled by the novels which
furnished him with his materials."

"Let us hear," said Serlo, placing himself with an air of solemnity upon
the sofa; "I will listen calmly, but judge with rigor."

"I am not afraid of you," said Wilhelm; "only hear me. In the
composition of this play, after the most accurate investigation and the
most mature reflection, I distinguish two classes of objects. The first
are the grand internal relations of the persons and events, the powerful
effects which arise from the characters and proceedings of the main
figures: these, I hold, are individually excellent, and the order in
which they are presented cannot be improved. No kind of interference
must be suffered to destroy them, or even essentially to change their
form. These are the things which stamp themselves deep into the soul;
which all men long to see, which no one dares to meddle with.
Accordingly, I understand, they have almost wholly been retained in all
our German theatres.

"But our countrymen have erred, in my opinion, with regard to the second
class of objects which may be observed in this tragedy: I allude to the
external relations of the persons, whereby they are brought from place
to place, or combined in various ways by certain accidental incidents.
These they have looked upon as very unimportant; have spoken of them
only in passing, or left them out altogether. Now indeed it must be
owned that these threads are slack and slender; yet they run through the
entire piece, and bind together much that would otherwise fall asunder,
and does actually fall asunder when you cut them off, and imagine you
have done enough and more if you have left the ends hanging.

"Among these external relations I include the disturbances in Norway,
the war with young Fortinbras, the embassy to his uncle, the settling of
that feud, the march of young Fortinbras to Poland, and his coming back
at the end; of the same sort are Horatio's return from Wittenberg,
Hamlet's wish to go thither, the journey of Laertes to France, his
return, the dispatch of Hamlet into England, his capture by pirates, the
death of the two courtiers by the letter which they carried. All these
circumstances and events would be very fit for expanding and lengthening
a novel; but here they injure exceedingly the unity of the
piece,--particularly as the hero had no plan,--and are in consequence
entirely out of place."

"For once in the right!" cried Serlo.

"Do not interrupt me," answered Wilhelm; "perhaps you will not always
think me right. These errors are like temporary props of an edifice;
they must not be removed till we have built a firm wall in their stead.
My project therefore is, not at all to change those first-mentioned
grand situations, or at least as much as possible to spare them, both
collectively and individually; but with respect to these external,
single, dissipated, and dissipating motives, to cast them all at once
away, and substitute a solitary one instead of them."

"And this?" inquired Serlo, springing up from his recumbent posture.

"It lies in the piece itself," answered Wilhelm, "only I employ it
rightly. There are disturbances in Norway. You shall hear my plan and
try it.

"After the death of Hamlet the father, the Norwegians, lately conquered,
grow unruly. The viceroy of that country sends his son Horatio, an old
school friend of Hamlet's, and distinguished above every other for his
bravery and prudence, to Denmark, to press forward the equipment of the
fleet, which under the new luxurious King proceeds but slowly. Horatio
has known the former King, having fought in his battles, having even
stood in favor with him; a circumstance by which the first ghost scene
will be nothing injured. The new sovereign gives Horatio audience, and
sends Laertes into Norway with intelligence that the fleet will soon
arrive, whilst Horatio is commissioned to accelerate the preparation of
it; and the Queen, on the other hand, will not consent that Hamlet, as
he wishes, should go to sea along with him."

"Heaven be praised!" cried Serlo; "we shall now get rid of Wittenberg
and the university, which was always a sorry piece of business. I think
your idea extremely good: for except these two distant objects, Norway
and the fleet, the spectator will not be required to _fancy_ anything:
the rest he will _see_; the rest takes place before him; whereas his
imagination, on the other plan, was hunted over all the world."

"You easily perceive," said Wilhelm, "how I shall contrive to keep the
other parts together. When Hamlet tells Horatio of his uncle's crime,
Horatio counsels him to go to Norway in his company, to secure the
affections of the army, and return in war-like force. Hamlet also is
becoming dangerous to the King and Queen; they find no readier method of
deliverance than to send him in the fleet, with Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern to be spies upon him: and as Laertes in the mean time comes
from France, they determine that this youth, exasperated even to murder,
shall go after him. Unfavorable winds detain the fleet; Hamlet returns:
for his wandering through the church-yard perhaps some lucky motive may
be thought of; his meeting with Laertes in Ophelia's grave is a grand
moment, which we must not part with. After this, the King resolves that
it is better to get quit of Hamlet on the spot: the festival of his
departure, the pretended reconcilement with Laertes, are now solemnized;
on which occasion knightly sports are held, and Laertes fights with
Hamlet. Without the four corpses I cannot end the piece; not one of them
can possibly be left. The right of popular election now again comes in
force, and Hamlet gives his dying voice for Horatio."

"Quick! quick!" said Serlo; "sit down and work the piece; your plan has
my entire approbation; only do not let your zeal for it evaporate." ...

Wilhelm had already been for some time busied with translating Hamlet;
making use, as he labored, of Wieland's spirited performance, by means
of which he had first become acquainted with Shakespeare. What in
Wieland's work had been omitted he replaced; and he had at length
procured himself a complete version, at the very time when Serlo and he
finally agreed about the way of treating it. He now began, according to
his plan, to cut out and insert, to separate and unite, to alter and
often to restore; for satisfied as he was with his own conception, it
still appeared to him as if in executing it he were but spoiling the

So soon as all was finished, he read his work to Serlo and the rest.
They declared themselves exceedingly contented with it; Serlo in
particular made many flattering observations.

"You have felt very justly," said he, among other things, "that some
external circumstances must accompany this piece; but that they must be
simpler than those which the great poet has employed. What takes place
without the theatre--what the spectator does not see, but must imagine
for himself--is like a background, in front of which the acting figures
move. Your large and simple prospect of the fleet and Norway will very
much improve the piece; if this were altogether taken from it, we should
have but a family scene remaining; and the great idea, that here a
kingly house by internal crimes and incongruities goes down to ruin,
would not be presented with its proper dignity. But if the former
background were left standing, so manifold, so fluctuating and confused,
it would hurt the impression of the figures."

Wilhelm again took Shakespeare's part: alleging that he wrote for
islanders, for Englishmen, who generally, in the distance, were
accustomed to see little else than ships and voyages, the coast of
France and privateers; and thus what perplexed and distracted others was
to them quite natural.

Serlo assented; and both of them were of opinion that as the piece was
now to be produced upon the German stage, this more serious and simple
background was the best adapted for the German mind.

The parts had been distributed before: Serlo undertook Polonius; Aurelia
undertook Ophelia; Laertes was already designated by his name; a young,
thick-set, jolly new-comer was to be Horatio; the King and the Ghost
alone occasioned some perplexity. For both of these was no one but Old
Boisterous remaining. Serlo proposed to make the Pedant King; but
against this our friend protested in the strongest terms. They could
resolve on nothing.

Wilhelm also had allowed both Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to continue
in his piece. "Why not compress them into one?" said Serlo. "This
abbreviation will not cost you much."

"Heaven keep me from such curtailments!" answered Wilhelm; "they destroy
at once the sense and the effect. What these two persons are and do it
is impossible to represent by one. In such small matters we discover
Shakespeare's greatness. These soft approaches, this smirking and
bowing, this assenting, wheedling, flattering, this whisking agility,
this wagging of the tail, this allness and emptiness, this legal
knavery, this ineptitude and insipidity,--how can they be expressed by a
single man? There ought to be at least a dozen of these people if they
could be had, for it is only in society that they are anything; they
are society itself; and Shakespeare showed no little wisdom and
discernment in bringing in a pair of them. Besides, I need them as a
couple that may be contrasted with the single, noble, excellent


From 'Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship'

Art is long, life short, judgment difficult, opportunity transient. To
act is easy, to think is hard; to act according to our thought is
troublesome. Every beginning is cheerful; the threshold is the place of
expectation. The boy stands astonished, his impressions guide him; he
learns sportfully, seriousness comes on him by surprise. Imitation is
born with us; what should be imitated is not easy to discover. The
excellent is rarely found, more rarely valued. The height charms us, the
steps to it do not; with the summit in our eye, we love to walk along
the plain. It is but a part of art that can be taught; the artist needs
it all. Who knows it half, speaks much and is always wrong; who knows it
wholly, inclines to act and speaks seldom or late. The former have no
secrets and no force; the instruction they can give is like baked bread,
savory and satisfying for a single day; but flour cannot be sown, and
seed corn ought not to be ground. Words are good, but they are not the
best. The best is not to be explained by words. The spirit in which we
act is the highest matter. Action can be understood and again
represented by the spirit alone. No one knows what he is doing while he
acts aright; but of what is wrong we are always conscious. Whoever works
with symbols only is a pedant, a hypocrite, or a bungler. There are many
such, and they like to be together. Their babbling detains the scholar;
their obstinate mediocrity vexes even the best. The instruction which
the true artist gives us opens the mind; for where words fail him, deeds
speak. The true scholar learns from the known to unfold the unknown, and
approaches more and more to being a master.


From 'Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship'

  "What notes are those without the wall,
    Across the portal sounding?
  Let's have the music in our hall,
    Back from its roof rebounding."
  So spoke the king: the henchman flies;
  His answer heard, the monarch cries,
    "Bring in that ancient minstrel."

  "Hail, gracious king, each noble knight!
    Each lovely dame, I greet you!
  What glittering stars salute my sight!
    What heart unmoved may meet you!
  Such lordly pomp is not for me,
  Far other scenes my eyes must see:
    Yet deign to list my harping."

  The singer turns him to his art,
    A thrilling strain he raises;
  Each warrior hears with glowing heart
    And on his loved one gazes.
  The king, who liked his playing well,
  Commands, for such a kindly spell,
    A golden chain be given him.

  "The golden chain give not to me:
    Thy boldest knight may wear it,
  Who 'cross the battle's purple sea
    On lion breast may bear it;
  Or let it be thy chancellor's prize,
  Amid his heaps to feast his eyes,--
    Its yellow glance will please him.

  "I sing but as the linnet sings,
    That on the green bough dwelleth;
  A rich reward his music brings,
    As from his throat it swelleth:
  Yet might I ask, I'd ask of thine
  One sparkling draught of purest wine
    To drink it here before you."

  He viewed the wine, he quaffed it up:
    "O draught of sweetest savor!
  O happy house, where such a cup
    Is thought a little favor!
  If well you fare, remember me,
  And thank kind Heaven, from envy free,
    As now for this I thank you."

       *       *       *       *       *

  Who never ate his bread in sorrow,
    Who never spent the darksome hours
  Weeping and watching for the morrow,--
    He knows ye not, ye gloomy Powers.

  To earth, this weary earth, ye bring us,
    To guilt ye let us heedless go,
  Then leave repentance fierce to wring us;
    A moment's guilt, an age of woe!


From 'Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship'

  Such let me seem, till such I be;
    Take not my snow-white dress away!
  Soon from this dusk of earth I flee,
    Up to the glittering lands of day.

  There first a little space I rest,
    Then wake so glad, to scenes so kind;
  In earthly robes no longer drest,
    This band, this girdle left behind.

  And those calm shining sons of morn,
    They ask not who is maid or boy;
  No robes, no garments there are worn,
    Our body pure from sin's alloy.

  Through little life not much I toiled,
    Yet anguish long this heart has wrung,
  Untimely woe my blossoms spoiled:
    Make me again forever young!


From 'Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship'

  Sing me not with such emotion
    How the night so lonesome is;
  Pretty maids, I've got a notion
    It is the reverse of this.

  For as wife and man are plighted,
    And the better half the wife,
  So is night to day united,--
    Night's the better half of life.

  Can you joy in bustling daytime,--
    Day, when none can get his will?
  It is good for work, for haytime;
    For much other it is ill.

  But when in the nightly glooming,
    Social lamp on table glows,
  Face for faces dear illuming,
    And such jest and joyance goes;

  When the fiery pert young fellow,
    Wont by day to run or ride,
  Whispering now some tale would tell O,--
    All so gentle by your side;

  When the nightingale to lovers
    Lovingly her songlet sings,
  Which for exiles and sad rovers
    Like mere woe and wailing rings;

  With a heart how lightsome-feeling
    Do ye count the kindly clock,
  Which, twelve times deliberate pealing,
    Tells you none to-night shall knock!

  Therefore, on all fit occasions,
    Mark it, maidens, what I sing:
  Every day its own vexations,
    And the night its joys will bring.


          Blacken thy heavens, Jove,
            With thunder-clouds,
          And exercise thee, like a boy
            Who thistles crops,
        With smiting oaks and mountain-tops:
          Yet must leave me standing
            My own firm earth;
  Must leave my cottage, which thou didst not build,
            And my warm hearth,
            Whose cheerful glow
            Thou enviest me.

          I know naught more pitiful
          Under the sun, than you, gods!
            Ye nourish scantily
            With altar taxes
          And with cold lip-service,
            This your majesty;--
            Would perish, were not
            Children and beggars
            Credulous fools.

            When I was a child,
        And knew not whence or whither,
        I would turn my 'wildered eye
        To the sun, as if up yonder were
        An ear to hear to my complaining--A
            heart, like mine,
      On the oppressed to feel compassion.

            Who helped me
      When I braved the Titans' insolence?
        Who rescued me from death,
            From slavery?
      Hast thou not all thyself accomplished,
            Holy-glowing heart?
          And, glowing, young, and good,
          Most ignorantly thanked
          The slumberer above there?

          I honor thee! For what?
          Hast thou the miseries lightened
            Of the down-trodden?
      Hast thou the tears ever banished
            From the afflicted?
      Have I not to manhood been molded
            By omnipotent Time,
          And by Fate everlasting,
            My lords and thine?

            Dreamedst thou ever
      I should grow weary of living,
            And fly to the desert,
            Since not all our
            Pretty dream buds ripen?

            Here sit I, fashion men
            In mine own image,--
            A race to be like me,
            To weep and to suffer,
      To be happy and enjoy themselves,
        To be careless of _thee_ too,
                As I!

                                      Translation of John S. Dwight.


  Thou that from the heavens art,
    Every pain and sorrow stillest,
  And the doubly wretched heart
    Doubly with refreshment fillest,
  I am weary with contending!
      Why this rapture and unrest?
            Peace descending,
      Come, ah come into my breast!

          O'er all the hill-tops
            Is quiet now,
          In all the tree-tops
            Hearest thou
          Hardly a breath;
  The birds are asleep in the trees:
          Wait; soon like these
            Thou too shalt rest.

                Longfellow's Translation. Reprinted by permission of
                Houghton, Mifflin & Co., publishers, Boston


  Who rides so late through the midnight blast?
  'Tis a father spurs on with his child full fast;
  He gathers the boy well into his arm,
  He clasps him close and he keeps him warm.

  "My son, why thus to my arm dost cling?"--
  "Father, dost thou not see the elfin-king?
  The elfin-king with his crown and train!"--
  "My son, 'tis a streak of the misty rain!"

  _"Come hither, thou darling, come, go with me!
  Fine games I know that I'll play with thee;
  Flowers many and bright do my kingdoms hold,
  My mother has many a robe of gold."_

  "O father, dear father, and dost thou not hear
  What the elfin-king whispers so low in mine ear?"--
  "Calm, calm thee, my boy, it is only the breeze,
  As it rustles the withered leaves under the trees."

  _"Wilt thou go, bonny boy, wilt thou go with me?
  My daughters shall wait on thee daintily;
  My daughters around thee in dance shall sweep,
  And rock thee and kiss thee and sing thee to sleep."_

  "O father, dear father, and dost thou not mark
  The elf-king's daughters move by in the dark?"--
  "I see it, my child; but it is not they,
  'Tis the old willow nodding its head so gray."

  _"I love thee! thy beauty it charms me so;
  And I'll take thee by force, if thou wilt not go!"_
  "O father, dear father, he's grasping me,--
  My heart is as cold as cold can be!"

  The father rides swiftly,--with terror he gasps,--
  The sobbing child in his arms he clasps;
  He reaches the castle with spurring and dread;
  But alack! in his arms the child lay dead!

                                   Translation of Martin and Aytoun.


        Whom thou desertest not, O Genius,
          Neither blinding rain nor storm
          Breathes upon his heart a chill.
        Whom thou desertest not, O Genius,
            To the lowering clouds,
            To the beating hail,
            He will sing cheerly,
            As the lark there,
            Thou that soarest.

        Whom thou desertest not, O Genius,
        Him thou'lt lift o'er miry places
            On thy flaming pinions:
            He will traverse
            As on feet of flowers
          Slime of Deucalion's deluge;
          Slaying Python, strong, great,
            Pythius Apollo!

        Whom thou desertest not, O Genius,
  Thou wilt spread thy downy wings beneath him,
            When he sleeps upon the crags;
  Thou wilt cover him with guardian pinions
            In the midnight forest depths.

        Whom thou desertest not, O Genius,
        Thou wilt in whirling snow-storm
            Warmly wrap him round;
            To the warmth fly the Muses,
            To the warmth fly the Graces.

            Around me float, ye Muses,
              And float, ye Graces!
            This is water, this is earth
          And the son of water and of earth,
                Over whom I wander
                    Like the gods.

          You are pure like the heart of water,
          You are pure like the core of earth;
          You float around me, and I float
                Over water, over earth,
                    Like the gods.

                               Translation of Charles Harvey Genung.


  Noble be Man,
  Helpful and good!
  For that alone
  Doth distinguish him
  From all the beings
  Which we know.

  Hail to the Unknown, the
  Higher Beings
  Felt within us!
  His pattern teach us
  Faith in them!

  For unfeeling
  Is Nature:
  Still shineth the sun
  Over good and evil:
  And to the sinner
  Smile, as to the best,
  The moon and the stars.

  Wind and waters,
  Thunder and hailstones,
  Rustle on their way,
  Smiting down as
  They dash along,
  One for another.

  Just so does Fate
  Grope round in the crowd,
  Seize now the innocent,
  Curly-haired boy,
  Now on the old, bald
  Crown of the villain.

  By great adamantine
  Laws everlasting,
  Here we must all our
  Round of existence
  Faithfully finish.

  There can none but Man
  Perform the Impossible.
  He understandeth,
  Chooseth, and judgeth;
  He can impart to the
  Moment duration.

  He alone may
  The Good reward,
  The Guilty punish,
  Mend and deliver;
  All the wayward, anomalous
  Bind in the Useful.

  And the Immortals--
  Them we reverence,
  As if they were men, and
  Did, on a grand scale,
  What the best man in little
  Does, or fain would do.

  Let noble Man
  Be helpful and good!
  Ever creating
  The Right and the Useful--
  Type of those loftier
  Beings of whom the heart whispers!

                                      Translation of John S. Dwight.


  O ye kindly nymphs, who dwell 'mongst the rocks and the thickets,
    Grant unto each whatsoever he may in silence desire!
  Comfort impart to the mourner, and give to the doubter instruction,
    And let the lover rejoice, finding the bliss that he craves.
  For from the gods ye received what they ever denied unto mortals,
    Power to comfort and aid all who in you may confide.

                                       Translation of E. A. Bowring.


  For a praiseworthy object we're now gathered here,
      So, brethren, sing Ergo bibamus!
  Though talk may be hushed, yet the glasses ring clear:
      Remember then, Ergo bibamus!
  In truth 'tis an old, 'tis an excellent word;
  With its sound so befitting each bosom is stirred,
  And an echo the festal hall filling is heard,
      A glorious Ergo bibamus!

  I saw mine own love in her beauty so rare,
      And bethought me of Ergo bibamus;
  So I gently approached, and she let me stand there,
      While I helped myself, thinking, Bibamus!
  And when she's appeared, and will clasp you and kiss,
  Or when those embraces and kisses ye miss,
  Take refuge, till found is some worthier bliss,
      In the comforting Ergo bibamus!

  I am called by my fate far away from each friend;
      Ye loved ones, then, Ergo bibamus!
  With wallet light-laden from hence I must wend,
      So double our Ergo bibamus!
  Whatever to his treasure the niggard may add,
  Yet regard for the joyous will ever be had,
  For gladness lends ever its charms to the glad,
      So, brethren, sing: Ergo bibamus!

  And what shall we say of to-day as it flies?
      I thought but of Ergo bibamus!
  'Tis one of those truly that seldom arise,
      So again and again sing Bibamus!
  For joy through a wide-open portal it guides,
  Bright glitter the clouds as the curtain divides,
  And a form, a divine one, to greet us in glides,
      While we thunder our Ergo bibamus.

                                       Translation of E. A. Bowring.


  Farther and farther away, alas! at each moment the vessel
    Hastens, as onward it glides, cleaving the foam-covered flood!
  Long is the track plowed up by the keel where dolphins are sporting,
    Following fast in its rear, while it seems flying pursuit.
  All forebodes a prosperous voyage; the sailor with calmness
    Leans 'gainst the sail, which alone all that is needed performs.
  Forward presses the heart of each seaman, like colors and streamers;
    Backward one only is seen, mournfully fixed near the mast,
  While on the blue-tinged mountains, which fast are receding, he
    And as they sink in the sea, joy from his bosom departs.
  Vanished from thee, too, O Dora, is now the vessel that robs thee
    Of thine Alexis, thy friend,--ah, thy betrothèd as well!
  Thou, too, art after me gazing in vain.  Our hearts are still
    Though for each other, yet ah! 'gainst one another no more.
  O thou single moment, wherein I found life! thou outweighest
    Every day which had else coldly from memory fled.
  'Twas in that moment alone, the last, that upon me descended
    Life such as deities grant, though thou perceivèdst it not.
  Phoebus, in vain with thy rays dost thou clothe the ether in glory:
    Thine all-brightening day hateful alone is to me.
  Into myself I retreat for shelter, and there in the silence
    Strive to recover the time when she appeared with each day.
  Was it possible beauty like this to see, and not feel it?
    Worked not those heavenly charms e'en on a mind dull as thine?
  Blame not thyself, unhappy one! Oft doth the bard an enigma
    Thus propose to the throng, skillfully hidden in words;
  Each one enjoys the strange commingling of images graceful,
    Yet still is wanting the word which will discover the sense.
  When at length it is found, the heart of each hearer is gladdened,
    And in the poem he sees meaning of twofold delight.
  Wherefore so late didst thou remove the bandage, O Amor,
    Which thou hadst placed o'er mine eyes,--wherefore remove it so
  Long did the vessel, when laden, lie waiting for favoring breezes,
    Till in kindness the wind blew from the land o'er the sea.
  Vacant times of youth! and vacant dreams of the future!
    Ye all vanish, and naught, saving the moment, remains.
  Yes! it remains,--my joy still remains! I hold thee, my Dora,
    And thine image alone, Dora, by hope is disclosed.
  Oft have I seen thee go, with modesty clad, to the temple,
    While thy mother so dear solemnly went by thy side.
  Eager and nimble thou wert, in bearing thy fruit to the market,
    Boldly the pail from the well didst thou sustain on thy head.
  Then was revealed thy neck, then seen thy shoulders so beauteous,
    Then, before all things, the grace filling thy motions was seen.
  Oft have I feared that the pitcher perchance was in danger of falling,
    Yet it ever remained firm on the circular cloth.
  Thus, fair neighbor, yes, thus I oft was wont to observe thee,
    As on the stars I might gaze, as I might gaze on the moon;
  Glad indeed at the sight, yet feeling within my calm bosom
    Not the remotest desire ever to call them mine own.

  Years thus fleeted away! Although our houses were only
    Twenty paces apart, yet I thy threshold ne'er crossed.
  Now by the fearful flood are we parted! Thou liest to Heaven,
    Billow! thy beautiful blue seems to me dark as the night.
  All were now in movement: a boy to the house of my father
    Ran at full speed and exclaimed, "Hasten thee quick to the strand!
  Hoisted the sail is already, e'en now in the wind it is fluttering,
    While the anchor they weigh, heaving it up from the sand;
  Come, Alexis, oh come!"--My worthy stout-hearted father
    Pressed, with a blessing, his hand down on my curly-locked head,
  While my mother carefully reached me a newly made bundle;
    "Happy mayst thou return!" cried they--"both happy and rich!"
  Then I sprang away, and under my arm held the bundle,
    Running along by the wall. Standing I found thee hard by,
  At the door of thy garden. Thou smilingly saidst then, "Alexis!
    Say, are yon boisterous crew going thy comrades to be?
  Foreign coasts wilt thou visit, and precious merchandise purchase,
    Ornaments meet for the rich matrons who dwell in the town;
  Bring me also, I pray thee, a light chain; gladly I'll pay thee,
    Oft have I wished to possess some such a trinket as that."
  There I remained, and asked, as merchants are wont, with precision
    After the form and the weight which thy commission should have.
  Modest indeed was the price thou didst name! I meanwhile was gazing
    On thy neck, which deserved ornaments worn but by queens.
  Loudly now rose the cry from the ship; then kindly thou spakest:--
    "Take, I entreat thee, some fruit out of the garden, my friend!
  Take the ripest oranges, figs of the whitest; the ocean
    Beareth no fruit, and in truth, 'tis not produced by each land."
  So I entered in. Thou pluckedst the fruit from the branches,
    And the burden of gold was in thine apron upheld.
  Oft did I cry, Enough! But fairer fruits were still falling
    Into thy hand as I spake, ever obeying thy touch.
  Presently didst thou reach the arbor; there lay there a basket,
    Sweet blooming myrtle-trees waved, as we drew nigh, o'er our heads.
  Then thou began'st to arrange the fruit with skill and in silence:
    First the orange, which heavy as though 'twere of gold,
  Then the yielding fig, by the slightest pressure disfigured,
    And with myrtle, the gift soon was both covered and graced.
  But I raised it not up. I stood. Our eyes met together,
    And my eyesight grew dim, seeming obscured by a film.
  Soon I felt thy bosom on mine! Mine arm was soon twining
    Round thy beautiful form; thousand times kissed I thy neck.
  On my shoulder sank thy head; thy fair arms, encircling,
    Soon rendered perfect the ring knitting a rapturous pair.
  Amor's hands I felt; he pressed us together with ardor,
    And from the firmament clear, thrice did it thunder; then tears
  Streamed from mine eyes in torrents, thou weptest, I wept, both were
    And 'mid our sorrow and bliss, even the world seemed to die.
  Louder and louder they called from the strand; my feet would no longer
    Bear my weight, and I cried:--"Dora! and art thou not mine?"
  "Thine forever!" thou gently didst say. Then the tears we were
    Seemed to be wiped from our eyes, as by the breath of a god.
  Nearer was heard the cry "Alexis!" The stripling who sought me
    Suddenly peeped through the door.  How he the basket snatched up!
  How he urged me away! how pressed I thy hand! Dost thou ask me
    How the vessel I reached? Drunken I seemed, well I know,
  Drunken my shipmates believed me, and so had pity upon me;
    And as the breeze drove us on, distance the town soon obscured.
  "Thine forever!" thou, Dora, didst murmur; it fell on my senses
    With the thunder of Zeus! while by the thunderer's throne
  Stood his daughter, the goddess of Love; the Graces were standing
    Close by her side! so the bond beareth an impress divine!
  Oh then hasten, thou ship, with every favoring zephyr!
    Onward, thou powerful keel, cleaving the waves as they foam!
  Bring me unto the foreign harbor, so that the goldsmith
    May in his workshop prepare straightway the heavenly pledge!
  Ay, of a truth, the chain shall indeed be a chain, O my Dora!
    Nine times encircling thy neck, loosely around it entwined.
  Other and manifold trinkets I'll buy thee; gold-mounted bracelets,
    Richly and skillfully wrought, also shall grace thy fair hand.
  There shall the ruby and emerald vie, the sapphire so lovely
    Be to the jacinth opposed, seeming its foil; while the gold
  Holds all the jewels together, in beauteous union commingled.
    Oh, how the bridegroom exults, when he adorns his betrothed!
  Pearls if I see, of thee they remind me; each ring that is shown me
    Brings to my mind thy fair hand's graceful and tapering form.
  I will barter and buy; the fairest of all shalt thou choose thee;
    Joyously would I devote all of the cargo to thee.
  Yet not trinkets and jewels alone is thy loved one procuring;
    With them he brings thee whate'er gives to a housewife delight:
  Fine and woolen coverlets, wrought with an edging of purple,
    Fit for a couch where we both, lovingly, gently may rest;
  Costly pieces of linen. Thou sittest and sewest, and clothest
    Me, and thyself, and perchance even a third with it too.
  Visions of hope, deceive ye my heart! Ye kindly immortals,
    Soften this fierce-raging flame, wildly pervading my breast!
  Yet how I long to feel them again, those rapturous torments,
    When in their stead, Care draws nigh, coldly and fearfully calm.
  Neither the Furies' torch, nor the hounds of hell with their barking,
    Awe the delinquent so much, down in the plains of despair,
  As by the motionless spectre I'm awed, that shows me the fair one
    Far away: of a truth, open the garden door stands!
  And another one cometh! For him the fruit, too, is falling,
    And for him also the fig strengthening honey doth yield!
  Doth she entice him as well to the arbor? He follows? Oh, make me
    Blind, ye Immortals! efface visions like this from my mind!
  Yes, she is but a maiden! And she who to one doth so quickly
    Yield, to another erelong, doubtless, will turn herself round.
  Smile not, Zeus, for this once, at an oath so cruelly broken!
    Thunder more fearfully! Strike!--Stay--thy fierce lightnings
  Hurl at me thy quivering bolt! In the darkness of midnight
    Strike with thy lightning this mast, make it a pitiful wreck!
  Scatter the planks all around, and give to the boisterous billows
    All these wares, and let _me_ be to the dolphins a prey!--
  Now, ye Muses, enough! In vain would ye strive to depicture
    How, in a love-laden breast, anguish alternates with bliss.
  Ye cannot heal the wounds, it is true, that love hath inflicted;
    Yet from you only proceeds, kindly ones, comfort and balm.

                                       Translation of E. A. Bowring.


From 'Maxims and Reflections of Goethe.'

Translation of Bailey Saunders. Copyright 1892, by Macmillan & Co.

It is not always needful for truth to take a definite shape: it is
enough if it hovers about us like a spirit and produces harmony; if it
is wafted through the air like the sound of a bell, grave and kindly.

       *       *       *       *       *

I must hold it for the greatest calamity of our time, which lets nothing
come to maturity, that one moment is consumed by the next, and the day
spent in the day; so that a man is always living from hand to mouth,
without having anything to show for it. Have we not already newspapers
for every hour of the day? A good head could assuredly intercalate one
or other of them. They publish abroad everything that every one does, or
is busy with or meditating; nay, his very designs are thereby dragged
into publicity. No one can rejoice or be sorry, but as a pastime for
others; and so it goes on from house to house, from city to city, from
kingdom to kingdom, and at last from one hemisphere to the other,--all
in post-haste.

       *       *       *       *       *

During a prolonged study of the lives of various men both great and
small, I came upon this thought: In the web of the world the one may
well be regarded as the warp, the other as the woof. It is the little
men, after all, who give breadth to the web, and the great men firmness
and solidity; perhaps also the addition of some sort of pattern. But the
scissors of the Fates determine its length, and to that all the rest
must join in submitting itself.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is nothing more odious than the majority: it consists of a few
powerful men to lead the way; of accommodating rascals and submissive
weaklings; and of a mass of men who trot after them without in the least
knowing their own mind.

       *       *       *       *       *

Translators are like busy match-makers: they sing the praises of some
half-veiled beauty, and extol her charms, and arouse an irresistible
longing for the original.


Nature! We are surrounded by her and locked in her clasp: powerless to
leave her, and powerless to come closer to her. Unasked and unwarned she
takes us up into the whirl of her dance, and hurries on with us till we
are weary and fall from her arms.

There is constant life in her, motion and development; and yet she
remains where she was. She is eternally changing, nor for a moment does
she stand still. Of rest she knows nothing, and to all stagnation she
has affixed her curse. She is steadfast; her step is measured, her
exceptions rare, her laws immutable.

She loves herself, and clings eternally to herself with eyes and hearts
innumerable. She has divided herself that she may be her own delight.
She is ever making new creatures spring up to delight in her, and
imparts herself insatiably.

She rejoices in illusion. If a man destroys this in himself and others,
she punishes him like the hardest tyrant. If he follows her in
confidence, she presses him to her heart as it were her child.

She spurts forth her creatures out of nothing, and tells them not whence
they come and whither they go. They have only to go their way: she knows
the path.

Her crown is Love. Only through Love can we come near her. She puts
gulfs between all things, and all things strive to be interfused. She
isolates everything, that she may draw everything together. With a few
draughts from the cup of Love she repays for a life full of trouble.

She is all things. She rewards herself and punishes herself, and in
herself rejoices and is distressed. She is rough and gentle, loving and
terrible, powerless and almighty. In her everything is always present.
Past or Future she knows not. The Present is her Eternity. She is kind.
I praise her with all her works. She is wise and still. No one can force
her to explain herself, or frighten her into a gift that she does not
give willingly. She is crafty, but for a good end; and it is best not to
notice her cunning.




[Illustration: NIKOLAI GOGOL]

Gogol has been called the "father of modern Russian realism," and he has
been credited with the creation of all the types which we meet in the
great novelists who followed him. This is in great measure true,
especially so far as the male characters are concerned. The germs at
least, if not the condensed characterization in full, are recognizable
in Gogol's famous novel 'Dead Souls,' his Little-Russian stories 'Tales
from a Farm-House near Dikanka' and 'Mirgorod,' and his comedy 'The
Inspector,' which still holds the stage.

It was precisely because of his genius in seizing the national types
that the poet Pushkin, one of Gogol's earliest and warmest admirers,
gave to him the plans of 'Dead Souls' and 'The Inspector,' which he had
intended to make use of himself. That he became the "father of Russian
realism" was due not only to his own genius, but to the epoch in which
he lived, though he solved the problem for himself quite independently
of the Continental literatures which were undergoing the same process of
transformation from romanticism to realism. For, nearly a hundred years
before Gogol and his foreign contemporaries of the forties--the
pioneers, in their respective countries, of the new literature--won the
public, Europe had been living a sort of modern epic. In imitation of
the ancient epics, writers portrayed heroes of gigantic powers in every
direction, and set them in a framework of exceptional crises which
aroused their powerful emotions in the cause of right, or their
superhuman conflict with masterful persons or overwhelming woes. But the
daily experience of those who suffered from the manifold miseries of
battle and invasion in this modern epic epoch, made it impossible for
them to disregard longer the claim on their sympathies of the common
things and people of their world, though these can very easily be
ignored when one reads the ancient epics. Thus did realism have its dawn
in many lands when the era of peace gave men time to define their
position, and when pseudo-classicism had at last palled on their taste,
which had begun to recognize its coldness and inherent falsity.

Naturally, in this new quest of Truth, romanticism and realism were
mingled at first. This was the case with Gogol-Yanovsky, to give him his
full name. But he soon struck out in the right path. He was born and
reared in Little Russia, at Sorotchinsky, government of Poltava. He was
separated by only two generations from the epoch of the Zaporozhian
Kazak army, whose life he has recorded in his famous historical novel
'Taras Bulba,' his grandfather having been regimental scribe of the
Kazaks, an office of honor. The spirit of the Zaporozhian Kazaks still
lingered over the land, which was overflowing with legends, and with
fervent, childlike piety of the superstitious order. At least one half
of the Little-Russian stories which made Gogol's fame he owes to his
grandfather, who appears as Rudiy Panko the Bee-Farmer, in the 'Tales
from a Farm-House near Dikanka.' His father, who represented the modern
spirit, was an inimitable narrator of comic stories, and the talents of
this father and grandfather rendered their house the social centre of a
very wide neighborhood.

At school Gogol did not distinguish himself in his studies, but wrote a
great deal, all of an imitative character, and got up school plays in
emulation of those which he had seen at his own home. His lack of
scholarship made it impossible for him to pursue the learned career of
professor of history, on which he embarked after he had with labor
obtained, and shortly renounced, the career of copying-clerk in St.
Petersburg. His vast but dimly defined ambition to accomplish great
things for his fatherland in some mysterious way, and fame for himself,
equally suffered shipwreck to his mind; though if we consider the part
which the realistic literature he founded has played on the world's
stage, we may count his apparent defeat a solid victory. His brief
career as professor of history at the university was brought about by
his ambition, and through the influence of the literary men whose
friendship he had won by his first 'Little-Russian Tales.' They
recognized his genius, and at last he himself recognized that the new
style of writing which he had created was his vocation, and devoted
himself wholly to literature. At the close of 1831 the first volume of
'Tales from a Farm-House' appeared, and had an immense success. The
second volume, 'Mirgorod, followed, with equal success. It contained a
new element: the merriment of the first volume had been pure, unmixed;
in the second volume he had developed not only the realism but that
special trait of his genius, "laughter piercing through a mist of
tears," of which 'Old-Fashioned Gentry' and 'How the Two Ivans
Quarreled' offer celebrated examples. But success always flew to
Gogol's head: he immediately began to despise these products of his true
vocation, and to plan grandiose projects far beyond his powers of
education and entirely outside the range of his talent. Now, for
instance, he undertook a colossal work in nine volumes on the history of
the Middle Ages. Happily, he abandoned that, after his studies of
Little-Russian history incidental thereto had resulted in his epic of
the highest art, 'Taras Bulba.'

The first outcome of his recognition that literary work was his moral
duty, not a mere pastime, was his great play 'The Inspector.' It was
produced in April, 1836. The authorities steadfastly opposed its
production; but the Emperor Nicholas I. heard of it, read it, ordered it
produced, and upheld Gogol in enthusiastic delight. Officials,
merchants, police, literary people, everybody, attacked the author. They
had laughed at his pathos; now they raged at his comedy, refused to
recognize their own portraits, and still tried to have the play
prohibited. Gogol's health and spirits were profoundly affected by this
unexpected enmity. He fled abroad, and returned to Russia thereafter
only at intervals for brief visits, and chiefly to Moscow, where most of
his faithful friends lived. He traveled much, but spent most of his time
in Rome, where his lavish charities kept him always poor, even after the
complete success of 'The Inspector' and of the first part of 'Dead
Souls' would have enabled him to exist in comfort. He was accustomed to
say that he could only see Russia clearly when he was far from her, and
in a measure he proved this by his inimitable first volume of 'Dead
Souls.' Herein he justified Pushkin's expectations in giving him that
subject which would enable him to paint, in types, the classes and
localities of his fatherland. But this long residence in Rome was fatal
to his mind and health, and eventually extinguished the last sparks of
genius. The Russian mind is peculiarly inclined to mysticism, and
Russian writers of eminence seem to be even more susceptible in that
direction than ordinary men. Of the noted writers in this century,
Pushkin and Lermontoff had leaned decidedly in that direction towards
the end of their careers, brief as their lives were. Gogol was their
intimate friend in Russia, and after he went abroad he was the intimate
friend of the aged poet Zhukovsky, who became a mystic in his declining

Even in his school days Gogol had shown, in his letters to his mother, a
marked tendency to religious exaltation. Now, under the combined
pressure of his personal inclinations, friendships, and the clerical
atmosphere of Rome, he developed into a mystic and ascetic of the most
pronounced type. In this frame of mind, he looked upon all his earlier
writings as sins which must be atoned for; and yet his immense
self-esteem was so flattered by the tremendous success of 'The
Inspector' and of the first part of 'Dead Souls,' that he began to
regard himself as a kind of divinely commissioned prophet, whose duty it
was to exhort his fellow-men. The extract from these hortatory letters
to his friends which he published convinced his countrymen that nothing
more was to be expected from him. The failure of this volume only helped
to plunge him into deeper depths of self-torture. In the few remaining
lucid moments of his genius he worked at the second part of 'Dead
Souls,' but destroyed what he had written in the moments of ecstatic
remorse which followed. Thus the greatest work of his mature genius
remains uncompleted. In 1848 he made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and
returned through Odessa to Moscow, where he lived until his death,
growing constantly more mystical, more ascetic. Sleepless nights spent
in prayer, fasting to the extent of trying to nourish himself (as it is
affirmed that practiced ascetics successfully can) for a week on one of
the tiny double loaves which are used in the Holy Communion, completed
the ravages of his long-endured maladies.

It was for publishing in a Moscow paper an enthusiastic obituary of the
dead genius, which he had been forbidden to publish in St. Petersburg,
that Turgénieff was sent into residence on his estate, and enriched the
world with the first work of the rising genius, 'The Diary of a
Sportsman.' Acuteness of observation; natural, infectious, genuine
humor; vivid realism; and an inimitable power of depicting national
types, are Gogol's distinguishing characteristics: and these in varying
degrees are precisely the ingredients which have entered into the works
of his successors and rendered Russian literature famous as a school.

In reviewing Gogol's work, we may set aside with but cursory mention his
youthful idyl, written while still in the gymnasium, published
anonymously and overwhelmed with ridicule, 'Hans Kuchel-garten'; his
'Arabesques,' which are useful chiefly as a contribution to the study of
the man and his opinions, not as permanent additions to literature; his
'Extracts from Correspondence with Friends,' which belong to the
sermonizing, clouded period of his life's close; and the divers
'Fragments,' both of prose and dramatic writing, all of which are
conscientiously included in the complete editions of his writings.

The only complete play which he wrote except 'The Inspector' is the
comedy 'Marriage,' which is still acted, though very seldom. It is full
of naturalness and his own peculiar humor, but its subject does not
appeal to the universal public of all lands as nearly as does the plan
of 'The Inspector.' The plot, in brief, is founded on a young girl's
meditations on marriage, and her actions which lead up to and follow
those meditations. The Heroine, desirous of marrying, invokes the aid of
the Match-maker, the old-time matrimonial agent in the Russian merchant
and peasant classes by conventional etiquette. The Match-maker offers
for her consideration several suitable men, all strangers; the Heroine
makes her choice, and is very well content with her suitor. But she
begins to meditate on the future, becomes moved to tears by the thought
of her daughter's possible unhappiness in a hypothetical wretched
marriage in the dim future, and at last, unable to endure this painful
prospect, she evades her betrothed and breaks off the match. While the
characteristic and national touches are keen and true,--precursors of
the vein which Ostrovsky so happily developed later,--the play must
remain a matter of greater interest to Russians than to foreigners.

The interest of 'The Inspector,' on the other hand, is universal:
official negligence and corruption, bribery, masculine boastfulness and
vanity, and feminine qualities to correspond, are the private
prerogatives of no one nation, of no one epoch. The comedy possesses all
the elements of social portraiture and satire without caricature:
concentration of time, place, action, language, and a tremendous
condensation of character traits which are not only truly, typically
national, but which come within the ken of all fair-minded persons in
other countries.

The volume with which he scored his first success, and which must remain
a classic, is 'Evenings at a Farm-House near Dikanka.' As the second
volume, 'Mirgorod,' and his volume of 'St. Petersburg Tales,' all
combine essentially the same ingredients, though in varying measure, we
may consider them together. All the tales in the first two volumes are
from his beloved birthplace, Little Russia. Some of them are simply the
artistic and literary rendering of popular legends, whose counterparts
may be found in the folk literature of other lands. Such are the story
of the vampire, 'Vy,' 'St. John's Eve,' and the exquisite 'A May Night,'
where the famous poetical spirit of the Ukraina is displayed in its full
force and beauty. 'The Lost Document,' 'Sorotchinsky Fair,' 'The
Enchanted Spot,' and others of like legendary but more exclusively
national character, show the same fertility of wit and skill of
management, with close study of every-day customs, superstitions, and
life, which render them invaluable to both Russians and foreigners.

More important than these, however, are such stories as 'Old-Fashioned
Gentry' (or 'Farmers'), where keen but kindly wit, more tempered than
the mirth of youthful high spirits which had imbued the fantastic tales,
is mingled with the purest, deepest pathos and minute delineation of
character and customs, in an inimitable work of the highest art. To this
category belong also 'How the Two Ivans Quarreled' (the full title, 'How
Ivan Ivan'itch and Ivan Nikifor'itch Quarreled,' is rather unwieldy for
the foreign ear), and 'The Cloak,' from the volume of 'St. Petersburg
Tales.' We may also count 'The Nevsky Prospekt' with these; while 'The
Portrait' is semi-fantastic, 'The Nose' and 'The Calash' are wholly so,
though not legendary, and 'The Diary of a Madman' is unexcelled as an
amusing but touching study of a diseased mind in the ranks of petty

Gogol's capital work, however, is his 'Dead Souls.' In it he carried to
its highest point his talent for accurate delineation of his countrymen
and the conditions of their life. There is less pathos than in some of
his short tales; but all the other elements are perfected. Pushkin's
generosity and sound judgment were never better shown than in the gift
which he made to Gogol of the plan of this book. He could not have
executed it himself as well. The work must forever rank as a Russian
classic; it ought to rank as a universal classic. The types are as
fresh, true, and vivid to one who knows the Russia of to-day as they
were when they were first introduced to the enthusiastic public of 1842.

In the pre-Emancipation days, a soul meant a male serf. The women were
not counted in the periodical revisions, though the working unit, a
_tyaglo_, consisted of a man, his wife, and his horse--the indispensable
trinity to agricultural labor. In the interval between the revisions, a
landed proprietor continued to pay for all the serfs accredited to him
on the official list, the births being reckoned for convenience as an
exact offset to the deaths. Another provision of the law was, that no
one should purchase serfs without the land to which they belonged,
except for the purpose of colonization. An ingenious fraud suggested by
a combination of these two laws forms the foundation of 'Dead Souls.'
The hero, Tchitchikoff, is an official who has struggled up ambitiously
and shrewdly, through numerous vicissitudes of bribe-taking, extortion,
and ensuing discomfiture, to a snug berth in the custom-house service,
from which he is ejected under circumstances which render further
flights difficult if not impossible. In this strait he hits upon the
idea of purchasing from landed proprietors of mediocre probity the souls
who are dead, though still nominally alive, and on whom they are forced
to pay taxes. Land is being given away gratuitously, in the southern
governments of Kherson and Tauris, to any one who will settle upon it,
as every one knows. His plan is to buy one thousand non-existent serfs
("dead souls"), at a maximum of one hundred rubles apiece, for
colonization on an equally non-existent estate in the south, and then,
by mortgaging them to the loan bank for the nobility known as the
Council of Guardians, obtain a capital of two hundred thousand rubles.
In pursuance of this clever scheme he sets out on his travels, visits
provincial towns and the estates of landed gentry of every shade of
character, dishonesty, and financial standing, where he either buys for
a song, or cajoles from them as a gift, large numbers of "dead souls."
It is unnecessary and impossible to do more than reinforce the hint
which this statement contains, by the assurance that Gogol used to the
uttermost the magnificent opportunity thus afforded him of showing up
Russian life and manners. Though the scene of Tchitchikoff's wanderings
does not include either capital, the life there does not escape the
author's notice in his asides and illustrative arguments. It may also be
said that while his talent lies pre-eminently in the delineation of men,
he does not fail in his portraits of women; though as a rule these are
more general--in the nature of a composite photograph--than particular.
The day for minute analysis of feminine character had not arrived, and
in all Gogol's works there is, properly speaking, no such thing as the
heroine playing a first-class rôle, whether of the antique or the modern

Gogol's great historical novel, 'Taras Bulba,' which deals with the
famous Kazak republic of the Dniepr Falls (Zaporózhya), stands equally
with his other volumes of the first rank in poetry, dramatic power, and
truth to life. It possesses also a force of tragedy and passion in love
which are altogether lacking, or but faintly indicated, in his other

                                      [Signature: Isabel F. Hapgood]


    _Scene_: _A room in the house of the Chief of Police.

    _Present_: _Chief of Police, Curator of Benevolent Institutions,
    Superintendent of Schools, Judge, Commissary of Police, Doctor,
    two Policemen._

_Chief_--I have summoned you, gentlemen, in order to communicate to you an
unpleasant piece of news: an Inspector is coming.

_Judge_--What! An Inspector?

_Chief_--An Inspector from St. Petersburg, incognito. And with secret
orders, to boot.

_Judge_--I thought so!

_Curator_--If there's not trouble, then I'm mistaken!

_Superintendent_--Heavens! And with secret orders, too!

_Chief_--I foresaw it: all last night I was dreaming of two huge rats; I
never saw such rats: they were black, and of supernatural size! They
came, and smelled, and went away. I will read you the letter I have
received from Andrei Ivan'itch Tchorikoff,--whom you know, Artemiy
Philip'itch. This is what he writes:--"Dear friend, gossip and
benefactor!" [_Mutters in an undertone, as he runs his eye quickly over
it._] "I hasten to inform you, among other things, that an official has
arrived with orders to inspect the entire government, and our district
in particular." [_Raises his finger significantly._] "I have heard this
from trustworthy people, although he represents himself as a private
individual. As I know that you are not quite free from faults, since you
are a sensible man, and do not like to let slip what runs into your
hands--" [_Pauses._] Well, here are some remarks about his own
affairs--"so I advise you to be on your guard: for he may arrive at any
moment, if he is not already arrived and living somewhere incognito.
Yesterday--" Well, what follows is about family matters--"My sister Anna
Kirilovna has come with her husband; Ivan Kirilitch has grown very fat,
and still plays the violin--" and so forth, and so forth. So there you
have the whole matter.

