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Title: Battles of Destiny
Author: Shepperson, M. Fides
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  1 9 1 4



This little volume will prove of interest to the general reader
and of inestimable value to the student or teacher of history. It
contains graphic descriptions of the seventeen great struggles
of the historic past--Marathon, Arbela, Zama, Teutobergerwald,
Adrianople, Chalons, Tours, Senlac-Hastings, Orleans, Lepanto,
Spanish Armada, Naseby, Blenheim, Pultowa, Saratoga, Valmy, and
Waterloo. Dates, figures, facts, estimates and reflections are
presented in attractive form; and the net results of long research
labor are given in a nutshell.

Those terrific conflicts of the past seem strangely fascinating
when looked at in their crucial throes ere yet they are stamped
with the die of destiny. The thoughtful mind asks, “Would our world
of today be just what it is if all or if any one of these battles
had borne results the reverse of what they did bear?”

  1331-1333-1335 FIFTH AVENUE



  CHAPTER    I.--Marathon                        7

  CHAPTER   II.--Arbela                         13

  CHAPTER  III.--Zama                           27

  CHAPTER   IV.--Teutoberger Wald               33

  CHAPTER    V.--Adrianople                     40

  CHAPTER   VI.--Chalons                        48

  CHAPTER  VII.--Tours                          54

  CHAPTER VIII.--Hastings-Senlac                63

  CHAPTER   IX.--Orleans                        81

  CHAPTER    X.--Lepanto                        92

  CHAPTER   XI.--Spanish Armada                103

  CHAPTER  XII.--Naseby                        114

  CHAPTER XIII.--Blenheim                      129

  CHAPTER  XIV.--Pultowa                       134

  CHAPTER   XV.--Saratoga                      140

  CHAPTER  XVI.--Valmy                         145

  CHAPTER XVII.--Waterloo                      150

  J. A. KOFFLER, Supervisor
  FRANK HAMILTON, Lino Machinist
  CHAS. F. MILLER, Compositor
  ROBERT E. LEWIS, Pressman



As in the order of time, so likewise in the order of importance,
Marathon stands first among the Battles of Destiny. Without
Marathon there would have been no Thermopylæ, Salamis, Platæa,
Mycale; no Attic supremacy; no Age of Pericles: and would the world
be just what it is today if these things had not been? Would Attica
as a Persian satrapy ever have become Athens of the Acropolis
crowned with the Propylaea-Erectheum-Parthenon: Athens bright
star-night of the past glittering with deathless names?

Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia had risen and set; Rome
subsequently rose and fell; France, Italy, Spain, England,
Germany, and our own infantine experimental Republic of the West
are advancing fatefully in the old circle: yet not one of these
may boast as many eminent men, stars of first magnitude, glorious
constellations--as little Greece might boast, that brief bright
star-night of the past thick-studded with immortal names.


Of the ten commanders of the ten Athenian tribes who assembled on
the heights overlooking the plain of Marathon, five voted against
battle with the invading Persians, five in favor of battle.
Callimachus the War Ruler, influenced by the enthusiastic eloquence
of Miltiades, gave the casting vote in favor of battle. On this so
seeming slight chance hung Marathon.

Humanly speaking, it was madness for that little handful of Greeks
to rush down upon the countless Persian hosts. The Persians
themselves could not believe their own eyes when they saw the
Greeks running to battle; and half-heartedly, perhaps even
jestingly, they prepared for a brief skirmish with madmen.

The Medes and Persians were at that time deemed invincible.
Babylonia, Assyria, Asia Minor, the isles of the Ægean, the African
Coast, the Euxine, Thrace, Macedonia had successively fallen before
the soldiers of the Great King. The Ægean was a Persian Lake; from
east, from south, from north approached the awful power of imperial
Persia, ready irresistibly to absorb little Greece, to punish and
obliterate Athens. Already the Eretrians, who together with the
Athenians had aided in the Ionian revolt, were overtaken by the
dread vengeance of Darius: their city had fallen and more than a
thousand Eretrians were left bound on the island Egilia awaiting
the return of the victorious Persian fleet from Marathon. Then
together with the captive Athenians, the Eretrians were to be taken
to Susa there to await the pleasure of the Great King, whose wrath
had been new-kindled day by day with memories of burning Sardis
by a court attendant whose sole duty was to repeat to Darius at
each meal, “Sire, remember the Athenians.” Sardis would then be
fearfully avenged.