_Judge_--Yes, the matter is so unusual, so remarkable; something

_Superintendent_--And why? Anton Anton'itch, why is this? Why is the
Inspector coming hither?

_Chief_ [_sighs_]--Why? Evidently, it is fate. [_Sighs._] Up to this
time, God be praised, they have attended to other towns; now our turn
has come.

_Judge_--I think, Anton Anton'itch, that there is some fine political
cause at the bottom of this. This means something: Russia--yes--Russia
wants to go to war, and the minister, you see, has sent an official to
find out whether there is any treason.

_Chief_--What's got hold of him? A sensible man, truly! Treason in a
provincial town! Is it a border town--is it, now? Why, you could ride
away from here for three years and not reach any other kingdom.

_Judge_--No, I tell you. You don't--you don't--The government has subtle
reasons; no matter if it is out of the way, they don't care for that.

_Chief_--Whether they care or not, I have warned you, gentlemen. See to
it! I have made some arrangements in my own department, and I advise you
to do the same. Especially you, Artemiy Philip'itch! Without doubt, this
traveling official will wish first of all to inspect your
institutions--and therefore you must arrange things so that they will be
decent. The nightcaps should be clean, and the sick people should not
look like blacksmiths, as they usually do in private.

_Curator_--Well, that's a mere trifle. We can put clean nightcaps on

_Chief_--And then, you ought to have written up over the head of each
bed, in Latin or some other language--that's your business--the name of
each disease: when each patient was taken sick, the day and hour. It is
not well that your sick people should smoke such strong tobacco that one
has to sneeze every time he goes in there. Yes, and it would be better
if there were fewer of them: it will be set down at once to bad
supervision or to lack of skill on the doctor's part.

_Curator_--Oh! so far as the doctoring is concerned, Christian
Ivan'itch and I have already taken measures: the nearer to nature the
better,--we don't use any expensive medicines. Man is a simple creature:
if he dies, why then he dies; if he gets well, why then he gets well.
And then, it would have been difficult for Christian Ivan'itch to make
them understand him--he doesn't know one word of Russian.

_Chief_--I should also advise you, Ammos Feodor'itch, to turn your
attention to court affairs. In the ante-room, where the clients usually
assemble, your janitor has got a lot of geese and goslings, which waddle
about under foot. Of course it is praiseworthy to be thrifty in domestic
affairs, and why should not the janitor be so too? only, you know, it is
not proper in that place. I meant to mention it to you before, but
always forgot it.

_Judge_--I'll order them to be taken to the kitchen this very day. Will
you come and dine with me?

_Chief_--And moreover, it is not well that all sorts of stuff should be
put to dry in the court-room, and that over the very desk, with the
documents, there should be a hunting-whip. I know that you are fond of
hunting, but there is a proper time for everything, and you can hang it
up there again when the Inspector takes his departure. And then your
assistant--he's a man of experience, but there's a smell about him as
though he had just come from a distillery--and that's not as it should
be. I meant to speak to you about it long ago, but something, I don't
recall now precisely what, put it out of my mind. There is a remedy, if
he really was born with the odor, as he asserts: you might advise him
to eat onions or garlic or something. In that case, Christian Ivan'itch
could assist you with some medicaments.

_Judge_--No, it's impossible to drive it out: he says that his mother
injured him when he was a child, and an odor of whisky has emanated from
him ever since.

_Chief_--Yes, I just remarked on it. As for internal arrangements, and
what Andrei Ivan'itch in his letter calls "faults," I can say nothing.
Yes, and strange to say, there is no man who has not his faults. God
himself arranged it so, and it is useless for the freethinkers to
maintain the contrary.

_Judge_--What do you mean by faults, Anton Anton'itch? There are various
sorts of faults. I tell every one frankly that I take bribes; but what
sort of bribes? greyhound pups. That's quite another thing.

_Chief_--Well, greyhound pups or anything else, it's all the same.

_Judge_--Well, no, Anton Anton'itch. But for example, if some one has a
fur coat worth five hundred rubles, and his wife has a shawl--

_Chief_--Well, and how about your taking greyhound pups as bribes? Why
don't you trust in God? You never go to church. I am firm in the faith,
at all events, and go to church every Sunday. But you--oh, I know you!
If you begin to talk about the creation of the world, one's hair rises
straight up on his head.

_Judge_--It came of itself, of its own accord.

_Chief_--Well, in some cases it is worse to have brains than to be
entirely without them. Besides, I only just mentioned the district
court: but to tell the truth, it is only very rarely that any one ever
looks in there; 'tis such an enviable place that God himself protects
it. And as for you, Luka Luk'itch, as superintendent of schools, you
must bestir yourself with regard to the teachers. They are educated
people, to be sure, and were reared at divers academies, but they have
very peculiar ways which go naturally with that learned profession. One
of them, for instance, the fat-faced one,--I don't recall his
name,--cannot get along without making grimaces when he takes his
seat;--like this [_makes a grimace_]: and then he begins to smooth his
beard out from under his neckerchief, with his hand. In short, if he
makes such faces at the scholars, there is nothing to be said: it must
be necessary; I am no judge of that. But just consider--if he were to
do that to a visitor it might be very unpleasant; the Inspector or any
one else might take it as personal. The Devil knows what might come of

_Superintendent_--What am I to do with him? I have spoken to him about
it several times already. A few days ago, when our chief went into the
class-room, he made such a grimace as I never beheld before. He made it
out of good-will; but it is a judgment on me, because freethinking is
being inculcated in the young people.

_Chief_--And I must also mention the teacher of history. He's a wise
man, that's plain, and has acquired a great mass of learning; but he
expresses himself with so much warmth that he loses control of himself.
I heard him once: well, so long as he was talking about the Assyrians
and Babylonians, it was all right; but when he got to Alexander of
Macedon, I can't describe to you what came over him. I thought there was
a fire, by heavens! He jumped from his seat and dashed his chair to the
floor with all his might. Alexander of Macedon was a hero, no doubt; but
why smash the chairs? There will be a deficit in the accounts, just as
the result of that.

_Superintendent_--Yes, he is hasty! I have remarked on it to him several
times. He says, "What would you have? I would sacrifice my life for

_Chief_--Yes, such is the incomprehensible decree of fate: a learned man
is always a drunkard, or else he makes faces that would scare the very

_Superintendent_--God forbid that he should inspect the educational
institutions. Everybody meddles and tries to show everybody else that he
is a learned man.

_Chief_--That would be nothing: that cursed incognito! All of a sudden
you hear--"Ah, here you are, my little dears! And who," says he, "is the
Judge here?"--"Lyapkin-Tyapkin."--"And who is the Superintendent of the
Hospital?"--"Zemlyanika!" That's the worst of it!

    _Enter_ Postmaster

_Chief_---Well, how do you feel, Ivan Kusmitch?

_Postmaster_--How do I feel? How do _you_ feel, Anton Anton'itch?

_Chief_--How do I feel? I'm not afraid; and yet I am,--a little. The
merchants and citizens cause me some anxiety. They say I have been hard
with them; but God knows, if I have ever taken anything from them it was
not out of malice. I even think [_takes him by the arm and leads him
aside_]--I even think there may be a sort of complaint against me. Why,
in fact, is the Inspector coming to us? Listen, Ivan Kusmitch: why can't
you--for our common good, you know--open every letter which passes
through your office, going or coming, and read it, to see whether it
contains a complaint or is simply correspondence? If it does not, then
you can seal it up again. Besides, you could even deliver the letter

_Postmaster_--I know, I know. You can't tell me anything about that; I
always do it, not out of circumspection but out of curiosity: I'm deadly
fond of knowing what is going on in the world. It's very interesting
reading, I can tell you! It is a real treat to read some letters: they
contain such descriptions of occurrences, and they're so
improving--better than the Moscow News.

     [The play proceeds: two men, the town busybodies, happen to
     find at the inn a traveler who has been living on credit and
     going nowhere for two weeks. The landlord is about to put his
     lodger in prison for debt, when these men jump to the
     conclusion that he is the Inspector. The Prefect and other
     terrified officials accept the suggestion, in spite of his
     plain statement as to his identity. They set about making the
     town presentable, entertain and bribe him, and bow down to
     him. He accepts their hospitality, asks loans, makes love to
     the Prefect's silly wife and daughter, betroths himself to
     the latter, receives the petitions and bribes of the
     oppressed townspeople,--and drives off with the best
     post-horses the town can furnish, ostensibly to ask the
     blessing of his rich old uncle on his marriage. The
     Postmaster intercepts a letter which he has written to a
     friend. Its revelations, and the ridicule which he therein
     casts on his hosts, open their eyes at last. At that moment a
     gendarme appears and announces that the Inspector has
     arrived. Tableau.]

          Translated for 'A Library of the World's Best Literature,'
          by Isabel F. Hapgood


From 'Mirgorod'

I am very fond of the modest life of those isolated owners of remote
estates which are generally called "old-fashioned" in Little Russia, and
which, like ruinous and picturesque houses, are beautiful through their
simplicity and complete contrast to a new and regular building whose
walls have never yet been washed by the rain, whose roof has not yet
been overgrown with moss, and whose porch, still possessed of its
stucco, does not yet display its red bricks. I can still see the
low-roofed little house, with its veranda of slender, blackened wooden
columns, surrounding it on all sides, so that in case of a thunder-storm
or a hail-storm you could close the window shutters without getting wet;
behind it fragrant wild-cherry trees, row upon row of dwarf fruit-trees,
overtopped by crimson cherries and a purple sea of plums, covered with a
lead-colored bloom, luxuriant maples under whose shade rugs were spread
for repose; in front of the house the spacious yard, with short fresh
grass, through which paths had been worn from the storehouses to the
kitchen, from the kitchen to the apartments of the family; a long-necked
goose drinking water with her young goslings, soft as down; the picket
fence festooned with bunches of dried apples and pears, and rugs hung
out to air; a cart-load of melons standing near the store-house, the
oxen unyoked and lying lazily beside it. All this has for me an
indescribable charm,--perhaps because I no longer see it, and because
anything from which we are separated pleases us.

But more than all else, the owners of this distant nook,--an old man and
old woman,--hastening eagerly out to meet me, gave me pleasure. Afanasy
Ivanovitch Tovstogub and his wife, Pulkheria Ivanovna Tovstogubikha,
according to the neighboring peasants' way of expressing it, were the
old people of whom I began to speak. If I were a painter and wished to
depict Philemon and Baucis on canvas, I could have found no better
models than they. Afanasy Ivanovitch was sixty years old, Pulkheria
Ivanovna was fifty-five. Afanasy Ivanovitch was tall, always wore a
short sheepskin coat covered with camlet, sat all doubled up, and was
almost always smiling, whether he were telling a story or only listening
to one. Pulkheria Ivanovna was rather serious, and hardly ever laughed;
but her face and eyes expressed so much goodness, so much eagerness to
treat you to all the best they owned, that you would probably have found
a smile too repelling on her kind face. The delicate wrinkles were so
agreeably disposed on their countenances that an artist would certainly
have appropriated them. It seemed as though in them you might read their
whole life: the pure, peaceful life led by the old, patriotic,
simple-hearted, and at the same time wealthy families, which always
present a marked contrast to those baser Little-Russians who work up
from tar-burners and peddlers, throng the court-rooms like grasshoppers,
squeeze the last copper from their fellow-countrymen, crowd Petersburg
with scandal-mongers, finally acquire capital, and triumphantly add an
_f_ to their surnames which end in _o_. No, they did not resemble those
despicable and miserable creatures, but all ancient and native
Little-Russian families.

They never had any children, so all their affection was concentrated on

The rooms of the little house in which our old couple dwelt were small,
low-ceiled, such as are generally to be seen with old-fashioned people.
In each room stood a huge stove, which occupied nearly one-third of the
space. These little rooms were frightfully hot, because both Afanasy
Ivanovitch and Pulkheria Ivanovna were fond of heat. All their fuel was
stored in the ante-room, which was always filled nearly to the ceiling
with straw, which is generally used in Little Russia in place of wood.

The chairs of the room were of wood, and massive, in the style which
generally marked those of the olden times: all had high, turned backs of
natural wood, without any paint or varnish; they were not even
upholstered, and somewhat resembled those which are still used by
bishops. Triangular tables stood in the corners, a square table stood in
front of the sofa; and there was a large mirror in a slender gilt frame,
carved in foliage, which the flies had covered with black spots; in
front of the sofa was a mat with flowers which resembled birds, and
birds which resembled flowers: and these things constituted almost the
entire furniture of the far from elegant little house where my old
people lived. The maids' room was filled with young and elderly
serving-women in striped chemises, to whom Pulkheria Ivanovna sometimes
gave trifles to sew, and whom she set to picking over berries, but who
ran about the kitchen or slept the greater part of the time. Pulkheria
Ivanovna regarded it as a necessity that she should keep them in the
house, and she kept a strict watch of their morals; but to no purpose.

Afanasy Ivan'itch very rarely occupied himself with the farming;
although he sometimes went out to see the mowers and reapers, and gazed
with great intensity at their work. All the burden of management
devolved upon Pulkheria Ivan'na. Pulkheria Ivanovna's housekeeping
consisted of a constant locking and unlocking of the storehouse, of
salting, drying, and preserving incalculable quantities of fruits and
vegetables. Her house was exactly like a chemical laboratory. A fire was
constantly laid under an apple-tree; and the kettle or the brass pan
with preserves, jelly, marmalade,--made with honey, with sugar, and with
I know not what else,--was hardly ever taken from the tripod. Under
another tree the coachman was forever distilling vodka with
peach-leaves, with wild cherry, cherry flowers, wild gentian, or
cherry-stones, in a copper still; and at the end of the process he was
never able to control his tongue, but chattered all sorts of nonsense
which Pulkheria Ivanovna did not understand, and took himself off to the
kitchen to sleep. Such a quantity of all this stuff was preserved,
salted, and dried that it would probably have overwhelmed the whole yard
at least (for Pulkheria Ivanovna liked to lay in a store far beyond what
was calculated for consumption), if the greater part of it had not been
devoured by the maid-servants, who crept into the storehouse and overate
themselves to such a fearful extent that they groaned and complained of
their stomachs for a whole day afterwards.

Both the old folks, in accordance with old-fashioned customs, were very
fond of eating. As soon as daylight dawned (they always rose early) and
the doors had begun their many-toned concert of squeaks, they sat down
at the table and drank coffee. When Afanasy Ivanovitch had drunk his
coffee, he went out, flirted his handkerchief, and said, "Kish, kish! go
away from the veranda, geese!" In the yard he generally encountered the
steward: he usually entered into conversation with him, inquired about
the work of the estate with the greatest minuteness, and imparted to him
such a multitude of observations and orders as would have caused any one
to marvel at his understanding of business; and no novice would have
ventured to conjecture that so acute a master could be robbed. But his
steward was a clever rascal: he knew well what answers he must give, and
better still how to manage things.

This done, Afanasy Ivanovitch returned to the house, and approaching
Pulkheria Ivanovna, said, "Well, Pulkheria Ivan'na, is it time to eat
something, do you think?"

"What shall we have to eat now, Afanasy Ivan'itch,--some wheat and suet
cakes, or some patties with poppy-seeds, or some salted mushrooms?"

"Some mushrooms, then, or some patties, if you please," said Afanasy
Ivan'itch; and then suddenly a table-cloth would make its appearance on
the table, with the patties and mushrooms.

An hour before dinner Afanasy Ivan'itch took another snack, and drank
vodka from an ancient silver cup, ate mushrooms, divers dried fishes,
and other things. They sat down to dine at twelve o'clock. There stood
upon the table, in addition to the platters and sauce-boats, a multitude
of pots with covers pasted on, that the appetizing products of the
savory old-fashioned cooking might not be exhaled abroad. At dinner the
conversation turned upon subjects closely connected with the meal.

After dinner Afanasy Ivanovitch went to lie down for an hour, at the end
of which time Pulkheria Ivanovna brought him a sliced watermelon and
said, "Here, try this, Afanasy Ivan'itch; see what a good melon it is."

"Don't put faith in it because it is red in the centre, Pulkheria
Ivan'na," said Afanasy Ivanovitch, taking a good-sized chunk. "Sometimes
they are not good though they are red."

But the watermelon slowly disappeared. Then Afanasy Ivanovitch ate a few
pears, and went out into the garden for a walk with Pulkheria Ivanovna.
When they returned to the house, Pulkheria Ivanovna went about her own
affairs; but he sat down on the veranda facing the yard, and observed
how the interior of the store-room was alternately disclosed and
revealed, and how the girls jostled each other as they carried in or
brought out all sorts of stuff in wooden boxes, sieves, trays, and other
receptacles for fruit. After waiting a while, he sent for Pulkheria
Ivanovna or went in search of her himself, and said, "What is there for
me to eat, Pulkheria Ivan'na?"

"What is there?" asked Pulkheria Ivanovna. "Shall I go and tell them to
bring you some curd dumplings with berries, which I had set aside for

"That would be good," answered Afanasy Ivanovitch.

"Or perhaps you could eat some kisel?" [A jelly-like pudding, made of
potato flour, and flavored with some sour fruit juice.]

"That is good also," replied Afanasy Invanovitch; whereupon all of them
were immediately brought and eaten in due course.

Before supper Afanasy Invanovitch took another appetizing snack.

At half-past nine they sat down to supper. After supper they went
directly to bed, and universal silence settled down upon this busy yet
quiet nook.

The chamber in which Afanasy Ivanovitch and Pulkheria Ivanovna slept was
so hot that very few people could have stayed in it more than a few
hours; but Afanasy Ivanovitch, for the sake of more warmth, slept upon
the stove bench, although the excessive heat caused him to rise several
times in the course of the night and walk about the room. Sometimes
Afanasy Ivanovitch groaned as he walked thus about the room.

Then Pulkheria Ivanovna inquired, "Why do you groan, Afanasy Ivan'itch?"

"God knows, Pulkheria Ivan'na! It seems to me that my stomach aches a
little," said Afanasy Ivanovitch.

"Hadn't you better eat something, Afanasy Ivan'itch?"

"I don't know; perhaps it would be well, Pulkheria Ivan'na: by the way,
what is there to eat?"

"Sour milk, or some stewed dried pears."

"If you please, I will try them," said Afanasy Ivanovitch. A sleepy maid
was sent to ransack the cupboards, and Afanasy Ivanovitch ate a
plateful; after which he remarked, "Now I seem to feel relieved."

I loved to visit them; and though I over-ate myself horribly, like all
their guests, and although it was very bad for me, still I was always
glad to go to them. Besides, I think that the air of Little Russia must
possess some special properties which aid digestion; for if any one were
to undertake to eat in that way here, there is not a doubt but that he
would find himself lying on the table a corpse, instead of in bed.

Pulkheria Ivanovna had a little gray cat, which almost always lay coiled
up in a ball at her feet. Pulkheria Ivanovna stroked her occasionally,
and tickled her neck with her finger, the petted cat stretching it out
as long as possible. It would not be correct to affirm that Pulkheria
Ivanovna loved her so very much, but she had simply become attached to
her from seeing her continually about. Afanasy Ivanovitch often joked
about the attachment.

Behind their garden lay a large forest, which had been spared by the
enterprising steward, possibly because the sound of the axe might have
reached the ears of Pulkheria Ivanovna. It was dense, neglected; the old
tree trunks were concealed by luxuriant hazel-bushes, and resembled the
feathered legs of pigeons. In this wood dwelt wild cats. These cats had
a long conference with Pulkheria Ivanovna's tame cat through a hole
under the storehouse, and at last led her astray, as a detachment of
soldiers leads astray a dull-witted peasant. Pulkheria Ivanovna noticed
that her cat was missing, and caused search to be made for her; but no
cat was to be found. Three days passed; Pulkheria Ivanovna felt sorry,
but in the end forgot all about her loss.

     [The cat returns to the place half starved, and is coaxed to
     come into the house and eat, but runs away on Pulkheria
     Ivanovna's trying to pet her.]

The old woman became pensive. "It is my death which is come for me," she
said to herself; and nothing could cheer her. All day she was sad. In
vain did Afanasy Ivanovitch jest, and seek to discover why she had
suddenly grown so grave. Pulkheria Ivanovna either made no reply, or one
which did not in the least satisfy Afanasy Ivanovitch. The next day she
had grown visibly thinner.

"What is the matter with you, Pulkheria Ivanovna? You are not ill?"

"No, I am not ill, Afanasy Ivan'itch. I want to tell you about a strange
occurrence, I know that I shall die this year; my death has already come
for me."

Afanasy Ivanovitch's mouth was distorted with pain. Nevertheless he
tried to conquer the sad feeling in his mind, and said smiling, "God
only knows what you are talking about, Pulkheria Ivan'na! You must have
drunk some of your peach infusion instead of your usual herb tea."

"No, Afanasy Ivan'itch, I have not drunk my peach infusion," replied
Pulkheria Ivanovna. "I beg of you, Afanasy Ivan'itch, to fulfill my
wishes. When I die, bury me by the church wall. Put on me my grayish
gown,--the one with the small flowers on a cinnamon ground. My satin
gown with the red stripes you must not put on me: a corpse needs no
clothes; of what use are they to her? But it will be good for you. Make
yourself a fine dressing-gown, in case visitors come, so that you can
make a good appearance when you receive them."

"God knows what you are saying, Pulkheria Ivan'na!" said Afanasy
Ivanovitch. "Death will come some time; but you frighten me with such

"Mind, Yavdokha," she said, turning to the housekeeper, whom she had
sent for expressly, "that you look after your master when I am dead, and
cherish him like the apple of your eye, like your own child. See that
everything he likes is prepared in the kitchen; that his linen and
clothes are always clean; that when visitors happen in, you dress him
properly, otherwise he will come forth in his old dressing-gown, for he
often forgets now whether it is a festival or an ordinary day."

Poor old woman! She had no thought for the great moment which was
awaiting her, nor of her soul, nor of the future life; she thought only
of her poor companion, with whom she had passed her life, and whom she
was about to leave an orphan and unprotected. After this fashion did she
arrange everything with great skill, so that after her death Afanasy
Ivanovitch might not perceive her absence. Her faith in her approaching
end was so firm, and her mind was so fixed upon it, that in a few days
she actually took to her bed, and was unable to swallow any nourishment.

Afanasy Ivanovitch was all attention, and never left her bedside.
"Perhaps you could eat something, Pulkheria Ivan'na," he said, gazing
uneasily into her eyes. But Pulkheria Ivanovna made no reply. At length,
after a long silence, she moved her lips as though desirous of saying
something--and her spirit fled.

Afanasy Ivanovitch was utterly amazed. It seemed to him so terrible that
he did not even weep. He gazed at her with troubled eyes, as though he
did not understand the meaning of a corpse.

Five years passed. Being in the vicinity at the end of the five years, I
went to the little estate of Afanasy Ivanovitch, to inquire after my old
neighbor, with whom I had spent the day so agreeably in former times,
dining always on the choicest delicacies of his kind-hearted wife. When
I drove up to the door, the house seemed twice as old as formerly; the
peasants' cottages were lying on one side, without doubt exactly like
their owners; the fence and hedge around the yard were dilapidated; and
I myself saw the cook pull out a paling to heat the stove, when she had
only a couple of steps to take in order to get the kindling-wood which
had been piled there expressly for her use. I stepped sadly upon the
veranda; the same dogs, now blind or with broken legs, raised their
bushy tails, all matted with burs, and barked.

The old man came out to meet me. So this was he! I recognized him at
once, but he was twice as bent as formerly. He knew me, and greeted me
with the smile which was so familiar to me. I followed him into the
room. All there seemed as in the past; but I observed a strange
disorder, a tangible loss of something. In everything was visible the
absence of the painstaking Pulkheria Ivanovna. At table, they gave us a
knife without a handle; the dishes were prepared with little art. I did
not care to inquire about the management of the estate; I was even
afraid to glance at the farm buildings. I tried to interest Afanasy
Ivanovitch in something, and told him divers bits of news. He listened
with his customary smile, but his glance was at times quite
unintelligent; and thoughts did not wander therein--they simply

"This is the dish--" said Afanasy Ivanovitch when they brought us curds
and flour with cream, "--this is the dish--" he continued, and I
observed that his voice began to quiver, and that tears were on the
point of bursting from his leaden eyes; but he collected all his
strength in the effort to repress them: "this is the dish which
the--the--the de--ceas--" and his tears suddenly gushed forth, his hand
fell upon his plate, the plate was overturned, flew from the table, and
was broken. He sat stupidly, holding the spoon, and tears like a
never-ceasing fountain flowed, flowed in streams down upon his napkin.

He did not live long after this. I heard of his death recently. What was
strange, though, was that the circumstances attending it somewhat
resembled those connected with the death of Pulkheria Ivanovna. One day,
Afanasy Ivanovitch decided to take a short stroll in the garden. As he
went slowly down the path with his usual heedlessness, a strange thing
happened to him. All at once he heard some one behind him say in a
distinct voice, "Afanasy Ivan'itch!" He turned round, but there was no
one there. He looked on all sides; he peered into the shrubbery,--no one
anywhere. The day was calm and the sun was shining brightly. He pondered
for a moment. Then his face lighted up, and at last he cried, "It is
Pulkheria Ivanovna calling me!"

He surrendered himself utterly to the moral conviction that Pulkheria
Ivanovna was calling him. He yielded with the meekness of a submissive
child, withered up, coughed, melted away like a candle, and at last
expired like it when nothing remains to feed its poor flame. "Lay me
beside Pulkheria Ivan'na"--that was all he said before his death.

His wish was fulfilled; and they buried him beside the churchyard wall
close to Pulkheria Ivanovna's grave. The guests at the funeral were few,
but there was a throng of common and poor people. The house was already
quite deserted. The enterprising clerk and village elder carried off to
their cottages all the old household utensils which the housekeeper did
not manage to appropriate.

          Translated for 'A Library of the World's Best Literature,'
          by Isabel F. Hapgood

[Illustration: CARLO GOLDONI.]




Italy is generally felt to be, above all other lands, the natural home
of the drama. In acting, as in music, indeed, the sceptre has never
wholly passed from her: Ristori and Salvini certainly are not yet
forgotten. The Græco-Roman comedies of Plautus and Terence, the
rhetorical tragedy of Seneca, have had a far more direct hand in molding
the modern dramatists' art than have the loftier creative masterpieces
of the great Attic Four. Indeed, Latin has never become in Italy a
really dead language, remote from the popular consciousness. The
splendor of the Church ritual, the great mass of the educated clergy,
the almost purely Latin roots of the vernacular, have made such a loss

In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries Terence and Plautus were often
revived on the stage, still oftener imitated in Latin. Many of the
greatest names in modern Italian literature are in some degree
associated with drama. Thus Machiavelli made free Italian versions from
both the comic Latin poets, and wrote a powerful though immoral prose
comedy, 'The Magic Draught' (Mandragola). Tasso's 'Aminta' is as sweet
and musical, and hardly so artificial, as that famous 'Pastor Fido' of
Guarini, which has become the ideal type of all the mock-pastoral comedy
out of which the modern opera has risen.

So, when Goldoni is hailed as the father of modern Italian comedy, it
can only mean that his prolific Muse has dominated the stage in our own
century and in its native land. In his delightfully naïve Memoirs he
frequently announces himself as the leader of _reform_ in the dramatic
art. And this claim is better founded; though there is a startling
discrepancy between the character, the temper, the life of this child of
the sun, and the Anglo-Saxon ideal of "Man the Reformer" as delineated,
for instance, by our own cooler-blooded Emerson!

Under the lead of Goldoni's elder contemporary Metastasio, the lyrical
drama of pastoral and artificial love had become fully wedded to music;
and it is rightly felt that the resulting modern opera is a genus of its
own, not essentially nor chiefly dramatic in character and aims. An
opera can be sung without action; it cannot be acted without music. On
the other hand, the farce had become almost restricted to the stock
masked characters, Pantaloon, the Dottore, Arlecchino, and the rest,
with a narrow range of childish buffoonery in the action. The companies
of professional actors, endowed with that marvelous power of
improvisation which the very language of Italy seems to stimulate,
hardly permitted the poet to offer them more than a mere outline of a
shallow plot, to be filled in from scene to scene at the impulse of the
moment on the stage!

Under these circumstances it was indeed necessary to reclaim the rights
of the dramatic poet, to reduce to decent limits the "gag" which the
comic actor has doubtless always been eager to use, and also to educate
or beguile his public up to the point of lending a moderately attentive
ear to a play of sustained interest and culminating plot. In this
seemingly modest but really most difficult task, Goldoni scored a
decided success,--a triumph.

Even his checkered life as a whole was, at eighty, in his own retrospect
a happy comedy, mingled with few serious reverses and hardly darkened at
all by remorse. Such lives at best are nowise numerous. Adequate
self-portraitures of successful artists are so rare that the
autobiographies of the gentle Goldoni, and of his savage
fellow-countryman Benvenuto Cellini, almost form a class of literature
by themselves.

Born in Venice in fair social position, Goldoni spent his childhood
chiefly in Chiozza, a ruder and humbler miniature of the island city
some twenty-five miles away. Though an incurable wanderer,--indeed, so
filled with the true Bohemian's feverish love for change that he never
could endure even success anywhere for many summers,--he yet gave more
of his best years, and a heartier loyalty, to Venice than to any other
home. He knew best, and delineated best, the ordinary life of the
lagoons. Mr. Howells, himself by long residence and love a
half-Venetian, declares that the comedies in the local dialect are
invariably the best, and next best the Italian plays whose scenes are at
least laid in Venice. Perhaps the critic is here himself unduly swayed
by his affections. Goldoni knew well nearly all Italian lands. He had
even, for a series of years, a career as an advocate in Pisa. "My comic
genius was not extinguished, but suppressed," he explains. He did not
even then give up play-writing, and a traveling theatre manager easily
beguiled him back to Venice. This was in 1747, and this same manager,
Medebac, setting up a new theatre in Venice, absorbed Goldoni's energies
for several years. It was in 1750 that he successfully carried out a
rash vow to produce sixteen new comedies in a single year! Among these
are a goodly number of his best, including 'The Coffee-House,' from
which a few scenes are given below.

Though he passed over into the service of a different theatre, traveled
constantly with his actors, accepted invitations to Parma, Rome, etc.,
to oversee the performance of his plays, yet he never gave up his home
in Venice altogether, until summoned to Paris in 1761. These fourteen
years, moreover, form the happiest period of his life. His income from
the theatres, from published editions of his comedies, and from his
inherited property, would have made him wealthy, but for his extravagant
and careless mode of life.

Despite one notable success in French with the comedy 'The Surly
Benefactor' (1771), Goldoni's life in France was relatively unprofitable
and ignoble. He became Italian teacher of various royal princesses, with
the utmost uncertainty and delay as to his salaries or pensions. Yet he
could never break the fascination of Paris. The art of the French actors
was a never-failing delight to him. There, at the age of eighty, in
French, he wrote and published his 'Memoirs.' The Revolution swept away
his negligent patrons. In poverty and utter neglect he died at last,
just as the republicans were ready to restore his royal pension.

Goldoni was the child of Italy and of the eighteenth century. He had no
serious quarrel with his environment. He was not greatly superior, in
actual character or aspirations, to his associates. His affection for
his devoted wife did not save him from many a wandering passion. The
promising prima donnas, in particular, found in him an all too devoted
instructor and protector. The gaming-table and the lottery are
apparently irresistible to any true Italian, and Goldoni knew by heart
the passions which he ridicules or condemns, though without bitterness,
upon his stage. His oft-repeated claim to have reformed the Italian
theatre meant chiefly this: that between the lyrical drama of Metastasio
on the one hand, and the popular masque with stock characters on the
other,--and while contributing to both these forms of art,--he did
firmly establish the comedy of plot and dialogue, carefully learned and
rehearsed, in which the players must speak the speech as it is
pronounced to them by the poet.

Goldoni himself acknowledges, perhaps not too sincerely, in his Parisian
memoirs, the superiority, the mastership, of Molière. In truth, the
great Frenchman stands, with Aristophanes and Shakespeare, upon a lonely
height quite unapproached by lesser devotees of Thalia. We must not seek
in Goldoni a prober of the human heart, not even a fearless satirist of
social conditions. In his rollicking good-humor and content with the
world as he finds it, Goldoni is much like Plautus. He is moreover under
a censorship hardly less severe. He dares not, for instance, introduce
upon his stage any really offensive type of Venetian nobleman. As for
religious dictation, the convent must not even be mentioned, though the
_aunt_ with whom the young lady is visiting sometimes becomes as
transparent an idiom as the "uncle" of a spendthrift cockney! The
audience, moreover, demand only diversion, not serious instruction (as
Goethe complains, even of his grave Germans, in the 'Prolog im
Theater'). It is remarkable, under all these conditions, how healthy,
how kindly, how proper, most of Goldoni's work is. Doubtless, like
Goldsmith, he could preach the more gracefully, persuasively, and
unobservedly, because he never attempted to escape from the very vices
or indulgences that he satirizes. But even the most determined seeker
for the moral element in art will find little indeed thereof in
Goldoni's merry comedies. Incredible as it seems to us Puritans, he
really made it his mission to amuse. Thoroughly in love with the rather
ignoble, trivial life of his day, he holds the dramatic mirror up to it
with lifelong optimism and enjoyment. His wit is not keen, his poetic
imagination is slight indeed. Aside from the true dramatist's skill in
construction, in plot, his power lies chiefly in the rapid, clear, firm
outlines of his character-drawing. These characters are for the most
part just about such men and women, such creatures of impulse and whim,
such genial mingling of naughtiness and good intentions, as we see about
us. He never delineates a saint or a hero; hardly a monster of
wickedness. He had never known either, and would not have been
interested if he had. The charm of Goldoni is felt chiefly in Venice, or
at least in Italy, while listening to his comedy and watching the
enjoyment mirrored in the faces of his own audience. It evaporates in
translation, and his plays are meant only to be heard, not read. To Mr.
Howells's own affectionate testimony we may add his happy citation from
Goethe, who is writing from Venice in 1786:

     "Yesterday, at the theatre of St. Luke, was performed 'Le
     Baruffe-Chiozotte,' which I should interpret 'The Frays and
     Feuds of Chiozza.' The _dramatis personæ_ are principally
     seafaring people, inhabitants of Chiozza, with their wives,
     sisters, and daughters. The usual noisy demonstrations of
     such sort of people in their good or ill luck,--their
     dealings one with another, their vehemence but goodness of
     heart, commonplace remarks and unaffected manners, their
     naive wit and humor,--all this was excellently imitated. The
     piece moreover is Goldoni's, and as I had been only the day
     before in the place itself, and as the tones and manners of
     the sailors and people of the seaport still echoed in my ears
     and floated before my eyes, it delighted me very much; and
     although I did not understand a single allusion, I was
     nevertheless, on the whole, able to follow it pretty well....
     I never witnessed anything like the noisy delight the people
     evinced at seeing themselves and their mates represented with
     such truth of nature. It was one continued laugh and
     tumultuous shout of exultation from beginning to end....
     Great praise is due to the author, who out of nothing has
     here created the most amusing _divertissement_. However, he
     never could have done it with any other people than his own
     merry and light-hearted countrymen."

Of Goldoni's one hundred and sixty comedies, only a scanty handful have
been tolerably translated in English. As accessible and agreeable an
introduction as any, perhaps, is the version of four notable plays by
Miss Helen Zimmern in the series 'Masterpieces of Foreign Authors.' The
'Memoirs' have been fairly rendered by John Black, and this version,
considerably abridged, was served up by Mr. Howells in 1877 among his
series of 'Choice Autobiographies.' Mr. Howells's introductory essay
appeared also in the Atlantic Monthly. It has been drawn upon somewhat
in the present sketch.

                                [Signature: William Cranston Lawton]


From the 'Memoirs of Carlo Goldoni'

I was intrusted some time afterwards with another commission, of a much
more agreeable and amusing nature. This was to carry through an
investigation, ten leagues from the town, into the circumstances of a
dispute where firearms had been made use of and dangerous wounds
received. As the country where this happened was flat, and the road lay
through charming estates and country-houses, I engaged several of my
friends to follow me; we were in all twelve, six males and six females,
and four domestics. We all rode on horseback, and we employed twelve
days in this delicious expedition....

In this party there were two sisters, one married and the other single.
The latter was very much to my liking, and I may say I made the party
for her alone. She was as prudent and modest as her sister was
headstrong and foolish; the singularity of our journey afforded us an
opportunity of coming to an explanation, and we became lovers.

My investigation was concluded in two hours; we selected another road
for our return, to vary our pleasure.... The six gentlemen of our party
proposed another species of entertainment. In the palace of the governor
there was a theatre, which they wished to put to some use; and they did
me the honor to tell me that they had conceived the project on my
account, and they left me the power of choosing the pieces and
distributing the characters. I thanked them, and accepted the
proposition; and with the approbation of his Excellency and my
chancellor, I put myself at the head of this new entertainment. I could
have wished something comic, but I was not fond of buffoonery, and there
were no good comedies; I therefore gave the preference to tragedy. As
the operas of Metastasio were then represented everywhere, even without
music, I put the airs into recitative; I endeavored as well as I could
to approximate the style of that charming author; and I made choice of
'Didone' and 'Siroe' for our representation. I distributed the parts
according to the characters of my actors, whom I knew, and I reserved
the worst for myself. In this I acted wisely, for I was completely
unsuited for tragedy. Fortunately, I had composed two small pieces in
which I played two parts of character, and redeemed my reputation.
The first of these pieces was 'The Good Father,' and the second 'La
Cantatrice.' Both were approved of, and my acting was considered
passable for an amateur. I saw the last of these pieces some time
afterwards at Venice, where a young advocate thought proper to give it
out as his own work, and to receive compliments on the subject; but
having been imprudent enough to publish it with his name, he experienced
the mortification of seeing his plagiarism unmasked.

I did what I could to engage my beautiful Angelica to accept a part in
our tragedies, but it was impossible; she was timid, and had she even
been willing, her parents would not have given their permission. She
visited us; but this pleasure cost her tears, for she was jealous, and
suffered much from seeing me on such a familiar footing with my fair
companions. The poor little girl loved me with tenderness and sincerity,
and I loved her also with my whole soul; I may say she was the first
person whom I ever loved. She aspired to become my wife, which she would
have been if certain singular reflections, that however were well
founded, had not turned me from the design. Her elder sister had been
remarkably beautiful, and after her first child she became ugly. The
youngest had the same skin and the same features; she was one of those
delicate beauties whom the air injures, and whom the smallest fatigue or
pain discomposes: of all of which I saw a convincing proof. The fatigue
of our journey produced a visible change upon her: I was young, and if
my wife were in a short time to have lost her bloom, I foresaw what
would have been my despair. This was reasoning curiously for a lover;
but whether from virtue, weakness, or inconstancy, I quitted Feltre
without marrying her.


From the 'Memoirs of Carlo Goldoni'

The amateurs of the old comedy, on seeing the rapid progress of the new,
declared everywhere that it was unworthy of an Italian to give a blow to
a species of comedy in which Italy had attained great distinction, and
which no other nation had ever yet been able to imitate. But what made
the greatest impression on the discontented was the suppression of
masks, which my system appeared to threaten. It was said that these
personages had for two centuries been the amusement of Italy, and that
it ought not to be deprived of a species of comic diversion which it had
created and so well supported.

Before venturing to give any opinion on this subject, I imagine the
reader will have no objection to listen for a few minutes to a short
account of the origin, employment, and effects of these four masks.
Comedy, which in all ages has been the favorite entertainment of
polished nations, shared the fate of the arts and sciences, and was
buried under the ruins of the Empire during the decay of letters. The
germ of comedy, however, was never altogether extinguished in the
fertile bosom of Italy. Those who first endeavored to bring about its
revival, not finding in an ignorant age writers of sufficient skill, had
the boldness to draw out plans, to distribute them into acts and scenes,
and to utter extempore the subjects, thoughts, and witticisms which they
had concerted among themselves. Those who could read (and neither the
great nor the rich were of the number) found that in the comedies of
Plautus and Terence there were always duped fathers, debauched sons,
enamored girls, knavish servants, and mercenary maids; and, running over
the different districts of Italy, they took the fathers from Venice and
Bologna, the servants from Bergamo, and the lovers and waiting-maids
from the dominions of Rome and Tuscany. Written proofs are not to be
expected of what took place in a time when writing was not in use; but I
prove my assertion in this way: Pantaloon has always been a Venetian,
the Doctor a Bolognese, and Brighella and Harlequin Bergamasks; and from
these places, therefore, the comic personages called the four masks of
the Italian comedy were taken by the players. What I say on this subject
is not altogether the creature of my imagination; I possess a manuscript
of the fifteenth century, in very good preservation and bound in
parchment, containing a hundred and twenty subjects or sketches of
Italian pieces, called comedies of art, and of which the basis of the
comic humor is always Pantaloon, a Venetian merchant; the Doctor, a
Bolognese jurisconsult; and Brighella and Harlequin, Bergamask
valets,--the first clever and sprightly, and the other a mere dolt.
Their antiquity and their long existence indicate their origin.

With respect to their employment, Pantaloon and the Doctor, called by
the Italians the two old men, represent the part of fathers, and the
other parts where cloaks are worn. The first is a merchant, because
Venice in its ancient times was the richest and most extensively
commercial country of Italy. He has always preserved the ancient
Venetian costume; the black dress and the woolen bonnet are still worn
in Venice; and the red under-waistcoat and breeches, cut out like
drawers, with red stockings and slippers, are a most exact
representation of the equipment of the first inhabitants of the Adriatic
marshes. The beard, which was considered as an ornament in those remote
ages, has been caricatured and rendered ridiculous in subsequent

The second old man, called the Doctor, was taken from among the lawyers,
for the sake of opposing a learned man to a merchant; and Bologna was
selected because in that city there existed a university, which,
notwithstanding the ignorance of the times, still preserved the offices
and emoluments of the professors. In the dress of the Doctor we observe
the ancient costume of the university and bar of Bologna, which is
nearly the same at this day; and the idea of the singular mask which
covers his face and nose was taken from a wine stain which disfigured
the countenance of a jurisconsult in those times. This is a tradition
still existing among the amateurs of the comedy of art.

Brighella and Harlequin, called in Italy the two Zani, were taken from
Bergamo; because, the former being a very sharp fellow and the other a
stupid clown, these two extremes are only to be found among the lower
orders of that part of the country. Brighella represents an intriguing,
deceitful, and knavish valet. His dress is a species of livery; his
swarthy mask is a caricature of the color of the inhabitants of those
high mountains, tanned by the heat of the sun. Some comedians, in this
character, have taken the name of Fenocchio, Fiqueto, and Scapin; but
they have always represented the same valet and the same Bergamask. The
harlequins have also assumed other names: they have been sometimes
Tracagnins, Truffaldins, Gradelins, and Mezetins; but they have always
been stupid Bergamasks. Their dress is an exact representation of that
of a poor devil who has picked up pieces of stuffs of different colors
to patch his dress; his hat corresponds with his mendicity, and the
hare's tail with which it is ornamented is still common in the dress of
the peasantry of Bergamo.

I have thus, I trust, sufficiently demonstrated the origin and
employment of the four masks of the Italian comedy; it now remains for
me to mention the effects resulting from them. The mask must always be
very prejudicial to the action of the performer, either in joy or
sorrow: whether he be in love, cross, or good-humored, the same features
are always exhibited; and however he may gesticulate and vary the tone,
he can never convey by the countenance, which is the interpreter of the
heart, the different passions with which he is inwardly agitated. The
masks of the Greeks and Romans were a sort of speaking-trumpets,
invented for the purpose of conveying the sound through the vast extent
of their amphitheatres. Passion and sentiment were not in those times
carried to the pitch of delicacy now actually necessary. The actor must
in our days possess a soul; and the soul under a mask is like a fire
under ashes. These were the reasons which induced me to endeavor the
reform of the Italian theatre; and to supply the place of farces with
comedies. But the complaints became louder and louder: I was disgusted
with the two parties, and I endeavored to satisfy both; I undertook to
produce a few pieces merely sketched, without ceasing to give comedies
of character. I employed the masks in the former, and I displayed a more
noble and interesting comic humor in the others: each participated in
the species of pleasure with which they were most delighted; with time
and patience I brought about a reconciliation between them; and I had
the satisfaction at length to see myself authorized in following my own
taste, which became in a few years the most general and prevailing in
Italy. I willingly pardoned the partisans of the comedians with masks
the injuries they laid to my charge; for they were very able amateurs,
who had the merit of giving themselves an interest to sketched


From the 'Memoirs of Carlo Goldoni'

My journey to Parma, and the pension and diploma conferred on me,
excited the envy and rage of my adversaries. They had reported at Venice
during my absence that I was dead; and there was a monk who had even the
temerity to say he had been at my funeral. On arriving home safe and
sound, the evil-disposed began to display their irritation at my good
fortune. It was not the authors, my antagonists, who tormented me, but
the partisans of the different theatres of Venice.

I was defended by literary men, who entertained a favorable opinion of
me; and this gave rise to a warfare in which I was very innocently the
victim of the irritation which had been excited. My system has always
been never to mention the names of my adversaries: but I cannot avoid
expressing the honor which I feel in proclaiming those of my advocates.
Father Roberti, a Jesuit, at present the Abbé Roberti, one of the most
illustrious poets of the suppressed society, published a poem in blank
verse, entitled 'Comedy'; and by dwelling on the reformation effected by
me, and analyzing several scenes in my pieces, he encouraged his
countrymen and mine to follow the example and the system of the Venetian
author. Count Verri, a Milanese, followed the Abbé Roberti.... Other
patricians of Venice wrote in my favor, on account of the disputes which
were every day growing warmer and warmer.... Every day witnessed some
new composition for or against me; but I had this advantage,--that those
who interested themselves for me, from their manners, their talents, and
their reputation, were among the most prudent and distinguished men in

One of the articles for which I was most keenly attacked was a violation
of the purity of the language. I was a Venetian, and I had had the
disadvantage of sucking in with my mother's milk the use of a very
agreeable and seductive patois, which however was not Tuscan. I learned
by principle, and cultivated by reading, the language of the good
Italian authors; but first impressions will return at times,
notwithstanding every attention used in avoiding them. I had undertaken
a journey into Tuscany, where I remained for four years, with the view
of becoming familiar with the language; and I printed the first edition
of my works at Florence, under the eyes and the criticism of the
learned of that place, that I might purify them from errors of language.
All my precautions were insufficient to satisfy the rigorists: I always
failed in one thing or other; and I was perpetually reproached with the
original sin of Venetianism.

Amidst all this tedious trifling, I recollected one day that Tasso had
been worried his whole lifetime by the Academicians della Crusca, who
maintained that his 'Jerusalem Delivered' had not passed through the
sieve which is the emblem of their society. I was then in my closet, and
I turned my eyes towards the twelve quarto volumes of the works of that
author, and exclaimed, "Oh heavens! must no one write in the Italian
language who has not been born in Tuscany?" I turned up mechanically the
five volumes of the Dictionary della Crusca, where I found more than six
hundred words, and a number of expressions, approved of by the academy
and rejected by the world; I ran over several ancient authors considered
as classical, whom it would be impossible to imitate in the present day
without censure; and I came to this conclusion--that we must write in
good Italian, but write at the same time so as to be understood in every
corner of Italy. Tasso was therefore wrong in reforming his poem to
please the Academicians della Crusca: his 'Jerusalem Delivered' is read
by everybody, while nobody thinks of reading his 'Jerusalem Conquered.'


From the 'Memoirs of Carlo Goldoni'

I return to my regimen,--you will say here also, perhaps, that I ought
to omit it: you are in the right; but all this is in my head, and I must
be delivered of it by degrees; I cannot spare you a single comma. After
dinner I am not fond of either working or walking. Sometimes I go to the
theatre, but I am most generally in parties till nine o'clock in the
evening. I always return before ten o'clock. I take two or three small
cakes with a glass of wine and water, and this is the whole of my
supper. I converse with my wife till midnight; I very soon fall asleep,
and pass the night tranquilly.

It sometimes happens to me, as well as every other person, to have my
head occupied with something capable of retarding my sleep. In this
case I have a certain remedy to lull myself asleep, and it is this: I
had long projected a vocabulary of the Venetian dialect, and I had even
communicated my intention to the public, who are still in expectation of
it. While laboring at this tedious and disgusting work, I soon
discovered that it threw me asleep. I laid it therefore aside, and I
profited by its narcotic faculty. Whenever I feel my mind agitated by
any moral cause, I take at random some word of my national language and
translate it into Tuscan and French. In the same manner I pass in review
all the words which follow in the alphabetical order, and I am sure to
fall asleep at the third or fourth version. My recipe has never once
failed me. It is not difficult to demonstrate the cause and effect of
this phenomenon. A painful idea requires to be replaced by an opposite
or indifferent idea; and the agitation of the mind once calmed, the
senses become tranquil and are deadened by sleep.

But this remedy, however excellent, might not be useful to every one. A
man of too keen and feeling a disposition would not succeed. The
temperament must be such as that with which nature has favored me. My
moral qualities bear a resemblance to my physical: I dread neither cold
nor heat, and I neither allow myself to be inflamed by rage nor
intoxicated by joy....

I am now arrived at the year 1787, which is the eightieth of my age, and
that to which I have limited the course of my Memoirs. I have completed
my eightieth year; my work is also finished. All is over, and I proceed
to send my volumes to the press. This last chapter does not therefore
touch on the events of the current year; but I have still some duties to
discharge. I must begin with returning thanks to those persons who have
reposed so much confidence in me as to honor me with their

I do not speak of the kindness and favors of the King and court; this is
not the place to mention them. I have named in my work some of my
friends and even some of my protectors. I beg pardon of them: if I have
done so without their permission, it is not through vanity; the occasion
has suggested it; their names have dropped from my pen, the heart has
seized on the instant, and the hand has not been unwilling. For example,
the following is one of the fortunate occasions I allude to. I was
unwell a few days ago; the Count Alfieri did me the honor to call on me;
I knew his talents, but his conversation impressed on me the wrong
which I should have done in omitting him. He is a very intelligent and
learned literary man, who principally excels in the art of Sophocles and
Euripides, and after these great models he has framed his tragedies.
They have gone through two editions in Italy, and are at present in the
press of Didot at Paris. I shall enter into no details respecting them,
as they may be seen and judged of by every one.

During my convalescence M. Caccia, a banker in Paris, my friend and
countryman, sent me a book addressed to him from Italy for me. It was a
collection of French epigrams and madrigals, translated into Italian by
the Count Roncali, of the city of Brescia in the Venetian dominions.
This charming poet has merely translated the thoughts; he has said the
same things in fewer words, and he has fallen upon as brilliant and
striking points in his own language as those of his originals.

I had the honor of seeing M. Roncali twelve years ago at Paris, and he
allows me to hope that I shall have the good fortune to see him again.
This is infinitely flattering to me; but I earnestly entreat him to make
haste, as my career is far advanced, and what is still worse, I am
extremely fatigued. I have undertaken too long and too laborious a work
for my age, and I have employed three years on it, always dreading lest
I should not have the pleasure of seeing it finished. However, I am
still in life, thanks to God, and I flatter myself that I shall see my
volumes printed, distributed, and read. If they be not praised, I hope
at least they will not be despised. I shall not be accused of vanity or
presumption in daring to hope for some share of favor for my Memoirs;
for had I thought that I should absolutely displease, I would not have
taken so much pains; and if in the good and ill which I say of myself,
the balance inclines to the favorable side, I owe more to nature than to
study. All the application employed by me in the construction of my
pieces has been that of not disfiguring nature, and all the care taken
by me in my Memoirs has been that of telling only the truth. The
criticism of my pieces may have the correction and improvement of comedy
in view; but the criticism of my Memoirs will be of no advantage to
literature. However, if any writer should think proper to employ his
time on me for the sole purpose of vexing me, he would lose his labor.
I am of a pacific disposition; I have always preserved my coolness of
character; at my age I read little, and I read only amusing books.


    [A few of the opening scenes from one of the popular Venetian
    comedies are here given with occasional abridgment. They
    illustrate the entirely practical theatrical skill of Goldoni's
    plots, his rapid development of his characters, and the sound
    morality which prevails without being aggressively prominent.

    The permanent scene represents a small open square in Venice, or
    a rather wide street, with three shops. The middle one is in use
    as a café. To the right is a barber's. The one on the left is a
    gambling-house. Beyond the barber's, across a street, is seen
    the dancers' house, and beyond the gamblers' a hotel with
    practicable doors and windows.]

    Ridolfo, _master of the café_, Trappolo, _a waiter, and other

_Ridolfo_--Come, children, look alive, be wide awake, ready to serve the
guests civilly and properly.

_Trappolo_--Master dear, to tell you the truth, this early rising
doesn't suit my complexion a bit. There's no one in sight. We could have
slept another hour yet.

_Ridolfo_--They'll be coming presently. Besides, 'tis not so very early.
Don't you see? The barber is open, he's in his shop working on hair. And
look! the playing-house is open too.

_Trappolo_--Oh, yes, indeed. The gambling-house has been open a good
bit. They've made a night of it.

_Ridolfo_--Good. Master Pandolfo will have had a good profit.

_Trappolo_--That dog always has good profit. He wins on the cards, he
profits by usury, he shares with the sharpers. He is sure of all the
money of whoever enters there. That poor Signor Eugenio--he has taken a

_Ridolfo_--Just look at him, how little sense he has! With a wife, a
young woman of grace and sense,--but he runs after every petticoat; and
then he plays like a madman. But come, go roast the coffee and make a
fresh supply.

_Trappolo_--Shan't I warm over yesterday's supply?

_Ridolfo_--No, make it good.

_Trappolo_--Master has a short memory. How long since this shop opened?

_Ridolfo_--You know very well. 'Tis about eight months.

_Trappolo_--Then 'tis time for a change.

_Ridolfo_--What do you mean by that?

_Trappolo_--When a new shop opens, they make perfect coffee. After six
months,--hot water, thin broth. [_Exit._]

_Ridolfo_--He's a wit. I'm in hopes he'll help the shop. To a shop where
there's a fun-maker every one goes.

    Pandolfo, _keeper of the gambling-house, comes in, rubbing his
    eyes sleepily_

_Ridolfo_--Master Pandolfo, will you have coffee?

_Pandolfo_--Yes, if you please.

_Ridolfo_--Boys, serve coffee for Master Pandolfo. Be seated. Make
yourself comfortable.

_Pandolfo_--No, no, I must drink it at once and get back to work.

_Ridolfo_--Are they playing yet in the shop?

_Pandolfo_--They are busy at two tables.

_Ridolfo_--So early?

_Pandolfo_--They are at it since yesterday.

_Ridolfo_--What game?

_Pandolfo_--An innocent game: "first and second" [_i.e._, faro].

_Ridolfo_--And how does it go?

_Pandolfo_--For me it goes well.

_Ridolfo_--Have you amused yourself playing too?

_Pandolfo_--Yes, I took a little hand also.

_Ridolfo_--Excuse me, my friend; I've no business to meddle in your
affairs, but--it doesn't look well when the master of the shop plays;
because if he loses he's laughed at, and if he wins he's suspected.

_Pandolfo_--I am content if they haven't the laugh on me. As for the
rest, let them suspect as they please; I pay no attention.

_Ridolfo_--Dear friend, we are neighbors; I shouldn't want you to get
into trouble. You know, by your play before you have brought up in the

_Pandolfo_--I'm easily satisfied. I won a pair of sequins, and wanted no

_Ridolfo_--That's right. Pluck the quail without making it cry out. From
whom did you win them?

_Pandolfo_--A jeweler's boy.

_Ridolfo_--Bad. Very bad. That tempts the boys to rob their masters.

_Pandolfo_--Oh, don't moralize to me. Let the greenhorns stay at home. I
keep open for any one who wants to play.

_Ridolfo_--And has Signor Eugenio been playing this past night?

_Pandolfo_--He's playing yet. He hasn't dined, he hasn't slept, and he's
lost all his money.

_Ridolfo_ [_aside_]--Poor young man! [_Aloud._] And how much has he

_Pandolfo_--A hundred sequins in cash: and now he is playing on credit.

_Ridolfo_--With whom is he playing?

_Pandolfo_--With the count.

_Ridolfo_--And whom else?

_Pandolfo_--With him alone.

_Ridolfo_--It seems to me an honest man shouldn't stand by and see
people assassinated.

_Pandolfo_--Oho, my friend, if you're going to be so thin-skinned you'll
make little money.

_Ridolfo_--I don't care for that. Till now I have been in service, and
did my duty honestly. I saved a few pennies, and with the help of my old
master, who was Signor Eugenio's father, you know, I have opened this
shop. With it I mean to live honorably and not disgrace my profession.

     [_People from the gambling-shop call "Cards!"_]

_Pandolfo_ [_answering_]--At your service.

_Ridolfo_--For mercy's sake, get poor Signor Eugenio away from the

_Pandolfo_--For all me, he may lose his shirt: I don't care. [_Starts

_Ridolfo_--And the coffee--shall I charge it?

_Pandolfo_--Not at all: we'll deal a card for it.

_Ridolfo_--I'm no greenhorn, my friend.

_Pandolfo_--Oh well, what does it matter? You know my visitors make
trade for you. I am surprised that you trouble yourself about these
little matters. [_Exit._] ...

     _A gentleman,_ Don Marzio, _enters_

_Ridolfo_ [_aside_]--Here is the man who never stops talking, and always
must have it his own way.


_Ridolfo_--At once, sir.

_Marzio_--What's the news, Ridolfo?

_Ridolfo_--I couldn't say, sir.

_Marzio_--Has no one appeared here at your café yet?

_Ridolfo_--'Tis quite early still.

_Marzio_--Early? It has struck nine already.

_Ridolfo_--Oh no, honored sir, 'tis not seven yet.

_Marzio_--Get away with your nonsense.

_Ridolfo_--I assure you, it hasn't struck seven yet.

_Marzio_--Get out, stupid.

_Ridolfo_--You abuse me without reason, sir.

_Marzio_--I counted the strokes just now, and I tell you it is nine.
Besides, look at my watch: it never goes wrong. [_Shows it._]

_Ridolfo_--Very well, then; if your watch is never wrong,--it says a
quarter to seven.

_Marzio_--What? That can't be. [_Takes out his eye-glass and looks._]

_Ridolfo_--What do you say?

_Marzio_--My watch is wrong. It is nine o'olock. I heard it.

_Ridolfo_--Where did you buy that watch?

_Marzio_--I ordered it from London.

_Ridolfo_--They cheated you.

_Marzio_--Cheated me? How so? It is the very first quality.

_Ridolfo_--If it were a good one, it wouldn't be two hours wrong.

_Marzio_--It is always exactly right.

_Ridolfo_--But the watch says a quarter to seven, and you say it is

_Marzio_--My watch is right.

_Ridolfo_--Then it really is a little before seven, as I said.

_Marzio_---You're an insolent fellow. My watch is right: you talk
foolishly, and I've half a mind to box your ears. [_His coffee is

_Ridolfo_ [_aside_]--Oh, what a beast!

_Marzio_--Have you seen Signor Eugenio?

_Ridolfo_--No, honored sir.

_Marzio_--At home, of course, petting his wife. What an uxorious fellow!
Always a wife! Always a wife! [_Drinks his coffee._]

_Ridolfo_--Anything but his wife. He's been gambling all night at

_Marzio_--Just as I tell you. Always gambling.

_Ridolfo_ [_aside_]--"Always gambling," "Always his wife," "Always" the
Devil; I hope he'll catch him!

_Marzio_--He came to me the other day in all secrecy, to beg me to lend
him ten sequins on a pair of earrings of his wife's.

_Ridolfo_--Well, you know, every man is liable to have these little
difficulties; but they don't care to have them known, and that is
doubtless why he came to you, certain that you would tell no one.

_Marzio_--Oh, I say nothing. I help all, and take no credit for it. See!
Here are his wife's earrings. I lent him ten sequins on them. Do you
think I am secured?

_Ridolfo_--I'm no judge, but I think so.

_Marzio_--Halloa, Trappolo. [_Trappolo enters._] Here; go to the
jeweler's yonder, show him these earrings of Signor Eugenio's wife, and
ask him for me if they are security for ten sequins that I lent him.

_Trappolo_--And it doesn't harm Signor Eugenio to make his affairs

_Marzio_--I am a person with whom a secret is safe. [_Exit Trappolo._]
Say, Ridolfo, what do you know of that dancer over there?

_Ridolfo_--I really know nothing about her.

_Marzio_--I've been told the Count Leandro is her protector.

_Ridolfo_--To be frank, I don't care much for other people's affairs.

_Marzio_--But 'tis well to know things, to govern one's self
accordingly. She has been under his protection for some time now, and
the dancer's earnings have paid the price of the protection. Instead of
spending anything, he devours all the poor wretch has. Indeed, he forces
her to do what she should not. Oh, what a villain!

_Ridolfo_--But I am here all day, and I can swear that no one goes to
her house except Leandro.

_Marzio_--It has a back door. Fool! Fool! Always the back door. Fool!

_Ridolfo_--I attend to my shop: if she has a back door, what is it to
me? I put my nose into no one's affairs.

_Marzio_--Beast! Do you speak like that to a gentleman of my station?

     [This character of Don Marzio the slanderer is the most
     effective one in the comedy. He finally brings upon himself
     the bitterest ill-will of all the other characters, and feels
     himself driven out of Venice, "a land in which all men live
     at ease, all enjoy liberty, peace, and amusement, if only
     they know how to be prudent, discreet, honorable."]

          Translated for 'A Library of the World's Best Literature,'
          by William C. Lawton



[Illustration: GOLDSCHMIDT]

In the first line of his memoirs Goldschmidt states that he was of "the
tribe of Levi," a fact of which he was never unconscious, and which has
given him his peculiar position in modern Danish literature as the
exponent of the family and social life of the orthodox Jew. Brandes
writes of Goldschmidt that: "In spite of his cosmopolitan spirit, he has
always loved two nationalities above all others and equally well,--the
Jewish and the Danish. He has looked upon himself as a sort of
noble-born bastard; and with the bat of the fable he has said
alternately to the mice, 'I am a mouse' and to the birds, 'I have
wings.' He has endeavored to give his answer to the questions of the
Jew's place in modern culture."

Goldschmidt was born on the 26th of October, 1819. His early childhood
was spent partly in the country, in the full freedom of country life,
and partly in the city, where he was sent to school in preparation for
the professional career his father had planned for him, in preference to
a business life like his own. Goldschmidt took part in the religious
instruction of the school, at the same time observing the customs of the
Jewish ritual at home without a full understanding of its
meaning,--somewhat as he was taught to read Hebrew without being able to
translate a word of it into Danish. In the senior class his religious
instructor let him join in the Bible reading, but refused to admit him
to the catechism class; as a consequence he failed to answer a few
questions on his examination papers, and fell just short of a maximum.
This made him feel that he was ostracized by his Jewish birth, and put
an end to his desire for further academic studies.

At the age of eighteen he began his journalistic career as editor of a
provincial paper, the care of which cost him a lawsuit and subjected him
to a year's censorship. Soon after, he sold the paper for two hundred
dollars, and with this money he started the Copenhagen weekly The
Corsair, which in no time gained a large reading public, and whose
Friday appearance was awaited with weekly increasing interest. The
editorials were given up to aesthetic and poetic discussions, and the
small matter treated the questions of the day with a pointed wit that
soon made The Corsair as widely feared as it was eagerly read. He had
reached only the third number when it was put under censorship, and
lawsuits followed in quick succession. Goldschmidt did not officially
assume the responsibility of editor, although it was an open secret that
he was author of most of the articles; publicly the blows were warded
off by pretended owners whose names were often changed. One of the few
men whom The Corsair left unattacked was Sören Kierkegaard, for whose
literary and scholarly talents Goldschmidt had great respect. That The
Corsair was under the ban of the law, so to speak, and had brought him
even a four-days' imprisonment, was a small matter to Goldschmidt; but
when Kierkegaard passed a scathing moral judgment on the paper,
Goldschmidt sold out for four thousand dollars and started with this sum
on his travels, "to get rid of wit and learn something better."

In 1847 he was again back in Copenhagen, and began life anew as editor
of North and South, a weekly containing excellent aesthetic and critical
studies, but mainly important on account of its social and political
influence. Already, in the time of The Corsair, Goldschmidt had begun
his work as novelist with 'A Jew,' written in 1843-45, and had taken
possession of the field which became his own. It was a promising book,
that met with immediate appreciation. Even Kierkegaard forgot for a
moment the editor of The Corsair in his praise. The Jews, however,
looked upon the descriptions of intimate Jewish family life somewhat as
a desecration of the Holy of Holies; and if broad-minded enough to
forgive this, thought it unwise to accentuate the Jew's position as an
element apart in social life. It argues a certain narrowness in
Goldschmidt that he has never been able to refrain from striking this
note, and Brandes blames him for the bad taste of "continually serving
his grandmother with sharp sauce."

Goldschmidt wrote another long novel, 'Homeless'; but it is principally
in his shorter works, such as 'Love Stories from Many Countries'
'Maser,' and 'Avromche Nightingale,' that he has left a great and good
gift to Danish literature. The shorter his composition, the more perfect
was his treatment. He was above all a stylist.

He always had a tendency to mysticism, and in his last years he was
greatly taken up with his theory of Nemesis, on which he wrote a book,
containing much that is suggestive but also much that is obviously the
result of the wish to make everything conform to a pet theory. His
lasting importance will be as the first and foremost influence on modern
Danish prose.


From 'Love Stories from Many Countries'

Assar, son of Juda, a valiant and jealous youth, came walking toward
Modin, when from one of the hills he saw a great sight on the plain.
Here warriors rode a chariot race in a great circle; many people stood
about, calling loudly to the drivers and the spirited horses. Yonder
were horsemen in golden armor, trying to catch rings on their spears;
and drums were beaten in honor of the winner. On the outskirts of the
plain was a little grove of olive-trees; it was not dense. In the grove
stood a nude woman hewn in marble; her hair was of gold and her eyes
were black, and young girls danced around her with garlands of flowers.

Then Assar said:--"Woe unto us! These are Jewish maidens dancing around
the idol, and these are Greek men carrying arms on our holy ground and
playing at games as if they were in their home! and no Jewish man makes
the game dangerous for them!"

He went down the hill and came to a thicket reaching down to a little
brook. On the other side of the brook stood a Greek centurion, a young
man, and he was talking to a girl, who stood on this side of the brook
on the edge of the thicket.

The warrior said:--"Thou sayest that thy God forbids thee to go over
into the grove. What a dark and unfriendly God they have given thee,
beautiful child of Juda! He hates thy youth, and the joy of life, and
the roses which ought to crown thy black hair. My gods are of a
friendlier mind toward mortals. Every morning Apollo drives his glorious
span over the arch of the heavens and lights warriors to their deeds;
Selene's milder torch glows at night for lovers, and to those who have
worshiped her in this life beautiful Aphrodite gives eternal life on her
blessed isle. It is her statue standing in the grove. When thou givest
thyself under her protection she gives thee in return a hero for thy
faithful lover, and later on, graceful daughter of Juda, some god will
set thee with thy radiant eyes among the stars, to be a light to mortals
and a witness of the beauty of earthly love."

The young girl might have answered; but at this moment Assar was near
her, and she knew him, and he saw that it was Mirjam, Rabbi Mattathew's
daughter,--the woman he loved, and who was his promised bride. She
turned and followed him; but the warrior on the other side of the brook
called out, "What right hast thou to lead this maiden away?"

Assar replied, "I have no right."

"Then why dost thou go with him, sweet daughter of Juda?" cried the

Mirjam did not answer, but Assar said, "Because she has not yet given up
serving her Master."

"Who is her master?" asked the warrior. "I can buy thee freedom, my
beautiful child!"

Assar replied, "I wish thou may'st see him."[E]

    [E] "Whoever sees God must die."

The warrior, who could not cross the brook at this place, or anywhere
near it, called as they went away, "Tell me thy master's name!"

Assar turned and answered, "I will beg him come to thee."

A hill hid them from the eyes of the warrior, and Mirjam said, "Assar!"

Assar replied, "Mirjam! I have never loved thee as dearly as I do
to-day--I do not know if it is a curse or a blessing which is in my
veins. Thou hast listened to the words of the heathen."

"I listened to them because he spoke kindly; but I have not betrayed the
Lord nor thee."

"Thou hast permitted his words to reach thy ear and thy soul."

"What could I do, Assar? He spoke kindly."

Assar stood still, and said to himself, "Yes, he spoke kindly. They do
speak kindly. And they spoke kind words to the poor girls who danced
around the idol in the grove. Had they spoken harsh and threatening
words, they would not have danced."

Again he stood still, and said to himself, "If they came using force,
the rabbi would kill her and then himself, or she would throw herself
from a rock of her own free will. But who can set a guard to watch over
kind words?"

The third time he stood still, and said, "O Israel, thou canst not bear
kind words!"

Mirjam thought that he suspected her; and she stood still and said, "I
am a rabbi's daughter!"

Assar replied, "O Mirjam, I am Assar, and I will be the son of my own

"For God's sake," exclaimed Mirjam, "do not seek that warrior, and do
not enter into a quarrel with him! He will kill thee or have thee put
into prison. There is misery enough in Israel! The strangers have
entered our towns. Let us bend our heads and await the will of God, but
not challenge! Assar, I should die if anything happened to thee!"

"And what would I do if anything happened to thee! My head swims!
Whither should I flee? Would thy father and thy brothers flee to the
wilds of the mountains?"

"They have spoken of that. But there is no place to flee to and not much
to flee from; for although the heathen have taken gold and goods, yet
they are kind this time."

Assar replied, "Oh yes, they are kind; I had almost forgotten it.
Mirjam, if I go away wilt thou believe, and go on believing, that I go
on God's errand?"

"Assar, a dark look from thee is dearer to me than the kindest from any
heathen, and a word of thine is more to me than many witnesses. But do
not leave me! Stay and protect me!"

"I go to protect thee! I go to the heights and to the depths to call
forth the God of Israel. Await his coming!" ...

Assar went to the King, Antiochus Epiphanes, bent low before him, and
said, "May the Master of the world guide thy steps!"

The King looked at him well pleased, and asked his name; whereupon Assar
answered that he was a man of the tribe of Juda.

The King said, "Few of thy countrymen come to serve me!"

Assar replied, "If thou wilt permit thy servant a bold word, King, the
fault is thine."

And when the King, astonished, asked how this might be, Assar answered,
"Because thou art too kind, lord."

The King turned to his adviser, and said laughingly, "When we took the
treasures of the temple in Jerusalem, they found it hard enough."

"O King," said Assar, "silver and gold and precious stones can be
regained, and the Israelites know this; but thou lettest them keep that
which cannot be regained when once it is lost."

The King answered quickly, "What is that?" and Assar replied:--"The
Israelites have a God, who is very powerful but also very jealous. He
has always helped them in the time of need if they held near to him and
did not worship strange gods; for this his jealousy will not bear. When
they do this he forsakes them. But thou, O King, hast taken their
silver and gold and jewels, but hast let them keep the God who gives it
all back to them. They know this; and so they smile at thee, and await
that thou shalt be thrown into the dust by him, and they will arise his
avengers, and persecute thy men."

The King paled; he remembered his loss in Egypt, and he feared that if
the enemy pursued him he should find help in Israel; and he said, "What
ought we to do?"

Assar replied: "If thou wilt permit thy servant to utter his humble
advice, thou shouldst use severity and forbid their praying to the God
they call Jehovah, and order them to pray to thy gods."

The King's adviser looked at Assar and asked, "Hast thou offered up
sacrifice to our gods?"

Assar replied, "I am ready."

They led him to the altar, and on the way thither Assar said:--"Lord,
all-powerful God! Thou who seest the heart and not alone the deeds of
the hand, be my witness! It is written: 'And it shall happen in that
same hour that I shall wipe out the name of idols out of the land, and
they shall be remembered no more, and the unclean spirit shall I cause
to depart from the country.' Do thou according to thy word, O Lord!

When the sacrifice was brought, Assar was dressed in festive robes on
the word of the King, and a place was given him among the King's
friends, and orders were sent out throughout the country, according to
what he had said.

And to Modin too came the King's messenger; and when the rabbi heard of
it, he went with his five sons to the large prayer-house, and read
maledictions over those who worshiped idols and blessings over those who
were faithful to Jehovah. And those who were present noticed that the
rabbi's eldest son, Judas Maccabæus, carried a sword under his mantle.

And when they came out of the prayer-house they saw that a heathen altar
had been built, and there was a Jew making his sacrifice; and when Rabbi
Mattathew saw this, he hastened to the spot and seized the knife of
sacrifice and thrust it into the Jew's breast. The centurion who stood
by, and who was the same that had previously talked to Mirjam the
rabbi's daughter at the brook, would kill the rabbi; but Judas Maccabæus
drew his sword quickly, and struck the centurion in the throat and
killed him. Then the King's men gathered; but the street was narrow,
and Judas Maccabæus went last and shielded all, until the night came and
they had got their women together and could flee to the mountains. And
then began the fight of the men of Juda against the Macedonians, the
Greeks, and the Assyrians, and they killed those of the King's men who
pursued them into the mountains.

Then King Antiochus the temple-robber said to Assar, "This is thy
advice!" to which Assar replied: "No, King; this is the advice of thy
warriors, since they allow the rebels to escape and do not treat them
without mercy. For this know, O King, that so long as thou art merciful
to this people there is no hope."

Then there were issued strict orders to torture and kill all who refused
to obey the King's command; and all those in Israel in whom Jehovah was
still living rose to fight with Mattathew and his sons, and men and
women, yea, children even, were moved to suffer death for the Lord and
his law.

But at this time it happened that King Antiochus the temple-destroyer
was visited by his shameful disease, and he sent messengers with rich
gifts to all oracles and temples to seek help; but they could find none.

Then he said to Assar, "Thou saidst once that the God of Israel was a
mighty God; could not _he_ cure me of my disease?"

Assar replied: "I have indeed heard from my childhood that the God of
Israel is a mighty God; but O King, thou wilt not give in to that hard
people and make peace with their God?"

The King answered, "I must live! How can he be pacified?"

Assar said, "It is too heavy a sacrifice for so great a king as thee.
Their wise men assert that God has given them the country for a
possession, and it would be necessary for thee not only to allow them to
worship their God, but also to call back thy men and make a covenant
with them so that they should merely pay a tribute to thee. But this is
more than I can advise."

The King answered, "Much does a man give for his life. Dost thou believe
that he is a great God?"

"I have seen a great proof of it, lord."

"What is that?"

"This: that even a greatness like thine was as nothing to his."

"It is not a dishonor to be smaller than the Immortals. Go and prepare
all, according to what we have spoken."

Then Assar prepared all and had the King's men called back, and promised
the inhabitants peace and led the King on his way to Jerusalem; and they
passed by Modin.

And the King's sufferings being very great, he had himself carried into
the house of prayers, before the holy, and he prayed to the God of
Israel. And the men of Juda stood around him; they stood high and he lay
low, and they had saved their souls.

But when the King was carried out, one of the Maccabæan warriors
recognized Assar and cried out, "Thou hast offered up sacrifices to
idols, and from thee have come the evil counsels which have cost
precious blood! Thou shalt be wiped off the earth!"

He drew his sword and aimed at him, but Mirjam, who had come up, threw
herself between them with the cry, "He called forth Israel's God!" And
the steel which was meant for him pierced her.

          Translated for 'A Library of the World's Best Literature,'
          by Olga Flinch.

[Illustration: O. GOLDSMITH.]




Oliver Goldsmith was born at Pallas, County Longford, Ireland, November
10th, 1728. That was the year in which Pope issued his 'Dunciad,' Gay
his 'Beggar's Opera,' and Thomson his 'Spring.' Goldsmith's father was a
clergyman of the Established Church. In 1730 the family removed to
Lissoy, a better living than that of Pallas. Oliver's school days in and
around Westmeath were unsatisfactory; so also his course at Trinity,
1744 to 1749. For the next two years he loafed at Ballymahon, living on
his mother, then a widow, and making vain attempts to take orders, to
teach, to enter a law course, to sail for America. He was a bad
sixpence. Finally his uncle Contarine, who saw good stuff in the
awkward, ugly, humorous, and reckless youth, got him off to Edinburgh,
where he studied medicine till 1754.

In 1754 he is studying, or pretending to study, at Leyden. In 1755 and
1756 he is singing, fluting, and otherwise "beating" his way through
Europe, whence he returns with a mythical M. B. degree. From 1756 to
1759 he is in London, teaching, serving an apothecary, practicing
medicine, reading proof, writing as a hack, planning to practice surgery
in Coromandel, failing to qualify as a hospital mate, and in general
only not starving. In 1759 Dr. Percy finds him in Green Arbor Court amid
a colony of washerwomen, writing an 'Enquiry into the Present State of
Polite Learning in Europe.' Next follows the appearance of that work,
and his acquaintance with publishers and men of letters. In 1761, with
Percy, comes Johnson to visit him. In 1764 Goldsmith is one of the
members of the famous Literary Club, where he counts among his friends,
besides Percy and Johnson, Reynolds, Boswell, Garrick, Burke, and others
who shone with their own or reflected light. The rest of his life, spent
principally in or near London, is associated with his literary career.
He died April 4th, 1774, and was buried near the Temple Church.

Goldsmith was an essayist and critic, a story-writer, a poet, a comic
dramatist, and a literary drudge: the last all the time, the others
"between whiles." His drudgery produced such works as the 'Memoirs of
Voltaire,' the 'Life of Nash,' two Histories of England, Histories of
Rome and Greece, Lives of Parnell and Bolingbroke. The 'History of
Animated Nature' was undertaken as an industry, but it reads, as Johnson
said, "like a Persian tale,"--and of course, the more Persian the less
like nature. For the prose of Goldsmith writing for a suit of clothes or
for immortality is all of a piece, inimitable. "Nothing," says he, in
his 'Essay on Taste,' "has been so often explained, and yet so little
understood, as simplicity in writing.... It is no other than beautiful
nature, without affectation or extraneous ornament."

This ingenuous elegance is the accent of Goldsmith's work in verse and
prose. It is nature improved, not from without but by exquisite and
esoteric art, the better to prove its innate virtue and display its
artless charm. Such a style is based upon a delicate "sensibility to the
graces of natural and moral beauty and decorum." Hence the ideographic
power, the directness, the sympathy, the lambent humor that characterize
the 'Essays,' the 'Vicar,' the 'Deserted Village,' and 'She Stoops to
Conquer.' This is the "plain language of ancient faith and sincerity"
that, pretending to no novelty, renovated the prose of the eighteenth
century, knocked the stilts from under Addison and Steele, tipped half
the Latinity out of Johnson, and readjusted his ballast. Goldsmith goes
without sprawling or tiptoeing; he sails without rolling. He borrows the
carelessness but not the ostentation of the Spectator; the dignity but
not the ponderosity of 'Rasselas'; and produces the prose of natural
ease, the sweetest English of the century. It in turn prefaced the way
for Charles Lamb, Hunt, and Sydney Smith. "It were to be wished that we
no longer found pleasure with the inflated style," writes Goldsmith in
his 'Polite Learning.' "We should dispense with loaded epithet and
dressing up trifles with dignity.... Let us, instead of writing finely,
try to write naturally; not hunt after lofty expressions to deliver mean
ideas, nor be forever gaping when we only mean to deliver a whisper."

Just this naturalness constitutes the charm of the essay on 'The Bee'
(1759), and of the essays collected in 1765. We do not read him for
information: whether he knows more or less of his subject, whether he
writes of Charles XII., or Dress, The Opera, Poetry, or Education, we
read him for simplicity and humor. Still, his critical estimates, while
they may not always square with ours, evince not only good sense and
æsthetic principle, but a range of reading not at all ordinary. When he
condemns Hamlet's great soliloquy we may smile, but in judicial respect
for the father of our drama he yields to none of his contemporaries. The
selections that he includes in his 'Beauties of English Poetry' would
argue a conventional taste; but in his 'Essay on Poetry Distinguished
from the Other Arts,' he not only defines poetry in terms that might
content the Wordsworthians, he also to a certain extent anticipates
Wordsworth's estimate of poetic figures.

While he makes no violent breach with the classical school, he
prophesies the critical doctrine of the nineteenth century. He calls for
the "energetic language of simple nature, which is now grown into
disrepute." "If the production does not keep nature in view, it will be
destitute of truth and probability, without which the beauties of
imitation cannot subsist." Still he by no means falls into the quagmire
of realism. For, continues he, "if on the other hand the imitation is so
close as to be mistaken for nature, the pleasure will then cease,
because the [Greek: mimêsis] or imitation, no longer appears."

Even when wrong, Goldsmith is generally half-way right; and this is
especially true of the critical judgments contained in his first
published book. The impudence of 'The Enquiry' (1759) is delicious. What
this young Irishman, fluting it through Europe some five years before,
had _not_ learned about the 'Condition of Polite Learning' in its
principal countries, might fill a ponderous folio. What he did learn,
eked out with harmless misstatement, flashes of inspiration, and a
clever argument to prove that criticism has always been the foe of
letters, managed to fill a respectable duodecimo, and brought him to the
notice of publishers and scholars.

The essay has catholicity, independence, and wit, and it carries itself
with whimsical ease. Every sentence steps out sprightly. Of the French
Encyclopédies: "Wits and dunces contribute their share, and Diderot as
well as Desmaretz are candidates for oblivion. The genius of the first
supplies the gale of favor, and the latter adds the useful ballast of
stupidity." Of the Germans: "They write through volumes, while they do
not think through a page.... Were angels to write books, they never
would write folios." And again: "If criticism could have improved the
taste of a people, the Germans would have been the most polite nation
alive." That settles the Encyclopedias and the Germans. So each
nationality is sententiously reviewed and dismissed with an epigram that
even to-day sounds not altogether unjust, rather amusing and urbane than

But it was not until Goldsmith began the series of letters in the Public
Ledger (1760), that was afterwards published as 'The Citizen of the
World' that he took London. These letters purport to be from a
philosophic Chinaman in Europe to his friends at home. Grave, gay,
serene, ironical, they were at once an amusing image and a genial censor
of current manners and morals. They are no less creative than critical;
equally classic for the characters they contain: the Gentleman in Black,
Beau Tibbs and his wife, the pawnbroker's widow, Tim Syllabub, and the
procession of minor personages, romantic or ridiculous, but
unique,--equally classic for these characters and for the satire of the
conception. These are Goldsmith's best sketches. Though the prose is not
always precise, it seems to be clear, and is simple. The writer cares
more for the judicious than the sublime; for the quaint, the comic, and
the agreeable than the pathetic. He chuckles with sly laughter--genial,
sympathetic; he looses his arrow phosphorescent with wit, but not
barbed, dipped in something subacid,--straight for the heart. Not Irving
alone, but Thackeray, stands in line of descent from the Goldsmith of
the 'Citizen.'

'The Traveller,' polished _ad unguem_, appeared in 1764, and placed
Goldsmith in the first rank of poets then living; but of that later.
There is good reason for believing that his masterpiece in prose, 'The
Vicar of Wakefield,' had been written as early as 1762, although it was
not published until 1766. It made Goldsmith's mark as a storyteller. One
can readily imagine how, after the grim humor of Smollett, the broad and
_risqué_ realism of Fielding, the loitering of Sterne, and the
moralizing of Richardson, the public would seize with a sense of relief
upon this unpretentious chronicle of a country clergyman's life: his
peaceful home, its ruin, its restoration. Not because the narrative was
quieter and simpler, shorter and more direct than other narratives, but
because to its humor, realism, grace, and depth it added the charity of
First Corinthians Thirteenth. England soon discovered that the borders
of the humanities had been extended; that the Vicar and his "durable"
wife, Moses, Olivia with the prenatal tendency to romance, Sophia, the
graceless Jenkinson,--the habit and temper of the whole,--were a new
province. The prose idyl, with all its beauty and charity, does not
entitle Goldsmith to rank with the great novelists; but of its kind, in
spite of faults of inaccuracy, improbability, and impossibility, it is
first and best. Goethe read and re-read it with moral and æsthetic
benefit; and the spirit of Goldsmith is not far to seek in 'Hermann and
Dorothea.' 'The Vicar' is perhaps the most popular of English classics
in foreign lands.

In poetry, if Goldsmith did not write much, it was for lack of
opportunity. What he did write is good, nearly all of it. The philosophy
of 'The Traveller' (1764) and the political economy of 'The Deserted
Village' (1770) may be dubious, but the poetry is true. There is in both
a heartiness which discards the formalized emotion, prefers the touch of
nature and the homely adjective. The characteristic is almost feminine
in the description of Auburn: "_Dear_ lovely bowers"; it is inevitable,
artless, in 'The Traveller': "His first, best country ever is at home."
But on the other hand, the _curiosa felicitas_ marks every line, the
nice selection of just the word or phrase richest in association,
redolent of tradition, harmonious, classically proper, but still
natural, true, and apt. "My heart untravell'd fondly turns to thee"--not
a word but is hearty; and for all that, the line is stamped with the
academic authority of centuries: "Coelum, non animum mutant, qui trans
mare currunt." Both poems are characterized by the infrequency of
epithet and figure,--the infrequency that marks sincerity and that
heightens pleasure,--and by a cunning in the use of proper names,
resonant, remote, suggestive: "On Idra's cliffs or Arno's shelvy
side,"--the cunning of a musical poem. Both poems vibrate with
personality, recall the experience of the writer. It would be hard to
choose between them; but 'The Deserted Village' strikes the homelier
chord, comes nearer, with its natural pathos, its sidelong smile, and
its perennial novelty, to the heart of him who knows.

Goldsmith is less eloquent but more natural than Dryden, less precise
but more simple than Pope. In poetic sensibility he has the advantage of
both. Were the volume of his verse not so slight, were his conceptions
more sublime, and their embodiment more epic or dramatic, he might rank
with the greatest of his century. As it is, in imaginative insight he
has no superior in the eighteenth century; in observation, pathos,
representative power, no equal: Dryden, Pope, Gray, Thomson,
Young,--none but Collins approaches him. The reflective or descriptive
poem can of course not compete with the drama, epic, or even lyric of
corresponding merit in its respective kind. But Goldsmith's poems are
the best of their kind, better than all but the best in other kinds. His
conception of life is more generous and direct, hence truer and gentler,
than that of the Augustan age. Raising no revolt against classical
principles, he rejects the artifices of decadent classicism, returns to
nature, and expresses _it_ simply. He is consequently in this respect
the harbinger of Cowper, Crabbe, Bloomfield, Clare, Wordsworth, and
Coleridge. In technique also he breaks away from Pope. His larger
movement, his easier modulation, his richer tone, his rarer epithet and
epigram, his metaphor "glowing from the heart," mark the defection from
the poetry of cold conceit.

For lack of space we can only refer to the romantic quality of his
ballad 'Edwin and Angelina' (1765), the spontaneous humor of 'The Haunch
of Venison,' and the exquisite satire of 'Retaliation' (1774).

To appreciate the historical position of Goldsmith's comedies, one must
regard them as a reaction against the school that had held the stage
since the beginning of the century--a "genteel" and "sentimental"
school, fearing to expose vice or ridicule absurdity. But Goldsmith felt
that absurdity was the comic poet's game. Reverting therefore to
Farquhar and the Comedy of Manners, he revived that species, at the same
time infusing a strain of the "humors" of the tribe of Ben. Hence the
approbation that welcomed his first comedy, and the applause that
greeted the second. For 'The Good-natured Man' (1768) and 'She Stoops to
Conquer' (1773) did by example what Hugh Kelly's 'Piety in Pattens'
aimed to do by ridicule,--ousted the hybrid comedy (tradesman's tragedy,
Voltaire called it) of which 'The Conscious Lovers' had been the most
tolerable specimen, and 'The School for Lovers' the most decorous and

But "Goldy" had not only the gift of weighing the times, he had the gift
of the popular dramatist. His _dramatis personæ_ are on the one hand
nearly all legitimate descendants of the national comedy, though none is
a copy from dramatic predecessors; on the other hand, they are in every
instance "imitations" of real life, more than once of some aspect of his
own life; but none is so close an imitation as to detract from the
pleasure which fiction should afford. The former quality makes his
characters look familiar; the latter, true. So he accomplishes the feat
most difficult for the dramatist: while idealizing the individual in
order to realize the type, he does not for a moment lose the sympathy of
his audience.

Even in his earlier comedy these two characteristics are manifest. In
the world of drama, young Honeywood is the legitimate descendant of
Massinger's Wellborn on the one side, and of Congreve's Valentine Legend
on the other, with a more distant collateral resemblance to Ben Jonson's
Younger Knowell. But in the field of experience this "Good-natured Man"
is that aspect of "Goldy" himself which, when he was poorest, made him
not so poor but that Irishmen poorer still could live on him; that
aspect of the glorious "idiot in affairs" which could make to the Earl
of Northumberland, willing to be kind, no other suggestion of his wants
than that he had a _brother_ in Ireland, "poor, a clergyman, and much in
need of help." Similarly might those rare creations Croaker and Jack
Lofty be traced to their predecessors in the field of drama, even though
remote. That they had their analogies in the life of Goldsmith, and have
them in the lives of others, it is unnecessary to prove. But graphic as
these characters are, they cannot make of 'The Good-natured Man' more
than a passable second to 'She Stoops to Conquer.' For the premises of
the plot are absurd, if not impossible; the complication is not much
more natural than that of a Punch-and-Judy show, and the denouement but
one shade less improbable than that of 'The Vicar of Wakefield.' The
value of the play is principally historical, not æsthetic.

Congreve's 'Love for Love,' Vanbrugh's 'Relapse, Farquhar's 'Beaux'
Stratagem,' Goldsmith's 'She Stoops to Conquer,' and Sheridan's 'School
for Scandal,' are the best comedies written since Jonson, Fletcher, and
Massinger held the stage. In plot and diction 'She Stoops to Conquer' is
equaled by Congreve; in character-drawing by Vanbrugh; in dramatic ease
by Farquhar, in observation and wit by Sheridan: but by none is it
equaled in humor, and in naturalness of dialogue it is _facile
princeps_. Here again the characterization presents the twofold charm of
universality and reality. Young Marlow is the traditional lover of the
type of Young Bellair, Mirabell, and Aimwell, suggesting each in turn
but different from all; he is also, in his combination of embarrassment
and impudence, not altogether unlike the lad Oliver who, years ago, on a
journey back to school, had mistaken Squire Featherstone's house in
Ardagh for an inn.

A similar adjustment of dramatic type and historic individual
contributes to the durability of Tony Lumpkin. In his _dramatis persona_
he is a practical joker of the family of Diccon and Truewit, and first
cousin on the Blenkinsop side to that horse-flesh Sir Harry Beagle. But
Anthony is more than the practical joker or the squire booby: he is a
near relative of Captain O'Blunder and that whole countryside of
generous, touch-and-go Irishmen; while in reality, _in propria persona_,
he is that aspect of Noll Goldsmith that "lived the buckeen" in
Ballymahon. Of the other characters of the play, Hardcastle, Mrs.
Hardcastle, and Kate have a like prerogative of immortality. They are
royally descended and personally unique.

The comedy has been absurdly called farcical. There is much less of the
farcical than in many a so-called "legitimate" comedy. None of the
circumstances are purely fortuitous; none unnecessary. Humor and caprice
tend steadily to complicate the action, and by natural interaction
prepare the way for the denouement. The misunderstandings are the more
piquant because of their manifest irony and their ephemeral character.
Indeed, if any fault is to be found with the play, it is that Goldsmith
did not let it resolve itself without the assistance of Sir Charles

One peculiarity not yet mentioned is illustrative of Goldsmith's method.
A system of mutual borrowing characterizes his works. The same thought,
in the same or nearly the same language, occurs in half a dozen. 'The
Enquiry' lends a phrase to 'The Citizen,' who passes it on to the
'Vicar,' who, thinking it too good to keep, hands it over to the
'Good-natured Man,' whence it is borrowed by 'She Stoops to Conquer,'
and turned to look like new,--like a large family of sisters with a
small wardrobe in common. This habit does not indicate poverty of
invention in Goldsmith, but associative imagination and artistic

Goldsmith was the only Irish story-writer and poet of his century. Four
Irishmen adorned the prose of the period: Goldsmith is as eminent in the
natural style as Swift in the satiric, or Steele in the polished, or
Burke in the grand. In comedy the Irish led; but Steele, Macklin,
Murphy, Kelly, do not compare with Farquhar, Sheridan, and Goldsmith.
The worst work of these is good, and their best is the best of the

Turning to Goldsmith the man, what the "draggle-tail Muses" paid him we
find him spending on dress and rooms and jovial magnificence, on
relatives or countrymen or the unknown poor, with such freedom that he
is never relieved of the necessity of drudgery. Still, sensitive,
good-natured, improvident, Irish,--and a genius,--Goldsmith lived as
happy a life as his disposition would allow. He had the companionship of
congenial friends, the love of men like Johnson and Reynolds, the final
assurance that his art was appreciated by the public. To be sure, he was
never out of debt, but that was his own fault; he was never out of
credit either. "Was there ever poet so trusted?" exclaimed Johnson,
after this poet had got beyond reach of his creditors. His difficulties
however affected him as they affect most Irishmen,--only by cataclysms.
He was serene or wretched, but generally the former: he packed _noctes
coenæque deûm_ by the dozen into his life. "There is no man," said
Reynolds, "whose company is more liked." But maybe that was because his
naïveté, his brogue, his absent-mindedness, and his blunders (real or
apparent) made him a ready butt for ridicule, not at the hands of
Reynolds or Johnson, but of Beauclerk and the rest. For though his humor
was sly, and his wit inimitable, Goldsmith's conversation was queer. It
seemed to go by contraries. If permitted, he would ramble along in his
hesitating, inconsequential fashion, on any subject under heaven--"too
eager," thought Johnson, "to get on without knowing how he should get
off." But if ignored, he would sit silent and apart,--sulking, thought
Boswell. In fact, both the Dictator and laird of Auchinleck were of a
mind that he tried too much to shine in conversation, for which he had
no temper. But "Goldy's" _bons-mots_--such as the "Forsitan et nostrum
nomen miscebitur _istis_" to Johnson, as they passed under the heads on
Temple Bar,--make it evident that Garrick, with his

  "Here lies Poet Goldsmith, for shortness called Noll,
  Who wrote like an angel, but talked like poor Poll,"

and most of the members of the Literary Club, did not understand their
Irishman. A timidity born of rough experience may have occasionally
oppressed, a sensitiveness to ridicule or indifference may have confused
him, a desire for approbation may frequently have led him to speak when
silence had been golden; but that his conversation was "foolish" is the
judgment of Philistines who make conversation an industry, not an
amusement or an art.

Boswell himself recounts more witty sayings than incomprehensible. And
the "incomprehensible" are so only to Boswells and Hawkinses, who can
hardly be expected to appreciate a humor, the vein of which is a mockery
of their own solemn stupidity. Probably Goldsmith did say unconsidered
things; he liked to think aloud in company, to "rattle on" for
diversion. Keenly alive to the riches of language, he was the more
likely to feel the embarrassment of impromptu selection; and while he
was too much of a genius to keep count of every pearl, he was too
considerate of his fellows to cast pearls only. But most of his fellows
(Reynolds excepted) appreciated neither his drollery nor his
unselfishness,--had not been educated up to the type of Irishman that
with an artistic love of fun, is ever ready to promote the gayety of
nations by sacrificing itself in the interest of laughter. For none but
an artist can, without cracking a smile, offer up his wit on the altar
of his humor.

Prior describes Goldsmith as something under the middle size, sturdy,
active, apparently capable of endurance; pale, forehead and upper lip
rather projecting, face round, pitted with small-pox, and marked with
strong lines of thinking. But Reynolds's painting idealizes and
therefore best expresses the man, his twofold nature: on the one hand,
self-depreciatory, generous, and improvident; on the other, aspiring,
hungry for approval, laborious. Just such a man as would gild poverty
with a smile, decline patronage and force his last sixpence on a
street-singer, pile Pelion on Ossa for his publishers and turn out
cameos for art.

                                   [Signature: Charles Mills Gayley]


From 'The Vicar of Wakefield'

I now began to find that all my long and painful lectures upon
temperance, simplicity, and contentment were entirely disregarded. The
distinctions lately paid us by our betters awakened that pride which I
had laid asleep, but not removed. Our windows again, as formerly, were
filled with washes for the neck and face. The sun was dreaded as an
enemy to the skin without doors, and the fire as a spoiler of the
complexion within. My wife observed that rising too early would hurt her
daughters' eyes, that working after dinner would redden their noses,
and she convinced me that the hands never looked so white as when they
did nothing. Instead therefore of finishing George's shirts, we now had
them new-modeling their old gauzes, or flourishing upon catgut. The poor
Miss Flamboroughs, their former gay companions, were cast off as mean
acquaintance, and the whole conversation ran upon high life and
high-lived company, with pictures, taste, Shakespeare, and the musical

But we could have borne all this, had not a fortune-telling gypsy come
to raise us into perfect sublimity. The tawny sibyl no sooner appeared
than my girls came running to me for a shilling apiece, to cross her
hand with silver. To say the truth, I was tired of being always wise,
and could not help gratifying their request, because I loved to see them
happy. I gave each of them a shilling, though for the honor of the
family it must be observed that they never went without money
themselves, as my wife always generously let them have a guinea each to
keep in their pockets, but with strict injunctions never to change it.
After they had been closeted up with the fortune-teller for some time, I
knew by their looks, upon their returning, that they had been promised
something great. "Well, my girls, how have you sped? Tell me, Livy, has
the fortune-teller given thee a penny-worth?" "I protest, papa," says
the girl, "I believe she deals with somebody that is not right, for she
positively declared that I am to be married to a squire in less than a
twelvemonth!" "Well now, Sophy, my child," said I, "and what sort of a
husband are you to have?" "Sir," replied she, "I am to have a lord soon
after my sister has married the squire." "How," cried I, "is that all
you are to have for your two shillings? Only a lord and a squire for two
shillings! You fools, I could have promised you a prince and a nabob for
half the money!"