Sardis was, indeed, avenged but not by Marathon. There is a justice
exact even to the weight of a hair in all things of life; seen or
unseen, known or unknown, acknowledged or unacknowledged, it is
ever at work silently, forcefully, fatefully. Athens burns Sardis
and desecrates the temples of the Persian gods; and some years
later the Persians sack and devastate Athens, razing her temples to
the ground leaving her site in smoking ruins.

  “Behold there are Watchers over you, worthy Recorders, knowing
  what you do: and whosoever shall have wrought an ant’s weight of
  good shall behold it; and whosoever shall have wrought an ant’s
  weight of evil shall behold it.”--_Koran._

History tells us that after the battle of Marathon, six thousand
four hundred Persians lay dead upon the battlefield and only one
hundred and ninety-two Athenians. This seems incredible, yet it
is equally incredible that the Greeks won. Ten thousand Athenians
and one thousand Platæans had fought against one hundred thousand
soldiers of the Great King, and--won. There was something wrong
with that motley army of the Great King; some subtly retributive
force was at work, some balancing Justice.


Doubtless to Miltiades more than to any other man Athens and the
world owes Marathon. It was his overpowering eloquence that weighed
heavily in the balance against the honest fears of those who
dreaded the encounter with Persia’s hitherto invincible warriors;
the well founded fears of those who were secretly in sympathy with
Hippias and hoped that a battle might be averted: and the prudent
fears of those who dreaded defeat and the vengeance of the Great
King and thought it wiser to wait until the promised help should
come from Sparta. One man’s eloquent fearlessness outweighed all
those fearful considerations and precipitated the mad descent from
the hill, the onslaught, the unequal fight, the wonder-victory.

Yet had Miltiades rested after the momentous battle all might have
been lost. For the sullen Persian fleet hastening from Marathon
had turned its course towards undefended Athens. And so that very
night, even with the departure of the last Persian ship from the
shore, Miltiades led his battle torn veterans a distance of about
twenty-two miles to Phalerum, the port nearest to Athens. And
early the next morning when, indeed, true to Miltiades’ fears,
the Persian fleet appeared off the coast of Phalerum, the men of
Marathon stood awaiting their landing. They did not land.

Hippias, deposed tyrant of Athens, and guide and leader of the
Persians was killed at Marathon. Callimachus, the polemarch, was
killed, not in the battle proper, but on the shore as the defeated
forces were confusedly seeking safety in escape to their ships, and
the Greeks, following them even to the water’s edge, kept up the

Surely Miltiades remained ever after the best beloved hero of
Athens, and his years passed on amid ever vernal honors down the
easy ways of old age, and the end was in peace!

But, alas! history tells us that Miltiades fell into disgrace, was
banished from Athens, and a few years after Marathon, died of his
wounds in prison.

Too bad that every crest-wave of human achievement hastily tumbles
to a depression correspondingly low as the swell was high.
Scipio, conqueror at Zama, triumph-crowned, and honored with the
appellation _Africanus_, was, on that same day one year later on
trial for his life. What a tumult of conflicting feelings must have
raged in his heart when, disdaining to reply to the accusations
made against him, Scipio said, turning to the fickle populace,
“I would remind the men of Rome that this day one year ago I won
the battle of Zama.” And then the tide turned in his favor and
the young-world children wept because of their ingratitude, and
clamorously acquitted Scipio. But depressive doubt succeeded
crest confidence and Scipio went into exile. _Ingrata Patria!_
(Ungrateful Native Land!) Scipio exclaimed, as death drew near and
his tired eyes turned longingly towards Rome.

Coriolanus, Roman exile, torn to pieces by the Volscians; Hannibal,
lone boast of Carthage, hater of Rome; Themistocles, hero of
Salamis; Aristides the Just; Socrates; Miltiades are among the
tragic figures on the historic stage whose dying heart-throbs may
have reproachfully re-echoed _Ingrata Patria_.