This curiosity of theirs, however, was attended with very serious
effects: we now began to think ourselves designed by the stars to
something exalted, and already anticipated our future grandeur.

       *       *       *       *       *

It has been a thousand times observed, and I must observe it once more,
that the hours we pass with happy prospects in view are more pleasing
than those crowned with fruition. In the first case we cook the dish to
our own appetite; in the latter, nature cooks it for us. It is
impossible to repeat the train of agreeable reveries we called up for
our entertainment. We looked upon our fortunes as once more rising; and
as the whole parish asserted that the Squire was in love with my
daughter, she was actually so with him, for they persuaded her into the
passion. In this agreeable interval my wife had the most lucky dreams in
the world, which she took care to tell us every morning with great
solemnity and exactness. It was one night a coffin and cross-bones, the
sign of an approaching wedding; at another time she imagined her
daughter's pockets filled with farthings, a certain sign of their being
shortly stuffed with gold. The girls themselves had their omens. They
felt strange kisses on their lips; they saw rings in the candle; purses
bounced from the fire, and true-love knots lurked in the bottom of every

Towards the end of the week we received a card from the town ladies, in
which, with their compliments, they hoped to see all our family at
church the Sunday following. All Saturday morning I could perceive, in
consequence of this, my wife and daughters in close conference together,
and now and then glancing at me with looks that betrayed a latent plot.
To be sincere, I had strong suspicions that some absurd proposal was
preparing for appearing with splendor the next day. In the evening they
began their operations in a very regular manner, and my wife undertook
to conduct the siege. After tea, when I seemed in spirits, she began
thus: "I fancy, Charles my dear, we shall have a great deal of good
company at our church to-morrow." "Perhaps we may, my dear," returned I;
"though you need be under no uneasiness about that; you shall have a
sermon whether there be or not." "That is what I expect," returned she;
"but I think, my dear, we ought to appear there as decently as possible,
for who knows what may happen?" "Your precautions," replied I, "are
highly commendable. A decent behavior and appearance in church is what
charms me. We should be devout and humble, cheerful and serene." "Yes,"
cried she, "I know that; but I mean we should go there in as proper a
manner as possible; not altogether like the scrubs about us." "You are
quite right, my dear," returned I; "and I was going to make the very
same proposal. The proper manner of going is to go there as early as
possible, to have time for meditation before the service begins." "Phoo,
Charles!" interrupted she; "all that is very true, but not what I would
be at. I mean we should go there genteelly. You know the church is two
miles off, and I protest I don't like to see my daughters trudging up to
their pew all blowzed and red with walking, and looking for all the
world as if they had been winners at a smock-race. Now, my dear, my
proposal is this: there are our two plow-horses, the colt that has been
in our family these nine years, and his companion Blackberry that has
scarcely done an earthly thing this month past. They are both grown fat
and lazy. Why should not they do something as well as we? And let me
tell you, when Moses has trimmed them a little they will cut a very
tolerable figure."

To this proposal I objected that walking would be twenty times more
genteel than such a paltry conveyance, as Blackberry was wall-eyed and
the colt wanted a tail; that they had never been broke to the rein, but
had a hundred vicious tricks; and that we had but one saddle and pillion
in the whole house. All these objections however were overruled; so that
I was obliged to comply. The next morning I perceived them not a little
busy in collecting such materials as might be necessary for the
expedition, but as I found it would be a business of time, I walked on
to the church before, and they promised speedily to follow. I waited
near an hour in the reading-desk for their arrival, but not finding them
come as I expected, I was obliged to begin, and went through the
service, not without some uneasiness at finding them absent. This was
increased when all was finished, and no appearance of the family. I
therefore walked back by the horse-way, which was five miles round,
though the foot-way was but two, and when I got about half-way home,
perceived the procession marching slowly forward towards the church; my
son, my wife, and the two little ones exalted upon one horse, and my two
daughters upon the other. I demanded the cause of their delay; but I
soon found by their looks they had met with a thousand misfortunes on
the road. The horses had at first refused to move from the door, till
Mr. Burchell was kind enough to beat them forward for about two hundred
yards with his cudgel. Next, the straps of my wife's pillion broke down,
and they were obliged to stop to repair them before they could proceed.
After that, one of the horses took it into his head to stand still, and
neither blows nor entreaties could prevail with him to proceed. They
were just recovering from this dismal situation when I found them; but
perceiving everything safe, I own their present mortification did not
much displease me, as it would give me many opportunities of future
triumph, and teach my daughters more humility.

Michaelmas Eve happening on the next day, we were invited to burn nuts
and play tricks at neighbor Flamborough's. Our late mortifications had
humbled us a little, or it is probable we might have rejected such an
invitation with contempt; however, we suffered ourselves to be happy.
Our honest neighbor's goose and dumplings were fine, and the lamb's
wool, even in the opinion of my wife, who was a connoisseur, was
excellent. It is true his manner of telling stories was not quite so
well; they were very long and very dull, and all about himself, and we
had laughed at them ten times before; however, we were kind enough to
laugh at them once more.

Mr. Burchell, who was of the party, was always fond of seeing some
innocent amusement going forward, and set the boys and girls to
blindman's buff. My wife too was persuaded to join in the diversion, and
it gave me pleasure to think she was not yet too old. In the mean time
my neighbor and I looked on, laughed at every feat, and praised our own
dexterity when we were young. Hot cockles succeeded next, questions and
commands followed that, and last of all they sat down to hunt the
slipper. As every person may not be acquainted with this primeval
pastime, it may be necessary to observe that the company at this play
planted themselves in a ring upon the ground, all except one, who stands
in the middle, whose business it is to catch a shoe which the company
shove about under their hams from one to another, something like a
weaver's shuttle. As it is impossible in this case for the lady who is
up to face all the company at once, the great beauty of the play lies in
hitting her a thump with the heel of the shoe on that side least capable
of making a defense. It was in this manner that my eldest daughter was
hemmed in and thumped about, all blowzed in spirits, and bawling for
fair play with a voice that might deafen a ballad-singer, when,
confusion on confusion! who should enter the room but our two great
acquaintances from town, Lady Blarney and Miss Carolina Wilhelmina
Amelia Skeggs! Description would but beggar, therefore it is unnecessary
to describe this new mortification. Death! To be seen by ladies of such
high breeding in such vulgar attitudes! Nothing better could ensue from
such a vulgar play of Mr. Flamborough's proposing. We seemed stuck to
the ground for some time, as if actually petrified with amazement.

The two ladies had been at our house to see us, and finding us from
home, came after us hither, as they were uneasy to know what accident
could have kept us from church the day before. Olivia undertook to be
our prolocutor, and delivered the whole in the summary way, only saying,
"We were thrown from our horses." At which account the ladies were
greatly concerned; but being told the family received no hurt, they were
extremely glad; but being informed that we were almost killed by the
fright, they were vastly sorry; but hearing that we had a very good
night, they were extremely glad again. Nothing could exceed their
complaisance to my daughters; their professions the last evening were
warm, but now they were ardent. They protested a desire of having a more
lasting acquaintance; Lady Blarney was particularly attached to Olivia;
Miss Carolina Wilhelmina Amelia Skeggs (I love to give the whole name)
took a greater fancy to her sister. They supported the conversation
between themselves, while my daughters sat silent, admiring their
exalted breeding. But as every reader, however beggarly himself, is fond
of high-lived dialogues, with anecdotes of lords, ladies, and Knights of
the Garter, I must beg leave to give him the concluding part of the
present conversation.

"All that I know of the matter," cried Miss Skeggs, "is this: that it
may be true, or it may not be true; but this I can assure your ladyship,
that the whole route was in amaze; his lordship turned all manner of
colors, my lady fell into a swoon, but Sir Tomkyn, drawing his sword,
swore he was hers to the last drop of his blood."

"Well," replied our peeress, "this I can say: that the duchess
never told me a syllable of the matter; and I believe her Grace
would keep nothing a secret from me. This you may depend upon as
fact: that the next morning my lord duke cried out three times to
his _valet-de-chambre_, 'Jernigan, Jernigan, Jernigan, bring me
my garters!'"

But previously I should have mentioned the very impolite behavior of Mr.
Burchell, who during this discourse sat with his face turned to the
fire, and at the conclusion of every sentence would cry out
"_Fudge!_"--an expression which displeased us all, and in some measure
damped the rising spirit of the conversation.

"Besides, my dear Skeggs," continued our peeress, "there is nothing of
this in the copy of verses that Doctor Burdock made upon the occasion."

"I am surprised at that," cried Miss Skeggs; "for he seldom leaves
anything out, as he writes only for his own amusement. But can your
Ladyship favor me with a sight of them?" _Fudge!_

"My dear creature," replied our peeress, "do you think I carry such
things about me? Though they are very fine, to be sure, and I think
myself something of a judge; at least I know what pleases myself.
Indeed, I was ever an admirer of all Doctor Burdock's little pieces; for
except what he does, and our dear countess at Hanover Square, there's
nothing comes out but the most lowest stuff in nature; not a bit of high
life among them." _Fudge!_

"Your Ladyship should except," says t'other, "your own things in the
Lady's Magazine. I hope you'll say there's nothing low-lived there? But
I suppose we are to have no more from that quarter?" _Fudge!_

"Why, my dear," says the lady, "you know my reader and companion has
left me to be married to Captain Roach, and as my poor eyes won't suffer
me to write myself, I have been for some time looking out for another. A
proper person is no easy matter to find, and to be sure, thirty pounds a
year is a small stipend for a well-bred girl of character, that can
read, write, and behave in company; as for the chits about town, there
is no bearing them about one." _Fudge!_

"That I know," cried Miss Skeggs, "by experience. For of the three
companions I had this last half-year, one of them refused to do plain
work an hour in the day, another thought twenty-five guineas a year too
small a salary, and I was obliged to send away the third because I
suspected an intrigue with the chaplain. Virtue, my dear Lady Blarney,
virtue is worth any price; but where is that to be found?" _Fudge!_

My wife had been for a long time all attention to this discourse, but
was particularly struck with the latter part of it. Thirty pounds and
twenty-five guineas a year made fifty-six pounds five shillings, English
money, all which was in a manner going a-begging, and might easily be
secured in the family. She for a moment studied my looks for
approbation; and to own a truth, I was of opinion that two such places
would fit our two daughters exactly. Besides, if the Squire had any real
affection for my eldest daughter, this would be the way to make her
every way qualified for her fortune. My wife therefore was resolved that
we should not be deprived of such advantages for want of assurance, and
undertook to harangue for the family. "I hope," cried she, "your
ladyships will pardon my present presumption. It is true, we have no
right to pretend to such favors; but yet it is natural for me to wish
putting my children forward in the world. And I will be bold to say my
two girls have had a pretty good education and capacity; at least, the
country can't show better. They can read, write, and cast accounts; they
understand their needle, broad-stitch, cross-and-change, and all manner
of plain work; they can pink, point, and frill, and know something of
music; they can do up small-clothes, work upon catgut; my eldest can cut
paper, and my youngest has a very pretty manner of telling fortunes upon
the cards." _Fudge!_

When she had delivered this pretty piece of eloquence, the two ladies
looked at each other a few moments in silence, with an air of doubt and
importance. At last Miss Carolina Wilhelmina Amelia Skeggs condescended
to observe that the young ladies, from the opinion she could form of
them from so slight an acquaintance, seemed very fit for such
employments. "But a thing of this kind, madam," cried she, addressing my
spouse, "requires a thorough examination into characters, and a more
perfect knowledge of each other. Not, madam," continued she, "that I in
the least suspect the young ladies' virtue, prudence, and discretion;
but there is a form in these things, madam, there is a form."

My wife approved her suspicions very much, observing that she was very
apt to be suspicious herself; but referred her to all the neighbors for
a character; but this our peeress declined as unnecessary, alleging that
her cousin Thornhill's recommendation would be sufficient, and upon this
we rested our petition.

       *       *       *       *       *

When we returned home, the night was dedicated to schemes of future
conquest. Deborah exerted much sagacity in conjecturing which of the two
girls was likely to have the best place, and most opportunities of
seeing good company. The only obstacle to our preferment was in
obtaining the Squire's recommendation; but he had already shown us too
many instances of his friendship to doubt of it now. Even in bed my wife
kept up the usual theme: "Well, faith, my dear Charles, between
ourselves, I think we have made an excellent day's work of it." "Pretty
well," cried I, not knowing what to say. "What, only pretty well!"
returned she; "I think it is very well. Suppose the girls should come to
make acquaintances of taste in town! This I am assured of, that London
is the only place in the world for all manner of husbands. Besides, my
dear, stranger things happen every day; and as ladies of quality are so
taken with my daughters, what will not men of quality be! _Entre nous_,
I protest I like my Lady Blarney vastly; so very obliging. However, Miss
Carolina Wilhelmina Amelia Skeggs has my warm heart. But yet when they
came to talk of places in town, you saw at once how I nailed them. Tell
me, my dear, don't you think I did for my children there?" "Ay,"
returned I, not knowing well what to think of the matter; "Heaven grant
that they may be both the better for it this day three months!" This was
one of those observations I usually made to impress my wife with an
opinion of my sagacity; for if the girls succeeded, then it was a pious
wish fulfilled; but if anything unfortunate ensued, then it might be
looked upon as a prophecy.


From 'The Vicar of Wakefield'

The next morning I took my daughter behind me, and set out on my return
home. As we traveled along, I strove by every persuasion to calm her
sorrows and fears, and to arm her with resolution to bear the presence
of her offended mother. I took every opportunity, from the prospect of a
fine country through which we passed, to observe how much kinder Heaven
was to us than we were to each other, and that the misfortunes of
nature's making were very few. I assured her that she should never
perceive any change in my affections, and that during my life, which yet
might be long, she might depend upon a guardian and an instructor. I
armed her against the censures of the world; showed her that books were
sweet, unreproaching companions to the miserable, and that if they could
not bring us to enjoy life, they would at least teach us to endure it.

The hired horse that we rode was to be put up that night at an inn by
the way, within about five miles from my house; and as I was willing to
prepare my family for my daughter's reception, I determined to leave her
that night at the inn, and to return for her accompanied by my daughter
Sophia, early the next morning. It was night before we reached our
appointed stage; however, after seeing her provided with a decent
apartment, and having ordered the hostess to prepare proper
refreshments, I kissed her, and proceeded towards home. And now my heart
caught new sensations of pleasure, the nearer I approached that peaceful
mansion. As a bird that had been frighted from its nest, my affections
outwent my haste, and hovered round my little fireside with all the
rapture of expectation. I called up the many fond things I had to say,
and anticipated the welcome I was to receive. I already felt my wife's
tender embrace, and smiled at the joy of my little ones. As I walked but
slowly, the night waned apace. The laborers of the day were all retired
to rest; the lights were out in every cottage; no sounds were heard but
of the shrilling cock, and the deep-mouthed watch-dog at the hollow
distance. I approached my little abode of pleasure, and before I was
within a furlong of the place our honest mastiff came running to welcome

It was now near midnight that I came to knock at my door; all was still
and silent; my heart dilated with unutterable happiness; when to my
amazement I saw the house bursting out in a blaze of fire, and every
aperture red with conflagration! I gave a loud convulsive outcry, and
fell upon the pavement insensible. This alarmed my son, who had till
this been asleep, and he perceiving the flames instantly waked my wife
and daughter, and all running out naked and wild with apprehension,
recalled me to life with their anguish. But it was only to objects of
new terror; for the flames had by this time caught the roof of our
dwelling, part after part continuing to fall in, while the family stood
with silent agony looking on, as if they enjoyed the blaze. I gazed upon
them and upon it by turns, and then looked round me for my two little
ones: but they were not to be seen. Oh misery! "Where," cried I, "where
are my little ones?" "They are burnt to death in the flames," said my
wife calmly, "and I will die with them." That moment I heard the cry of
the babes within, who were just awaked by the fire; and nothing could
have stopped me. "Where, where are my children?" cried I, rushing
through the flames, and bursting the door of the chamber in which they
were confined; "where are my little ones?" "Here, dear papa, here we
are," cried they together, while the flames were just catching the bed
where they lay. I caught them both in my arms, and snatched them through
the fire as fast as possible, while just as I was got out, the roof
sunk in. "Now," cried I, holding up my children, "now let the flames
burn on, and all my possessions perish. Here they are; I have saved my
treasure. Here, my dearest, here are our treasures, and we shall yet be
happy." We kissed our little darlings a thousand times, they clasped us
round the neck and seemed to share our transports, while their mother
laughed and wept by turns.

I now stood a calm spectator of the flames, and after some time began to
perceive that my arm to the shoulder was scorched in a terrible manner.
It was therefore out of my power to give my son any assistance, either
in attempting to save our goods, or preventing the flames spreading to
our corn. By this time the neighbors were alarmed, and came running to
our assistance; but all they could do was to stand, like us, spectators
of the calamity. My goods, among which were the notes I had reserved for
my daughters' fortunes, were entirely consumed, except a box with some
papers that stood in the kitchen, and two or three things more of little
consequence which my son brought away in the beginning. The neighbors
contributed, however, what they could to lighten our distress. They
brought us clothes, and furnished one of our out-houses with kitchen
utensils; so that by daylight we had another, though a wretched
dwelling, to retire to. My honest next neighbor and his children were
not the least assiduous in providing us with everything necessary, and
offering whatever consolation untutored benevolence could suggest.

When the fears of my family had subsided, curiosity to know the cause of
my long stay began to take place; having therefore informed them of
every particular, I proceeded to prepare them for the reception of our
lost one, and though we had nothing but wretchedness now to impart, I
was willing to procure her a welcome to what we had. This task would
have been more difficult but for our recent calamity, which had humbled
my wife's pride and blunted it by more poignant afflictions. Being
unable to go for my poor child myself, as my arm grew very painful, I
sent my son and daughter, who soon returned, supporting the wretched
delinquent, who had not the courage to look up at her mother, whom no
instructions of mine could persuade to a perfect reconciliation; for
women have a much stronger sense of female error than men. "Ah, madam,"
cried her mother, "this is but a poor place you have come to after so
much finery. My daughter Sophy and I can afford but little entertainment
to persons who have kept company only with people of distinction. Yes,
Miss Livy, your poor father and I have suffered very much of late; but I
hope Heaven will forgive you." During this reception the unhappy victim
stood pale and trembling, unable to weep or to reply; but I could not
continue a silent spectator of her distress; wherefore, assuming a
degree of severity in my voice and manner which was ever followed with
instant submission:--"I entreat, woman, that my words may be now marked
once for all: I have here brought you back a poor deluded wanderer; her
return to duty demands the revival of our tenderness. The real hardships
of life are now coming fast upon us; let us not therefore increase them
by dissension among each other. If we live harmoniously together, we may
yet be contented, as there are enough of us to shut out the censuring
world and keep each other in countenance. The kindness of Heaven is
promised to the penitent, and let ours be directed by the example.
Heaven, we are assured, is much more pleased to view a repentant sinner
than ninety-nine persons who have supported a course of undeviating
rectitude. And this is right; for that single effort by which we stop
short in the down-hill path to perdition, is itself a greater exertion
of virtue than a hundred acts of justice."

       *       *       *       *       *

Some assiduity was now required to make our present abode as convenient
as possible, and we were soon again qualified to enjoy our former
serenity. Being disabled myself from assisting my son in our usual
occupations, I read to my family from the few books that were saved, and
particularly from such as by amusing the imagination contributed to ease
the heart. Our good neighbors, too, came every day with the kindest
condolence, and fixed a time in which they were all to assist at
repairing my former dwelling. Honest Farmer Williams was not last among
these visitors, but heartily offered his friendship. He would even have
renewed his addresses to my daughter; but she rejected them in such a
manner as totally repressed his future solicitations. Her grief seemed
formed for continuing, and she was the only person of our little society
that a week did not restore to cheerfulness. She had now lost that
unblushing innocence which once taught her to respect herself, and to
seek pleasure by pleasing. Anxiety now had taken strong possession of
her mind, her beauty began to be impaired with her constitution, and
neglect still more contributed to diminish it. Every tender epithet
bestowed on her sister brought a pang to her heart and a tear to her
eye; and as one vice, though cured, ever plants others where it has
been, so her former guilt, though driven out by repentance, left
jealousy and envy behind. I strove in a thousand ways to lessen her
care, and even forgot my own pain in a concern for hers, collecting such
amusing passages of history as a strong memory and some reading could
suggest. "Our happiness, my dear," I would say, "is in the power of One
who can bring it about a thousand unforeseen ways that mock our

In this manner I would attempt to amuse my daughter; but she listened
with divided attention, for her own misfortunes engrossed all the pity
she once had for those of another, and nothing gave her ease. In company
she dreaded contempt, and in solitude she only found anxiety. Such was
the color of her wretchedness, when we received certain information that
Mr. Thornhill was going to be married to Miss Wilmot, for whom I always
suspected he had a real passion, though he took every opportunity before
me to express his contempt both of her person and fortune. This news
only served to increase poor Olivia's affliction; such a flagrant breach
of fidelity was more than her courage could support. I was resolved
however to get more certain information, and to defeat if possible the
completion of his designs, by sending my son to old Mr. Wilmot's with
instructions to know the truth of the report, and to deliver Miss Wilmot
a letter intimating Mr. Thornhill's conduct in my family. My son went in
pursuance of my directions, and in three days returned, assuring us of
the truth of the account; but that he had found it impossible to deliver
the letter, which he was therefore obliged to leave, as Mr. Thornhill
and Miss Wilmot were visiting round the country. They were to be
married, he said, in a few days, having appeared together at church the
Sunday before he was there, in great splendor; the bride attended by six
young ladies, and he by as many gentlemen. Their approaching nuptials
filled the whole country with rejoicing, and they usually rode out
together in the grandest equipage that had been seen in the country for
years. All the friends of both families, he said, were there,
particularly the Squire's uncle, Sir William Thornhill, who bore so good
a character. He added that nothing but mirth and feasting were going
forward; that all the country praised the young bride's beauty and the
bridegroom's fine person, and that they were immensely fond of each
other; concluding that he could not help thinking Mr. Thornhill one of
the most happy men in the world.

"Why, let him if he can," returned I; "but my son, observe this bed of
straw and unsheltering roof, those moldering walls and humid floor, my
wretched body thus disabled by fire, and my children weeping round me
for bread. You have come home, my child, to all this; yet here, even
here, you see a man that would not for a thousand worlds exchange
situations. O my children, if you could but learn to commune with your
own hearts, and know what noble company you can make them, you would
little regard the elegance and splendor of the worthless. Almost all men
have been taught to call life a passage, and themselves the travelers.
The similitude still may be improved, when we observe that the good are
joyful and serene, like travelers that are going towards home; the
wicked but by intervals happy, like travelers that are going into

My compassion for my poor daughter, overpowered by this new disaster,
interrupted what I had further to observe. I bade her mother support
her, and after a short time she recovered. She appeared from that time
more calm, and I imagined had gained a new degree of resolution; but
appearances deceived me, for her tranquillity was the languor of
overwrought resentment. A supply of provisions charitably sent us by my
kind parishioners seemed to diffuse new cheerfulness among the rest of
the family; nor was I displeased at seeing them once more sprightly and
at ease. It would have been unjust to damp their satisfactions merely to
condole with resolute melancholy, or to burden them with a sadness they
did not feel. Thus once more the tale went round, and the song was
demanded, and cheerfulness condescended to hover round our little

       *       *       *       *       *

The next morning the sun arose with peculiar warmth for the season; so
that we agreed to breakfast together on the honeysuckle bank; where,
while we sat, my youngest daughter, at my request, joined her voice to
the concert on the trees about us. It was in this place my poor Olivia
first met her seducer, and every object served to recall her sadness.
But that melancholy which is excited by objects of pleasure, or inspired
by sounds of harmony, soothes the heart instead of corroding it. Her
mother, too, upon this occasion felt a pleasing distress, and wept, and
loved her daughter as before. "Do, my pretty Olivia," cried she, "let us
have that little melancholy air your papa was so fond of; your sister
Sophy has already obliged us. Do, child; it will please your old
father." She complied in a manner so exquisitely pathetic as moved me:

  "When lovely woman stoops to folly,
    And finds too late that men betray,
  What charm can soothe her melancholy?
    What art can wash her guilt away?

  "The only art her guilt to cover,
    "To hide her shame from every eye,
  To give repentance to her lover,
    And wring his bosom, is--to die."

As she was concluding the last stanza, to which an interruption in her
voice from sorrow gave peculiar softness, the appearance of Mr.
Thornhill's equipage at a distance alarmed us all, but particularly
increased the uneasiness of my eldest daughter, who, desirous of
shunning her betrayer, returned to the house with her sister. In a few
minutes he was alighted from his chariot, and making up to the place
where I was still sitting, inquired after my health with his usual air
of familiarity. "Sir," replied I, "your present assurance only serves to
aggravate the baseness of your character; and there was a time when I
would have chastised your insolence for presuming thus to appear before
me. But now you are safe; for age has cooled my passions, and my calling
restrains me."

"I vow, my dear sir," returned he, "I am amazed at all this, nor can I
understand what it means. I hope you don't think your daughter's late
excursion with me had anything criminal in it."

"Go," cried I; "thou art a wretch, a poor pitiful wretch, and every way
a liar; but your meanness secures you from my anger. Yet, sir, I am
descended from a family that would not have borne this! And so, thou
vile thing! to gratify a momentary passion, thou hast made one poor
creature wretched for life, and polluted a family that had nothing but
honor for their portion."

"If she or you," returned he, "are resolved to be miserable, I cannot
help it. But you may still be happy; and whatever opinion you may have
formed of me, you shall ever find me ready to contribute to it. We can
marry her to another in a short time, and what is more, she may keep
her lover beside; for I protest I shall ever continue to have a true
regard for her."

I found all my passions alarmed at this new degrading proposal; for
although the mind may often be calm under great injuries, little
villainy can at any time get within the soul and sting it into rage.
"Avoid my sight, thou reptile," cried I, "nor continue to insult me with
thy presence. Were my brave son at home he would not suffer this; but I
am old and disabled, and every way undone."

"I find," cried he, "you are bent upon obliging me to talk in a harsher
manner than I intended. But as I have shown you what may be hoped from
my friendship, it may not be improper to represent what may be the
consequences of my resentment. My attorney, to whom your late bond has
been transferred, threatens hard; nor do I know how to prevent the
course of justice except by paying the money myself, which, as I have
been at some expenses lately previous to my intended marriage, is not so
easy to be done. And then my steward talks of driving for the rent: it
is certain he knows his duty, for I never trouble myself with affairs of
that nature. Yet still I could wish to serve you, and even to have you
and your daughter present at my marriage, which is shortly to be
solemnized with Miss Wilmot; it is even the request of my charming
Arabella herself, whom I hope you will not refuse."

"Mr. Thornhill," replied I, "hear me once for all: as to your marriage
with any but my daughter, that I never will consent to; and though your
friendship could raise me to a throne, or your resentment sink me to the
grave, yet would I despise both. Thou hast once woefully, irreparably
deceived me. I reposed my heart upon thine honor, and have found its
baseness. Never more, therefore, expect friendship from me. Go, and
possess what fortune has given thee--beauty, riches, health, and
pleasure. Go and leave me to want, infamy, disease, and sorrow. Yet
humbled as I am, shall my heart still vindicate its dignity, and though
thou hast my forgiveness, thou shalt ever have my contempt."

"If so," returned he, "depend upon it you shall feel the effects of this
insolence; and we shall shortly see which is the fittest object of
scorn, you or me." Upon which he departed abruptly.


  Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour,
  Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power.
  Here, as I take my solitary rounds
  Amidst thy tangling walks and ruined grounds,
  And, many a year elapsed, return to view
  Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew,
  Remembrance wakes, with all her busy train,
  Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.
  In all my wanderings round this world of care,
  In all my griefs,--and God has given my share,--
  I still had hopes, my latest hours to crown,
  Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down;
  To husband out life's taper at the close,
  And keep the flame from wasting by repose.
  I still had hopes--for pride attends us still--
  Amidst the swains to show my book-learned skill;
  Around my fire an evening group to draw,
  And tell of all I felt, and all I saw;
  And as a hare whom hounds and horns pursue
  Pants to the place from whence at first she flew,
  I still had hopes, my long vexations past,
  Here to return--and die at home at last.

  Oh, blest retirement! friend to life's decline,
  Retreat from care, that never must be mine,
  How blest is he who crowns in shades like these
  A youth of labor with an age of ease;
  Who quits a world where strong temptations try,
  And since 'tis hard to combat, learns to fly!
  For him no wretches, born to work and weep,
  Explore the mine, or tempt the dangerous deep;
  No surly porter stands in guilty state,
  To spurn imploring famine from the gate:
  But on he moves to meet his latter end,
  Angels around befriending virtue's friend;
  Bends to the grave with unperceived decay,
  While resignation gently slopes the way;
  And, all his prospects brightening to the last,
    His heaven commences ere the world be past.

  Sweet was the sound, when oft at evening's close
  Up yonder hill the village murmur rose.
  There, as I passed with careless steps and slow,
  The mingling notes came softened from below:
  The swain responsive as the milkmaid sung,
  The sober herd that lowed to meet their young;
  The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool;
  The playful children just let loose from school;
  The watch-dog's voice that bayed the whispering wind,
  And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind:
  These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
  And filled each pause the nightingale had made.
  But now the sounds of population fail;
  No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale;
  No busy steps the grass-grown footway tread,
  But all the bloomy flush of life is fled.
  All but yon widowed, solitary thing
  That feebly bends beside the plashy spring;
  She, wretched matron,--forced in age, for bread,
  To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread,
  To pick her wintry fagot from the thorn,
  To seek her nightly shed, and weep till morn,--
  She only left of all the harmless train,
  The sad historian of the pensive plain.

  Near yonder copse, where once the garden smiled,
  And still where many a garden flower grows wild,
  There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,
  The village preacher's modest mansion rose.
  A man he was to all the country dear,
  And passing rich with forty pounds a year.
  Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
  Nor e'er had changed, nor wished to change, his place:
  Unpracticed he to fawn, or seek for power,
  By doctrines fashioned to the varying hour;
  Far other aims his heart had learned to prize,
  More skilled to raise the wretched than to rise.
  His house was known to all the vagrant train,--
  He chid their wanderings, but relieved their pain;
  The long-remembered beggar was his guest,
  Whose beard descending swept his aged breast;
  The ruined spendthrift, now no longer proud,
  Claimed kindred there, and had his claims allowed;
  The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay,
  Sate by his fire, and talked the night away,
  Wept o'er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done,
  Shouldered his crutch, and showed how fields were won.
  Pleased with his guests, the good man learned to glow,
  And quite forgot their vices in their woe;
  Careless their merits or their faults to scan,
  His pity gave ere charity began.

  Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
  And e'en his failings leaned to virtue's side:
  But in his duty prompt at every call,
  He watched and wept, he prayed and felt for all.
  And as a bird each fond endearment tries
  To tempt its new-fledged offspring to the skies,
  He tried each art, reproved each dull delay,
  Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way.

  Beside the bed where parting life was laid,
  And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismayed,
  The reverend champion stood. At his control,
  Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul;
  Comfort came down, the trembling wretch to raise,
  And his last faltering accents whispered praise.

  At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
  His looks adorned the venerable place;
  Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway,
  And fools who came to scoff remained to pray.
  The service past, around the pious man,
  With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran;
  Even children followed, with endearing wile,
  And plucked his gown, to share the good man's smile.
  His ready smile a parent's warmth exprest;
  Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distrest;
  To them his heart, his love, his griefs, were given,
  But all his serious thoughts had rest in Heaven:
  As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form,
  Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm,
  Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
  Eternal sunshine settles on its head.

  Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,
  With blossomed furze unprofitably gay,
  There in his noisy mansion, skilled to rule,
  The village master taught his little school.
  A man severe he was, and stern to view;
  I knew him well, and every truant knew:
  Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace
  The day's disasters in his morning face;
  Full well they laughed, with counterfeited glee,
  At all his jokes,--for many a joke had he;
  Full well, the busy whisper, circling round,
  Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned.
  Yet he was kind; or if severe in aught,
  The love he bore to learning was in fault.
  The village all declared how much he knew:
  'Twas certain he could write, and cipher too;
  Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,
  And even the story ran that he could _gauge_.
  In arguing, too, the parson owned his skill,
  For even though vanquished he could argue still;
  While words of learnèd length and thundering sound,
  Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around,
  And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew
  That one small head could carry all he knew.
  But past is all his fame. The very spot
  Where many a time he triumphed is forgot.

  Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high,
  Where once the sign-post caught the passing eye,
  Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts inspired,
  Where graybeard mirth and smiling toil retired,
  Where village statesmen talked with looks profound,
  And news much older than their ale went round.
  Imagination fondly stoops to trace
  The parlor splendors of that festive place:
  The whitewashed wall, the nicely sanded floor,
  The varnished clock that clicked behind the door;
  The chest contrived a double debt to pay,
  A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day;
  The pictures placed for ornament and use,
  The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose;
  The hearth, except when winter chilled the day,
  With aspen boughs and flowers and fennel gay,
  While broken teacups, wisely kept for show,
  Ranged o'er the chimney, glistened in a row.

  Vain, transitory splendors! could not all
  Reprieve the tottering mansion from its fall?
  Obscure it sinks, nor shall it more impart
  An hour's importance to the poor man's heart.
  Thither no more the peasant shall repair
  To sweet oblivion of his daily care;
  No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale,
  No more the woodman's ballad shall prevail;
  No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear,
  Relax his ponderous strength, and lean to hear;
  The host himself no longer shall be found
  Careful to see the mantling bliss go round;
  Nor the coy maid, half willing to be prest,
  Shall kiss the cup to pass it to the rest.

  Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain
  These simple blessings of the lowly train;
  To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
  One native charm, than all the gloss of art.
  Spontaneous joys where nature has its play,
  The soul adopts, and owns their first-born sway;
  Lightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind,
  Unenvied, unmolested, unconfined.
  But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade,
  With all the freaks of wanton wealth arrayed,--
  In these, ere triflers half their wish obtain,
  The toiling pleasure sickens into pain;
  And even while fashion's brightest arts decoy,
  The heart, distrusting, asks if this be joy.


From 'The Traveller'

  My soul, turn from them; turn we to survey
  Where rougher climes a nobler race display;
  Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansion tread,
  And force a churlish soil for scanty bread.
  No product here the barren hills afford,
  But man and steel, the soldier and his sword;
  No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array,
  But winter lingering chills the lap of May;
  No zephyr fondly sues the mountain's breast,
  But meteors glare, and stormy glooms invest.

  Yet still, even here, content can spread a charm.
  Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm.
  Though poor the peasant's hut, his feasts though small
  He sees his little lot the lot of all;
  Sees no contiguous palace rear its head
  To shame the meanness of his humble shed;
  No costly lord the sumptuous banquet deal
  To make him loathe his vegetable meal;
  But calm, and bred in ignorance and toil,
  Each wish contracting fits him to the soil.
  Cheerful at morn he wakes from short repose,
  Breasts the keen air, and carols as he goes;
  With patient angle trolls the finny deep,
  Or drives his venturous plowshare to the steep;
  Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark the way,
  And drags the struggling savage into day.
  At night returning, every labor sped,
  He sits him down, the monarch of a shed;
  Smiles by his cheerful fire, and round surveys
  His children's looks, that brighten at the blaze;
  While his loved partner, boastful of her hoard,
  Displays her cleanly platter on the board;
  And haply too some pilgrim, thither led,
  With many a tale repays the nightly bed.

  Thus every good his native wilds impart,
  Imprints the patriot passion on his heart;
  And even those ills that round his mansion rise,
  Enhance the bliss his scanty fund supplies.
  Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms,
  And dear that hill which lifts him to the storms;
  And as a child, when scaring sounds molest,
  Clings close and closer to the mother's breast,
  So the loud torrent, and the whirlwind's roar,
  But bind him to his native mountains more.

  Such are the charms to barren states assigned;
  Their wants but few, their wishes all confined.
  Yet let them only share the praises due,--
  If few their wants, their pleasures are but few;
  For every want that stimulates the breast
  Becomes a source of pleasure when redrest.
  Whence from such lands each pleasing science flies
  That first excites desire, and then supplies;
  Unknown to them, when sensual pleasures cloy,
  To fill the languid pause with finer joy;
  Unknown those powers that raise the soul to flame,
  Catch every nerve, and vibrate through the frame.
  Their level life is but a smoldering fire,
  Unquenched by want, unfanned by strong desire;
  Unfit for raptures, or if raptures cheer
  On some high festival of once a year,
  In wild excess the vulgar breast takes fire,
  Till, buried in debauch, the bliss expire.

  But not their joys alone thus coarsely flow:
  Their morals, like their pleasures, are but low;
  For as refinement stops, from sire to son
  Unaltered, unimproved, the manners run;
  And love's and friendship's finely pointed dart
  Falls blunted from each indurated heart.
  Some sterner virtues o'er the mountain's breast
  May sit, like falcons cowering on the nest;
  But all the gentler morals, such as play
  Through life's more cultured walks, and charm the way,
  These, far dispersed, on timorous pinions fly,
  To sport and flutter in a kinder sky.

  To kinder skies, where gentler manners reign,
  I turn; and France displays her bright domain.
  Gay, sprightly land of mirth and social ease,
  Pleased with thyself, whom all the world can please,
  How often have I led thy sportive choir,
  With tuneless pipe, beside the murmuring Loire!
  Where shading elms along the margin grew,
  And freshened from the wave the zephyr flew;
  And haply, though my harsh touch, faltering still,
  But mocked all tune, and marred the dancer's skill,
  Yet would the village praise my wondrous power,
  And dance, forgetful of the noontide hour.
  Alike all ages: dames of ancient days
  Have led their children through the mirthful maze;
  And the gay grandsire, skilled in gestic lore,
  Has frisked beneath the burthen of threescore.

  So blest a life these thoughtless realms display,
  Thus idly busy rolls their world away:
  Theirs are those arts that mind to mind endear,
  For honor forms the social temper here.
  Honor, that praise which real merit gains,
  Or even imaginary worth obtains,
  Here passes current; paid from hand to hand,
  It shifts in splendid traffic round the land;
  From courts to camps, to cottages it strays,
  And all are taught an avarice of praise:
  They please, are pleased, they give to get esteem,
  Till, seeming blest, they grow to what they seem.

  But while this softer art their bliss supplies,
  It gives their follies also room to rise:
  For praise too dearly loved, or warmly sought,
  Enfeebles all internal strength of thought;
  And the weak soul, within itself unblest,
  Leans for all pleasure on another's breast.
  Hence ostentation here, with tawdry art,
  Pants for the vulgar praise which fools impart;
  Here vanity assumes her pert grimace,
  And trims her robes of frieze with copper lace;
  Here beggar pride defrauds her daily cheer,
  To boast one splendid banquet once a year:
  The mind still turns where shifting fashion draws,
  Nor weighs the solid worth of self-applause.




[Illustration: I.V. GONCHARÓF]

Among the Russian novelists of the first rank stands Iván the son of
Alexander Goncharóf. His life has been almost synchronous with the
century. He was born in 1812 in the city of Simbirsk, on the Volga below
Nizhni Nóvgorod. His father, a wealthy merchant of that flourishing
town, died when the boy was only three years old, leaving him in the
care of his mother, a conscientious and lovely woman, who, without a
remarkable education, nevertheless determined that her son should have
the best that could be provided. In this she was cordially assisted by
Ivàn's godfather, a retired naval officer who lived in one of her houses
and was a cultivated, lively, and lovable man, the centre of the best
society of the provincial city. His tales of travel and adventure early
implanted in the boy a great passion for reading and study about foreign
lands, and the desire to see the world.

He was at first taught at home; then he was sent to a private school
which had been established by a local priest for the benefit of
neighboring land-owners and gentry. This priest had been educated at the
Theological School at Kazán, and was distinguished for his courtly
manners and general cultivation. His wife--for it must be remembered
that the Russian priesthood is not celibate--was a fascinating French
woman, and she taught her native tongue in her husband's school. This
remarkable little institution had a small but select library, and here
young Goncharóf indulged his taste in reading by devouring the Voyages
of Captain Cook, Mungo Park, and others, the histories of Karamzin and
Rollin, the poetical works of Tasso and Fenelon, as well as the romantic
fiction of that day; he was especially fascinated by 'The Heir of
Redclyffe.' His reading, however, was ill regulated and not well adapted
for his mental discipline. At twelve he was taken by his mother to
Moscow, where he had the opportunity to study English and German as well
as to continue his reading in French, in which he had already been well

In 1831 he entered Moscow University, electing the Philological Faculty.
There were at that time in the University a coterie of young men who
afterwards became famous as writers, and the lectures delivered by a
number of enthusiastic young professors were admirably calculated to
develop the best in those who heard them. He finished the complete
course, and after a brief visit at his native place went to St.
Petersburg, where he entered the Ministry of Finance. Gogol, and
Goncharóf himself, have painted the depressing influence of the
officialdom then existing. The _chinóvnik_ as painted by those early
realists was a distinct type. But on the other hand, there was a
delightful society at St. Petersburg, and the literary impulses of
talented young men were fostered by its leaders. Some of these men
founded a new journal of which Salonitsuin was the leading spirit, and
in this appeared Goncharóf's first articles. They were of a humoristic
tendency. His first serious work was entitled 'Obuiknavénnaya Istóriya'
(An Ordinary Story),--a rather melancholy tale, showing how youthful
enthusiasm and the dreams of progress and perfection can be killed by
formalism: Aleksandr Adúyef the romantic dreamer is contrasted with his
practical uncle Peter Ivánovitch. The second part was not completed when
the first part was placed in the hands of the critic Byelinsky, the
sovereign arbiter on things literary. Byelinsky gave it his
"imprimatur," and it was published in the Sovreménnik (Contemporary) in
1847. The conception of his second and by all odds his best romance,
'Oblómof,' was already in his mind; and the first draft was published in
the Illustrated Album, under the title 'Son Oblómova' (Oblómof's Dream),
the following year.

In 1852 Goncharóf received from the Marine Ministry a proposition to
sail around the world as private secretary to Admiral Putyátin. On his
return he contributed to various magazines sketches of his experiences,
and finally published a handsome volume of his travels entitled 'Phregat
Pállada' (The Frigate Pallas). In 1857 he went to Carlsbad and completed
'Oblómof' on which he had been working so many years. It appeared in
Otetchestvenniya Zapíski (Annals of the Fatherland) in 1858 and 1859,
and made a profound sensation. The hero was recognized as a perfectly
elaborated portrait of a not uncommon type of Russian character: a
good-natured, warm-hearted, healthy young man, so enervated by the
atmosphere of indolence into which he has allowed himself to sink, that
nothing serves to rouse him. Love is the only impulse which could
galvanize him into life. Across his path comes the beautiful Olga, whom
the Russians claim as a poetic and at the same time a genuine
representative of the best Russian womanhood. Vigorous, alert, with mind
and heart equally well developed, she stirs the latent manhood of
Oblómof; but when he comes to face the responsibilities, the cares, and
the duties of matrimony, he has not the courage to enter upon them.
Olga marries Oblómof's friend Stoltz, whom Goncharóf intended to be a
no less typical specimen of Russian manhood, and whom most critics
consider overdrawn and not true to life. The novel is a series of
wonderful _genre_ pictures: his portraits are marvels of finish and
delicacy; and there are a number of dramatic scenes, although the story
as a whole lacks movement. The first chapter, which is here reproduced,
is chosen not as perhaps the finest in the book, but as thoroughly
characteristic. It is also a fine specimen of Russian humor.

Goncharóf finished in 1868 his third novel, entitled 'Abruíf' (The
Precipice). It was published first in the Viéstnik Yevrópui (European
Messenger), and in book form in 1870. In this he tries to portray the
type of the Russian Nihilist; but Volokhóf is regarded rather as a
caricature than as a faithful portrait. In contrast with him stands the
beautiful Viera; but just as Volokhóf falls below Oblómof, so Viera
yields to Olga in perfect realism. One of the best characters in the
story is the dilettante Raísky, the type of the man who has an artistic
nature but no energy. One of the most important characters of the book
is Viera's grandmother: the German translation of 'The Precipice' is
entitled 'The Grandmother's Fault.'

Goncharóf has written a few literary essays, and during the past few
years has contributed to one of the Russian reviews a series of literary
recollections. But his fame with posterity will depend principally on
his 'Oblómof,' the name of which has given to the language a new
word,--_oblómovshchina_[F] Oblómovism,--the typically Russian indolence
which was induced by the peculiar social conditions existing in Russia
before the emancipation of the serfs in 1861: indifference to all social
questions; the expectation that others will do your work; or as
expressed in the Russian proverb, "the trusting in others as in God, but
in yourself as in the Devil."

                                    [Signature: Nathan Haskell Dole]

    [F] Oblómof is the genitive plural of the word oblóm or oblám,
    a term expressive of anything broken or almost useless, or
    even bad; a rude, awkward, unfinished man.


In Garókhavaya Street, in one of those immense houses the population
of which would suffice for a whole provincial city, there lay one
morning in bed in his apartment Ílya Ílyitch Oblómof. He was a
pleasant-appearing man of two or three and twenty, of medium stature,
with dark gray eyes; but his face lacked any fixed idea or concentration
of purpose. A thought would wander like a free bird over his features,
flutter in his eyes, light on his parted lips, hide itself in the
wrinkles of his brow, then entirely vanish away; and over his whole
countenance would spread the shadeless light of unconcern.

From his face this indifference extended to the attitudes of his whole
body, even to the folds of his dressing-gown. Occasionally his eyes were
darkened by an expression of weariness or disgust, but neither weariness
nor disgust could for an instant dispel from his face the indolence
which was the dominant and habitual expression not only of his body, but
also of his very soul. And his soul was frankly and clearly betrayed in
his eyes, in his smile, in every movement of his head, of his hands.

A cool superficial observer, glancing at Oblómof as he passed him by,
would have said, "He must be a good-natured, simple-hearted fellow." Any
one looking deeper, more sympathetically, would after a few moments'
scrutiny turn away with a smile, with a feeling of agreeable

Oblómof's complexion was not florid, not tawny, and not positively
pallid, but was indeterminate,--or seemed to be so, perhaps because it
was flabby; not by reason of age, but by lack of exercise or of fresh
air or of both. His body, to judge by the dull, transparent color of his
neck, by his little plump hands, his drooping shoulders, seemed too
effeminate for a man. His movements, even if by chance he were aroused,
were kept under restraint likewise by a languor and by a laziness that
was not devoid of its own peculiar grace.

If a shadow of an anxious thought arose from his spirit and passed
across his face, his eyes would grow troubled, the wrinkles in his brow
would deepen, a struggle of doubt or pain would seem to begin: but
rarely indeed would this troubled thought crystallize into the form of a
definite idea; still more rarely would it be transformed into a

All anxiety would be dissipated in a sigh and settle down into apathy or
languid dreaming.

How admirably Oblómof's house costume suited his unruffled features and
his effeminate body! He wore a dressing-gown of Persian material--a
regular Oriental _khalát_, without the slightest suggestion of anything
European about it, having no tassels, no velvet, no special shape. It
was ample in size, so that he might have wrapped it twice around him.
The sleeves, in the invariable Asiatic style, grew wider and wider from
the wrist to the shoulder. Although this garment had lost its first
freshness, and in places had exchanged its former natural gloss for
another that was acquired, it still preserved the brilliancy of its
Oriental coloring and its firmness of texture.

The khalát had in Oblómof's eyes a multitude of precious properties: it
was soft and supple; the body was not sensible of its weight; like an
obedient slave, it accommodated itself to every slightest motion.

Oblómof while at home always went without cravat and without waistcoat,
for the simple reason that he liked simplicity and comfort. The slippers
which he wore were long, soft, and wide; when without looking he put
down one foot from the bed to the floor it naturally fell into one of

Oblómof's remaining in bed was not obligatory upon him, as in the case
of a sick man or of one who was anxious to sleep; nor was it accidental,
as in the case of one who was weary; nor was it for mere pleasure, as a
sluggard would have chosen: it was the normal condition of things with
him. When he was at home--and he was almost always at home--he
invariably lay in bed and invariably in the room where we have just
found him: a room which served him for sleeping-room, library, and
parlor. He had three other rooms, but he rarely glanced into them; in
the morning, perhaps, but even then not every day, but only when his man
came to sweep the rooms--and this, you may be sure, was not done every
day. In these rooms the furniture was protected with covers; the
curtains were always drawn.

The room in which Oblómof was lying appeared at first glance to be
handsomely furnished, There were a mahogany bureau, two sofas
upholstered in silk, handsome screens embroidered with birds and fruits
belonging to an imaginary nature. There were damask curtains, rugs, a
number of paintings, bronzes, porcelains, and a quantity of beautiful
bric-a-brac. But the experienced eye of a man of pure taste would have
discovered at a single hasty glance that everything there betrayed
merely the desire to keep up appearances in unimportant details, while
really avoiding the burden. That had indeed been Oblómof's object when
he furnished his room. Refined taste would not have been satisfied with
those heavy ungraceful mahogany chairs, with those conventional
étagères. The back of one sofa was dislocated; the veneering was broken
off in places. The same characteristics were discoverable in the
pictures and the vases, and all the ornaments.

The proprietor himself, however, looked with such coolness and
indifference on the decoration of his apartment that one might think he
asked with his eyes, "Who brought you here and set you up?" As the
result of such an indifferent manner of regarding his possessions, and
perhaps of the still more indifferent attitude of Oblómof's servant
Zakhár, the appearance of the room, if it were examined rather more
critically, was amazing because of the neglect and carelessness which
held sway there. On the walls, around the pictures, spiders' webs,
loaded with dust, hung like festoons; the mirrors, instead of reflecting
objects, would have served better as tablets for scribbling memoranda in
the dust that covered them. The rugs were rags. On the sofa lay a
forgotten towel; on the table you would generally find in the morning a
plate or two with the remains of the evening meal, the salt-cellar,
gnawed bones, and crusts of bread. Were it not for these plates, and the
pipe half smoked out and flung down on the bed, or even the master
himself stretched out on it, it might easily have been supposed that the
room was uninhabited, it was so dusty, so lacking in all traces of human
care. On the étagères, to be sure, lay two or three opened books or a
crumpled newspaper; on the bureau stood an inkstand with pens; but the
pages where the books were open were covered thick with dust and had
turned yellow, evidently long ago thrown aside; the date of the
newspaper was long past; and if any one had dipped a pen into the
inkstand it would have started forth only a frightened, buzzing fly!

Ílya Ílyitch was awake, contrary to his ordinary custom, very early,--at
eight o'clock. Some anxiety was preying on his mind. Over his face
passed alternately now apprehension, now annoyance, now vexation. It was
evident that an internal conflict had him in its throes, and his
intellect had not as yet come to his aid.

The fact was that the evening before, Oblómof had received from the
stárosta (steward) of his estate a letter filled with disagreeable
tidings. It is not hard to guess what unpleasant details one's steward
may write about: bad harvests, large arrearages, diminution in receipts,
and the like. But although his stárosta had written his master almost
precisely the same kind of letter the preceding year and the year before
that, nevertheless this latest letter came upon him exactly the same, as
a disagreeable surprise.

Was it not hard?--he was facing the necessity of considering the means
of taking some measures!

However, it is proper to show how far Ílya Ílyitch was justified in
feeling anxiety about his affairs.

When he received the first letter of disagreeable tenor from his
stárosta some years before, he was already contemplating a plan for a
number of changes and improvements in the management of his property.
This plan presupposed the introduction of various new economical and
protectional measures; but the details of the scheme were still in
embryo, and the stárosta's disagreeable letters were annually
forthcoming, urging him to activity and really disturbing his peace of
mind. Oblómof recognized the necessity of coming to some decision if he
were to carry out his plan.

As soon as he woke he decided to get up, bathe, and after drinking his
tea, to think the matter over carefully, then to write his letters; and
in short, to act in this matter as was fitting. But for half an hour he
had been still in bed tormenting himself with this proposition; but
finally he came to the conclusion that he would still have time to do it
after tea, and that he might drink his tea as usual in bed with all the
more reason, because one can think even if one is lying down!

And so he did. After his tea he half sat up in bed, but did not entirely
rise; glancing down at his slippers, he started to put his foot into one
of them, but immediately drew it back into bed again.

As the clock struck half-past nine, Ílya Ílyitch started up.

"What kind of a man am I?" he said aloud in a tone of vexation.
"Conscience only knows. It is time to do something: where there's a
will--Zakhár!" he cried.

In a room which was separated merely by a narrow corridor from Ílya
Ílyitch's library, nothing was heard at first except the growling of the
watch-dog; then the thump of feet springing down from somewhere. It was
Zakhár leaping down from his couch on the stove, where he generally
spent his time immersed in drowsiness.

An elderly man appeared in the room: he was dressed in a gray coat,
through a hole under the armpit of which emerged a part of his shirt; he
also wore a gray waistcoat with brass buttons. His head was as bald as
his knee, and he had enormous reddish side-whiskers already turning
gray--so thick and bushy that they would have sufficed for three
ordinary individuals.

Zakhár would never have taken pains to change in any respect either the
form which God had bestowed on him, or the costume which he wore in the
country. His raiment was made for him in the style which he had brought
with him from his village. His gray coat and waistcoat pleased him, for
the very reason that in his semi-fashionable attire he perceived a
feeble approach to the livery which he had worn in former times when
waiting on his former masters (now at rest), either to church or to
parties; but liveries in his recollections were merely representative of
the dignity of the Oblómof family. There was nothing else to recall to
the old man the comfortable and liberal style of life on the estate in
the depths of the country. The older generation of masters had died, the
family portraits were at home, and in all probability were going to rack
and ruin in the garret; the traditions of the former life and importance
of the house of Oblómof were all extinct, or lived only in the memories
of a few old people still lingering in the country.

Consequently, precious in the eyes of Zakhár was the gray coat: in this
he saw a faint emblem of vanished greatness, and he found similar
indications in some of the characteristics of his master's features and
notions, reminding of his parentage, and in his caprices, which although
he grumbled at them under his breath and aloud, yet he prized secretly
as manifestations of the truly imperious will and autocratic spirit of a
born noble. Had it not been for these whims, he would not have felt that
his master was in any sense above him; had it not been for them, there
would have been nothing to bring back to his mind his younger days, the
village which they had abandoned so long ago, and the traditions about
that ancient home,--the sole chronicles preserved by aged servants,
nurses, and nursemaids, and handed down from mouth to mouth.

The house of the Oblómofs was rich in those days, and had great
influence in that region; but afterwards somehow or other everything had
gone to destruction, and at last by degrees had sunk out of sight,
overshadowed by parvenus of aristocratic pretensions. Only the few
gray-haired retainers of the house preserved and interchanged their
reminiscences of the past, treasuring them like holy relics.

This was the reason why Zakhár so loved his gray coat. Possibly he
valued his side-whiskers because of the fact that he saw in his
childhood many of the older servants with this ancient and aristocratic

Ílya Ílyitch, immersed in contemplation, took no notice of Zakhár,
though the servant had been silently waiting for some time. At last he

"What is it you want?" asked Ílya Ílyitch.

"You called me, didn't you?"

"Called you? I don't remember what I called you for," he replied,
stretching and yawning. "Go back to your room; I will try to think what
I wanted."

Zakhár went out, and Ílya Ílyitch lay down on the bed again and began to
cogitate upon that cursed letter.

A quarter of an hour elapsed.

"There now," he exclaimed, "I have dallied long enough; I must get up.
However, I must read the stárosta's letter over again more attentively,
and then I will get up--Zakhár!" The same noise of leaping down from the
stove, and the same growling of the dog, only more emphatic.

Zakhár made his appearance, but again Oblómof was sunk deep in
contemplation. Zakhár stood a few moments, looking sulkily and askance
at his master, and finally he turned to go.

"Where are you going?" suddenly demanded Oblómof.

"You have nothing to say to me, and why should I waste my time standing
here?" explained Zakhár, in a hoarse gasp which served him in lieu of a
voice, he having lost his voice, according to his own account, while out
hunting with the dogs when he had to accompany his former master, and
when a powerful wind seemed to blow in his throat. He half turned round,
and stood in the middle of the room and glared at his master.

"Have your legs quite given out, that you can't stand a minute? Don't
you see I am worried? Now, please wait a moment! wasn't it lying there
just now? Get me that letter which I received last evening from the
stárosta. What did you do with it?"

"What letter? I haven't seen any letter," replied Zakhár.

"Why, you yourself took it from the postman, you scoundrel!"

"It is where you put it; how should I know anything about it?" said
Zakhár, beginning to rummage about among the papers and various things
that littered the table.

"You never know anything at all. There, look on the basket. No, see if
it hasn't been thrown on the sofa.--There, the back of that sofa hasn't
been mended yet. Why have you not got the carpenter to mend it? 'Twas
you who broke it. You never think of anything!"

"I didn't break it," retorted Zakhár; "it broke itself; it was not meant
to last forever; it had to break some time."

Ílya Ílyitch did not consider it necessary to refute this argument. He
contented himself with asking:--

"Have you found it yet?"

"Here are some letters."

"But they are not the right ones."

"Well, there's nothing else," said Zakhár.

"Very good, be gone," said Ílya Ílyitch impatiently. "I am going to get
up. I will find it."

Zakhár went to his room, but he had hardly laid his hand on his couch to
climb up to it before the imperative cry was heard again:--

"Zakhár! Zakhár!"

"Oh, good Lord!" grumbled he, as he started to go for the third time to
Oblómof's library. "What a torment all this is! Oh that death would come
and take me from it!"

"What do you want?" he asked, as he stood with one hand on the door, and
glaring at Oblómof as a sign of his surliness, at such an angle that he
had to look at his master out of the corner of his eyes; while his
master could see only one of his enormous side-whiskers, so bushy that
you might have expected to have two or three birds come flying out from

"My handkerchief, quick! You might have known what I wanted. Don't you
see?" remarked Ílya Ílyitch sternly.

Zakhár displayed no special dissatisfaction or surprise at such an order
or such a reproach on his master's part, regarding both, so far as he
was concerned, as perfectly natural.

"But who knows where your handkerchief is?" he grumbled, circling about
the room and making a careful examination of every chair, although it
could be plainly seen that there was nothing whatever on them.

"It is a perfect waste of time," he remarked, opening the door into the
drawing-room in order to see if there was any sign of it there.

"Where are you going? Look for it here; I have not been in that room
since day before yesterday. And make haste," urged Ílya Ílyitch.

"Where is the handkerchief? There isn't any handkerchief," exclaimed
Zakhár rummaging and searching in every corner.

"Oh, there it is," he suddenly cried angrily, "under you. There is the
end of it sticking out. You were lying on it, and yet you ask me to find
your handkerchief for you!"

And Zakhár, without awaiting any reply, turned and started to go out.
Oblómof was somewhat ashamed of his own blunder. But he quickly
discovered another pretext for putting Zakhár in the wrong.

"What kind of neatness do you call this everywhere here! Look at the
dust and dirt! Good heavens! look here, look here! See these corners!
You don't do anything at all."

"And so I don't do anything," repeated Zakhár in a tone betokening deep
resentment. "I am growing old, I shan't live much longer! But God knows
I use the duster for the dust, and I sweep almost every day."

He pointed to the middle of the floor, and at the table where Oblómof
had dined. "Here, look here," he went on: "it has all been swept and all
put in order, fit for a wedding. What more is needed?"

"Well then, what is this?" cried Ílya Ílyitch, interrupting him and
calling his attention to the walls and the ceiling. "And that? and

He pointed to a yesterday's napkin which had been flung down, and to a
plate which had been left lying on the table with a dry crust of bread
on it.

"Well, as for that," said Zakhár as he picked up the plate, "I will take
care of it."

"You will take care of it, will you? But how about the dust and the
cobwebs on the walls?" said Oblómof, making ocular demonstration.

"I put that off till Holy Week; then I clean the sacred images and sweep
down the cobwebs."

"But how about dusting the books and pictures?"

"The books and pictures? Before Christmas; then Anísiya and I look over
all the closets. But now when should we be able to do it? You are always
at home."

"I sometimes go to the theatre or go out to dine: you might--"

"Do house-cleaning at night?"

Oblómof looked at him reproachfully, shook his head, and uttered a sigh;
but Zakhár gazed indifferently out of the window and also sighed deeply.
The master seemed to be thinking, "Well, brother, you are even more of
an Oblómof than I am myself;" while Zakhár probably said to himself,
"Rubbish! You as my master talk strange and melancholy words, but how do
dust and cobwebs concern you?"

"Don't you know that moths breed in dust?" asked Ílya Ílyitch. "I have
even seen bugs on the wall!"

"Well, I have fleas on me sometimes," replied Zakhár in a tone of

"Well, is that anything to boast about? That is shameful," exclaimed

Zakhár's face was distorted by a smirking smile, which seemed to embrace
even his eyebrows and his side-whiskers, which for this reason spread
apart; and over his whole face up to his very forehead extended a ruddy

"Why, am I to blame that there are bugs on the wall?" he asked in
innocent surprise: "was it I who invented them?"

"They come from lack of cleanliness," insisted Oblómof. "What are you
talking about?"

"I am not the cause of the uncleanliness."

"But you have mice in your room there running about at night--I hear

"I did not invent the mice. There are all kinds of living
creatures--mice and cats and fleas--lots of them everywhere."

"How is it that other people don't have moths and bugs?"

Zakhár's face expressed incredulity, or rather a calm conviction that
this was not so.

"I have plenty of them," he said without hesitation. "One can't look
after every bug and crawl into the cracks after them."

It seemed to be his thought, "What kind of a sleeping-room would that be
that had no bugs in it?"

"Now do you see to it that you sweep and brush them out of the corners;
don't let there be one left," admonished Oblómof.

"If you get it all cleaned up it will be just as bad again to-morrow,"
remonstrated Zakhár.

"It ought not to be as bad," interrupted the master.

"But it is," insisted the servant; "I know all about it."

"Well then, if the dust collects again, brush it out again."

"What is that you say? Brush out all the corners every day?" exclaimed
Zakhár. "What a life that would be! Better were it that God should take
my soul!"

"Why are other people's houses clean?" urged Oblómof. "Just look at the
piano-tuner's rooms: see how neat they look, and only one maid--"

"Oh, these Germans!" exclaimed Zakhár suddenly interrupting. "Where do
they make any litter? Look at the way they live! Every family gnaws a
whole week on a single bone. The coat goes from the father's back to the
son's, and back from the son's to the father's. The wives and daughters
wear little short skirts, and when they walk they all lift up their legs
like ducks--where do they get any dirt? They don't do as we do--leave a
whole heap of soiled clothes in the closet for a year at a time, or fill
up the corners with bread crusts for the winter. Their crusts are never
flung down at random: they make zweiback out of them, and eat them when
they drink their beer!"

Zakhár expressed his disgust at such a penurious way of living by
spitting through his teeth.

"Say nothing more," expostulated Ílya Ílyitch. "Do better work with your

"One time I would have cleaned up, but you yourself would not allow it,"
said Zakhár.

"That is all done with! Don't you see I have entirely changed?"

"Of course you have; but still you stay at home all the time: how can
one begin to clean up when you are right here? If you will stay out of
the house for a whole day, then I will have a general clearing-up."

"What an idea! Get out of here. You had better go to your own room."

"All right!" persisted Zakhár; "but I tell you, the moment you go out,
Anísiya and I will clear the whole place up. And we two would finish
with it in short metre; then you will want some women to wash

"Oh, what schemes you invent! Women! away with you!" cried Ílya Ílyitch.

He was by this time disgusted with himself for having led Zakhár into
this conversation. He had quite forgotten that the attainment of this
delicate object was at the expense of considerable confusion. Oblómof
would have liked a state of perfect cleanliness, but he would require
that it should be brought about in some imperceptible manner, as it were
of itself; but Zakhár always induced a discussion as soon as he was
asked to have any sweeping done, or the floors washed, and the like. In
such a contingency he was sure to point out the necessity of a terrible
disturbance in the house, knowing very well that the mere suggestion of
such a thing would fill his master with horror.

Zakhár went away, and Oblómof relapsed into cogitation. After some
minutes the half-hour struck again.

"What time is it?" exclaimed Ílya Ílyitch with a dull sense of alarm.
"Almost eleven o'clock! Can it be that I am not up yet nor had my bath?
Zakhár! Zakhár!"

"Oh, good God! what is it now?" was heard from the ante-room, and then
the well-known thump of feet.

"Is my bath ready?" asked Oblómof.

"Ready? yes, long ago," replied Zakhár. "Why did you not get up?"

"Why didn't you tell me it was ready? I should have got up long ago if
you had. Go on; I will follow you immediately. I have some business to
do; I want to write."

Zakhár went out, but in the course of a few minutes he returned with a
greasy copy-book all scribbled over, and some scraps of paper.

"Here, if you want to write--and by the way, be kind enough to verify
these accounts: we need the money to pay them."

"What accounts? what money?" demanded Ílya Ílyitch with a show of

"From the butcher, from the grocer, from the laundress, from the baker;
they all are clamoring for money."

"Nothing but bother about money," growled Ílya Ílyitch. "But why didn't
you give them to me one at a time instead of all at once?"

"You see you always kept putting me off: 'To-morrow,' always

"Well, why shouldn't we put them off till to-morrow now?"

"No! they are dunning you; they won't give any longer credit.
To-morrow's the first of the month."

"Akh!" cried Oblómof in vexation, "new bother! Well, why are you
standing there? Put them on the table. I will get up immediately, take
my bath, and look them over," said Ílya Ílyitch. "Is it all ready for my

"What do you mean--'ready'?" said Zakhár.

"Well, now--"

With a groan he started to make the preliminary movement of getting up.

"I forgot to tell you," began Zakhár, "while you were still asleep the
manager sent word by the dvórnik that it was imperatively necessary that
you vacate the apartment: it is wanted."

"Well, what of that? If the apartment is wanted of course we will move
out. Why do you bother me with it? This is the third time you have
spoken to me about it."

"They bother me about it also."

"Tell them that we will move out."

"He says, 'For a month you have been promising,' says he, 'and still you
don't move out,' says he: 'we'll report the matter to the police.'"

"Let him report," cried Oblómof resolutely: "we will move out as soon as
it is a little warmer, in the course of three weeks."

"Three weeks, indeed! The manager says that the workmen are coming in a
fortnight: everything is to be torn out. 'Move,' says he, 'either
to-morrow or day after to-morrow.'"

"Eh--eh--eh--that's too short notice: to-morrow? See here, what next?
How would this minute suit? But don't you dare speak a word to me about
apartments. I have already told you that once, and here you are again.
Do you hear?"

"But what shall I do?" demanded Zakhár.

"What shall you do? Now how is he going to get rid of me?" replied Ílya
Ílyitch. "He makes me responsible! How does it concern me? Don't you
trouble me any further, but make any arrangements you please, only so
that we don't have to move yet. Can't you do your best for your master?"

"But Ílya Ílyitch, little father [bátiushka], what arrangements shall I
make?" began Zakhár in a hoarse whisper. "The house is not mine; how can
we help being driven out of the place if they resort to force? If only
the house were mine, then I would with the greatest pleasure--"

"There must be some way of bringing him around: tell him we have lived
here so long; tell him we'll surely pay him."

"I have," said Zakhár.

"Well, what did he say?"

"What did he say? He repeated his everlasting 'Move out,' says he; 'we
want to make repairs on the apartment.' He wants to do over this large
apartment and the doctor's for the wedding of the owner's son."

"Oh, my good Lord!" exclaimed Oblómof in despair; "what asses they are
to get married!"

He turned over on his back.

"You had better write to the owner, sir," said Zakhár. "Then perhaps he
would not drive us out, but would give us a renewal of the lease."

Zakhár as he said this made a gesture with his right hand.

"Very well, then; as soon as I get up I will write him. You go to your
room and I will think it over. You need not do anything about this," he
added; "I myself shall have to work at all this miserable business

Zakhár left the room, and Oblómof began to ponder.

But he was in a quandary which to think about,--his stárosta's letter,
or the removal to new lodgings, or should he undertake to make out his
accounts? He was soon swallowed up in the flood of material cares and
troubles, and there he still lay turning from side to side. Every once
in a while would be heard his broken exclamation, "Akh, my God! life
touches everything, reaches everywhere!"

No one knows how long he would have lain there a prey to this
uncertainty, had not the bell rung in the ante-room.

"There is some one come already!" exclaimed Oblómof, wrapping himself up
in his khalát, "and here I am not up yet; what a shame! Who can it be so

And still lying on his bed, he gazed curiously at the door.


EDMOND (1822-1896) JULES (1830-1870)

[Illustration: EDMOND DE GONCOURT]

Edmond and Jules Huot De Goncourt, French writers who became famous
alike for the perfectness of their collaboration, the originality of
their methods, and the finish of their style, were born, the first in
Nancy in 1822, the other in Paris in 1830. Until the death of Jules in
1870 they wrote nothing for the public that did not bear both their
names; and so entirely identical were their tastes and judgment that it
is impossible to say of a single sentence they composed that it was the
sole product of one or the other. "Charming writers," Victor Hugo called
them; "in unison a powerful writer, two minds from which springs a
single jet of talent." Born of a noble family of moderate wealth, they
were educated as became their station in life. Both had an early leaning
toward the arts; but Edmond, in deference to the wishes of his family,
took a government appointment and held the office till the death of his
mother, when he was twenty-six years of age. Their father had died while
they were boys.

Drawn together by their common bereavement and the death-bed injunction
of their parent that Edmond should be the careful guardian of his
younger brother, whose health had always been delicate, the young men
then began a companionship which was broken only by death. They set out
to make themselves acquainted with southern Europe, and at the same time
to escape the political turmoils of Paris; and extended their travels
into Africa, which country they found so congenial that in the first
ardor of their enthusiasm they determined to settle there. Business
arrangements, however, soon recalled them to Paris, where ties of
friendship and other agreeable associations bound them fast to their
native soil. They took up their residence in the metropolis, where they
lived until a short time before the death of Jules, when, to be free
from the roar of the city, they purchased a house in one of the suburbs.
Their intellectual development may be traced through their Journal and
letters to intimate friends, published by the surviving brother. From
these it appears that most of their leisure hours during their travels
were taken up with painting and drawing. Jules had attempted some
dramatic compositions while at college, and Edmond had been strongly
drawn to literature by the conversation of an aunt, of whom he saw much
before his mother's death. It was while engaged with their brushes in
1850 that it occurred to the brothers to take up writing as a regular
vocation; and thus was begun their remarkable literary partnership.

Their first essay was a drama. It was rejected; whereupon, nothing
daunted, they wrote a novel. It was entitled '18--,' and it is
interesting to observe that here, at the very outset of their career,
they seem to have had in mind the keynote of the chord on which they
ever afterwards played: the eighteenth century was the chief source of
their inspiration, and it was their life's endeavor to explore it and
reproduce it for their contemporaries with painstaking fidelity. The
novel engaged their serious and earnest attention, and when it was given
to the publisher they watched for its appearance with painful anxiety.
Unfortunately it was announced for the very day on which occurred the
_Coup d'État_. The book came out when Paris was in an uproar; and though
Jules Janin, one of the most influential critics of the day,
unexpectedly exploited it at great length in the Journal des Débats, its
circulation in that first edition was not more than sixty copies, most
of which were distributed gratuitously.

The blow was a hard one, but the brothers were not thus to be silenced,
nor by the subsequent failure of other dramatic ventures and an effort
to found a newspaper. They had been little more than imitators. They now
entered the field they soon made their own. The writers of their day
were for the most part classicists; a few before Victor Hugo were
romanticists. The De Goncourts stood for the modern, what they could see
and touch. In this way they became realists. What their own senses could
not apprehend they at once rejected; all they saw they deemed worthy to
be reproduced. They lived in a period of reconstruction after the
devastation of the revolution. The refinement and elegance of the
society of the later Bourbon monarchy, still within view, they yearned
for and sought to restore. A series of monographs dealing with the art
and the stage of these days, which appeared in 1851-2, won for them the
first real recognition they enjoyed. These were followed by various
critical essays on the same subjects, contributed to newspapers and
periodicals, and a novel, 'La Lorette,' which had a large sale and
marked the beginning of their success from a financial point of view.
"This makes us realize," they wrote in their Journal, "that one can
actually sell a book."

Their reputation as men of letters was established by the publication in
1854-5 of 'Histoire de la Société Pendant la Revolution' and the same
'Pendant le Directoire' the aim of which, they said, was "to paint in
vivid, simple colors the France of 1789 to 1800." This object they
accomplished, so far as it concerned the society of which they
themselves were descendants; but the reactionary spirit in them was too
strong for an impartial view of the struggle, and their lack of true
philosophic spirit and broad human sympathy led them to make a picture
that, interesting as it is, is sadly distorted. Their vivid colors are
lavished mainly on the outrages of the rioters and the sufferings of the
aristocrats. But for wealth of detail, the result of tireless research,
the history is of value as a record of the manners and customs of the
fashionable set of the period. Of the same sort were their other
semi-historical works: 'Portraits Intimes du XVIIIième Siècle,' separate
sketches of about a hundred more or less well-known figures of the age;
'L'Histoire de Marie Antoinette,' and 'La Femme au XVIIIième Siècle,' in
which the gossip and anecdote of former generations are told again
almost as graphically as are those which the authors relate of their own
circle in their memoirs. Their most important contribution to literature
was their 'L'Art au XVIIIième Siècle,' monographs gathered and published
in seventeen volumes, and representing a dozen years' labor. This was
indeed a labor of love, and it was not in vain; for it was these
appreciative studies more than anything else that turned public
attention to the almost forgotten delicacy of the school of painters
headed by Watteau, Fragonard, Latour, Boucher, Debricourt, and Greuze,
whose influence has ever since been manifested on the side of sound
taste and sanity in French art.

A volume entitled 'Idées et Sensations,' and their Journal and letters,
complete the list of the more important of their works outside the field
of fiction. The Journal will always be valuable as an almost complete
document of the literary history of France in their time, made up as it
is of impressions of and from the most important writers of the day,
with whom they were on terms of intimate friendship, including Flaubert,
Gautier, Renan, Sainte-Beuve, Hugo, Saint-Victor, Michelet, Zola, and
George Sand. In fiction the De Goncourts were less prolific, but it is
to their novels mainly that they owe their reputation for individuality,
and as true "path-breakers" in literature. They have been called the
initiators of modern French realism. Their friend Flaubert perhaps
better deserves the title. Their determination to see for themselves all
that could be seen, the result of which gave real worth to their
historical work, even where their prejudice robbed it of weight, was
what put the stamp of character upon their novels. How much importance
they attached to correct and comprehensive observation may be gathered
from their remark, "The art of learning how to see demands the longest
apprenticeship of all the arts." They took life as they found it,
examined it on every side,--rarely going far under the surface,--and
then sought to reproduce it on their pages as the artist would put it on
canvas. Capable of terseness, of suggestiveness, quick to note and
communicate the vital spark, they were yet rarely content with it alone.
Every minute particle of the body it vivified, they insisted on adding
to their picture. Nothing was to be taken for granted; as nothing was
accepted by them at second hand, so nothing was left to the imagination
of the reader until their comprehensive view was his. It was in this way
that they were realists. They did not seek out and expose to public view
the grossness and unpleasantness of life. Their own preference was for
the beautiful, and in their own lives they indulged their refined
tastes. But they looked squarely at the world about them, the ugly with
the beautiful, the impure with the pure, and they did not hesitate to
describe one almost as faithfully as the other.

Curiously, the discrimination against the masses and the bias that mar
their history do not appear in their fiction. "They began writing
history which was nothing but romance," says one of their critics, "and
later wrote romance which in reality is history." Indeed, their novels
are little more than sketches of what occurred around them. 'Madame
Gervaisais' is a character study of the aunt of strong literary
predilections who influenced Edmond; 'Germinie Lacerteux' is the
biography of their servant, at whose death, after long and faithful
service, they discovered that she had led a life of singular duplicity;
'Soeur Philomène' is a terribly true glimpse of hospital life, and
'Manette Salomon,' with its half-human monkey drawn from the life, is
transferred without change from the Parisian studios under the Empire.
'Renee Mauperin' comes nearest to the model of an ordinary novel; but no
one can read of the innocent tomboy girl struck down with fatal remorse
at the consequences of her own natural action, on learning of her
brother's dishonor, without feeling that this picture too was drawn from
the life. Several of their stories were dramatized, but with scant
success; and a play which they wrote, 'Henriette Maréchal' and had
produced at the Comédie Française through the influence of Princess
Mathilde, their constant friend and patroness, was almost howled
down,--chiefly however for political reasons.

After the death of Jules de Goncourt, his brother wrote several books of
the same character as those which they produced in union, the best known
of which are 'La Fille Élisa,' and 'Chérie,' a study of a girl, said to
have been inspired by the Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff. The best
critics in France, notably Saïnte-Beuve, have given the brothers
Goncourt a very high place in literature and conceded their originality.
English reviewers have been less ready to exalt them, mainly on account
of the offensive part of their realism. They have objected also to their
superficiality as historians, and to their sympathy with the sentimental
admirers of such types as Marie Antoinette; but they too have been ready
to praise the brothers as leaders of a new fashion, and especially for
their devotion to style. In this respect the Goncourts have few rivals
in French literature. Balzac himself was not more finical in the choice
of words, or more unsparing of his time and energy in writing and
re-writing until his exact meaning, no more or less, had been expressed;
and they covered up the marks of their toil better than he. In a letter
to Zola, Edmond de Goncourt said:--"My own idea is that my brother died
of work, and above all from the desire to elaborate the artistic form,
the chiseled phrase, the workmanship of style." He himself spent a long
life at this fine artistry, and died in Paris in July, 1896.


From the Journal of the De Goncourts

March 3D [1862].--We took a walk and went off to find Théophile
Gautier.... The street in which he lives is composed of the most squalid
countrified buildings, of court-yards swarming with poultry, fruit shops
whose doors are ornamented with little brooms of black feathers: just
such a suburban street as Hervier might have painted.... We pushed open
the door of a house, and found ourselves in the presence of the lord of
epithet. The furniture was of gilded wood, covered with red damask,
after the heavy Venetian style; there were fine old pictures of the
Italian school; above the chimney a mirror innocent of quicksilver, on
which were scraped colored arabesques and various Persian
characters,--such a picture of meagre sumptuousness and faded splendor
as one would find in the rooms of a retired actress, who had come in for
some pictures through the bankruptcy of an Italian manager.

When we asked him if we were disturbing him, he answered: "Not at all. I
never work at home. I get through my 'copy' at the printing-office. They
set up the type as I write. The smell of the printers' ink is a sure
stimulant to work, for one feels the 'copy' must be handed in. I could
write only a novel in this way now; unless I saw ten lines printed I
could not get on to the next ten. The proof-sheet serves as a test to
one's work. That which is already done becomes impersonal, but the
actual 'copy' is part of yourself; it hangs like filaments from the root
of your literary life, and has not yet been torn away. I have always
been preparing corners where I should do my work, but when installed
there I found I could do nothing. I must be in the midst of things, and
can work only when a racket is going on about me; whereas, when I shut
myself up for work the solitude tells upon me and makes me sad."

From there Gautier got on the subject of the 'Queen of Sheba.' We
admitted our infirmity, our physical incapacity of taking in musical
sound; and indeed, a military band is the highest musical enjoyment of
which we are capable. Whereupon Gautier said, "Well, I'm delighted to
hear that: I am just like you; I prefer silence to music. I do know bad
music from good, because part of my life was spent with a singer, but
both are quite indifferent to me. Still it is curious that all the
literary men of our day feel the same about music. Balzac abhorred it,
Hugo cannot endure it, Lamartine has a horror of it. There are only a
few painters who have a taste for it."

Then Gautier fell to complaining of the times. "Perhaps I am getting an
old man, but I begin to feel as if there were no more air to breathe.
What is the use of wings if there is no air in which one can soar? I no
longer feel as if I belonged to the present generation. Yes, 1830 was a
glorious epoch, but I was too young by two or three years; I was not
carried away by the current; I was not ready for it. I ought to have
produced a very different sort of work."

There was then some talk of Flaubert, of his literary methods, of his
indefatigable patience, and of the seven years he devoted to a work of
four hundred pages. "Just listen," observed Gautier, "to what Flaubert
said to me the other day: 'It is finished. I have only ten more pages to
write; but the ends of my sentences are all in my head.' So that he
already hears in anticipation the music of the last words of his
sentences before the sentences themselves have been written. Was it not
a quaint expression to use? I believe he has devised a sort of literary
rhythm. For instance, a phrase which begins in slow measure must not
finish with a quick pace, unless some special effect is to be produced.
Sometimes the rhythm is only apparent to himself, and escapes our
notice. A story is not written for the purpose of being read aloud: yet
he shouts his to himself as he writes them. These shouts present to his
own ears harmonies, but his readers seem unaware of them."

Gautier's daughters have a charm of their own, a species of Oriental
languor, deep dreamy eyes, veiled by heavy eyelids, and a regularity in
their gestures and movements which they inherit from their father; but
this regularity is tempered in them by womanly grace. There is a charm
about them which is not all French; nevertheless there is a French
element about it, their little tomboyish tricks and expressions, their
habit of pouting, the shrugging of their shoulders, the irony which
escapes through the thin veil of childishness intended to conceal it.
All these points distinguish them from ordinary society girls, and make
clear a strong individuality of character which renders them fearless in
expressing their likings and antipathies. They display liberty of
speech, and have often the manner of a woman whose face is hidden by a
mask; and yet one finds here simplicity, candor, and a charming absence
of reserve, utterly unknown to the ordinary young girl.

       *       *       *       *       *

November 23D [1863].--We have been to thank Michelet for the flattering
lines he wrote about us.

He lives in the Rue de l'Ouest, at the end of the Jardin du Luxembourg,
in a large house which might almost be workmen's dwellings. His flat is
on the third floor. A maid opened the door and announced us. We
penetrated into a small study.

The wife of the historian has a young, serious face; she was seated on a
chair beside the desk on which the lamp was placed, with her back to the
window. Michelet sat on a couch of green velvet, and was banked up by

His attitude reminded us of his historical work: the lower portions of
his body were in full sight, whilst the upper were half concealed; the
face was a mere shadow surrounded with snowy white locks; from this
shadowy mass emerged a professorial, sonorous, singsong voice,
consciously important, and in which the ascending and descending scale
produced a continuous cooing sound.

He spoke to us in a most appreciative manner of our study of Watteau,
and then passed on to the interesting study which might be written on
French furniture.

"You gentlemen, who are observers of human nature," he cried suddenly,
"there is a history you should write,--the history of the lady's-maid. I
do not speak of Madame de Maintenon; but you have Mademoiselle de
Launai, the Duchesse de Grammont's Julie, who exercised on her mistress
so great an influence, especially in the Corsican affair. Madame Du
Deffand said sometimes that there were only two people sincerely
attached to her, D'Alembert and her maid. Oh! domesticity has played a
great part in history, though men-servants have been of comparative

"I was once going through England, traveling from York to Halifax. There
were pavements in the country lanes, with the grass growing on each side
as carefully kept as the pavements themselves; close by, sheep were
grazing, and the whole scene was lit up by gas. A singular sight!"

Then after a short pause:--"Have you noticed that the physiognomy of the
great men of to-day is so rarely in keeping with their intellect? Look
at their portraits, their photographs: there are no longer any good
portraits. Remarkable people no longer possess in their faces anything
which distinguishes them from ordinary folk. Balzac had nothing
characteristic. Would you recognize Lamartine if you saw him? There is
nothing in the shape of his head, or in his lustreless eyes, nothing but
a certain elegance which age has not affected. The fact is that in these
days there is too great an accumulation of people and things, much more
so than in former times. We assimilate too much from other people, and
this being the case, we lose even the individuality of our features; we
present the portrait of a collective set of people rather than of

We rose to take our leave; he accompanied us to the door; then by the
light of the lamp he carried in his hand we saw, for a second at least,
this marvelous historian of dreams, the great somnambulist of the past
and brilliant talker of the present.


From 'Sister Philomène'

The next morning the whole hospital knew that Barnier, having scratched
his hand on the previous day while dissecting a body in a state of
purulent infection, was dying in terrible agonies.

When at four o'clock Malivoire, quitting for a few moments the bedside
of his friend, came to replace him in the service, the Sister went up to
him. She followed from bed to bed, dogging his steps, without however
accosting him, without speaking, watching him intently with her eyes
fixed on his. As he was leaving the ward:--

"Well?" she asked, in the brief tone with which women stop the doctor on
his last visit at the threshold of the room.

"No hope," said Malivoire, with a gesture of despair; "there is nothing
to be done. It began at his right ankle, went up the leg and thigh, and
has attacked all the articulations. Such agonies, poor fellow! It will
be a mercy when it's over."

"Will he be dead before night?" asked the Sister calmly.

"Oh no! He will live through the night. It is the same case as that of
Raguideau three years ago; and Raguideau lasted forty-eight hours."

That evening, at ten o'clock, Sister Philomène might be seen entering
the church of Notre Dame des Victoires.

The lamps were being lowered, the lighted tapers were being put out one
by one with a long-handled extinguisher. The priest had just left the

The Sister inquired where he lived, and was told that his house was a
couple of steps from the church, in the Rue de la Banque.

The priest was just going into the house when she entered behind,
pushing open the door he was closing.

"Come in, Sister," he said, unfurling his wet umbrella and placing it on
the tiled floor in the ante-room. And he turned toward her. She was on
her knees. "What are you doing, Sister?" he said, astonished at her
attitude. "Get up, my child. This is not a fit place. Come, get up!"

"You will save him, will you not?" and Philomène caught hold of the
priest's hands as he stretched them out to help her to rise. "Why do you
object to my remaining on my knees?"

"Come, come, my child, do not be so excited. It is God alone, remember,
who can save. I can but pray."

"Ah! you can only pray," she said in a disappointed tone. "Yes, that is

And her eyes sank to the ground. After a moment's pause the priest went

"Come, Sister, sit down there. You are calmer now, are you not? Tell me,
what is it you want?"

"He is dying," said Philomène, rising as she spoke. "He will probably
not live through the night;" and she began to cry. "It is for a young
man of twenty-seven years of age; he has never performed any of his
religious duties, never been near a church, never prayed to God since
his first communion. He will refuse to listen to anything. He no longer
knows a prayer even. He will listen neither to priest nor any one. And I
tell you it is all over with him,--he is dying. Then I remembered your
Confraternity of Notre Dame des Victoires, since it is devoted to those
who do not believe. Come, you must save him!"

"My daughter--"

"And perhaps he is dying at this very moment. Oh! promise me you will do
all at once, all that is in the Confraternity book; the
prayers,--everything, in short. You will have him prayed for at once,
won't you?"

"But, my poor child, it is Friday to-day, and the Confraternity only
meets on Thursday."

"Thursday only--why? It will be too late Thursday. He will never live
till Thursday. Come, you must save him; you have saved many another."

Sister Philomène looked at the priest with wide-opened eyes, in which
through her tears rose a glance of revolt, impatience, and command. For
one instant in that room there was no longer a Sister standing before a
priest, but a woman face to face with an old man.

The priest resumed:--

"All I can do at present for that young man, my dear daughter, is to
apply to his benefit all the prayers and good works that are being
carried on by the Confraternity, and I will offer them up to the Blessed
and Immaculate Heart of Mary to obtain his conversion. I will pray for
him to-morrow at mass, and again on Saturday and Sunday."

"Oh, I am so thankful," said Philomène, who felt tears rise gently to
her eyes as the priest spoke to her. "Now I am full of hope; he will be
converted, he will have pity on himself. Give me your blessing for him."

"But Sister, I only bless from the altar, in the pulpit, or in the
confessional. There only am I the minister of God. Here, my Sister, here
I am but a weak man, a miserable sinner."

"That does not signify; you are always God's minister, and you cannot,
you would not, refuse me; he is at the point of death."

She fell on her knees as she spoke. The priest blessed her, and added:--

"It is nearly eleven o'clock, Sister; you have nearly three miles to get
home, all Paris to cross at this late hour."

"Oh, I am not afraid," replied Philomène with a smile; "God knows why I
am in the street. Moreover, I will tell my beads on the way. The Blessed
Virgin will be with me."...

The same evening, Barnier, rousing himself from a silence that had
lasted the whole day, said to Malivoire, "You will write to my mother.
You will tell her that this often happens in our profession."

"But you are not yet as bad as all that, my dear fellow," replied
Malivoire, bending over the bed. "I am sure I shall save you."

"No, I chose my man too well for that. How well I took you in, my poor
Malivoire!" and he smiled almost. "You understand, I could not kill
myself. I did not wish to be the death of my old mother. But an
accident--that settles everything. You will take all my books, do you
hear? and my case of instruments also. I wish you to have all. You
wonder why I have killed myself, don't you? Come nearer. It is on
account of that woman. I never loved but her in all my life. They did
not give her enough chloroform; I told them so. Ah! if you had heard her
scream when she awoke--before it was over! That scream still re-echoes
in my ears! However," he continued, after a nervous spasm, "if I had to
begin again, I would choose some other way of dying, some way in which I
should not suffer so much. Then, you know, she died, and I fancied I had
killed her. She is ever before me,... covered with blood.... And then I
took to drinking. I drank because I love her still.... That's all!"

Barnier relapsed into silence. After a long pause, he again spoke, and
said to Malivoire:--

"You will tell my mother to take care of the little lad."

After another pause, the following words escaped him:--

"The Sister would have said a prayer."

Shortly after, he asked:--

"What o'clock is it?"


"Time is not up yet;... I have still some hours to live.... I shall last
till to-morrow."

A little later he again inquired the time, and crossing his hands on his
breast, in a faint voice he called Malivoire and tried to speak to him.
But Malivoire could not catch the words he muttered.

Then the death-rattle began, and lasted till morn....

A candle lighted up the room.

It burnt slowly, it lighted up the four white walls on which the coarse
ochre paint of the door and of the two cupboards cut a sharp

On the iron bedstead with its dimity curtains, a sheet lay thrown over a
motionless body, molding the form as wet linen might do, indicating with
the inflexibility of an immutable line the rigidity, from the tip of the
toes to the sharp outline of the face, of what it covered.

Near a white wooden table Malivoire, seated in a large wicker arm-chair,
watched and dozed, half slumbering and yet not quite asleep.

In the silence of the room nothing could be heard but the ticking of the
dead man's watch.

From behind the door something seemed gently to move and advance, the
key turned in the lock, and Sister Philomène stood beside the bed.
Without looking at Malivoire, without seeing him, she knelt down and
prayed in the attitude of a kneeling marble statue; and the folds of her
gown were as motionless as the sheet that covered the dead man.

At the end of a quarter of an hour she rose, walked away without once
looking round, and disappeared.

The next day, awaking at the hollow sound of the coffin knocking against
the narrow stairs, Malivoire vaguely recalled the night's apparition,
and wondered if he had dreamed it; and going mechanically up to the
table by the bedside, he sought for the lock of hair he had cut off for
Barnier's mother: the lock of hair had vanished.


From 'Renée Mauperin'

A little stage had been erected at the end of the Mauperins'
drawing-room. The footlights were hidden behind a screen of foliage and
flowering shrubs. Renée, with the help of her drawing-master, had
painted the curtain, which represented a view on the banks of the Seine.
On either side of the stage hung a bill, on which were these words,
written by hand:--



    To conclude with

And then followed the names of the actors.

On all the chairs in the house, which had been seized and arranged in
rows before the stage, women in low gowns were squeezed together, mixing
their skirts, their lace, the sparkle of their diamonds, and the
whiteness of their shoulders. The folding doors of the drawing-room had
been taken down, and showed, in the little drawing-room which led to the
dining-room, a crowd of men in white neckties, standing on tiptoe.

The curtain rose upon 'The Caprice.' Renée played with much spirit the
part of Madame de Léry. Henry, as the husband, revealed one of those
real theatrical talents which are often found in cold young men and in
grave men of the world. Naomi herself--carried away by Henry's acting,
carefully prompted by Denoisel from behind the scenes, a little
intoxicated by her audience--played her little part of a neglected wife
very tolerably. This was a great relief to Madame Bourjot. Seated in the
front row, she had followed her daughter with anxiety. Her pride dreaded
a failure. The curtain fell, the applause burst out, and all the company
were called for. Her daughter had not been ridiculous; she was happy in
this great success, and she composedly gave herself up to the speeches,
opinions, congratulations, which, as in all representations of private
theatricals, followed the applause and continued in murmurs. Amidst all
that she thus vaguely heard, one sentence, pronounced close by her,
reached her ears clear and distinct above the buzz of general
conversation:--"Yes, it is his sister, I know; but I think that for the
part he is not sufficiently in love with her, and really too much in
love with his wife: did you notice it?" And the speaker, feeling that
she was being overheard by Madame Bourjot, leaned over and whispered in
her neighbor's ear. Madame Bourjot became serious.

After a pause the curtain went up again, and Henry Mauperin appeared as
Pierrot or Harlequin, not in the traditional sack of white calico and
black cap, but as an Italian harlequin, with a white three-cornered hat,
and dressed entirely in white satin from head to foot. A shiver of
interest ran through the women, proving that the costume and the man
were both charming; and the folly began.

It was the mad story of Pierrot, married to one woman and wishing to
marry another; a farce intermingled with passion, which had been
unearthed by a playwright, with the help of a poet, from a collection of
old comic plays. Renée this time acted the part of the neglected woman,
who in various disguises interfered between her husband and his gallant
adventures, and Naomi that of the woman he loved. Henry, in his scenes
of love with the latter, carried all before him. He played with youth,
with brilliancy, with excitement. In the scene in which he avows his
love, his voice was full of the passionate cry of a declaration which
overflows and swamps everything. True, he had to act with the prettiest
Columbine in the world: Naomi looked delicious that evening in her
bridal costume of Louis XVI., copied exactly from the 'Bride's Minuet,'
a print by Debucourt, which Barousse had lent for the purpose.

A sort of enchantment filled the whole room, and reached Madame Bourjot;
a sort of sympathetic complicity with the actors seemed to encourage the
pretty couple to love one another. The piece went on. Now and again
Henry's eyes seemed to look for those of Madame Bourjot, over the
footlights. Meanwhile, Renée appeared disguised as the village bailiff;
it only remained to sign the contract; Pierrot, taking the hand of the
woman he loved, began to tell her of all the happiness he was going to
have with her.

The woman who sat next to Madame Bourjot felt her lean somewhat on her
shoulder. Henry finished his speech, the piece disentangled itself and
came to an end. All at once Madame Bourjot's neighbor saw something
glide down her arm; it was Madame Bourjot, who had just fainted.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Oh, do pray go indoors," said Madame Bourjot to the people who were
standing around her. She had been carried into the garden. "It is past
now; it is really nothing; it was only the heat." She was quite pale,
but she smiled. "I only want a little air. Let M. Henry only stay with

The audience retired. Scarcely had the sound of feet died away,
when--"You love her!" said Madame Bourjot, seizing Henry's arm as though
she were taking him prisoner with her feverish hands; "you love her!"

"Madame--" said Henry.

"Hold your tongue! you lie!" And she threw his arm from her. Henry
bowed.--"I know all. I have seen all. But look at me!" and with her eyes
she closely scanned his face. Henry stood before her, his head
bent.--"At least speak to me! You can speak, at any rate! Ah, I see
it,--you can only act in her company!"

"I have nothing to say to you, Laura," said Henry in his softest and
clearest voice. Madame Bourjot started at this name of Laura as though
he had touched her. "I have struggled for a year, madame," began Henry;
"I have no excuse to make. But my heart is fast. We knew each other as
children. The charm has grown day by day. I am very unhappy, madame, at
having to acknowledge the truth to you. I love your daughter, that is

"But have you ever spoken to her? I blush for her when there are people
there! Have you ever looked at her? Do you think her pretty? What
possesses you men? Come! I am better-looking than she is! You men are
fools. And besides, my friend, I have spoiled you. Go to her and ask her
to caress your pride, to tickle your vanity, to flatter and to serve
your ambitions,--for you are ambitious: I know you! Ah, M. Mauperin, one
can only find that once in a lifetime! And it is only women of my age,
old women like me,--do you hear me?--who love the future of the people
whom they love! You were not my lover, you were my grandchild!" And at
this word, her voice sounded as though it came from the bottom of her
heart. Then immediately changing her tone--"But don't be foolish! I tell
you you don't really love my daughter; it is not true: she is rich!"

"O madame!"

"Good gracious! there are lots of people. They have been pointed out to
me. It pays sometimes to begin with the mother and finish with the
dower. And a million, you know, will gild a good many pills."

"Speak lower, I implore--for your own sake: some one has just opened a

"Calmness is very fine, M. Mauperin, very fine, very fine," repeated
Madame Bourjot. And her low, hissing voice seemed to stifle her.

Clouds were scudding across the sky, and passed over the moon looking
like huge bats' wings. Madame Bourjot gazed fixedly into the darkness,
straight in front of her. Her elbows resting on her knees, her weight
thrown on to her heels, she was beating with the points of her satin
shoes the gravel of the path. After a few minutes she sat upright,
stretched out her arms two or three times wildly and as though but half
awake; then, hastily and with jerks, she pushed her hand down between
her gown and her waistband, pressing her hand against the ribbon as
though she would break it. Then she rose and began to walk. Henry
followed her.

"I intend, sir, that we shall never see each other again," she said to
him, without turning round.

As they passed near the basin, she handed him her handkerchief:--

"Wet that for me."

Henry put one knee on the margin and gave her back the lace, which he
had moistened. She laid it on her forehead and on her eyes. "Now let us
go in," she said; "give me your arm."

"Oh, dear madame, what courage!" said Madame Mauperin, going to meet
Madame Bourjot as she entered; "but it is unwise of you. Let me order
your carriage."

"On no account," answered Madame Bourjot hastily: "I thank you. I
promised that I would sing for you, I think. I am going to sing."

And Madame Bourjot advanced to the piano, graceful and valiant, with the
heroic smile on her face wherewith the actors of society hide from the
public the tears that they shed within themselves, and the wounds which
are only known to their own hearts.



Edmund William Gosse, or Edmund Gosse, to give him the name he has of
late years adopted, is a Londoner, the son of P.H. Gosse, an English
zoölogist of repute. His education did not embrace the collegiate
training, but he was brought up amid cultured surroundings, read
largely, and when but eighteen was appointed an assistant librarian in
the British Museum, at the age of twenty-six receiving the position of
translator to the Board of Trade. Gosse is a good example of the
cultivated man of letters who fitted himself thoroughly for his
profession, though lacking the formal scholastic drill of the

He began as a very young man to write for the leading English
periodicals, contributing papers and occasional poems to the Saturday
Review, Academy, and Cornhill Magazine, and soon gaining critical
recognition. In 1872 and 1874 he traveled in Scandinavia and Holland,
making literary studies which bore fruit in one of his best critical
works. He made his literary bow when twenty-one with the volume
'Madrigals, Songs, and Sonnets' (1870), which was well received, winning
praise from Tennyson. His essential qualities as a verse-writer appear
in it: elegance and care of workmanship, close study of nature, felicity
in phrasing, and a marked tendency to draw on literary culture for
subject and reference. Other works of poetry, 'On Viol and Flute'
(1873), 'New Poems' (1879), 'Firdausi in Exile' (1885), 'In Russet and
Gold' (1894), with the dramas 'King Erik' (1876) and 'The Unknown Lover'
(1878), show an increasingly firm technique and a broadening of outlook,
with some loss of the happy singing quality which characterized the
first volume. Gosse as a poet may be described as a lyrist with
attractive descriptive powers. Together with his fellow poets Lang and
Dobson, he revived in English verse the old French metrical forms, such
as the roundel, triolet, and ballade, and he has been very receptive to
the new in literary form and thought, while keeping a firm grip on the
classic models.

As an essayist, Gosse is one of the most accomplished and agreeable of
modern English writers; he has comprehensive culture and catholic
sympathy, and commands a picturesque style, graceful and rich without
being florid. His 'Studies in the Literature of Northern Europe' (1879)
introduced Ibsen and other little-known foreign writers to British

Gosse has been a thorough student of English literature prior to the
nineteenth century, and has made a specialty of the literary history of
the eighteenth century, his series of books in this field
including--'Seventeenth-Century Studies' (1883), 'From Shakespeare to
Pope' (1885), 'The Literature of the Eighteenth Century' (1889), 'The
Jacobean Poets' (1894), to which may be added the volume of
contemporaneous studies 'Critical Kit-Kats' (1896). Some of these books
are based on the lectures delivered by Gosse as Clark Lecturer at
Trinity College, Cambridge. He has also written biographies of Sir
Walter Raleigh and Congreve, and his 'Life of Thomas Gray' (1882) and
'Works of Thomas Gray' (1884) comprise the best edition and
setting-forth of that poet. In such labors as that of the editing of
Heinemann's 'International Library,' his influence has been salutary in
the popularization of the best literature of the world. His interest in
Ibsen led him to translate, in collaboration with William Archer, the
dramatic critic of London, the Norwegian's play 'The Master Builder.'

Edmund Gosse, as editor, translator, critic, and poet, has done varied
and excellent work. Sensitive to many literatures, and to good
literature everywhere, he has remained stanchly English in spirit, and
has combined scholarship with popular qualities of presentation. He has
thus contributed not a little to the furtherance of literature in

     [The poems are all taken from 'On Viol and Flute,' published
     by Henry Holt & Co., New York.]


  When Roman fields are red with cyclamen,
    And in the palace gardens you may find,
    Under great leaves and sheltering briony-bind,
  Clusters of cream-white violets, oh then
  The ruined city of immortal men
    Must smile, a little to her fate resigned,
    And through her corridors the slow warm wind
  Gush harmonies beyond a mortal ken.
  Such soft favonian airs upon a flute,
    Such shadowy censers burning live perfume,
    Shall lead the mystic city to her tomb;
  Nor flowerless springs, nor autumns without fruit,
  Nor summer mornings when the winds are mute,
    Trouble her soul till Rome be no more Rome.


  Sit there for ever, dear, and lean
    In marble as in fleeting flesh,
  Above the tall gray reeds that screen
    The river when the breeze is fresh;
  For ever let the morning light
  Stream down that forehead broad and white,
  And round that cheek for my delight.

  Already that flushed moment grows
    So dark, so distant: through the ranks
  Of scented reed the river flows,
    Still murmuring to its willowy banks;
  But we can never hope to share
  Again that rapture fond and rare,
  Unless you turn immortal there.

  There is no other way to hold
    These webs of mingled joy and pain;
  Like gossamer their threads enfold
    The journeying heart without a strain,--
  Then break, and pass in cloud or dew,
  And while the ecstatic soul goes through,
  Are withered in the parching blue.

  Hold, Time, a little while thy glass.
    And Youth, fold up those peacock wings!
  More rapture fills the years that pass
    Than any hope the future brings;
  Some for to-morrow rashly pray,
  And some desire to hold to-day,
  But I am sick for yesterday.

  Since yesterday the hills were blue
    That shall be gray for evermore,
  And the fair sunset was shot through
    With color never seen before!
  Tyrannic Love smiled yesterday,
  And lost the terrors of his sway,
  But is a god again to-day.

  Ah, who will give us back the past?
    Ah woe, that youth should love to be
  Like this swift Thames that speeds so fast,
    And is so fain to find the sea,--
  That leaves this maze of shadow and sleep,
  These creeks down which blown blossoms creep,
  For breakers of the homeless deep.

  Then sit for ever, dear, in stone,
    As when you turned with half a smile,
  And I will haunt this islet lone,
    And with a dream my tears beguile;
  And in my reverie forget
  That stars and suns were made to set;
  That love grows cold, or eyes are wet.


  Between two golden tufts of summer grass,
  I see the world through hot air as through glass,
  And by my face sweet lights and colors pass.

  Before me dark against the fading sky,
  I watch three mowers mowing, as I lie:
  With brawny arms they sweep in harmony.

  Brown English faces by the sun burnt red,
  Rich glowing color on bare throat and head,--
  My heart would leap to watch them, were I dead!

  And in my strong young living as I lie,
  I seem to move with them in harmony,--
  A fourth is mowing, and the fourth am I.

  The music of the scythes that glide and leap,
  The young men whistling as their great arms sweep,
  And all the perfume and sweet sense of sleep,

  The weary butterflies that droop their wings,
  The dreamy nightingale that hardly sings,
  And all the lassitude of happy things,

  Is mingling with the warm and pulsing blood,
  That gushes through my veins a languid flood,
  And feeds my spirit as the sap a bud.

  Behind the mowers, on the amber air,
  A dark-green beech wood rises, still and fair,
  A white path winding up it like a stair.

  And see that girl, with pitcher on her head,
  And clean white apron on her gown of red,--
  Her evensong of love is but half said:

  She waits the youngest mower. Now he goes;
  Her cheeks are redder than a wild blush-rose;
  They climb up where the deepest shadows close.

  But though they pass, and vanish, I am there.
  I watch his rough hands meet beneath her hair;
  Their broken speech sounds sweet to me like prayer.

  Ah! now the rosy children come to play,
  And romp and struggle with the new-mown hay;
  Their clear, high voices sound from far away.

  They know so little why the world is sad;
  They dig themselves warm graves, and yet are glad;
  Their muffled screams and laughter make me mad!

  I long to go and play among them there;
  Unseen, like wind, to take them by the hair,
  And gently make their rosy cheeks more fair.

  The happy children! full of frank surprise,
  And sudden whims and innocent ecstasies;
  What Godhead sparkles from their liquid eyes!

  No wonder round those urns of mingled clays
  That Tuscan potters fashioned in old days,
  And colored like the torrid earth ablaze,

  We find the little gods and Loves portrayed,
  Through ancient forests wandering undismayed,
  And fluting hymns of pleasure unafraid.

  They knew, as I do now, what keen delight
  A strong man feels to watch the tender flight
  Of little children playing in his sight.

  I do not hunger for a well-stored mind;
  I only wish to live my life, and find
  My heart in unison with all mankind.

  My life is like the single dewy star
  That trembles on the horizon's primrose bar,--
  A microcosm where all things living are.

  And if, among the noiseless grasses, Death
  Should come behind and take away my breath,
  I should not rise as one who sorroweth:

  For I should pass, but all the world would be
  Full of desire and young delight and glee,--
  And why should men be sad through loss of me?

  The light is flying: in the silver blue
  The young moon shines from her bright window through:
  The mowers are all gone, and I go too.



[Illustration: R. VON GOTTSCHALL]

Rudolf Von Gottschall was born in Breslau, September 30th, 1823. He was
the son of a Prussian artillery officer, and as a lad gave early
evidence of extraordinary talent. His father was transferred to the
Rhine, and young Gottschall was sent successively to the gymnasiums of
Mainz and Coblenz. Even in his school days, and before he entered the
university, he had through his cleverness attained a certain degree of
eminence. His career at the University of Königsberg, whither he went to
pursue the study of jurisprudence, was interrupted by the results
attendant upon a youthful ebullition of the spirit of freedom. His
sympathy with the revolutionary element was too boldly expressed,
and when in 1842 he published 'Lieder der Gegenwart' (Songs of the
Present), he found it necessary to leave the university in order to
avert impending consequences. In the following year he published
'Censurflüchtlinge' (Fugitives from the Censor), a poem of a kind not in
the least likely to conciliate the authorities. He remained for a time
with Count Reichenbach in Silesia, and then went to Berlin, where he was
allowed to complete his studies. He was however refused the privilege of
becoming a university docent, although he had regularly taken his degree
of _Dr. Juris_.

He now devoted himself wholly to poetry and general literature. For a
while he held the position of stage manager in the theatre of
Königsberg, and during this period produced the dramas 'Der Blinde von
Alcalá' (The Blind Man of Alcalá: 1846), and 'Lord Byron in Italien'
(Lord Byron in Italy: 1848). After leaving Königsberg he frequently
changed his residence, living in Hamburg and Breslau, and later in
Posen, where in 1852 he was editor of a newspaper. In 1853 he went to
Italy, and after his return he settled in Leipzig. Here he definitely
established himself, and undertook the editing of Blätter für
Litterarische Unterhaltung (Leaves for Literary Amusement), and also of
the monthly periodical Unsere Zeit (Our Time). He wrote profusely, and
exerted an appreciable influence upon contemporary literature. He was
ennobled by the Emperor in 1877.

As a poet and man of letters, Gottschall possesses unusual gifts, and is
a writer of most extraordinary activity. His fecundity is astonishing,
and the amount of his published work fills many volumes. His versatility
is no less remarkable than his productiveness. Dramatist and critic,
novelist and poet,--in all his various fields he is never mediocre.
Chief among his dramatic works are the tragedies 'Katharina Howard';
'King Carl XII.'; 'Bernhard of Weimar'; 'Amy Robsart'; 'Arabella
Stuart'; and the excellent comedy 'Pitt and Fox.' Of narrative poems the
best known are 'Die Göttin, ein Hohes Lied vom Weibe' (The Goddess, a
Song of Praise of Woman), 1852; 'Carlo Zeno,' 1854; and 'Sebastopol,'

He has published numerous volumes of verses which take a worthy rank in
the poetry of the time. His first 'Gedichte' (Poems) appeared in 1849;
'Neue Gedichte' (New Poems) in 1858; 'Kriegslieder'(War Songs) in 1870;
and 'Janus' and 'Kriegs und Friedens Gedichte' (Poems of War and Peace)
in 1873. In his novels he is no less successful, and of these may be
mentioned--'Im Banne des Schwarzen Adlers' (In the Ban of the Black
Eagle: 1876); 'Welke Blätter' (Withered Leaves: 1878); and 'Das Goldene
Kalb' (The Golden Calf: 1880).

It is however chiefly as critic that his power has been most widely
exerted, and prominent among the noteworthy productions of later years
stand his admirable 'Porträts und Studien' (Portraits and Studies:
1870-71); and 'Die Deutsche Nationallitteratur in der Ersten Hälfte des
19. Jahrhunderts' (The German National Literature in the First Half of
the Nineteenth Century: 1855), continued to the present time in 1892,
when the whole appeared as 'The German National Literature of the
Nineteenth Century.'


From 'Portraits and Studies'

About no recent poet has so much been said and sung as about Heinrich
Heine. The youngest writer, who for the first time tries his pen, does
not neglect to sketch with uncertain outlines the portrait of this poet;
and the oldest sour-tempered professor of literature, who turns his back
upon the efforts of the present with the most distinguished disapproval,
lets fall on the picture a few rays of light, in order to prove the
degeneration of modern literature in the Mephistophelean features of
this its chief. Heine's songs are everywhere at home. They are to be
found upon the music rack of the piano, in the school-books, in the
slender libraries of minor officers and young clerks. However difficult
it may be to compile an _editio castigata_ of his poems, every age,
every generation has selected from among them that which has delighted
it. Citations from Heine, winged words in verse and prose, buzz through
the air of the century like a swarm of insects: splendid butterflies
with gayly glistening wings, beautiful day moths and ghostly night
moths, tormenting gnats, and bees armed with evil stings. Heine's works
are canonical books for the intellectual, who season their judgments
with citations from this poet, model their conversation on his style,
interpret him, expand the germ cell of his wit to a whole fabric of
clever developments. Even if he is not a companion on the way through
life, like great German poets, and smaller Brahmins who for every day of
our house-and-life calendar give us an aphorism on the road, there are
nevertheless, in the lives of most modern men, moods with which Heine's
verse harmonize with wondrous sympathy; moments in which the intimacy
with this poet is greater than the friendship, even if this be of longer
duration, with our classic poets.

It is apparently idle to attempt to say anything new of so much
discussed a singer of modern times, since testimony favorable and
unfavorable has been drained to exhaustion by friend and foe. Who does
not know Heine,--or rather, who does not believe that he knows him? for,
as is immediately to be added, acquaintance with this poet extends
really only to a few of his songs, and to the complete picture which is
delivered over ready-made from one history of literature into another.
Nothing, however, is more perilous and more fatal than literary
tradition! Not merely decrees and laws pass along by inheritance, like a
constitutional infirmity, but literary judgments too. They form at last
a subject of instruction like any other; a dead piece of furniture in
the spiritual housekeeping, which, like everything that has been
learned, is set as completed to one side. We know enough of this sort of
fixed pictures, which at last pass along onward as the fixed ideas of a
whole epoch, until a later unprejudiced investigation dissolves this
rigid-grown wisdom, sets it to flowing, and forms out of a new mixture
of its elements a new and more truthful portrait.

It is not to be affirmed however that Heine's picture, as it stands
fixed and finished in the literature and the opinion of the present, is
mistaken and withdrawn. It is dead, like every picture; there is lacking
the living, changing play of features. We have of Heine only one picture
before us; of our great poets several. Goethe in his "storm and stress,"
in Frankfurt, Strassburg, and Wetzlar,--the ardent lover of a Friedrike
of Sesenheim, the handsome, joyous youth, is different in our minds from
the stiff and formal Weimar minister; the youthful Apollo different from
the Olympic Jupiter. There lies a young development between, that we
feel and are curious to know. It is similar with Schiller. The poet of
the 'Robbers' with its motto _In tyrannos_, the fugitive from the
military school; and the Jena professor, the Weimar court councilor who
wrote 'The Homage of the Arts,'--are two different portraits.

But Heine is to our view always the same, always the representative of
humor with "a laughing tear" in his escutcheon, always the poetic
anomaly, coquetting with his pain and scoffing it away. Young or old,
well or ill, we do not know him different.

And yet this poet too had a development, upon which at different times
different influences worked....

The first epoch in this course of development may be called the
"youthful"; the 'Travel Pictures' and the lyrics contained in it form
its brilliant conclusion. This is no storm-and-stress period in the way
that, as Schiller and Goethe passed through it, completed works first
issued under its clarifying influence. On the contrary, it is
characteristic of Heine that we have to thank this youthful epoch for
his best and most peculiarly national poems. The wantonness and the
sorrows of this youth, in their piquant mixture, created these songs
permeated by the breath of original talent, whose physiognomy, more than
all that follow later, bears the mark of the kind and manner peculiar to
Heine, and which for a long time exercised in our literature through a
countless host of imitators an almost epidemic effect. But these lyric
pearls, which in their purity and their crystalline polish are a lasting
adornment of his poet's crown, and belong to the lyric treasures of our
national literature, were also gathered in his first youthful epoch,
when he still dived down into the depths of life in the diving-bell of

Although Heinrich Heine asserted of himself that he belonged to the
"first men of the century," since he was born in the middle of New
Year's night, 1800, more exact investigation has nevertheless shown
that truth is here sacrificed to a witticism. Heine is still a child of
the eighteenth century, by whose most predominant thoughts his work too
is influenced, and with whose European coryphæus, Voltaire, he has an
undeniable relationship. He was born, as Strodtmann proves, on the 13th
of December, 1799, in Düsseldorf, His father was a plain cloth-merchant;
his mother, of the family Von Geldern, the daughter of a physician of
repute. The opinion, however, that Heine was the fruit of a
Jewish-Christian marriage, is erroneous. The family Von Geldern belonged
to the orthodox Jewish confession. One of its early members, according
to family tradition, although he was a Jew, had received the patent of
nobility from one of the prince electors of Jülich-Kleve-Berg, on
account of a service accorded him. As, moreover, Schiller's and Goethe's
mothers worked upon their sons an appreciable educational influence, so
was this also the case with Heine's mother, who is described as a pupil
of Rousseau and an adorer of Goethe's elegies, and thus reached far out
beyond the measure of the bourgeois conditions in which she lived....

That which however worked upon his youthful spirit, upon his whole
poetical manner, was the French sovereignty in the Rhine-lands at the
time of his childhood and youth. The Grand Duchy of Berg, to which
Düsseldorf belonged, was ruled in the French manner; a manner which,
apart from the violent conscriptions, when compared with the Roman
imperial periwig style had great advantages, and in particular granted
to Jews complete equal rights with Christians, since the revolutionary
principle of equality had outlived the destruction of freedom. Thus the
Jews in Düsseldorf in their greater part were French sympathizers, and
Heine's father too was an ardent adherent of the new régime. This as a
matter of course could not remain without influence upon the son, so
much the less as he had French instruction at the lyceum. A vein of the
lively French blood is unmistakable in his works. It drew him later on
to Paris, where he made the martyr stations of his last years. And of
all recent German poets, Heinrich Heine is the best known in France,
better known even than our classic poets; for the French feel this vein
of related blood....

From his youth springs, too, Heine's enthusiasm for the great Napoleon,
which however he has never transmitted to the successors of the _idées
Napoléoniennes_. The thirteen-year-old pupil of the gymnasium saw the
Emperor in the year 1811, and then again in May 1812; and later on in
the 'Book Legrand' of the 'Travel Pictures' he strikes up the following
dithyrambic, which, as is always the case with Heine where the great
Cæsar is concerned, tones forth pure and full, with genuine poetic
swing, without those dissonances in which his inmost feelings often
flow. "What feelings came over me," he exclaims, "when I saw him
himself, with my own highly favored eyes, him himself, Hosanna, the
Emperor! It was in the avenue of the Court garden in Düsseldorf. As I
pushed myself through the gaping people, I thought of his deeds and his
battles, and my heart beat the general march--and nevertheless, I
thought at the same time of the police regulation that no one under a
penalty of five thalers should ride through the middle of the avenue.
And the Emperor rode quietly through the middle of the avenue; no
policeman opposed him. Behind him, his suite rode proudly on snorting
horses and loaded with gold and jewels, the trumpets sounded, and the
people shouted with a thousand voices, 'Long live the Emperor!'" To this
enthusiasm for Napoleon, Heine not long afterward gave a poetic setting
in the ballad 'The Two Grenadiers.'...

The Napoleonic remembrances of his youth, which retained that unfading
freshness and enthusiasm that are wont to belong to all youthful
remembrances, were of vital influence upon Heine's later position in
literature; they formed a balance over against the romantic tendency,
and hindered him from being drawn into it. Precisely in that epoch when
the beautiful patriotism of the Wars of Liberation went over into the
weaker feeling of the time of the restoration, and romanticism, grown
over-devout, in part abandoned itself to externals, in part became a
centre of reactionary efforts, Heine let this Napoleonic lightning play
on the sultry heavens of literature, in the most daring opposition to
the ruling disposition of the time and a school of poetry from which he
himself had proceeded; while he declared war upon its followers. However
greatly he imperiled his reputation as a German patriot through these
hosannas offered to the hereditary enemy, just as little was it to be
construed amiss that the remembrance of historical achievements, and of
those principles of the Revolution which even the Napoleonic despotism
must represent, were a salutary ventilation in the miasmic atmosphere of
the continually decreasing circle which at that time described German
literature. In the prose of Heine, which like Béranger glorified Cæsar,
slumbered the first germs of the political lyric, which led again out of
the moonlit magic realm of romanticism into the sunny day of history.

A hopeless youthful love for a charming Hamburg maiden was the Muse of
the Heine lyric, whose escutcheon has for a symbol "the laughing tear."
With the simplicity of Herodotus the poet himself relates the fact, the
experience, in the well-known poem with the final strophe:--

  "It is an ancient story,
    But still 'tis ever new:
  To whomsoe'er it happens
    His heart is broken too."

We comprehend from biographical facts the inner genesis of the Heine
lyric. Heine was in the position of Werther, but a Werther was for the
nineteenth century an anomaly; a lyric of this sort in yellow nankeen
breeches would have travestied itself. The content of the range of
thought, the circle of world-shaping efforts, had so expanded itself
since the French Revolution that a complete dissolution into sentimental
extravagance had become an impossibility. The justification of the
sentiment was not to be denied; but it must not be regarded as the
highest, as the life-determining element. It needed a rectification
which should again rescue the freedom of the spirit. Humor alone could
accomplish Munchausen's feat, and draw itself by its own hair out of the
morass. Heine expressed his feelings with genuine warmth; he formed them
into drawn pictures and visions; but then he placed himself on the
defensive against them. He is the modern Werther, who instead of loading
his pistol with a ball, loads it with humor. Artistic harmony suffered
under this triumph of spiritual freedom; but that which appeared in his
imitators as voluntary quibbling came from Heine of inner necessity. The
subject of his first songs is the necessary expression of a struggle
between feeling and spirit, between the often visionary dream life of a
sentiment and self-consciousness, soaring free out over the world, which
adjudged absorption in a single feeling as one-sided and unjustified.
Later on, to be sure, these subjects of youthful inspiration became in
Heine himself a satiric-humoristic manner, which regarded as a model
worked much evil in literature. In addition to personal necessity
through one's own experience, there was for a genius such as Heine's
also a literary necessity, which lay in the development of our
literature in that epoch. It was the Indian Summer of romanticism, whose
cobwebs at this time flew over the stubble of our poetry. The vigorous
onset of the lyricists of the Wars of Liberation had again grown lame;
people reveled in the album sentiments of Tiedge and Mahlmann; the
spectres of Amadeus Hoffmann and the lovely high-born maidens of knight
Fouqué were regarded then as the noblest creations of German fantasy.
Less chosen spirits, that is to say, the entire great reading public of
the German nation, which ever felt toward its immortals a certain
aversion, refreshed itself with the lukewarm water of the poetry of
Clauren, from out of which, instead of the Venus Anadyomene, appear a
Mimili and other maiden forms, pretty, but drawn with a stuffed-out
plasticism. On the stage reigned the "fate tragedies" upon whose lyre
the strings were wont to break even in the first scene, and whose ghosts
slipped silently over all the German boards. In a word, spirits
controlled the poetry of the time more than spirit.

Heine however was a genuine knight of the spirit, and even if he
conjured up his lyric spectres, he demanded no serious belief in
them--they were dissolving pictures of mist; and if he followed his
overflowing feelings, the mawkish sentiments of romanticism occurred to
him and disgusted him with the extravagant expression of his love pain,
and he mocked himself, the time, and the literature,--dissolved the
sweet accords in glaring dissonances, so that they should not be in tune
with the sentimental street songs of the poets of the day. In these
outer and inner reasons lie the justification and the success of the
lyric poetry of Heine. It designates an act of self-consciousness of the
German spirit, which courageously lifts itself up out of idle love
complainings and fantastic dream life, and at the same time mocks them
both. An original talent like Heine's was needed to give to the derided
sentiment such a transporting magic, to the derision itself such an
Attic grace, that the sphinx of his poetry, with the beautiful face and
the rending claws, always produced the impression of a work of art. The
signification in literary history of these songs of Heine is not to be
underestimated. They indicate the dissolution of romanticism, and with
them begins the era of modern German poetry.

          Translated for 'A Library of the World's Best Literature,'
          by William H. Carpenter



[Illustration: JOHN GOWER]

Since Caxton, the first printer of 'Confessio Amantis' (The Confession
of a Lover), described Gower as a "squyer borne in Walys in the tyme of
Kyng Richard the second," there has been a diversity of opinion about
his birthplace, and he has been classed variously with prosperous Gowers
until of late, when the county assigned to him is Kent. His birth-year
is placed approximately at 1325. We know nothing of his early life and
education. It has been guessed that he went to Oxford, and afterwards
traveled in the troubled kingdom of France. Such a course might have
been followed by a man of his estate. He had means, for English property
records (in this instance the rolls of Chancery, the parchment
foundation of English society) still preserve deeds of his holdings in
Kent and Essex and elsewhere.

His life lay along with that of Chaucer's, in the time when Edward III.
and his son the Black Prince were carrying war into France, and the
English Parliament were taking pay in plain speaking for what they
granted in supplies, and wresting at the same time promises of reform
from the royal hand. But Gower and Chaucer were not only contemporaries:
they were of like pursuit, tastes, and residence; they were friends; and
when Chaucer under Richard II., the grandson and successor of Edward,
went to France upon the mission of which Froissart speaks, he named John
Gower as one of his two attorneys while he should be away. Notice of
Gower's marriage to Agnes Groundolf late in life--in 1397--is still
preserved. Three years after this he became blind,--it was the year
1400, in which Chaucer died,--and in 1408 he died.

     "The infirm poet," says Morley, "spent the evening of his
     life at St. Mary Overies [St. Mary-over-the-River], in
     retirement from all worldly affairs except pious and liberal
     support of the advancing building works in the priory, and in
     the church now known as St. Saviour's [Southwark], to which
     he bequeathed his body. His will, made not long before death,
     bequeathed his soul to God, his body to be buried in St.
     Mary Overies. The poet bequeathed also 13_s._ 4_d._ to each
     of the four parish churches of Southwark for ornaments and
     lights, besides 6_s._ 8_d._ for prayers to each of their
     curates. It is not less characteristic that he left also
     40_s._ for prayers to the master of St. Thomas's Hospital,
     and, still for prayers, 6_s._ 8_d._ to each of its priests,
     3_s._ 4_d._ to each Sister in the hospital, twenty pence to
     each nurse of the infirm there, and to each of the infirm
     twelve pence. There were similar bequests to St. Thomas
     Elsing Spital, a priory and hospital that stood where now
     stands Sion College. St. Thomas Elsing Spital, founded in
     1329 by William Elsing, was especially commended to the
     sympathies of the blind old poet, as it consisted of a
     college for a warden, four priests, and two clerks, who had
     care of one hundred old, blind, and poor persons of both
     sexes, preference being given to blind, paralytic, and
     disabled priests. Like legacies were bequeathed also to
     Bedlam-without-Bishopsgate, and to St. Mary's Hospital,
     Westminster. Also there were bequests of ten shillings to
     each of the leper-nurses. Two robes (one of white silk, the
     other of blue baudekin,--a costly stuff with web of gold and
     woof of silk), also a new dish and chalice, and a new missal,
     were bequeathed to the perpetual service of the altar of the
     chapel of St. John the Baptist, in which his body was to be
     buried. To the prior and convent he left a great book, a
     'Martyrology,' which had been composed and written for them
     at his expense. To his wife Agnes he left a hundred pounds,
     three cups, one coverlet, two salt-cellars, and a dozen
     silver spoons; also all his beds and chests, with the
     furnishings of hall, pantry, and kitchen; also a chalice and
     robe for the altar of the chapel of their house; and she was
     to have for life all rents due to him from his manors of
     Southwell (in Nottingham) and Moulton (in Suffolk)."

His wife was one of his executors. The will is still preserved at
Lambeth Palace.

Gower's tomb and monument may also still be seen at St. Saviour's, where
the description Berthelet gave of them in 1532 is, aside from the
deadening of the paintings, true:--"Somewhat after the olde ffashion he
lyeth ryght sumptuously buryed, with a garland on his head, in token
that he in his lyfe dayes flouryshed freshely in literature and
science." The head of his stone effigy lies upon three volumes
representing Gower's three great works; the hair falls in long curls;
the robe is closely buttoned to the feet, which rest upon a lion, and
the neck is encircled with a collar, from which a chain held a small
swan, the badge of Henry IV. "Besyde on the wall where as he lyeth,"
continues Berthelet, "there be peynted three virgins, with crownes on
theyr heades; one of the which is written _Charitie_, and she holdeth
this devise in her hande:--

  'En toy qui fitz de Dieu le Pere
  Sauve soit que gist souz cest piere.'

  (In thee, who art Son of God the Father,
  Be he saved who lieth under this stone.)

"The second is wrytten _Mercye_, which holdeth in her hande this

  'O bone Jesu fait ta mercy
  Al alme dont le corps gist icy.'

  (O good Jesus, grant thy mercy
  To the soul whose body lies here.)

"The thyrde of them is wrytten _Pity_, which holdeth in her hand this

  'Pur ta pite, Jesu regarde,
  Et met cest alme en sauve garde.'"

  (For thy pity, Jesus, see;
  And take this soul in thy safe guard.)

The monument was repaired in 1615, 1764, and 1830.

The three works which pillow the head of the effigy indicate Gower's
'Speculum Meditantis' (The Looking-Glass of One Meditating), which the
poet wrote in French; the 'Vox Clamantis' (The Voice of One Crying), in
Latin; and the 'Confessio Amantis,' in English. It should be remembered
in noting this mixture of tongues, that in Gower's early life the
English had no national speech. The court, Parliament, nobles, and the
courts of law used French; the Church held its service in Latin; while
the inhabitants of Anglo-Saxon blood clung to the language of their
fathers, which they had modified by additions from the Norman tongue. It
was not until 1362 that Parliament was opened by a speech in English.
"There is," says Dr. Pauli, "no better illustration of the singular
transition to the English language than a short enumeration and
description of Gower's writings." Of the 'Speculum Meditantis,' a
treatise in ten books on the duties of married life, no copy is known to
exist. The 'Vox Clamantis' was the voice of the poet, singing in Latin
elegiac of the terrible evils which led to the rise of the commons and
their march to London under Wat Tyler and Jack Straw in 1381. It is
doubtless a true picture of the excesses and miseries of the day. The
remedy, the poet says, is in reform--right living and love of England.
Simony in the prelates, avarice and drunkenness in the libidinous
priests, wealth and luxury in the mendicant orders, miscarrying of
justice in the courts, enrichment of individuals by excessive
taxes,--these are the subjects of the voice crying in the wilderness.

Gower's greatest work, however, is the 'Confessio Amantis.' In form it
is a dialogue between a lover and his confessor, who is a priest of
Venus. In substance it is a setting-forth, with moralizings which are at
times touching and elevated, of one hundred and twelve different
stories, from sources so different as the Bible, Ovid, Josephus, the
'Gesta Romanorum,' Valerius Maximus, Statius, Boccaccio, etc. Thirty
thousand eight-syllabled rhymed lines make up the work. There are
different versions. The first was dedicated to Richard II., and the
second to his successor, Henry of Lancaster. Besides these large works,
a number of French ballades, and also English and Latin short poems, are
preserved. "They have real and intrinsic merit," says Todd: "they are
tender, pathetic, and poetical, and place our old poet Gower in a more
advantageous point of view than that in which he has heretofore been
usually seen."

Estimates of Gower's writings are various; but even his most hostile
judges admit the pertinence of the epithet with which Chaucer hails him
in his dedication of 'Troilus and Creseide':--

  "O morall Gower, this bookè I direct
  To thee and to the philosophicall Strode,
  To vouchsafè there need is to correct
  Of your benignities and zealès good."

Then Skelton the laureate, in his long song upon the death of Philip
Sparrow (which recalls the exquisite gem of Catullus in a like
threnody), takes occasion to say:--

  "Gower's englysshè is olde,
  And of no valúe is tolde;
  His mattér is worth gold,
  And worthy to be enrold."

And again:--

  Gower that first garnishèd our English rude."

Old Puttenham also bears this testimony:--"But of them all [the English
poets] particularly this is myne opinion, that Chaucer, with Gower,
Lidgate, and Harding, for their antiquitie ought to have the first

Taine dismisses him with little more than a fillip, and Lowell, while
discoursing appreciatively on Chaucer, says:--

     "Gower has positively raised tediousness to the precision of
     science; he has made dullness an heirloom for the students of
     our literary history. As you slip to and fro on the frozen
     levels of his verse, which give no foothold to the mind; as
     your nervous ear awaits the inevitable recurrence of his
     rhyme, regularly pertinacious as the tick of an eight-day
     clock, and reminding you of Wordsworth's

        'Once more the ass did lengthen out
        The hard dry seesaw of his horrible bray,'

     you learn to dread, almost to respect, the powers of this
     indefatigable man. He is the undertaker of the fair mediæval
     legend, and his style has the hateful gloss, the seemingly
     unnatural length, of a coffin."

Yet hear Morley:--

     "To this day we hear among our living countrymen, as was to
     be heard in Gower's time and long before, the voice passing
     from man to man, that in spite of admixture with the thousand
     defects incident to human character, sustains the keynote of
     our literature, and speaks from the soul of our history the
     secret of our national success. It is the voice that
     expresses the persistent instinct of the English mind to find
     out what is unjust among us and undo it, to find out duty to
     be done and do it, as God's bidding.... In his own Old
     English or Anglo-Saxon way he tries to put his soul into his
     work. Thus in the 'Vox Clamantis' we have heard him asking
     that the soul of his book, not its form, be looked to; and
     speaking the truest English in such sentences as that 'the
     eye is blind and the ear deaf, that convey nothing down to
     the heart's depth; and the heart that does not utter what it
     knows is as a live coal under ashes. If I know little, there
     may be another whom that little will help.... But to the man
     who believes in God, no power is unattainable if he but
     rightly feels his work; he ever has enough, whom God
     increases.' This is the old spirit of Cædmon and of Bede; in
     which are laid, while the earth lasts, the strong foundations
     of our literature. It was the strength of such a temper in
     him that made Gower strong. 'God knows,' he says again, 'my
     wish is to be useful; that is the prayer that directs my
     labor.' And while he thus touches the root of his country's
     philosophy, the form of his prayer--that what he has written
     may be what he would wish it to be--is still a thoroughly
     sound definition of good English writing. His prayer is that
     there may be no word of untruth, and that 'each word may
     answer to the thing it speaks of, pleasantly and fitly; that
     he may flatter in it no one, and seek in it no praise above
     the praise of God.'"

The part of Gower's writing here brought before the reader is the
quaintly told and charming story of Petronella, from 'Liber Primus' of
the 'Confessio.' It may be evidence that all the malediction upon the
poet above quoted is not deserved.

The 'Confessio Amantis' has been edited and collated with the best
manuscripts by Dr. Reinhold Pauli (1857). The 'Vox Clamantis' was
printed for the first time in 1850, under the editorship of H. O. Coxe
and for the Roxburghe Club. The 'Balades and Other Poems' are also
included in the publication of the Roxburghe Club. Other sources of
information regarding Gower are 'Illustrations of the Lives and Writings
of Gower and Chaucer' by Henry J. Todd (1810); Henry Morley's reviews in
'English Writers'; and various short articles.


From the 'Confessio Amantis'

  A king whilom was yonge and wise,
  The which set of his wit great prise.
  Of depe ymaginations
  And straunge interpretations,
  Problemes and demaundès eke
  His wisedom was to finde and seke;
  Wherof he wolde in sondry wise
  Opposen hem that weren wise.
  But none of hem it mightè bere
  Upon his word to yive answére;[1]
  Out taken one, which was a knight:
  To him was every thing so light,
  That also sone as he hem herde
  The kingès wordès he answerde,
  What thing the king him axè wolde,
  Whereof anone the trouth he tolde.
  The king somdele had an envie,
  And thought he wolde his wittès plie
    To setè some conclusion,
    Which shuldè be confusion
  Unto this knight, so that the name
  And of wisdom the highè fame
  Towárd him selfe he woldè winne.
  And thus of all his wit withinne
  This king began to studie and muse
  What straungè matér he might use
  The knightès wittès to confounde;
  And atè last he hath it founde,
  And for the knight anon he sente,
  That he shall tellè what he mente.
  Upon three points stood the matére,
  Of questions as thou shaltè here.
    The firstè pointè of all thre
  Was this: what thing in his degre
  Of all this world hath nedè lest,
  And yet men helpe it allthermest.
    The second is: what moste is worth
  And of costáge is lest put forth.
    The thrid is: which is of most cost,
  And lest is worth, and goth to lost.
    The king these thre demaundès axeth.
  To the knight this law he taxeth:
  That he shall gone, and comen ayein
  The thriddè weke, and tell him pleine
  To every point, what it amounteth.
  And if so be that he miscounteth
  To make in his answére a faile,
  There shall none other thinge availe,
  The king saith, but he shall be dede
  And lese his goodès and his hede.
  This knight was sory of this thinge,
  And wolde excuse him to the kinge;
  But he ne wolde him nought forbere,
  And thus the knight of his answére
  Goth home to take avisement.
  But after his entendement
  The more he cast his wit about,
  The more he stant thereof in doubte.
  Tho[2] wist he well the kingès herte,
  That he the deth ne shulde asterte,[3]
  And suche a sorroe to him hath take
  That gladship he hath all forsake.
  He thought first upon his life,
  And after that upon his wife,
  Upon his children eke also,
  Of whichè he had doughteres two.
  The yongest of hem had of age
  Fourtene yere, and of visage
  She was right faire, and of stature
  Lich to an hevenlich figure,
  And of manér and goodly speche,
  Though men wolde all landès seche,
  They shulden nought have founde her like.
  She sigh[4] her fader sorroe and sike,[5]
  And wist nought the causè why.
  So cam she to him prively,
  And that was wher he made his mone
  Within a gardin all him one.[6]
  Upon her knees she gan down falle
  With humble herte, and to him calle
  And saidè:--"O good fader dere,
  Why makè ye thus hevy chere,[7]
  And I wot nothinge how it is?
  And well ye knowè, fader, this,
  What ádventurè that you felle
  Ye might it saufly to me telle;
  For I have oftè herd you saide,
  That ye such truste have on me laide,
  That to my suster ne to my brother
  In all this worlde ne to none other
  Ye durstè telle a privete
  So well, my fader, as to me.
  Forthy,[8] my fader, I you praie
  Ne casteth nought that hert[9] awaie,
  For I am she that woldè kepe
  Your honour." And with that to wepe
  Her eye may nought be forbore;[10]
  She wisheth for to ben unbore,[11]
  Er[12] that her fader so mistriste
  To tellen her of that he wiste.
  And ever among mercy[13] she cride,
  That he ne shulde his counseil hide
  From her, that so wolde him good
  And was so nigh flesshe and blood.
  So that with weping, atè laste
  His chere upon his childe he caste,
  And sorroefully to that she praide[14]
  He tolde his tale, and thus he saide:--
  "The sorroe, doughter, which I make
  Is nought all only for my sake,
  But for the bothe and for you alle.
  For suche a chaunce is me befalle,
  That I shall er this thriddè day
  Lese all that ever I lesè may,
  My life and all my good therto.
  Therefore it is I sorroe so."
    "What is the cause, alas," quod she,
  "My fader, that ye shulden be
  Dede and destruied in suche a wise?"
    And he began the points devise,
  Which as the king tolde him by mouthe,
  And said her pleinly, that he couthe
  Answeren to no point of this.
  And she, that hereth howe it is,
  Her counseil yaf[15] and saide tho[16]:--
    "My fader, sithen it is so,
  That ye can se none other weie,
  But that ye must nedès deie,
  I wolde pray you of o[17] thinge,--
  Let me go with you to the kinge,
  And ye shall make him understonde,
  How ye, my wittès for to fonde,
  Have laid your answere upon me,
  And telleth him in such degre
  Upon my worde ye wol abide
  To life or deth, what so betide.
  For yet perchaunce I may purchace
  With some good word the kingès grace,
  Your life and eke your good to save.
  For oftè shall a woman have
  Thing, whiche a man may nought areche."
    The fader herd his doughters speche,
  And thought there was no reson in,
  And sigh his ownè life to winne
  He couthè done himself no cure.[18]
  So better him thought in àventure
  To put his life and all his good,
  Than in the manner as it stood,
  His life incertein for to lese.
  And thus thenkend he gan to chese
  To do the counseil of this maid,
  And toke the purpose which she said.
    The day was comen, and forth they gone;
  Unto the court they come anone,
  Where as the kinge in his jugement
  Was set and hath this knight assent.
  Arraièd in her bestè wise,
  This maiden with her wordès wise
  Her fader leddè by the honde
  Into the place,[19] where he fonde
  The king with other which he wolde;
  And to the king knelend he tolde
  As he enformèd was to-fore,
  And praith the king, that he therfore
  His doughters wordès woldè take;
  And saith, that he woll undertake
  Upon her wordès for to stonde.
  Tho was ther great merveile on honde,
  That he, which was so wise a knight,
  His life upon so yonge a wight
  Besettè wolde in jeopartie,
  And many it helden for folie.
  But at the lastè, netheles,
  The king commaundeth ben in pees,
  And to this maide he cast his chere,[20]
  And saide he wolde her talè here,
  And bad her speke; and she began:--
    "My legè lord, so as I can,"
  Quod she, "the pointès which I herde,
  They shull of reson ben answerde.
  The first I understonde is this:
  What thinge of all the worlde it is,
  Which men most helpe and hath lest nede.
  My legè lord, this wolde I rede:
  The erthe it is, which evermo
  With mannès labour is bego
  As well in winter as in maie.
  The mannès honde doth what he may
  To helpe it forth and make it riche,
  And forthy men it delve and diche,
  And even it with strength of plough,
  Wher it hath of him self inough
  So that his nede is atè leste.
  For every man, birdè, and beste
  Of flour and gras and roote and rinde
  And every thing by way of kinde
  Shall sterve, and erthe it shall become
  As it was out of erthè nome,[21]
  It shall be therthe torne ayein.[22]
  And thus I may by reson sein
  That erthè is the most nedeles
  And most men helpe it netheles;
  So that, my lord, touchend of this
  I have answerde how that it is.
    That other point I understood,
  Which most is worth, and most is good,
  And costeth lest a man to kepe:
  My lorde, if ye woll takè kepe,[23]
  I say it is humilitè,
  Through whichè the high Trinitè
  As for desertè of pure love
  Unto Mariè from above,
  Of that he knewe her humble entente,
  His ownè Sone adown he sente
  Above all other, and her he chese
  For that vertu, which bodeth pees.
  So that I may by reson calle
  Humilitè most worthe of alle,
  And lest it costeth to mainteine
  In all the worlde, as it is seine.
  For who that hath humblesse on honde,
  He bringeth no werres into londe,
  For he desireth for the best
  To setten every man in reste.
  Thus with your highè reverence
  Me thenketh that this evidence
  As to this point is suffisaunt.
    And touchend of the remenaunt,
  Which is the thridde of your axinges,
  What lest is worth of allè thinges,
  And costeth most, I telle it pride,
  Which may nought in the heven abide.
  For Lucifer with hem that felle
  Bar pridè with him into helle.
  There was pride of to grete cost
  Whan he for pride hath heven lost;
  And after that in Paradise
  Adam for pridè lost his prise
  In middel-erth. And eke also
  Pride is the cause of allè wo,
  That all the world ne may suffice
  To staunche of pridè the reprise.
  Pride is the heved[24] of all sinne,
  Which wasteth all and may nought winne;
  Pride is of every mis[25] the pricke[26];
  Pride is the worstè of all wicke,
  And costeth most and lest is worth
  In placè where he hath his forth.
    Thus have I said that I woll say
  Of min answére, and to you pray,
  My legè lorde, of your office,
  That ye such grace and suche justice
  Ordeignè for my fader here,
  That after this, whan men it here,
  The world therof may spekè good."
    The king, which reson understood,
  And hath all herde how she hath said,
  Was inly glad, and so well paid,
  That all his wrath is over go.
  And he began to lokè tho
  Upon this maiden in the face,
  In which he found so mochel grace,
  That all his prise on her he laide
  In audience, and thus he saide:--
    "My fairè maidè, well the[27] be
  Of thin answére, and eke of the
  Me liketh well, and as thou wilte,
  Foryivè be thy faders gilte.
  And if thou were of such lignage,
  That thou to me were of parage,
  And that thy fader were a pere,
  As he is now a bachelere,
  So siker as I have a life,
  Thou sholdest thannè be my wife.
  But this I saiè netheles,
  That I woll shapè thin encrese;
  What worldès good that thou wolt crave
  Are of my yift, and thou shalt have."
    And she the king with wordès wise,
  Knelende, thanketh in this wise:--
    "My legè lord, god mot you quite.[28]
  My fader here hath but a lite
  Of warison,[29] and that he wende
  Had all be[30] lost, but now amende
  He may well through you noble grace."
    With that the king right in his place
  Anon forth in that freshè hete
  An erldome, which than of eschete
  Was latè falle into his honde,
  Unto this knight with rent and londe
  Hath yove, and with his chartre sesed,
  And thus was all the noise appesed.
  This maiden, which sate on her knees
  To-fore the kingès charitees,
  Commendeth and saith evermore:--
    "My legè lord, right now to-fore
  Ye saide, and it is of recorde,
  That if my fader were a lorde
  And pere unto these other grete,
  Ye wolden for nought ellès lette,
  That I ne sholdè be your wife.
  And thus wote every worthy life
  A kingès worde mot nede be holde.
  Forthy my lord, if that ye wolde
  So great a charitè fulfille,
  God wotè it were well my wille.
  For he which was a bachelere,
  My fader, is now made a pere;
  So whan as ever that I cam,
  An erlès doughter nowe I am."
    This yongè king, which peisèd[31] all
  Her beautè and her wit withall,
  As he, which was with lovè hente,[32]
  Anone therto gaf his assente.
  He might nought the place asterte,
  That she nis lady of his herte.
  So that he toke her to his wife
  To holdè, while that he hath life.
  And thus the king towárd his knight
  Accordeth him, as it is right.
  And over this good is to wite[33]
  In the cronique as it is write,
  This noble kinge, of whom I tolde,
  Of Spainè by tho daiès olde
  The kingdom had in governaunce,
  And as the boke maketh remembraunce,
  Alphonsè was his propre name.
  The knight also, if I shall name,
  Danz Petro hight, and as men telle,
  His doughter wisè Petronelle
  Was clepèd, which was full of grace.
  And that was sene in thilkè place,
  Where she her fader out of tene[34]
  Hath brought and made her selfe a quene,
  Of that she hath so well desclosed
  The points whereof she was opposed.

    [1] No one could solve his puzzles.

    [2] For.

    [3] Escape.

    [4] Saw.

    [5] Sigh.

    [6] Own.

    [7] Care.

    [8] Therefore.

    [9] Heart.

    [10] Cannot endure it.

    [11] Unborn.

    [12] Ere.

    [13] In the midst of pity (for him).

    [14] In answer to her prayer.

    [15] Gave.

    [16] Thus.

    [17] One.

    [18] Saw that he could do nothing to save his own life.

    [19] Palace.

    [20] Turned his attention.

    [21] Taken.

    [22] Shall turn thereto again.

    [23] Heed.

    [24] Head.

    [25] Mischief.

    [26] Core.

    [27] Thee.

    [28] May God requite you.

    [29] Has had but little reward.

    [30] Been.

    [31] Poised--weighed.

    [32] Seized.

    [33] Know.

    [34] Destruction.





Ulysses Grant was born on the 27th of April, 1822, in a small two-room
cabin situated in Point Pleasant, a village in southern Ohio, about
forty miles above Cincinnati. His father, Jesse R. Grant, was a
powerful, alert, and resolute man, ready of speech and of fair education
for the time. His family came from Connecticut, and was of the earliest
settlers in New England. Hannah Simpson, his wife, was of strong
American stock also. The Simpsons had been residents, for several
generations, of southeastern Pennsylvania. The Grants and the Simpsons
had been redoubtable warriors in the early wars of the republic. Hannah
Simpson was a calm, equable, self-contained young woman, as reticent and
forbearing as her husband was disputatious and impetuous.

Their first child was named Hiram Ulysses Grant. Before the child was
two years of age, Jesse Grant, who was superintending a tannery in Point
Pleasant, removed to Georgetown, Brown County, Ohio, and set up in
business for himself. Georgetown was a village in the deep woods, and in
and about this village Ulysses Grant grew to be a sturdy, self-reliant
boy. He loved horses, and became a remarkable rider and teamster at a
very early age. He was not notable as a scholar, but it was soon
apparent that he had inherited the self-poise, the reticence, and the
modest demeanor of his mother. He took part in the games and sports of
the boys, but displayed no military traits whatever. At the age of
seventeen he was a fair scholar for his opportunities, and his ambitious
father procured for him an appointment to the Military Academy at West
Point. He reported at the adjutant's desk in June 1839, where he found
his name on the register "Ulysses S. Grant" through a mistake of his
Congressman, Thomas L. Hamer. Meanwhile, to escape ridicule on the
initials of his name, which spelled "H.U.G." he had transposed his name
to Ulysses H. Grant, and at his request the adjutant changed the S to an
H; but the name on record in Washington was Ulysses S., and so he
remained "U. S. Grant" to the government and U. H. Grant to his friends
and relatives.

His record at West Point was a good one in mathematics and fair in most
of his studies. He graduated at about the middle of his class, which
numbered thirty-nine. He was much beloved and respected as an upright,
honorable, and loyal young fellow. At the time of his graduation he was
president of the only literary society of the academy; W. S. Hancock was
its secretary.

He remained markedly unmilitary throughout his course, and was
remembered mainly as a good comrade, a youth of sound judgment, and the
finest horseman in the academy. He asked to be assigned to cavalry duty,
but was brevetted second lieutenant of the 4th Infantry, and ordered to
Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis. Here he remained till the spring of
1844, when his regiment was ordered to a point on the southwestern
frontier, near the present town of Natchitoches, Louisiana. Here he
remained till May 1845, when the Mexican War opened, and for the next
three years he served with his regiment in every battle except Buena
Vista. He was twice promoted for gallant conduct, and demonstrated his
great coolness, resource, and bravery in the hottest fire. He was
regimental quartermaster much of the time, and might honorably have kept
out of battle, but he contrived to be in the forefront with his command.

In the autumn of 1848 he married Miss Julia Dent of St. Louis, and as
first lieutenant and regimental quartermaster, with a brevet of captain,
he served at Sackett's Harbor and Detroit alternately till June 1852,
when he was ordered to the coast. This was a genuine hardship, for he
was unable to take his wife and child with him; but he concluded to
remain in the army, and went with his command, sailing from New York and
passing by the way of the Isthmus. On the way across the Isthmus the
regiment encountered cholera, and all Grant's coolness, resource, and
bravery were required to get his charge safely across. "He seemed never
to think of himself, and appeared to be a man of iron," his companions

He was regimental quartermaster at Fort Vancouver, near Portland,
Oregon, for one year. In 1853 he was promoted to a captaincy and ordered
to Fort Humboldt, near Eureka in California. In 1854, becoming
disheartened by the never-ending vista of barrack life, and despairing
of being able to have his wife and children with him, he sent in his
resignation, to take effect July 31st, 1854. He had lost money by
unfortunate business ventures, and so returned forlorn and penniless to
New York. Thence he made his way to St. Louis to his wife and children,
and began the world again as a farmer, without a house or tools or

His father-in-law, Mr. Frederick Dent, who lived about ten miles out of
the city, set aside some sixty or eighty acres of land for his use, and
thereon he built with his own hands a log cabin, which he called
"Hardscrabble." For nearly four years he lived the life of a farmer. He
plowed, hoed, cleared the land, hauled wood and props to the mines, and
endured all the hardships and privations of a small farmer. In 1858 his
health gave way, and he moved to St. Louis in the attempt to get into
some less taxing occupation. He tried for the position of county
engineer, and failed. He went into the real estate business with a
friend, and failed in that. He secured a place in the customs office,
but the collector died and he was thrown out of employment.

In the spring of 1860, despairing of getting a foothold in St. Louis, he
removed to Galena, Illinois, where his father had established a leather
store, a branch of his tannery in Covington, Kentucky. Here he came in
touch again with his two brothers, Simpson and Orvil Grant. He became a
clerk at a salary of six hundred dollars per annum. At this time he was
a quiet man of middle age, and his manner and mode of life attracted
little attention till in 1861, when Sumter was fired upon and Lincoln
called for volunteers. Galena at once held a war meeting to raise a
company. Captain Grant, because of his military experience, was made
president of the meeting, and afterward was offered the captaincy of the
company, which he refused, saying, "I have been a captain in the regular
army. I am fitted to command a regiment."

He wrote at once a patriotic letter to his father-in-law, wherein he
said, "I foresee the doom of slavery." He accompanied the company to
Springfield, where his military experience was needed. Governor Richard
Yates gave him work in the adjutant's office, then made him drill-master
at Camp Yates; and as his efficiency became apparent he was appointed
governor's aide, with rank of colonel. He mustered in several regiments,
among them the 7th Congressional regiment at Mattoon. He made such an
impression on this regiment that they named their camp in his honor, and
about the middle of June sent a delegation of officers to ask that he be
made colonel. Governor Yates reluctantly appointed him, and at the
request of General John C. Frémont, the commander of the Department of
the West, Grant's regiment (known as the 21st Illinois Volunteers) was
ordered to Missouri. Colonel Grant marched his men overland, being the
first commander of the State to decline railway transportation. His
efficiency soon appeared, and he was given the command of all the troops
in and about Mexico, Missouri. At this point he received a dispatch from
E. B. Washburne, Congressman for his district, that President Lincoln
had made him brigadier-general. He was put in command at Ironton,
Missouri, and was proceeding against Colonel Hardee, when he was
relieved from command by B. M. Prentiss and ordered to Jefferson City,
Missouri. He again brought order out of chaos, and was ready for a
campaign, when he was again relieved, and by suggestion of President
Lincoln placed in command of a district with headquarters at Cairo,

This was his first adequate command, and with clear and orderly activity
he organized his command of nearly ten thousand men. On the 6th of
September, learning that the Confederates were advancing on Paducah, he
took the city without firing a gun, and issued an address to the people
of Kentucky which led Lincoln to say, "The man who can write like that
is fitted to command in the West." Early in November, in obedience to a
command from Frémont, he fought the battle of Belmont, thus preventing
General Polk from reinforcing Price in Missouri. This was neither a
victory nor a defeat, as the purpose was not to hold Belmont.

In February 1862, with an army of twenty thousand men and accompanied by
Commander Foote's flotilla, he took Fort Henry and marched on Fort
Donelson. On the 16th of the same month he had invested Donelson and had
beaten the enemy within their works. General Simon Buckner, his old
classmate and comrade, was in command. He wrote to Grant, asking for
commissioners to agree upon terms. Grant replied: "_No terms except an
unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move
immediately upon your works._" Buckner surrendered, and Grant's sturdy
words flamed over the land, making him "Unconditional Surrender Grant."
The whole nation thrilled with the surprise and joy of this capture, and
the obscure brigadier-general became the hero of the day. He was made
major-general, and given the command of the District of Western

On the 6th and 7th of April he fought the terrible battle of Shiloh, and
won it, though with great loss, owing to the failure of part of his
reinforcements to arrive. Immediately after this battle, General H. W.
Halleck, who had relieved General Frémont as commander in the West, took
command in person, and by a clever military device deprived Grant of all
command; and for six weeks the army timidly advanced on Corinth. Corinth
was evacuated by the enemy before Halleck dared to attack, and Grant had
no hand in any important command until late in the year.

Halleck went to Washington in July, leaving Grant again in command; but
his forces were so depleted that he could do little but defend his lines
and stores. In January 1863 he began to assemble his troops to attack
Vicksburg, but high water kept him inactive till the following April.
His plan, then fully developed, was to run the battery with gunboats and
transports, march his troops across the peninsula before the city, and
flank the enemy from below. This superbly audacious plan involved
cutting loose from his base of supplies and all communications. He was
obliged to whip two armies in detail,--Johnston at Jackson, Mississippi,
and Pemberton in command at Vicksburg. This marvelous campaign was
executed to the letter, and on the third day of July, Pemberton
surrendered the largest body of troops ever captured on this continent
up to that time, and Grant became the "man of destiny" of the army. All
criticism was silenced. The world's markets rose and fell with his daily
doings. Lincoln wrote him a letter of congratulation. The question of
making "the prop-hauler of the Gravois" general-in-chief of all the
armies of the United States was raised, and all the nation turned to him
as the savior of the republic.

He was made commander of all the armies of the Mississippi, and
proceeded to Chattanooga to rescue Rosecrans and his beleaguered army.
In a series of swift and dramatic battles he captured Lookout Mountain
and Missionary Ridge. Wherever he went, victory seemed to follow. His
calm demeanor never changed. He was bent on "whipping out the
Rebellion." He was seen to be a warrior of a new sort. He was never
malignant, or cruel, or ungenerous to his enemies; but he fought battles
to win them, and the country now clamored for him to lead the armies of
the Potomac against Lee, the great Southern general against whom no
Northern general seemed able to prevail.

Early in March of 1864, Hon. E. B. Washburne introduced into Congress a
bill reviving the grade of Lieutenant-General. It was passed by both
houses with some discussion, and Lincoln conferred the title and all it
implied upon Grant. He called him to Washington, and placed the whole
conduct of the war in his hands. "I don't want to know your plans," he
said. Grant became absolutely chief in command, and set forth at once to
direct the Army of the Potomac in person, and to encompass Lee as he had
captured the armies of Buckner and Pemberton. His aim was not to whip
Lee, but to destroy his army and end the war. He began an enormous
encircling movement which never for one moment relaxed. The Army of the
Potomac retreated no more. It had a commander who never knew when he was

He fought one day in the Wilderness, sustaining enormous losses; but
when the world expected retreat, he ordered an advance. He fought
another day, and on the third day ordered an advance. Lincoln said, "At
last I have a general." Grant never rested. After every battle he
advanced, inexorably closing around Lee. It took him a year, but in the
end he won. He captured Lee's army, and ended the war on the 9th of
April, 1865. His terms with the captured general of the Southern forces
were so chivalrous and generous that it gained for him the respect and
even admiration of the Southern people. They could not forget that he
was conqueror, but they acknowledged his greatness of heart. He had no
petty revenges.

Nothing in human history exceeds the contrasts in the life of Ulysses
Grant. When Lee surrendered to him, he controlled a battle line from the
Potomac to the Rio Grande, composed of a million men. His lightest
command had almost inconceivable power; and yet he was the same man who
had hauled wood in St. Louis and sold awls and shoe-pegs in Galena,--he
had been developed by opportunity. Personally he remained simple to the
point of inconspicuousness. His rusty blouse, his worn hat, his dusty
boots, his low and modest voice, gave no indication of his exalted
position and his enormous power. At the grand review of the armies in
Washington in May, he sat with musing eyes while the victorious legions
passed him, so unobtrusive in the throng that his troops could hardly
distinguish his form and face; and when he returned to Galena, his old
home, he carried no visible sign of the power and glory to which he had
won his way step by step, by sheer power of doing things so well that
other and greater duties were intrusted to his keeping.

He presented a new type of soldier to the world. He was never vengeful,
never angry in battle. When others swore and uttered ferocious cries,
Grant remained master of himself and every faculty, uttering no oaths,
giving his commands in full, clear, simple, dignified phrases. He hated
conflict. He cared nothing for the pomp and circumstance of war; it was
not glorious to him; and when it was all over he said, "I never want to
see a soldier's uniform again."

He was the chief citizen of the republic at the close of the war, and
when Lincoln was assassinated he was the mainstay of the republic. Every
eye was turned upon him, and his calmness was most salutary upon the
nation. He became inevitably a candidate for President, and was elected
with great enthusiasm in 1868. In 1872 he was re-elected, and during his
two terms his one great purpose was to reconstruct the nation. He did
all that he could to heal the scars of war. He stood between the
malignants of the North and the helpless people of the South, always
patient and sympathetic. His administrations ran in turbulent times, and
corruption was abroad in official circles, but there is no evidence that
he was touched by it. His administration was attacked; he was acquitted.

In 1878, two years after his second term had ended, he went on a trip
around the world, visiting all the great courts and kings of the leading
nations. He received the most extraordinary honors ever tendered to one
human being by his fellows, but he returned to Galena and to his boyhood
home, the same good neighbor, just as democratic in his intercourse as
ever. He never forgot a face, whether of the man who shod his horses or
of the man who nominated him for President, though he looked upon more
people than any other man in the history of the world.

In 1880 he mistakenly became a candidate for a third term, and was
defeated. Shortly after this he moved to New York City, and became a
nominal partner in the firm of Grant & Ward. His name was used in the
business; he had little connection with it, for he was growing old and
failing in health.

In May 1884, through the rascality of Ferdinand Ward, the firm failed,
and General Grant lost every dollar he owned. Just before the crash, in
the attempt to save the firm, he went to a wealthy friend and borrowed a
large sum of money. After the failure the grim old commander turned over
to his creditor every trophy, every present which had been given him by
his foreign friends, even the jeweled favors of kings and queens and the
swords presented to him by his fellow-citizens and by his soldiers; he
reserved nothing. He became so poor that his pew rent became a burden,
and the question of earning a living came to him with added force, for
he was old and lame, and attacked by cancer of the tongue.

Now came the most heroic year of his life. Suffering almost ceaseless
pain, with the death shadow on him, he sat down to write his
autobiography for the benefit of his wife. He complained not at all, and
allowed nothing to stand in the way of his work. He wrote on steadily,
up to the very day of his death, long after the power of speech was
gone, revising his proofs, correcting his judgments of commanders as new
evidence arose, and in the end producing a book which was a marvel of
simple sincerity and modesty of statement, and of transparent clarity of
style. It took rank at once as one of the great martial biographies of
the world. It redeemed his name and gave his wife a competency. It was a
greater deed than the taking of Vicksburg.

In this final illness his thoughts dwelt much upon the differences
between the North and the South. From Mt. McGregor, where he was taken
in June 1885 to escape the heat of the city, he sent forth repeated
messages of good-will to the South. In this hour the two mighty purposes
of his life grew clearer in men's minds. He had put down the Rebellion,
and from the moment of Lee's surrender had set himself the task of
reuniting the severed nation. "Let us have peace," he said; and the
saying had all the effect of a benediction.

He died on July 23rd, 1885, at the age of sixty-three; and at his grave
the North and the South stood side by side in friendship, and the great
captains of opposing armies walked shoulder to shoulder, bearing his
body to its final rest on the bank of the Hudson River. The world knew
his faults, his mistakes, and his weaknesses; but they were all
forgotten in the memory of his great deeds as a warrior, and of his
gentleness, modesty, candor, and purity as a man. Since then it becomes
increasingly more evident that he is to take his place as one of three
or four figures of the first class in our national history. He was a man
of action, and his deeds were of the kind which mark epochs in history.

                                         [Signature: Hamlin Garland]


From 'Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant.' Copyright by Ulysses S. Grant,
and reprinted by permission of the family of General Grant

In June 1821 my father, Jesse R. Grant, married Hannah Simpson. I was
born on the 27th of April, 1822, at Point Pleasant, Clermont County,
Ohio. In the fall of 1823 we moved to Georgetown, the county seat of
Brown, the adjoining county east. This place remained my home until at
the age of seventeen, in 1839, I went to West Point.

The schools at the time of which I write were very indifferent. There
were no free schools, and none in which the scholars were classified.
They were all supported by subscription, and a single teacher--who was
often a man or a woman incapable of teaching much, even if they imparted
all they knew--would have thirty or forty scholars, male and female,
from the infant learning the A B C's up to the young lady of eighteen
and the boy of twenty, studying the highest branches taught--the three
R's, "Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic." I never saw an algebra or other
mathematical work higher than the arithmetic, in Georgetown, until after
I was appointed to West Point. I then bought a work on algebra, in
Cincinnati; but having no teacher, it was Greek to me.

My life in Georgetown was uneventful. From the age of five or six until
seventeen, I attended the subscription schools of the village, except
during the winters of 1836-7 and 1838-9. The former period was spent in
Maysville, Kentucky, attending the school of Richardson and Rand; the
latter in Ripley, Ohio, at a private school. I was not studious in
habit, and probably did not make progress enough to compensate for the
outlay for board and tuition. At all events, both winters were spent in
going over the same old arithmetic which I knew every word of before,
and repeating, "A noun is the name of a thing," which I had also heard
my Georgetown teachers repeat until I had come to believe it--but I cast
no reflections upon my old teacher Richardson. He turned out bright
scholars from his school, many of whom have filled conspicuous places in
the service of their States. Two of my contemporaries there--who I
believe never attended any other institution of learning--have held
seats in Congress, and one, if not both, other high offices; these are
Wadsworth and Brewster.

My father was from my earliest recollection in comfortable
circumstances, considering the times, his place of residence, and the
community in which he lived. Mindful of his own lack of facilities for
acquiring an education, his greatest desire in maturer years was for the
education of his children. Consequently, as stated before, I never
missed a quarter from school, from the time I was old enough to attend
till the time of leaving home. This did not exempt me from labor. In my
early days every one labored more or less, in the region where my youth
was spent, and more in proportion to their private means. It was only
the very poor who were exempt. While my father carried on the
manufacture of leather and worked at the trade himself, he owned and
tilled considerable land. I detested the trade, preferring almost any
other labor; but I was fond of agriculture, and of all employment in
which horses were used. We had, among other lands, fifty acres of forest
within a mile of the village. In the fall of the year, choppers were
employed to cut enough wood to last a twelvemonth. When I was seven or
eight years of age, I began hauling all the wood used in the house and
shops. I could not load it on the wagons, of course, at that time; but I
could drive, and the choppers would load, and some one at the house
unload. When about eleven years old, I was strong enough to hold a plow.
From that age until seventeen I did all the work done with horses, such
as breaking up the land, furrowing, plowing corn and potatoes, bringing
in the crops when harvested, hauling all the wood, besides tending two
or three horses, a cow or two, and sawing wood for stoves, etc., while
still attending school. For this I was compensated by the fact that
there was never any scolding or punishing by my parents; no objection to
rational enjoyments, such as fishing, going to the creek a mile away to
swim in summer, taking a horse and visiting my grandparents in the
adjoining county, fifteen miles off, skating on the ice in winter, or
taking a horse and sleigh when there was snow on the ground.

While still quite young I had visited Cincinnati, forty-five miles away,
several times, alone; also Maysville, Kentucky,--often,--and once
Louisville. The journey to Louisville was a big one for a boy of that
day. I had also gone once with a two-horse carriage to Chillicothe,
about seventy miles, with a neighbor's family who were removing to
Toledo, Ohio, and returned alone; and had gone once in like manner to
Flat Rock, Kentucky, about seventy miles away. On this latter occasion I
was fifteen years of age. While at Flat Rock, at the house of a Mr.
Payne, whom I was visiting with his brother, a neighbor of ours in
Georgetown, I saw a very fine saddle horse which I rather coveted; and
proposed to Mr. Payne, the owner, to trade him for one of the two I was
driving. Payne hesitated to trade with a boy, but asking his brother
about it, the latter told him that it would be all right; that I was
allowed to do as I pleased with the horses. I was seventy miles from
home, with a carriage to take back, and Mr. Payne said he did not know
that his horse had ever had a collar on. I asked to have him hitched to
a farm wagon, and we would soon see whether he would work. It was soon
evident that the horse had never worn harness before; but he showed no
viciousness, and I expressed a confidence that I could manage him. A
trade was at once struck, I receiving ten dollars difference.

The next day, Mr. Payne of Georgetown and I started on our return. We
got along very well for a few miles, when we encountered a ferocious dog
that frightened the horses and made them run. The new animal kicked at
every jump he made. I got the horses stopped, however, before any damage
was done, and without running into anything. After giving them a little
rest, to quiet their fears, we started again. That instant the new horse
kicked, and started to run once more. The road we were on struck the
turnpike within half a mile of the point where the second runaway
commenced, and there was an embankment twenty or more feet deep on the
opposite side of the pike. I got the horses stopped on the very brink of
the precipice. My new horse was terribly frightened, and trembled like
an aspen; but he was not half so badly frightened as my companion Mr.
Payne, who deserted me after this last experience, and took passage on
a freight wagon for Maysville. Every time I attempted to start, my new
horse would commence to kick. I was in quite a dilemma for a time. Once
in Maysville, I could borrow a horse from an uncle who lived there; but
I was more than a day's travel from that point. Finally I took out my
bandanna--the style of handkerchief in universal use then--and with this
blindfolded my horse. In this way I reached Maysville safely the next
day, no doubt much to the surprise of my friend. Here I borrowed a horse
from my uncle, and the following day we proceeded on our journey.

About half my school days in Georgetown were spent at the school of John
D. White, a North-Carolinian, and the father of Chilton White, who
represented the district in Congress for one term during the Rebellion.
Mr. White was always a Democrat in politics, and Chilton followed his
father. He had two older brothers,--all three being schoolmates of mine
at their father's school,--who did not go the same way. The second
brother died before the Rebellion began; he was a Whig, and afterwards a
Republican. His oldest brother was a Republican and brave soldier during
the Rebellion. Chilton is reported as having told of an earlier horse
trade of mine. As he told the story, there was a Mr. Ralston living
within a few miles of the village, who owned a colt which I very much
wanted. My father had offered twenty dollars for it, but Ralston wanted
twenty-five. I was so anxious to have the colt, that after the owner
left I begged to be allowed to take him at the price demanded. My father
yielded, but said twenty dollars was all the horse was worth, and told
me to offer that price; if it was not accepted I was to offer twenty-two
and a half, and if that would not get him, to give the twenty-five. I at
once mounted a horse and went for the colt. When I got to Mr. Ralston's
house, I said to him, "Papa says I may offer you twenty dollars for the
colt, but if you won't take that, I am to offer twenty-two and a half,
and if you won't take that, to give you twenty-five." It would not
require a Connecticut man to guess the price finally agreed upon. This
story is nearly true. I certainly showed very plainly that I had come
for the colt and meant to have him. I could not have been over eight
years old at the time. This transaction caused me great heart-burning.
The story got out among the boys of the village, and it was a long time
before I heard the last of it. Boys enjoy the misery of their
companions,--at least village boys in that day did, and in later life I
have found that all adults are not free from the peculiarity. I kept the
horse until he was four years old, when he went blind, and I sold him
for twenty dollars. When I went to Maysville to school, in 1836, at the
age of fourteen, I recognized my colt as one of the blind horses working
on the tread-wheel of the ferry-boat.

I have described enough of my early life to give an impression of the
whole. I did not like to work; but I did as much of it, while young, as
grown men can be hired to do in these days, and attended school at the
same time. I had as many privileges as any boy in the village, and
probably more than most of them. I have no recollection of ever having
been punished at home, either by scolding or by the rod. But at school
the case was different. The rod was freely used there, and I was not
exempt from its influence. I can see John D. White, the school-teacher,
now, with his long beech switch always in his hand. It was not always
the same one, either. Switches were brought in bundles from a beech wood
near the schoolhouse, by the boys for whose benefit they were intended.
Often a whole bundle would be used up in a single day. I never had any
hard feelings against my teacher, either while attending the school or
in later years when reflecting upon my experience. Mr. White was a
kind-hearted man, and was much respected by the community in which he
lived. He only followed the universal custom of the period, and that
under which he had received his own education....

In the winter of 1838-9 I was attending school at Ripley, only ten miles
distant from Georgetown, but spent the Christmas holidays at home.
During this vacation my father received a letter from the Honorable
Thomas Morris, then United States Senator from Ohio. When he read it he
said to me, "Ulysses, I believe you are going to receive the
appointment." "What appointment?" I inquired.--"To West Point; I have
applied for it." "But I won't go," I said. He said he thought I would,
_and I thought so too, if he did_. I really had no objection to going to
West Point, except that I had a very exalted idea of the acquirements
necessary to get through. I did not believe I possessed them, and could
not bear the idea of failing.


From 'Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant.' Copyright by Ulysses S. Grant,
and reprinted by permission of the family of General Grant.

At West Point I had a classmate,--in the last year of our studies he was
room-mate also,--F. T. Dent, whose family resided some five miles west
of Jefferson Barracks. Two of his unmarried brothers were living at home
at that time, and as I had taken with me from Ohio my horse, saddle, and
bridle, I soon found my way out to White Haven, the name of the Dent
estate. As I found the family congenial, my visits became frequent.
There were at home, besides the young men, two daughters, one a
school-miss of fifteen, the other a girl of eight or nine. There was
still an older daughter of seventeen, who had been spending several
years at a boarding-school in St. Louis, but who, though through school,
had not yet returned home. She was spending the winter in the city with
connections, the family of Colonel John O'Fallon, well known in St.
Louis. In February she returned to her country home. After that I do not
know but my visits became more frequent: they certainly did become more
enjoyable. We would often take walks, or go on horseback to visit the
neighbors, until I became quite well acquainted in that vicinity.
Sometimes one of the brothers would accompany us, sometimes one of the
younger sisters. If the 4th Infantry had remained at Jefferson Barracks
it is possible, even probable, that this life might have continued for
some years without my finding out that there was anything serious the
matter with me; but in the following May a circumstance occurred which
developed my sentiment so palpably that there was no mistaking it.

The annexation of Texas was at this time the subject of violent
discussion in Congress, in the press, and by individuals. The
administration of President Tyler, then in power, was making the most
strenuous efforts to effect the annexation, which was indeed the great
and absorbing question of the day. During these discussions the greater
part of the single rifle regiment in the army--the 2d Dragoons, which
had been dismounted a year or two before, and designated "Dismounted
Rifles"--was stationed at Fort Jessup, Louisiana, some twenty-five miles
east of the Texas line, to observe the frontier. About the first of May
the 3d Infantry was ordered from Jefferson Barracks to Louisiana, to go
into camp in the neighborhood of Fort Jessup, and there await further
orders. The troops were embarked on steamers, and were on their way down
the Mississippi within a few days after the receipt of this order. About
the time they started I obtained a leave of absence for twenty days to
go to Ohio to visit my parents. I was obliged to go to St. Louis to take
a steamer for Louisville or Cincinnati, or the first steamer going up
the Ohio River to any point. Before I left St. Louis, orders were
received at Jefferson Barracks for the 4th Infantry to follow the 3d. A
messenger was sent after me to stop my leaving; but before he could
reach me I was off, totally ignorant of these events. A day or two after
my arrival at Bethel I received a letter from a classmate and fellow
lieutenant in the 4th, informing me of the circumstances related above,
and advising me not to open any letter postmarked St. Louis or Jefferson
Barracks until the expiration of my leave, and saying that he would pack
up my things and take them along for me. His advice was not necessary,
for no other letter was sent to me. I now discovered that I was
exceedingly anxious to get back to Jefferson Barracks, and I understood
the reason without explanation from any one. My leave of absence
required me to report for duty at Jefferson Barracks at the end of
twenty days. I knew my regiment had gone up the Red River, but I was not
disposed to break the letter of my leave; besides, if I had proceeded to
Louisiana direct, I could not have reached there until after the
expiration of my leave. Accordingly, at the end of the twenty days I
reported for duty to Lieutenant Ewell, commanding at Jefferson Barracks,
handing him at the same time my leave of absence. After noticing the
phraseology of the order--leaves of absence were generally worded, "at
the end of which time he will report for duty with his proper
command"--he said he would give me an order to join my regiment in
Louisiana. I then asked for a few days' leave before starting, which he
readily granted. This was the same Ewell who acquired considerable
reputation as a Confederate general during the Rebellion. He was a man
much esteemed, and deservedly so, in the old army, and proved himself a
gallant and efficient officer in two wars--both in my estimation unholy.

I immediately procured a horse and started for the country, taking no
baggage with me, of course. There is an insignificant creek, the
Gravois, between Jefferson Barracks and the place to which I was going,
and at that day there was not a bridge over it from its source to its
mouth. There is not water enough in the creek at ordinary stages to run
a coffee-mill, and at low water there is none running whatever. On this
occasion it had been raining heavily, and when the creek was reached I
found the banks full to overflowing, and the current rapid. I looked at
it a moment to consider what to do. One of my superstitions had always
been when I started to go anywhere, or do anything, not to turn back or
stop until the thing intended was accomplished. I have frequently
started to go to places where I had never been and to which I did not
know the way, depending upon making inquiries on the road, and if I got
past the place without knowing it, instead of turning back, I would go
on until a road was found turning in the right direction, take that, and
come in by the other side. So I struck into the stream, and in an
instant the horse was swimming and I being carried down by the current.
I headed the horse towards the other bank and soon reached it, wet
through and without other clothes on that side of the stream. I went on,
however, to my destination and borrowed a dry suit from my (future)
brother-in-law. We were not of the same size, but the clothes answered
every purpose until I got more of my own.

Before I returned I mustered up courage to make known, in the most
awkward manner imaginable, the discovery I had made on learning that the
4th Infantry had been ordered away from Jefferson Barracks. The young
lady afterwards admitted that she too, although until then she had never
looked upon me other than as a visitor whose company was agreeable to
her, had experienced a depression of spirits she could not account for
when the regiment left. Before separating, it was definitely understood
that at a convenient time we would join our fortunes, and not let the
removal of a regiment trouble us. This was in May 1844. It was the 22d
of August, 1848, before the fulfillment of this agreement. My duties
kept me on the frontier of Louisiana with the Army of Observation during
the pendency of Annexation; and afterwards I was absent through the war
with Mexico provoked by the action of the army, if not by the annexation
itself. During that time there was a constant correspondence between
Miss Dent and myself, but we only met once in the period of four years
and three months. In May 1845 I procured a leave for twenty days,
visited St. Louis, and obtained the consent of the parents for the
union, which had not been asked for before.


From 'Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant.' Copyright by Ulysses S. Grant,
and reprinted by permission of the family of General Grant

I had never been a sportsman in my life; had scarcely ever gone in
search of game, and rarely seen any when looking for it. On this trip
there was no minute of time while traveling between San Patricio and the
settlements on the San Antonio River, from San Antonio to Austin, and
again from the Colorado River back to San Patricio, when deer or
antelope could not be seen in great numbers. Each officer carried a
shotgun, and every evening after going into camp, some would go out and
soon return with venison and wild turkeys enough for the entire camp. I
however never went out, and had no occasion to fire my gun; except,
being detained over a day at Goliad, Benjamin and I concluded to go down
to the creek--which was fringed with timber, much of it the pecan--and
bring back a few turkeys. We had scarcely reached the edge of the timber
when I heard the flutter of wings overhead, and in an instant I saw two
or three turkeys flying away. These were soon followed by more, then
more and more, until a flock of twenty or thirty had left from just over
my head. All this time I stood watching the turkeys to see where they
flew, with my gun on my shoulder, and never once thought of leveling it
at the birds. When I had time to reflect upon the matter, I came to the
conclusion that as a sportsman I was a failure, and went back to the
house. Benjamin remained out, and got as many turkeys as he wanted to
carry back.

After the second night at Goliad, Benjamin and I started to make the
remainder of the journey alone. We reached Corpus Christi just in time
to avoid "absence without leave." We met no one, not even an Indian,
during the remainder of our journey, except at San Patricio. A new
settlement had been started there in our absence of three weeks, induced
possibly by the fact that there were houses already built, while the
proximity of troops gave protection against the Indians. On the evening
of the first day out from Goliad we heard the most unearthly howling of
wolves, directly in our front. The prairie grass was tall and we could
not see the beasts, but the sound indicated that they were near. To my
ear it appeared that there must have been enough of them to devour our
party, horses and all, at a single meal. The part of Ohio that I hailed
from was not thickly settled, but wolves had been driven out long before
I left. Benjamin was from Indiana, still less populated, where the wolf
yet roamed over the prairies. He understood the nature of the animal,
and the capacity of a few to make believe there was an unlimited number
of them. He kept on towards the noise, unmoved. I followed in his trail,
lacking moral courage to turn back and join our sick companion. I have
no doubt that if Benjamin had proposed returning to Goliad, I would not
only have "seconded the motion," but have suggested that it was very
hard-hearted in us to leave Augur sick there in the first place; but
Benjamin did not propose turning back. When he did speak it was to ask,
"Grant, how many wolves do you think there are in that pack?" Knowing
where he was from, and suspecting that he thought I would overestimate
the number, I determined to show my acquaintance with the animal by
putting the estimate below what possibly could be correct, and answered,
"Oh, about twenty," very indifferently. He smiled and rode on. In a
minute we were close upon them, and before they saw us. There were just
_two_ of them. Seated upon their haunches, with their mouths close
together, they had made all the noise we had been hearing for the past
ten minutes. I have often thought of this incident since, when I have
heard the noise of a few disappointed politicians who had deserted their
associates. There are always more of them before they are counted.


From 'Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant.' Copyright by Ulysses S. Grant,
and reprinted by permission of the family of General Grant

Wars produce many stories of fiction, some of which are told until they
are believed to be true. The War of the Rebellion was no exception to
this rule, and the story of the apple-tree is one of those fictions
based on a slight foundation of fact. As I have said, there was an apple
orchard on the side of the hill occupied by the Confederate forces.
Running diagonally up the hill was a wagon road, which at one point ran
very near one of the trees, so that the wheels of vehicles had on that
side cut off the roots of this tree, leaving a little embankment.
General Babcock, of my staff, reported to me that when he first met
General Lee he was sitting upon this embankment with his feet in the
road below and his back resting against the tree. The story had no other
foundation than that. Like many other stories, it would be very good if
it was only true.

I had known General Lee in the old army, and had served with him in the
Mexican War: but did not suppose, owing to the difference in our age and
rank, that he would remember me; while I would more naturally remember
him distinctly, because he was the chief of staff of General Scott in
the Mexican War.

When I had left camp that morning I had not expected so soon the result
that was then taking place, and consequently was in rough garb. I was
without a sword, as I usually was when on horseback on the field, and
wore a soldier's blouse for a coat, with the shoulder-straps of my rank
to indicate to the army who I was. When I went into the house I found
General Lee. We greeted each other, and after shaking hands took our
seats. I had my staff with me, a good portion of whom were in the room
during the whole of the interview.

What General Lee's feelings were I do not know. As he was a man of much
dignity, with an impassible face, it was impossible to say whether he
felt inwardly glad that the end had finally come, or felt sad over the
result and was too manly to show it. Whatever his feelings, they were
entirely concealed from my observation; but my own feelings, which had
been quite jubilant on the receipt of his letter, were sad and
depressed. I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of
a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for
a cause,--though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a
people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse. I do
not question, however, the sincerity of the great mass of those who were
opposed to us.

General Lee was dressed in a full uniform which was entirely new, and
was wearing a sword of considerable value, very likely the sword which
had been presented by the State of Virginia; at all events, it was an
entirely different sword from the one that would ordinarily be worn in
the field. In my rough traveling suit, the uniform of a private with the
straps of a lieutenant-general, I must have contrasted very strangely
with a man so handsomely dressed, six feet high and of faultless form.
But this was not a matter that I thought of until afterwards.

We soon fell into a conversation about old army times. He remarked that
he remembered me very well in the old army; and I told him that as a
matter of course I remembered him perfectly, but from the difference in
our rank and years (there being about sixteen years' difference in our
ages), I had thought it very likely that I had not attracted his
attention sufficiently to be remembered by him after such a long
interval. Our conversation grew so pleasant that I almost forgot the
object of our meeting. After the conversation had run on in this style
for some time, General Lee called my attention to the object of our
meeting, and said that he had asked for this interview for the purpose
of getting from me the terms I proposed to give his army. I said that I
meant merely that his army should lay down their arms, not to take them
up again during the continuance of the war unless duly and properly
exchanged. He said that he had so understood my letter.

Then we gradually fell off again into conversation about matters foreign
to the subject which had brought us together. This continued for some
little time, when General Lee again interrupted the course of the
conversation by suggesting that the terms I had proposed to give his
army ought to be written out. I called to General Parker, secretary on
my staff, for writing materials, and commenced writing out the following

                         APPOMATTOX C. H., VA., April 9th, 1865.

     _Gen. R. E. Lee, Comd'g C. S. A._

     GEN.:--In accordance with the substance of my letter to you
     of the 8th inst., I propose to receive the surrender of the
     Army of N. Va. on the following terms, to wit: Rolls of all
     the officers and men to be made in duplicate. One copy to be
     given to an officer designated by me, the other to be
     retained by such officer or officers as you may designate.
     The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up
     arms against the Government of the United States until
     properly exchanged, and each company or regimental commander
     sign a like parole for the men of their commands. The arms,
     artillery, and public property to be parked and stacked, and
     turned over to the officer appointed by me to receive them.
     This will not embrace the side-arms of the officers, nor
     their private horses or baggage. This done, each officer and
     man will be allowed to return to their homes, not to be
     disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe
     their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside.

                    Very respectfully,

                                                    U. S. GRANT,
                                                    Lt. Gen.

When I put my pen to the paper I did not know the first word that I
should make use of in writing the terms. I only knew what was in my
mind, and I wished to express it clearly, so that there could be no
mistaking it. As I wrote on, the thought occurred to me that the
officers had their own private horses and effects, which were important
to them but of no value to us; also that it would be an unnecessary
humiliation to call upon them to deliver their side-arms.

No conversation, not one word, passed between General Lee and myself,
either about private property, side-arms, or kindred subjects. He
appeared to have no objections to the terms first proposed; or if he had
a point to make against them, he wished to wait until they were in
writing to make it. When he read over that part of the terms about
side-arms, horses, and private property of the officers, he
remarked--with some feeling, I thought--that this would have a happy
effect upon his army.

Then, after a little further conversation, General Lee remarked to me
again that their army was organized a little diferently from the army of
the United States (still maintaining by implication that we were two
countries); that in their army the cavalrymen and artillerists owned
their own horses: and he asked if he was to understand that the men who
so owned their horses were to be permitted to retain them. I told him
that as the terms were written they would not; that only the officers
were permitted to take their private property. He then, after reading
over the terms a second time, remarked that that was clear.

I then said to him that I thought this would be about the last battle of
the war--I sincerely hoped so; and I said further, I took it that most
of the men in the ranks were small farmers. The whole country had been
so raided by the two armies that it was doubtful whether they would be
able to put in a crop to carry themselves and their families through the
next winter without the aid of the horses they were then riding. The
United States did not want them; and I would therefore instruct the
officers I left behind to receive the paroles of his troops to let every
man of the Confederate army who claimed to own a horse or mule take the
animal to his home. Lee remarked again that this would have a happy

He then sat down and wrote out the following letter:--


     GENERAL:--I received your letter of this date containing the
     terms of the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia as
     proposed by you. As they are substantially the same as those
     expressed in your letter of the 8th inst., they are accepted.
     I will proceed to designate the proper officers to carry the
     stipulations into effect.

                                                      R. E. LEE,

        _Lieut.-General U. S. Grant._

While duplicates of the two letters were being made, the Union generals
present were severally presented to General Lee.

The much-talked-of surrendering of Lee's sword and my handing it back,
this and much more that has been said about it is the purest romance.
The word sword or side-arms was not mentioned by either of us until I
wrote it in the terms. There was no premeditation, and it did not occur
to me until the moment I wrote it down. If I had happened to omit it,
and General Lee had called my attention to it, I should have put it in
the terms, precisely as I acceded to the provision about the soldiers
retaining their horses.

General Lee, after all was completed and before taking his leave,
remarked that his army was in a very bad condition for want of food, and
that they were without forage; that his men had been living for some
days on parched corn exclusively, and that he would have to ask me for
rations and forage. I told him "Certainly," and asked for how many men
he wanted rations. His answer was "About twenty-five thousand"; and I
authorized him to send his own commissary and quartermaster to
Appomattox Station, two or three miles away, where he could have, out of
the trains we had stopped, all the provisions wanted. As for forage, we
had ourselves depended almost entirely upon the country for that.

Generals Gibbon, Griffin, and Merritt were designated by me to carry
into effect the paroling of Lee's troops before they should start for
their homes,--General Lee leaving Generals Longstreet, Gordon, and
Pendleton for them to confer with in order to facilitate this work. Lee
and I then separated as cordially as we had met, he returning to his own
lines, and all went into bivouac for the night at Appomattox.



[Illustration: HENRY GRATTAN]

Henry Grattan, eminent among Irish orators and statesmen, was born in
Dublin, July 3d, 1746. He graduated from Trinity College in 1767, became
a law student of the Middle Temple, London, and was admitted to the bar
in 1772. He soon became drawn into open political life, entering the
Irish Parliament in 1775.

In Parliament he espoused the popular cause. His memorable displays of
oratory followed fast and plentifully. On April 19th, 1780, he attacked
the right of England to legislate for Ireland. With that address his
reputation was made. He became incessant in his efforts to remove
oppressive legislation. By his eloquence he quickened into life a
national spirit, to culminate in a convention at Dungannon on February
15th, 1782, where resolutions in favor of legislative independence were
stormily adopted. Presently, after a speech of surpassing power from
him, the Declaration of Rights Bill was passed unanimously by both
houses, with an unwilling enactment from England. The idol now of
Ireland, Grattan was voted by its Parliament a grant of £50,000 "as a
testimony of national gratitude for great national services." The next
eighteen years saw him resolute to secure for Ireland liberal laws,
greater commercial freedom, better conditions for the peasantry, the
wiping out of Parliamentary corruption, and especially the absolute
emancipation of the Roman Catholics. After the Union he lived in
retirement, devoting himself to the study of the classics and to the
education of his children until 1805. Then at the request of Fox he
entered the imperial Parliament, making his first speech in favor of
Fox's motion for a committee on the Roman Catholic Petition, an address
described as "one of the most brilliant speeches ever made within the
walls of Parliament." In 1806 he was elected a member for Dublin, which
city he represented until his decease. His last speech was made on May
5th, 1819, in favor of Roman Catholic emancipation. It is to be noted
that he was by profession and conviction a Protestant. He died in 1820.
He was buried in Westminster Abbey, near the graves of Chatham and Fox.

In spite of great natural drawbacks, Grattan achieved the highest rank
as an orator; and his passionate eloquence has rarely been equaled in
fervor and originality.


The Secretary stood alone; modern degeneracy had not reached him.
Original and unaccommodating, the features of his character had the
hardihood of antiquity. His august mind overawed majesty; and one of his
sovereigns thought royalty so impaired in his presence that he conspired
to remove him, in order to be relieved from his superiority. No State
chicanery, no narrow system of vicious politics, sank him to the vulgar
level of the great; but overbearing, persuasive, and impracticable, his
object was England, his ambition was fame. Without dividing, he
destroyed party; without corrupting, he made a venal age unanimous.

France sank beneath him. With one hand he smote the house of Bourbon,
and wielded with the other the democracy of England. The sight of his
mind was infinite; and his schemes were to affect, not England and the
present age only, but Europe and posterity. Wonderful were the means by
which these schemes were accomplished; always seasonable, always
adequate, the suggestions of an understanding animated by order and
enlightened by prophecy.

The ordinary feelings which render life amiable and indolent were
unknown to him. No domestic difficulty, no domestic weakness reached
him; but aloof from the sordid occurrences of life, and unsullied by its
intercourse, he came occasionally into our system to counsel and to
decide. A character so exalted, so strenuous, so various, and so
authoritative astonished a corrupt age; and the treasury trembled at the
name of Pitt, through all her classes of venality. Corruption imagined
indeed that she had found defects in this statesman, and talked much of
the ruin of his victories; but the history of his country and the
calamities of the enemy refuted her.

Nor were his political abilities his only talents: his eloquence was an
era in the Senate; peculiar and spontaneous, familiarly expressing
gigantic sentiments and instinctive wisdom; not like the torrent of
Demosthenes, or the splendid conflagration of Tully, it resembled
sometimes the thunder and sometimes the music of the spheres. He did
not, like Murray, conduct the understanding through the painful subtlety
of argumentation, nor was he, like Townshend, forever on the rack of
exertion; but rather lightened upon the subject, and reached the point
by flashings of the mind, which like those of his eye were felt but
could not be followed.

Upon the whole, there was something in this man that could create,
subvert, or reform: an understanding, a spirit, and an eloquence, to
summon mankind to society, or to break the bonds of slavery asunder and
to rule the wilderness of free minds with unbounded authority; something
that could establish or overwhelm empires, and strike a blow in the
world which should resound throughout the universe.


From the Speech of May 31st, 1811

Whatever belongs to the authority of God, or to the laws of nature, is
necessarily beyond the province and sphere of human institution and
government. The Roman Catholic, when you disqualify him on the ground of
his religion, may with great justice tell you that you are not his God,
that he cannot mold or fashion his faith by your decrees. You may
inflict penalties, and he may suffer them in silence; but if Parliament
assume the prerogative of Heaven, and enact laws to impose upon the
people a different religion, the people will not obey such laws. If you
pass an act to impose a tax or regulate a duty, the people can go to the
roll to learn what are the provisions of the law. But whenever you take
upon yourselves to legislate for God, though there may be truth in your
enactments, you have no authority to enforce them. In such a case, the
people will not go to the roll of Parliament, but to the Bible, the
testament of God's will, to ascertain his law and their duty. When once
man goes out of his sphere, and says he will legislate for God, he in
fact makes himself God. But this I do not charge upon the Parliament,
because in none of the Penal Acts has the Parliament imposed a
religious creed. It is not to be traced in the qualification oath, nor
in the declaration required. The qualifying oath, as to the great number
of offices and seats in Parliament, scrupulously evades religious
distinctions; a Dissenter of any class may take it, a Deist, an atheist,
may likewise take it. The Catholics are alone excepted; and for what
reason? Certainly not because the internal character of the Catholic
religion is inherently vicious; not because it necessarily incapacitates
those who profess it to make laws for their fellow-citizens. If a Deist
be fit to sit in Parliament, it can hardly be urged that a Christian is
unfit. If an atheist be competent to legislate for his country, surely
this privilege cannot be denied to the believer in the divinity of our
Savior. But let me ask you if you have forgotten what was the faith of
your ancestors, or if you are prepared to assert that the men who
procured your liberties are unfit to make your laws? Or do you forget
the tempests by which the Dissenting classes of the community were at a
former period agitated, or in what manner you fixed the rule of peace
over that wild scene of anarchy and commotion? If we attend to the
present condition and habits of these classes, do we not find their
controversies subsisting in full vigor? and can it be said that their
jarring sentiments and clashing interests are productive of any disorder
in the State; or that the Methodist himself, in all his noisy
familiarity with his Maker, is a dangerous or disloyal subject? Upon
what principle can it be argued that the application of a similar policy
would not conciliate the Catholics, and promote the general interests of
the empire? I can trace the continuance of their incapacities to nothing
else than a political combination; a combination that condemned the
Catholic religion, not as a heresy, but as a symptom of a civil
alienation. By this doctrine, the religion is not so much an evil in
itself as a perpetual token of political disaffection. In the spirit of
this liberal interpretation, you once decreed to take away their arms,
and on another occasion ordered all Papists to be removed from London.
In the whole subsequent course of administration, the religion has
continued to be esteemed the infallible symptom of a propensity to
rebel. Known or suspected Papists were once the objects of the severest
jealousy and the bitterest enactments. Some of these statutes have been
repealed, and the jealousy has since somewhat abated; but the same
suspicions, although in a less degree, pervade your councils. Your
imaginations are still infected with apprehensions of the proneness of
the Catholics to make cause with a foreign foe. A treaty has lately been
made with the King of the Two Sicilies. May I ask: Is his religion the
evidence of the warmth of his attachment to your alliance? Does it enter
into your calculation as one of the motives that must incline him to our
friendship, in preference to the friendship of the State professing his
own faith? A similar treaty has been recently entered into with the
Prince Regent of Portugal, professing the Roman Catholic religion; and
one million granted last year and two millions this session, for the
defense of Portugal. Nay, even in the treaty with the Prince Regent of
Portugal, there is an article which stipulates that we shall not make
peace with France unless Portugal shall be restored to the house of
Braganza. And has the Prince of Brazil's religion been considered
evidence of his connection with the enemy? You have not one ally who is
not Catholic; and will you continue to disqualify Irish Catholics, who
fight with you and your allies, because their religion is evidence of

But if the Catholic religion be this evidence of repugnance, is
Protestantism the proof of affection to the Crown and government of
England? For an answer, let us look at America. In vain did you send
your armies there; in vain did you appeal to the ties of common origin
and common religion. America joined with France, and adopted a
connection with a Catholic government. Turn to Prussia, and behold
whether her religion has had any effect on her political character. Did
the faith of Denmark prevent the attack on Copenhagen? It is admitted on
all sides that the Catholics have demonstrated their allegiance in as
strong a manner as the willing expenditure of blood and treasure can
evince. And remember that the French go not near so far in their defense
of Catholicism, as you in your hatred of it in your own subjects and
your reverence for it in your allies. They have not scrupled to pull
down the ancient fabrics of superstition in the countries subjected to
their arms. Upon a review of these facts, I am justified in assuming
that there is nothing inherent in Catholicism which either proves
disaffection, or disqualifies for public trusts. The immediate inference
is that they have as much right as any dissentient sect to the enjoyment
of civil privileges and a participation of equal rights; that they are
as fit morally and politically to hold offices in the State or seats in
Parliament. Those who dispute the conclusion will find it their duty to
controvert the reasoning on which it is founded. I do not believe the
Church is in any danger; but if it is, I am sure that we are in a wrong
way to secure it. If our laws will battle against Providence, there can
be no doubt of the issue of the conflict between the ordinances of God
and the decrees of man: transient must be the struggle, rapid the event.
Let us suppose an extreme case, but applicable to the present point:
Suppose the Thames were to inundate its banks, and suddenly swelling,
enter this House during our deliberations (an event which I greatly
deprecate, from my private friendship with many members who might happen
to be present, and my sense of the great exertions which many of them
have made for the public interest), and a motion of adjournment being
made, should be opposed, and an address to Providence moved that it
would be graciously pleased to turn back the overflow and direct the
waters into another channel. This, it will be said, would be absurd; but
consider whether you are acting upon a principle of greater intrinsic
wisdom, when after provoking the resentments you arm and martialize the
ambition of men, under the vain assurance that Providence will work a
miracle in the constitution of human nature, and dispose it to pay
injustice with affection, oppression with cordial support. This is in
fact the true character of your expectations; nothing less than that the
Author of the Universe should subvert his laws to ratify your statutes,
and disturb the settled course of nature to confirm the weak, the base
expedients of man. What says the Decalogue? Honor thy father. What says
the penal law? Take away his estate! Again, says the Decalogue, Do not
steal. The law, on the contrary, proclaims, You may rob a Catholic!


From the Speech of May 25th, 1815

The French government is war; it is a stratocracy, elective, aggressive,
and predatory; her armies live to fight, and fight to live; their
constitution is essentially war, and the object of that war the conquest
of Europe. What such a person as Bonaparte at the head of such a
constitution will do, you may judge by what he has done: and first he
took possession of a greater part of Europe; he made his son King of
Rome; he made his son-in-law Viceroy of Italy; he made his brother King
of Holland; he made his brother-in-law King of Naples; he imprisoned the
King of Spain; he banished the Regent of Portugal, and formed his plan
to take possession of the Crown of England. England had checked his
designs; her trident had stirred up his empire from its foundation. He
complained of her tyranny at sea; but it was her power at sea which
arrested his tyranny on land,--the navy of England saved Europe. Knowing
this, he knew the conquest of England became necessary for the
accomplishment of the conquest of Europe, and the destruction of her
marine necessary for the conquest of England. Accordingly, besides
raising an army of 60,000 men for the invasion of England, he applied
himself to the destruction of her commerce, the foundation of her naval
power. In pursuit of this object and on his plan of a Western empire, he
conceived and in part executed the design of consigning to plunder and
destruction the vast regions of Russia. He quits the genial clime of the
temperate zone; he bursts through the narrow limits of an immense
empire; he abandons comfort and security, and he hurries to the Pole to
hazard them all, and with them the companions of his victories and the
fame and fruits of his crimes and his talents, on speculation of leaving
in Europe, throughout the whole of its extent, no one free or
independent nation. To oppose this huge conception of mischief and
despotism, the great potentate of the north from his gloomy recesses
advances to defend himself against the voracity of ambition, amid the
sterility of his empire. Ambition is omnivorous; it feasts on famine and
sheds tons of blood, that it may starve in ice in order to commit a
robbery on desolation. The power of the north, I say, joins another
prince, whom Bonaparte had deprived of almost the whole of his
authority,--the King of Prussia; and then another potentate, whom
Bonaparte had deprived of the principal part of his dominions,--the
Emperor of Austria. These three powers, physical causes, final justice,
the influence of your victories in Spain and Portugal, and the spirit
given to Europe by the achievements and renown of your great commander
[the Duke of Wellington], together with the precipitation of his own
ambition, combine to accomplish his destruction; Bonaparte is conquered.
He who said, "I will be like the Most High," he who smote the nations
with a continual stroke,--this short-lived son of the morning,
Lucifer,--falls, and the earth is at rest; the phantom of royalty
passes on to nothing, and the three kings to the gates of Paris: there
they stand, the late victims of his ambition, and now the disposers of
his destiny and the masters of his empire. Without provocation he had
gone to their countries with fire and sword; with the greatest
provocation they came to his country with life and liberty: they do an
act unparalleled in the annals of history, such as nor envy, nor time,
nor malice, nor prejudice, nor ingratitude can efface; they give to his
subjects liberty, and to himself life and royalty. This is greater than
conquest! The present race must confess their virtues, and ages to come
must crown their monuments, and place them above heroes and kings in
glory everlasting....

Do you wish to confirm this military tyranny in the heart of Europe,--a
tyranny founded on the triumph of the army over the principles of civil
government, tending to universalize throughout Europe the domination of
the sword,--and to reduce to paper and parchment, Magna Charta and all
our civil constitutions? An experiment such as no country ever made and
no good country would ever permit: to relax the moral and religious
influences; to set heaven and earth adrift from one another, and make
God Almighty a tolerated alien in his own creation; an insurrectionary
hope to every bad man in the community, and a frightful lesson to profit
and power, vested in those who have pandered their allegiance from king
to emperor, and now found their pretensions to domination on the merit
of breaking their oaths and deposing their sovereign. Should you do
anything so monstrous as to leave your allies in order to confirm such a
system; should you forget your name, forget your ancestors, and the
inheritance they have left you of morality and renown; should you
astonish Europe by quitting your allies to render immortal such a
composition, would not the nations exclaim: "You have very providently
watched over our interests, and very generously have you contributed to
our service,--and do you falter now? In vain have you stopped in your
own person the flying fortunes of Europe; in vain have you taken the
eagle of Napoleon and snatched _invincibility_ from his standard, if
now, when confederated Europe is ready to march, you take the lead in
the desertion and preach the penitence of Bonaparte and the poverty of

[Illustration: THOMAS GRAY.]




The fame of Thomas Gray is unique among English poets, in that, although
world-wide and luminous, it springs from a single poem, a flawless
masterpiece,--the 'Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard.' This is the
one production by which he is known to the great mass of readers and
will continue to be known to coming generations; yet in his own time his
other poems were important factors, in establishing the high repute
accorded to him then and still maintained in the esteem of critics.
Nevertheless, living to be nearly fifty-five and giving himself
exclusively to letters, the whole of the work that he left behind him
amounted only to some fourteen hundred lines.

His value to literature and to posterity, therefore, is to be measured
not by the quantity of his literary contributions or by any special
variety in their scope, but by a certain wholesome and independent
influence which he exerted upon the language of poetry, and by a rare
quality of intense yet seemingly calm and almost repressed genius, which
no one among his commentators has been able to define clearly. The most
comprehensive thing ever written about him--wise, just, witty, yet
sympathetic and penetrating--is the essay by James Russell Lowell in his
final volume of criticism.

     "It is the rarest thing," says Lowell, "to find genius and
     dilettantism united in the same person (as for a time they
     were in Goethe): for genius implies always a certain
     fanaticism of temperament, which, if sometimes it seem
     fitful, is yet capable of intense energy on occasion; while
     the main characteristic of the dilettante is that sort of
     impartiality which springs from inertia of mind, admirable
     for observation, incapable of turning it to practical
     account. Yet we have, I think, an example of this rare
     combination of qualities in Gray; and it accounts both for
     the kind of excellence to which he attained, and for the way
     in which he disappointed expectation.... He is especially
     interesting as an artist in words and phrases, a literary
     type far less common among writers of English than it is in
     France or Italy, where perhaps the traditions of Latin
     culture were never wholly lost.... When so many have written
     so much, we shall the more readily pardon the man who has
     written too little or just enough."

He was born in London, December 26th, 1716, the son of a money scrivener
who had dissipated most of his inherited property, but was skilled in
music, and perhaps transmitted to the son that musical element which
gives beauty and strength to his poetry. Gray's mother was a woman of
character, who with his aunt set up an India warehouse and supported
herself; also sending the young man to St. Peter's College, Cambridge,
after his studies at Eton. Leaving college without a degree, he traveled
on the Continent of Europe with Horace Walpole in 1739; then returned to
Cambridge and passed the remainder of his life in the university, as a
bachelor of civil law nominally,--not practicing, but devoting himself
to study and to excursions through rural England. He had a profound and
passionate love for nature, a kind of religious exaltation in the
contemplation of it and in mountain worship, which was at variance with
the prevailing eighteenth-century literary mood and prefigured the
feeling of Wordsworth. His mother having retired to Stoke Poges,
Buckinghamshire, he often made visits there; and the church-yard of his
deathless 'Elegy' is generally believed to be that of the parish church
at Stoke Poges. It was here that he was laid to rest in the same tomb
with his mother and his aunt, after his death, July 24th, 1771.

The 'Elegy' was finished in 1749. He had begun writing it seven years
before. This has sometimes been alluded to as an instance in point of
Horace's advice, that a poem should be matured for seven years. The
length of time given to the 'Elegy,' however, may be accounted for
partly by Gray's dilatory habits of writing, and partly by the parallel
of Tennyson's long delay in perfecting the utterance of his meditations
on the death of his friend Hallam through 'In Memoriam.' Gray's dearest
friend, Richard West, died in 1742; and it was apparently under the
stress of that sorrow that he began the 'Elegy,' which was completed
only in 1749. Two years later it was published. It won the popular heart
immediately, and passed through four editions in the first twelvemonth.

Of Gray's other poems, those which have left the deepest impression are
his 'Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College,' 'The Progress of
Poesy,' and 'The Bard.' The last two are somewhat Pindaric in style, but
also suggest the influence of the Italian canzone. In the Eton College
ode, his first published piece, occurs the phrase since grown
proverbial, "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise." It is a
curious fact that while most readers know Gray only as the author of the
'Elegy,' every one is familiar with certain lines coined by him, but
unaware of their source. For instance, in 'The Progress of Poesy,' he
speaks of

  "The unconquerable mind, and freedom's holy flame."

It is in the same place that he describes Milton as "blasted with excess
of light," and in alluding to Dryden, evolves the image of

  "Thoughts that breathe, and words that burn."

His, too, in 'The Bard,' is the now well-known line--

  "Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm."

Many of his finest expressions are in part derived from classic or other
poets; but he showed undeniable genius in his adaptation,
transformation, or new creation from these suggestive passages.

Gray was small and delicate in person, handsome and refined, fond of
fashionable dress, and preferred to be known as a "gentleman" rather
than a poet. He was very reticent, somewhat melancholy, and an invalid;
a man also of vast erudition, being learned not only in literature but
in botany, zoology, antiquities, architecture, art, history, and
philosophy as well. He enjoyed the distinction of refusing the post of
poet laureate, after the death of Cibber. On the other hand, he coveted
the place of professor of modern literature and languages at Cambridge
University, to which he was appointed in 1769; but he never performed
any of the duties of his professorship beyond that of drawing the

He brought forth nothing in the special kinds of knowledge which he had
acquired in such large measure; and the actual ideas conveyed in his
poetry were not original, but savored rather of the commonplace. Lowell
says of the 'Elegy' that it won its popularity "not through any
originality of thought, but far more through originality of sound."
There must, however, be some deeper reason than this for the grasp which
it has upon the minds and hearts of all classes. Two elements of power
and popularity it certainly possessed in the highest degree. One is the
singular simplicity of its language (a result of consummate art), which
makes it understandable by everybody. The other is the depth and the
sincerity of the emotion with which it imbues thoughts, sentiments, and
reflections that are common to the whole of mankind. The very
unproductiveness of Gray's mind in other directions probably helped this
one product. The quintessence of all his learning, his perceptive
faculty, and his meditations was infused into the life-blood of this
immortal poem.

                                 [Signature: George Parsons Lathrop]

  The burial-place of Thomas Gray and the scene of his famous Elegy.
  Photogravure from a Photograph.]


  The curfew tolls the knell of parting day;
    The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea;
  The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
    And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

  Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
    And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
  Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
    And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds:

  Save that, from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
    The moping owl does to the moon complain
  Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
    Molest her ancient, solitary reign.

  Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
    Where heaves the turf in many a moldering heap,
  Each in his narrow cell forever laid,
    The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

  The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
    The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed,
  The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
    No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.

  For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
    Or busy housewife ply her evening care;
  No children run to lisp their sire's return,
    Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share

  Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield;
    Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
  How jocund did they drive their team afield!
    How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!

  Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
    Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
  Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
    The short and simple annals of the poor.

  The boast of Heraldry, the pomp of Power,
    And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
  Await alike th' inevitable hour:
    The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

  Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
    If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
  Where, through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault,
    The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

  Can storied urn or animated bust
    Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
  Can Honor's voice provoke the silent dust,
    Or Flattery soothe the dull, cold ear of Death?

  Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
    Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
  Hands that the rod of empire might have swayed,
    Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre.

  But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
    Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll;
  Chill Penury repressed their noble rage,
    And froze the genial current of the soul.

  Full many a gem of purest ray serene
    The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
  Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
    And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

  Some village Hampden, that with dauntless breast
    The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
  Some mute, inglorious Milton here may rest;
    Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood.

  Th' applause of listening senates to command,
    The threats of Pain and Ruin to despise,
  To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
    And read their history in a nation's eyes,--

  Their lot forbade; nor circumscribed alone
    Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined;
  Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
    And shut the gates of mercy on mankind;

  The struggling pangs of conscious Truth to hide,
    To quench the blushes of ingenuous Shame,
  Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
    With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.

  [The thoughtless world to Majesty may bow,
    Exalt the brave, and idolize success;
  But more to Innocence their safety owe,
    Than Power and Genius e'er conspired to bless.]

  [Hark, how the sacred calm that broods around
    Bids every fierce tumultuous passion cease,
  In still, small accents whispering from the ground
    A grateful earnest of eternal peace.]

  Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
    Their sober wishes never learned to stray;
  Along the cool, sequestered vale of life
    They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

  Yet even these bones from insult to protect,
    Some frail memorial, still erected nigh,
  With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked,
    Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

  Their names, their years, spelt by th' unlettered Muse,
    The place of fame and elegy supply;
  And many a holy text around she strews,
    That teach the rustic moralist to die.

  For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
    This pleasing, anxious being e'er resigned,
  Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
    Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind?

  On some fond breast the parting soul relies;
    Some pious drops the closing eye requires:
  E'en from the tomb the voice of Nature cries;
    E'en in our ashes live their wonted fires.

  For thee who, mindful of th' unhonored dead,
    Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
  If, chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
    Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,

  Haply some hoary-headed swain may say:--
    "Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
  Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
    To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.

  "There at the foot of yonder nodding beech
    That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
  His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
    And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

  "Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
    Muttering his wayward fancies, he would rove;
  Now drooping, woeful-wan, like one forlorn,
    Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love.

  "One morn I missed him on the 'customed hill,
    Along the heath, and near his favorite tree:
  Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
    Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood, was he:

  "The next, with dirges due in sad array,
    Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne;--
  Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay
    Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn."

  ["There scattered oft, the earliest of the year,
    By hands unseen, are showers of violets found;
  The redbreast loves to build and warble there,
    And little footsteps lightly print the ground."]


  Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth,
    A Youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown;
  Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,
    And Melancholy marked him for her own.

  Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere;
    Heaven did a recompense as largely send:
  He gave to Misery all he had,--a tear;
    He gained from Heaven ('twas all he wished) a friend.

  No farther seek his merits to disclose,
    Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
  (There they alike in trembling hope repose,)--
    The Bosom of his Father and his God.

    [The stanzas included in brackets were omitted by Gray in the
    first edition of the 'Elegy,' and as sanctioned by him or by
    later editors are (except as to the third one) of infrequent
    appearance in the poem.]


  Lo! Where the rosy-bosomed Hours,
    Fair Venus's train, appear,
  Disclose the long-expecting flowers,
    And wake the purple year!
  The Attic warbler pours her throat,
  Responsive to the cuckoo's note,
    The untaught harmony of spring;
  While, whispering pleasure as they fly,
  Cool zephyrs through the clear blue sky
    Their gathered fragrance fling.

  Where'er the oak's thick branches stretch
    A broader, browner shade,
  Where'er the rude and moss-grown beech
    O'er-canopies the glade,
  Beside some water's rushy brink
  With me the Muse shall sit, and think
    (At ease reclined in rustic state)
  How vain the ardor of the crowd,
  How low, how little are the proud,
    How indigent the great!

  Still is the toiling hand of Care;
    The panting herds repose:
  Yet hark! how through the peopled air
    The busy murmur glows!
  The insect-youth are on the wing,
  Eager to taste the honeyed spring,
    And float amid the liquid noon;
  Some lightly o'er the current skim,
  Some show their gayly gilded trim
    Quick-glancing to the sun.

  To Contemplation's sober eye
    Such is the race of Man;
  And they that creep, and they that fly,
    Shall end where they began.
  Alike the Busy and the Gay
  But flutter through life's little day,
    In Fortune's varying colors drest;
  Brushed by the hand of rough Mischance,
  Or chilled by Age, their airy dance
    They leave, in dust to rest.

  Methinks I hear, in accents low,
    The sportive kind reply:
  Poor moralist! and what art thou?
    A solitary fly!
  Thy joys no glittering female meets,
  No hive hast thou of hoarded sweets,
    No painted plumage to display:
  On hasty wings thy youth is flown;
  Thy sun is set, thy spring is gone--
    We frolic while 'tis May.


  Ye distant spires, ye antique towers,
    That crown the watery glade,
  Where grateful Science still adores
    Her Henry's holy shade;
  And ye, that from the stately brow
  Of Windsor's heights th' expanse below
    Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey,
  Whose turf, whose shade, whose flowers among
  Wanders the hoary Thames along
    His silver-winding way!

  Ah, happy hills! ah, pleasing shade!
    Ah, fields beloved in vain!
  Where once my careless childhood strayed,
    A stranger yet to pain!
  I feel the gales that from ye blow
  A momentary bliss bestow,
    As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
  My weary soul they seem to soothe,
  And, redolent of joy and youth,
    To breathe a second spring.

  Say, Father Thames,--for thou hast seen
    Full many a sprightly race
  Disporting on thy margent green,
    The paths of pleasure trace,--
  Who foremost now delight to cleave
  With pliant arm thy glassy wave?
    The captive linnet which enthrall?
  What idle progeny succeed
  To chase the rolling circle's speed,
    Or urge the flying ball?

  While some, on earnest business bent,
    Their murmuring labors ply
  'Gainst graver hours that bring constraint
    To sweeten liberty:
  Some bold adventurers disdain
  The limits of their little reign,
    And unknown regions dare descry,
  Still as they run they look behind,
  They hear a voice in every wind,
    And snatch a fearful joy.

  Gay hope is theirs, by fancy fed,
    Less pleasing when possest;
  The tear forgot as soon as shed,
    The sunshine of the breast:
  Theirs buxom health, of rosy hue,
  Wild wit, invention ever new,
    And lively cheer, of vigor born;
  The thoughtless day, the easy night,
  The spirits pure, the slumbers light,
    That fly th' approach of morn.

  Alas! regardless of their doom,
    The little victims play;
  No sense have they of ills to come,
    No care beyond to-day:
  Yet see, how all around them wait
  The ministers of human fate,
    And black Misfortune's baleful train!
  Ah, show them where in ambush stand,
  To seize their prey, the murtherous band!
    Ah! tell them they are men!

  These shall the fury Passions tear,
    The vultures of the mind,
  Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear,
    And Shame that skulks behind;
  Or pining Love shall waste their youth,
  Or Jealousy, with rankling tooth,
    That inly gnaws the secret heart;
  And Envy wan, and faded Care,
  Grim-visaged comfortless Despair,
    And Sorrow's piercing dart.

  Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
    Then whirl the wretch from high,
  To bitter Scorn a sacrifice,
    And grinning Infamy.
  The stings of Falsehood those shall try,
  And hard Unkindness's altered eye,
    That mocks the tear it forced to flow;
  And keen Remorse with blood defiled,
  And moody Madness laughing wild
    Amid severest woe.

  Lo! in the vale of years beneath
    A grisly troop are seen,--
  The painful family of Death,
    More hideous than their queen:
  This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
  That every laboring sinew strains,
    Those in the deeper vitals rage:
  Lo! Poverty, to fill the band,
  That numbs the soul with icy hand,
    And slow-consuming Age.

  To each his sufferings: all are men,
    Condemned alike to groan;
  The tender for another's pain,
    Th' unfeeling for his own.
  Yet, ah! why should they know their fate,
  Since sorrow never comes too late,
    And happiness too swiftly flies?
  Thought would destroy their Paradise.
  No more: where ignorance is bliss,
    'Tis folly to be wise.



        "Ruin seize thee, ruthless King!
      Confusion on thy banners wait!
    Though fanned by Conquest's crimson wing,
      They mock the air with idle state.
        Helm, nor hauberk's twisted mail,
    Nor e'en thy virtues, Tyrant, shall avail
      To save thy secret soul from nightly fears,--
        From Cambria's curse, from Cambria's tears!"
    Such were the sounds that o'er the crested pride
      Of the first Edward scattered wild dismay,
    As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side
      He wound with toilsome march his long array.
    Stout Glo'ster stood aghast in speechless trance;
  "To arms!" cried Mortimer, and couched his quivering lance.

        On a rock, whose haughty brow
    Frowns o'er cold Conway's foaming flood,
        Robed in the sable garb of woe,
    With haggard eyes the poet stood;
        (Loose his beard, and hoary hair
    Streamed, like a meteor, to the troubled air;)
    And with a master's hand and prophet's fire,
      Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre:
    "Hark, how each giant oak, and desert cave,
      Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath!
    O'er thee, O King! their hundred arms they wave,
      Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe;
    Vocal no more, since Cambria's fatal day,
  To high-born Hoel's harp, or soft Llewellyn's lay.

          "Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
        That hushed the stormy main;
    Brave Urien sleeps upon his craggy bed;
        Mountains, ye mourn in vain
          Modred, whose magic song
    Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-topt head.
        On dreary Arvon's shore they lie,
      Smeared with gore, and ghastly pale:
    Far, far aloof the affrighted ravens sail;
      The famished eagle screams, and passes by.
    Dear lost companions of my tuneful art,
      Dear as the light that visits these sad eyes,
    Dear as the ruddy drops that warm my heart,
      Ye died amidst your dying country's cries.
        No more I weep: they do not sleep;
          On yonder cliffs, a grisly band,
        I see them sit; they linger yet,
          Avengers of their native land;
    With me in dreadful harmony they join,
  And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line.

        "Weave the warp, and weave the woof,
      The winding-sheet of Edward's race;
        Give ample room, and verge enough,
      The characters of hell to trace;
        Mark the year, and mark the night,
      When Severn shall re-echo with affright
  The shrieks of death, through Berkley's roof that ring,
          Shrieks of an agonizing King!
      She-wolf of France, with unrelenting fangs,
    That tear'st the bowels of thy mangled mate,
      From thee be born, who o'er thy country hangs
    The scourge of Heaven. What terrors round him wait!
      Amazement in his van, with Flight combined,
  And Sorrow's faded form, and Solitude behind.

            "Mighty victor, mighty lord!
          Low on his funeral couch he lies!
            No pitying heart, no eye, afford
          A tear to grace his obsequies.
            Is the sable warrior fled?
  Thy son is gone. He rests among the dead.
  The swarm, that in thy noontide beam were born?
          Gone to salute the rising morn.
  Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows,
      While proudly riding o'er the azure realm
  In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes:
      Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm;
    Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's sway,
  That, hushed in grim repose, expects his evening prey.

            "Fill high the sparkling bowl!
              The rich repast prepare!
  Reft of a crown, he yet may share the feast:
              Close by the regal chair
            Fell Thirst and Famine scowl
  A baleful smile upon their baffled guest.
            Heard ye the din of battle bray,
          Lance to lance, and horse to horse?
  Long years of havoc urge their destined course,
      And through the kindred squadrons mow their way.
  Ye towers of Julius, London's lasting shame,
      With many a foul and midnight murder fed,
  Revere his consort's faith, his father's fame,
      And spare the meek usurper's holy head.
            Above, below, the rose of snow,
          Twined with her blushing foe, we spread:
            The bristled boar in infant-gore
          Wallows beneath the thorny shade.
  Now, brothers, bending o'er the accursed loom,
  Stamp we our vengeance deep, and ratify his doom.

            "Edward, lo! to sudden fate
          (Weave we the woof. The thread is spun.)
            Half of thy heart we consecrate.
          (The web is wove. The work is done.)
            Stay, oh stay! nor thus forlorn
    Leave me unblessed, unpitied, here to mourn:
    In yon bright track that fires the western skies,
        They melt, they vanish from my eyes.
    But oh! what solemn scenes on Snowdon's height
      Descending slow their glittering skirts unroll?
    Visions of glory, spare my aching sight!
      Ye unborn ages, crowd not on my soul!
    No more our long-lost Arthur we bewail.
  All hail, ye genuine kings, Britannia's issue, hail!

          "Girt with many a baron bold,
        Sublime their starry fronts they rear;
          And gorgeous dames and statesmen old
        In bearded majesty appear.
          In the midst a form divine!
    Her eye proclaims her of the Briton line;
    Her lion port, her awe-commanding face,
          Attempered sweet to virgin grace.
    What strings symphonious tremble in the air;
      What strains of vocal transport round her play!
    Hear from the grave, great Taliessin, hear!
      They breathe a soul to animate thy clay.
    Bright Rapture calls, and soaring as she sings,
  Waves in the eye of heaven her many-colored wings.

            "The verse adorn again
            Fierce war, and faithful love,
    And truth severe, by fairy fiction drest.
            In buskined measures move
            Pale Grief, and pleasing Pain,
    With Horror, tyrant of the throbbing breast.
          A voice, as of the cherub choir,
        Gales from blooming Eden bear;
    And distant warblings lessen on my ear,
      That lost in long futurity expire.
    Fond impious man, thinkest thou yon sanguine cloud,
      Raised by thy breath, has quenched the orb of day?
    To-morrow he repairs the golden flood,
      And warms the nations with redoubled ray.
          Enough for me; with joy I see
            The different doom our fates assign;
          Be thine despair, and sceptred care;
            To triumph and to die are mine."
    He spoke, and headlong from the mountain's height
  Deep in the roaring tide he plunged to endless night.



The greater monuments of Greece all men know, the incomparable peaks of
the chain; and the chain lasted seventeen hundred years, nor ever sank
to the dead level about. The steadfast sight of these great Greek
originals warps and dwarfs our conception of Greek life. We behold the
Parthenon; we forget that each village shrine had its sense of
proportion and subtle curve. The Venus of Melos we remember, and the
Victory is poised forever on its cliff; but Tanagra figurines tell as
much, and reveal more, of Greek life. Nor is it otherwise in letters.
The great names all know. For a brief span they stood close together,
and the father who heard Æschylus might have told his experience to his
long-lived son who read Aristotle, while between the two stood all the
greatest genius that makes Greece Greek,--save only Homer. So brief was
the noonday,--and it is at high noon, and high noon only, that men have
agreed to take the sun; but this uplift was gained in the ascent of nigh
two hundred years from the first written Greek literature that still
lives. The descent, to the last of the Greek verse which still remained
poetry, ran through thirteen centuries. Over all this prodigious span of
fifteen hundred years stretches the Greek Anthology, a collection of
4,063 short Greek poems, two to eight lines long for the most part,
collected and re-collected through more than a thousand years. The first
of these poets, Mimnermus, was the contemporary of Jeremiah, and dwelt
in cities that shuddered over tidings of Babylonian invasion. The last,
Cometas, was the contemporary of Edward the Confessor, and dreaded
Seljuk and Turk.

As the epic impulse faded, and before Greek genius for tragedy rose, the
same race and dialect which had given epic narrative the proud, full
verse that filled like a sail to zephyr and to storm alike, devised the
elegiac couplet. With its opening even flow, its swifter rush in the
second line, and its abrupt pause, it was a medium in which not
narrative but man spoke, whether personal in passion, or impersonal in
the dedication of a statue, or in epitaph. This verse had conventions as
rigorous and restrained as the sonnet, and was briefer. It served as
well for the epitaph of Thermopylæ as for the cradle-bier of a child,
dead new-born; and lent itself as gracefully to the gift of a bunch of
roses as it swelled with some sonorous blast of patriotism. It could
sharpen to a gibe, or sink to a wail at untoward fate. Through a period
twice as long as the life of English letters, these short poems set
forth the vision of life, the ways and works of men, the love and death
of mortals. These lines of weight, of moment, always of grace and often
of inspiration, stood on milestones; they graced the base of statues;
they were inscribed on tombs; they stood over doorways; they were
painted on vases. The rustic shrines held them, and on the front of the
great temple they were borne. In this form, friend wrote to friend and
lover to lover. Four or five of the best express the emotion of the
passing Greek traveler at the statue of Memnon on the Nile. The quality
of verse that fills the inn album to-day we all know; but Greek life was
so compact of form and thought that even this unknown traveler's verse,
scrawled with a stylus, still thrills, still rings, as the statue still
sounds its ancient note.

In this long succession of short poems is delineated the Greek
character, not of Athens but of the whole circle of the Mediterranean.
The sphered life of the race is in its subjects. Each great Greek
victory has its epigrams. In them, statues have an immortal life denied
to marble and to bronze. The critical admiration of the Hellene for his
great men of letters stands recorded here; his early love for the heroes
of his brief-lived freedom, and his sedulous flattery of the Roman lords
of his slavery. Here too is his domestic life, its joy and its sorrow.
In this epigram, the maid dedicates her dolls to Artemis; and in that,
the mother, mother and priestess both, lays down a life overflowing in
good deeds and fruited with honorable offspring. The splendid side of
Greek life is painted elsewhere. Here is its homely simplicity. The
fisher again spreads his nets and the sailor his peaked lateen sail. The
hunter sets his snares and tracks his game in the light snow. The caged
partridge stretches its weary wings in its cage, and the cat has for it
a modern appetite. Men gibe and jest. They see how hollow life is, and
also how truth rings true. Love is here, sacred and revered, in forms
pure and holy; and not less, that foul pool decked with beauty in which
Greek manhood lost its masculine virtue.

Half a century before Christ, when Greek life overspread the eastern
Mediterranean, and in every market-place Greek was the tongue of trade,
of learning, and of gentle breeding, Greek letters grew conscious of its
own riches. For six centuries and more, or as long as separates us from
Chaucer, men had been writing these brief epigrams. The first had the
brevity of Simonides, the next Alexandrian luxuriance. Many were carved
by those who wrote much; more by those who composed but two or three. In
Syrian Gadara there dwelt a Greek, Meleager, whose poetry is the very
flower of fervent Greek verse. Yet so near did he live to the great
change which was to overturn the gods he loved, and substitute morality
for beauty as the mainspring of life, that some who knew him must also,
a brief span of years later, have known Jesus the Christ. Meleager was
the first who gathered Greek epigrams in an Anthology, prefacing it with
such apt critical utterance as has been the despair of all critics
called since to weigh verse in ruder scales and with a poise less
perfect. He had the wide round of the best of Greek to pick from, and he
chose with unerring taste. To his collection Philippus of Thessalonica,
working when Paul was preaching in Jason's house, added the work of the
Roman period, the fourth development of the epigram. Other collections
between have perished, one in the third or Byzantine period, in which
this verse had a renaissance under Justinian. In the tenth century a
Byzantine scholar, Constantinos Cephalas, rearranged his predecessors'
collections,--Meleager's included,--and brought together the largest
number which has come down to us. The collection is known to-day as the
'Palatine Anthology,' from the library which long owned it. His work was
in the last flare of life in the Lower Empire, when Greek heroism, for
the last time, stemmed the Moslem tide and gave Eastern Europe
breathing-space. When his successor Maximus Planudes, of the century of
Petrarch,--monk, diplomat, theologian, and phrase-maker,--addressed
himself to the last collection made, the shadow of new Italy lay over
Greek life, and the Galilean had recast the minds of men. He excluded
much that Greeks, from Meleager to Cephalas, had freely admitted, and
which modern lovers of the Anthology would be willing to see left out of
all copies but their own. The collection of Planudes long remained alone
known (first edition Florence, 1594). That of Cephalas survived in a
single manuscript of varied fortune, seen in 1606 by Salmasius at
eighteen,--happy boy, and happy manuscript!--lost to learning for a
century and a half in the Vatican, published by Brunck, 1776, and
finally edited by Frederic Jacobs, 1794-1803, five volumes of text and
three of comment, usually bound in eight. The text has been republished
by Tauchnitz, and the whole work has its most convenient and familiar
form for scholars in the edition of both the collections of Planudes and
Cephalas, with epigrams from all other sources prepared by Frederic
Dübner for Didot's 'Bibliotheca Scriptorum Græcorum,' 1864-1872, three
volumes. The Anthology as a whole has no adequate English translation.
About one-third of the poems have a prose translation by George Burges
in the 'Greek Anthology,' 1832, of Bohn's series, with versions in verse
by many hands.

The first English translation of selections appeared anonymously, 1791.
Others have succeeded: Robert Bland and John Herman Merivale, 1806;
Robert Bland, 1813; Richard Garnett, 1864; Sir Edwin Arnold, 1869; John
Addington Symonds, 1873; J.W. Mackail, 1890; Lilla Cabot Perry, 1891. A
collection of selected translations edited by Graham R. Tomson was
published in 1889. Of these partial versions, the only one which
approaches the incommunicable charm of the original is Mr. Mackail's, an
incomparable translation. His versions are freely used in the selections
which follow. All the metrical versions, except those by Mrs. Perry, are
from Miss Tomson's collection. But no translation equals the sanity, the
brevity, the clarity of the Greek original, qualities which have made
these epigrams consummate models of style to the modern world. In all
the round of literature, the only exact analogue of the Greek epigram is
the Japanese "ode," with its thirty syllables, its single idea, and its
constant use of all classes as an universal medium of familiar poetic
expression. Of like nature, used alike for epigraph, epitaph, and
familiar personal expression, is the rhymed Arabic Makotta, brief poems
written in one form for eighteen hundred years, and still written.

                                       [Signature: TALCOTT WILLIAMS]


SIMONIDES (556-467 B.C.)

If to die nobly is the chief part of excellence, to us out of all men
Fortune gave this lot; for hastening to set a crown of freedom on
Greece, we lie possessed of praise that grows not old.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.



These men, having set a crown of imperishable glory on their own land,
were folded in the dark clouds of death; yet being dead they have not
died, since from on high their excellence raises them gloriously out of
the house of Hades.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.


PLATO (429-347 B. C.)

This satyr Diodorus engraved not, but laid to rest; your touch will wake
him; the silver is asleep.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.



  Quietly, o'er the tomb of Sophocles,
  Quietly, ivy, creep with tendrils green;
  And roses, ope your petals everywhere,
  While dewy shoots of grape-vine peep between,
  Upon the wise and honeyed poet's grave,
  Whom Muse and Grace their richest treasures gave.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.


THEÆTETUS (Fourth Century B. C.)

Now at her fruitful birth-tide the fair green field flowers out in
blowing roses; now on the boughs of the colonnaded cypresses the cicala,
mad with music, lulls the binder of sheaves; and the careful mother
swallow, having finished houses under the eaves, gives harborage to her
brood in the mud-plastered cells; and the sea slumbers, with
zephyr-wooing calm spread clear over the broad ship-tracks, not breaking
in squalls on the stemposts, not vomiting foam upon the beaches. O
sailor, burn by the altars the glittering round of a mullet, or a
cuttle-fish, or a vocal scarus, to Priapus, ruler of ocean and giver of
anchorage; and so go fearlessly on thy seafaring to the bounds of the
Ionian Sea.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.



Now is the season of sailing; for already the chattering swallow is
come, and the gracious west wind; the meadows flower, and the sea,
tossed up with waves and rough blasts, has sunk to silence. Weigh thine
anchors and unloose thine hawsers, O mariner, and sail with all thy
canvas set: this I, Priapus of the harbor, bid thee, O man, that thou
mayest set forth to all thy trafficking.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.


DIOSCORIDES (Third Century B. C.)

Home to Petana comes Thrasybulus lifeless on his shield, seven Argive
wounds before. His bleeding boy the father Tynnichos lays on the pyre,
to say:--"Let your wounds weep. Tearless I bury you, my boy--mine and my

                                    Translation of Talcott Williams.


POSIDIPPUS (Third Century B. C.)

Jar of Athens, drip the dewy juice of wine, drip, let the feast to which
all bring their share be wetted as with dew; be silenced the swan-sage
Zeno, and the Muse of Cleanthes, and let bitter-sweet Love be our

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.


HERACLEITUS (Third Century B. C.)

  Keep off, keep off thy hand, O husbandman,
  Nor through this grave's calm dust thy plowshare drive;
  These very sods have once been mourned upon,
  And on such ground no crop will ever thrive,
  Nor corn spring up with green and feathery ears,
  From earth that has been watered by such tears.

                                      Translation of Alma Strettell.



  Believe me love, it is not good
  To hoard a mortal maidenhood;
  In Hades thou wilt never find,
  Maiden, a lover to thy mind;
  Love's for the living! presently
  Ashes and dust in death are we!

                                         Translation of Andrew Lang.


MNESALCUS (Second Century B.C.)

This bending bow and emptied quiver, Promachus hangs as a gift to thee,
Phoebus. The swift shafts men's hearts hold, whom they called to death
in the battle's rout.

                                    Translation of Talcott Williams.


ALPHEUS (First Century B.C.)

Still we hear the wail of Andromache, still we see all Troy toppling
from her foundations, and the battling Ajax, and Hector, bound to the
horses, dragged under the city's crown of towers,--through the Muse of
Mæonides, the poet with whom no one country adorns herself as her own,
but the zones of both worlds.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.



  Feasting, I watch with westward-looking eye
  The flashing constellations' pageantry,
  Solemn and splendid; then anon I wreathe
  My hair, and warbling to my harp I breathe
  My full heart forth, and know the heavens look down
  Pleased, for they also have their Lyre and Crown.

                                     Translation of Richard Garnett.


ARCHIAS (First Century B.C.)

Me, Pan, the fishermen placed upon this holy cliff,--Pan of the
sea-shore, the watcher here over the fair anchorages of the harbor: and
I take care now of the baskets and again of the trawlers off this shore.
But sail thou by, O stranger, and in requital of this good service of
theirs I will send behind thee a gentle south wind.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.



O stranger who passeth by the humble tomb of Anacreon, if thou hast had
aught of good from my books, pour libation on my ashes, pour libation of
the jocund grape, that my bones may rejoice, wetted with wine; so I, who
was ever deep in the wine-steeped revels of Dionysus, I who was bred
among drinking-tunes, shall not even when dead endure without Bacchus
this place to which the generation of mortals must come.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.


MELEAGER (First Century B.C.)

Voiceful cricket, drunken with drops of dew, thou playest thy rustic
music that murmurs in the solitude, and perched on the leaf edges
shrillest thy lyre-tune with serrated legs and swart skin. But, my dear,
utter a new song for the tree-nymphs' delight, and make thy harp-notes
echo to Pan's, that escaping Love I may seek out sleep at noon, here,
lying under the shady plane.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.



  Now the white iris blossoms, and the rain-loving narcissus,
    And now again the lily, the mountain-roaming, blows.
  Now too, the flower of lovers, the crown of all the springtime,
    Zenophila the winsome, doth blossom with the rose.
  O meadows, wherefore vainly in your radiant garlands laugh ye?
    Since fairer is the maiden than any flower that grows!

                                      Translation of Alma Strettell.



Tread softly, O stranger; for here an old man sleeps among the holy
dead, lulled in the slumber due to all; Meleager son of Eucrates, who
united Love of the sweet tears and the Muses with the joyous Graces;
whom god-begotten Tyre brought to manhood, and the sacred land of
Gadara, but lovely Cos nursed in old age among the Meropes. But if thou
art a Syrian, say "Salam," and if a Phoenician, "Naidios," and if a
Greek, "Hail": they are the same.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.



I was in love once; who has not been? I have reveled; who is uninitiated
in revels? Nay, I was mad; at whose prompting but a god's? Let them go;
for now the silver hair is fast replacing the black, a messenger of
wisdom that comes with age. We too played when the time of playing was;
and now that it is no longer, we will turn to worthier thoughts.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.



Marcus the doctor called yesterday on the marble Zeus; though marble,
and though Zeus, his funeral is to-day.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.


STRATO (First Century A.D.)

Who may know if a loved one passes the prime, while ever with him and
never left alone? Who may not satisfy to-day who satisfied yesterday?
and if he satisfy, what should befall him not to satisfy to-morrow?

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.



If thou boast in thy beauty, know that the rose too blooms, but quickly
being withered, is cast on the dunghill; for blossom and beauty have the
same time allotted to them, and both together envious time withers away.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.


ANTIPHILUS (First Century A.D.)

Mine be a mattress on the poop, and the awnings over it, sounding with
the blows of the spray, and the fire forcing its way out of the
hearthstones, and a pot upon them with empty turmoil of bubbles; and let
me see the boy dressing the meat, and my table be a ship's plank covered
with a cloth; and a game of pitch-and-toss, and the boatswain's whistle:
the other day I had such fortune, for I love common life.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.


CRINAGORAS (First Century A.D.)

Though thy life be fixed in one seat, and thou sailest not the sea nor
treadest the roads on dry land, yet by all means go to Attica, that thou
mayest see those great nights of the worship of Demeter; whereby thou
shalt possess thy soul without care among the living, and lighter when
thou must go to the place that awaiteth all.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.


MÆCIUS (Roman period)

Priapus of the sea-shore, the trawlers lay before thee these gifts by
the grace of thine aid from the promontory, having imprisoned a tunny
shoal in their nets of spun hemp in the green sea entrances: a beechen
cup, and a rude stool of heath, and a glass cup holding wine, that thou
mayest rest thy foot, weary and cramped with dancing, while thou chasest
away the dry thirst.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.


AMMIANUS (Second Century A.D.)

Though thou pass beyond thy landmarks even to the pillars of Heracles,
the share of earth that is equal to all men awaits thee, and thou shalt
lie even as Irus, having nothing more than thine obelus moldering into a
land that at last is not thine.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.


MACEDONIUS (Third Century A.D.)

"To-morrow I will look on thee,"--but that never comes for us, while the
accustomed putting-off ever grows and grows. This is all thy grace to my
longing; and to others thou bearest other gifts, despising my faithful
service. "I will see thee at evening." And what is the evening of a
woman's life?--old age, full of a million wrinkles.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.


ARABIUS (527-567 A.D.)

I am filled with waters, and gardens, and groves, and vineyards, and the
joyousness of the bordering sea; and fisherman and farmer from different
sides stretch forth to me the pleasant gifts of sea and land: and them
who abide in me, either a bird singing or the sweet cry of the ferrymen
lulls to rest.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.



In season the bride-chamber held thee, out of season the grave took
thee, O Anastasia, flower of the blithe Graces; for thee a father, for
thee a husband pours bitter tears; for thee haply even the ferryman of
the dead weeps; for not a whole year didst thou accomplish beside thine
husband, but at sixteen years old, alas! the tomb holds thee.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.



  My name, my country, what are they to thee?
  What, whether proud or bare my pedigree?
  Perhaps I far surpassed all other men;
  Perhaps I fell below them all. What then?
  Suffice it, stranger, that thou seest a tomb.
  Thou knowest its use. It hides--no matter whom.

                                      Translation of William Cowper.



Gazing upon my husband as my last thread was spun, I praised the gods
of death, and I praised the gods of marriage,--those, that I left my
husband alive, and these, that he was even such an one; but may he
remain, a father for our children.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.


MACEDONIUS (Sixth Century A.D.)

Righteousness has raised this house from the first foundation even to
the lofty roof; for Macedonius fashioned not his wealth by heaping up
from the possessions of others with plundering sword, nor has any poor
man here wept over his vain and profitless toil, being robbed of his
most just hire; and as rest from labor is kept inviolate by the just
man, so let the works of pious mortals endure.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.


AGATHIAS (527-565 A.D.)

  Since she was watched and could not kiss me closely,
    Divine Rhodanthe cast her maiden zone
  From off her waist, and holding it thus loosely
    By the one end, she put a kiss thereon;
  Then I--Love's stream as through a channel taking--
    My lips upon the other end did press
  And drew the kisses in, while ceaseless making,
    Thus from afar, reply to her caress.
  So the sweet girdle did beguile our pain,
    Being a ferry for our kisses twain.

                                      Translation of Alma Strettell.

[The following are undetermined in date.]



  With reeds and bird-lime from the desert air
  Eumelus gathered free though scanty fare.
  No lordly patron's hand he deign'd to kiss,
  Nor luxury knew, save liberty, nor bliss.
  Thrice thirty years he lived, and to his heirs
  His reeds bequeathed, his bird-lime, and his snares.

                                      Translation of William Cowper.



I was young, but poor; now in old age I am rich: alas, alone of all men
pitiable in both, who then could enjoy when I had nothing, and now have
when I cannot enjoy.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.



I the reed was a useless plant; for out of me grow not figs, nor apple,
nor grape cluster: but man consecrated me a daughter of Helicon,
piercing my delicate lips and making me the channel of a narrow stream;
and thenceforth whenever I sip black drink, like one inspired I speak
all words with this voiceless mouth.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.



  While yet the grapes were green thou didst refuse me;
    When they were ripe, didst proudly pass me by:
  But do not grudge me still a single cluster,
    Now that the grapes are withering and dry.

                                      Translation of Alma Strettell.



  I Epictetus was a slave while here,
  Deformed in body, and like Irus poor,
  Yet to the gods immortal I was dear.

              Translation of Lilla Cabot Perry, by permission of the
              American Publishers' Corporation.



Her tambourines and pretty ball, and the net that confined her hair, and
her dolls and dolls' dresses, Timareta dedicates before her marriage to
Artemis of Limnæ,--a maiden to a maiden, as is fit; do thou, daughter of
Leto, laying thine hand over the girl Timareta, preserve her purely in
her purity.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.



  It's oh! to be a wild wind, when my lady's in the sun:
  She'd just unbind her neckerchief, and take me breathing in.

  It's oh! to be a red rose, just a faintly blushing one,
  So she'd pull me with her hand, and to her snowy breast I'd win.

                                 Translation of William M. Hardinge.



Whoso has married once and seeks a second wedding, is a shipwrecked man
who sails twice through a difficult gulf.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.



Me, Chelidon, priestess of Zeus, who knew well in old age how to make
offering on the altars of the immortals, happy in my children, free from
grief, the tomb holds; for with no shadow in their eyes the gods saw my

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.



He who enters the incense-filled temple must be holy; and holiness is to
have a pure mind.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.



Hallowed in soul, O stranger, come even into the precinct of a pure god,
touching thyself with the virgin water: for the good a few drops are
set; but a wicked man the whole ocean cannot wash in its waters.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.



The rose is at her prime a little while; which once past, thou wilt find
when thou seekest, no rose, but a thorn.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.



Know ye the flowery fields of the Cappadocian nation? Thence I was born
of good parents: since I left them I have wandered to the sunset and the
dawn; my name was Glaphyrus, and like my mind. I lived out my sixtieth
year in perfect freedom; I know both the favor of fortune and the
bitterness of life.

                                        Translation of J.W. Mackail.


1. Passages in italics are surrounded by _underscores_.

2. Images have been moved from the middle of a paragraph to the closest
paragraph break. Also the footnotes have been moved to the end of the
paragraph/poem in which they are referred.

3. Some selections for Richard Watson Gilder are different from those
mentioned in the Table of Contents.

4. The frontispiece "The Alexander Romance" and the photogravure "The
Bride's Toilet" mentioned in the "Full-Page Illustrations" list are

5. The words Coeli, Phoenician, Phoenicians, Phoebus, coenæque, Soeur
and POENITENTIUM use "oe" ligature in the original.

6. The original text includes Greek characters. For this etext version
these letters have been replaced with transliterations.

7. Other than the corrections listed above, printer's inconsistencies
in spelling, punctuation, hyphenation, and ligature usage have been

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