From Marathon (490 B. C.) clarion of the birth of Athens, to
Ægospotami (405 B. C.) her knell of death, momentous history was

Ægospotami knelled the fall of Athens; Leuctra, of Sparta;
Mantinea, of Epaminondas-Thebes; and Chæronea, of all Hellas;
but not all of Athens died at Ægospotami. Pericles, Aspasia,
Phidias, Ictinus, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Æschylus, Sophocles,
Euripides, Aristophanes, Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon--have not
died; they are effective forces in the world today.

Spartan military excellence, Spartan hardihood and endurance is a
bubble that burst; it is no more: but Attic excellence of intellect
endures imperishably--with Platonic wonder as freshly fair in
college halls today as in the Academia and Lyceum of the old
Athenian day. Mind is the only Conqueror.

Blue sky of Athens, white cliff Acropolis,--so unchanging amid
change, so laughing fair among the ruins of the glory that was

Nature’s ever young irreverence towards the wreck of time is
invigorating. It calls to the heart of man in language the heart
understands, _What’s Time_!

      “Men said, ‘But time escapes
          Live now or never.’
      “He said, ‘What’s time! Leave Now for dogs and apes--
          Man has Forever.’”


The manner in which the news of the defeat of the Athenians at
Ægospotami affected Athens is in striking contrast with the manner
in which Sparta received word of the disastrous Spartan defeat at
Leuctra. When report of the naval disaster reached the Piræus, it
was quickly communicated to the thronging crowds within the Long
Walls, and thence to the heart of the city. Consternation prevailed
and all Athens mourned. “That night,” says Xenophon, “no one in
Athens slept.”

The news of the defeat at Leuctra reached Sparta in the midst of a
festive celebration. The magistrates heard of the defeat, and the
death of their king, with countenances unmoved; they gave orders
that the festival be uninterrupted; and they urged all who had
lost relatives and friends in the battle of Leuctra to appear at
the festivities in particularly gay attire and with smiling faces,
while those whose relatives were among the survivors were ordered
to put on mourning.

The spirit of Lycurgus, of Draco, and of Leonidas seems to have
fused and chilled into the Laws of Sparta. No surrender; conquer or
die; return with your shield or upon it; wounds all in front and
faces grimly fierce even in death--such was the spirit of Sparta.

Whatever may be our admiration for the Spartan qualities in
general, there can be but lament that they found expression in the
Peloponnesian War. This fratricidal strife brought ruin to Hellas.
Marathon, Thermopylæ, Salamis, Platæa, Mycale were all undone by
Syracuse and Ægospotami. Chæronea was made possible and the passing
of the scepter of empire from Greece to Macedonia, from leaderless
Hellas to Alexander the Great.



The life of Alexander the Great is of perennial interest, for it
holds in epitome the life of the world when the world was young.
Plutarch tells with quaint truthfulness what cannot now be told
without a smile of wondering incredulity.

Alexander spent the night before the battle of Arbela in
consultation with the diviner Aristander, and in sacrificing to the
god Fear. What does that mean? The conqueror of the world would
placate Fear; would render it favorable to him, adverse to the
enemy. Terror, recoil from death, panic-madness of a multitude of
men, rout, ruin--from _that_ deliver my army, O great god Fear; but
let it come upon my enemy. Thus prayed Alexander as his gaze rested
upon the moving plain gleaming with a million torch-lights where
Darius, prepared for a night attack, was reviewing his forces.
And well might Alexander so pray. Fear that blanches the lips and
freezes the blood in the heart, contagious Terror irresistible,
dread recoil from butchering death--these were, indeed, effects of
causes proportionately terrible. A million men were in the enemy’s
ranks, three hundred chariots armed with scythes; rivers were in
the rear, and beyond a hostile country.

“Alexander,” says Napoleon, “deserves the glory which he has
enjoyed for so many centuries and among all nations; but what if he
had been beaten at Arbela, having the Euphrates, the Tigris, and
the deserts in his rear, without any strong places of refuge, nine
hundred leagues from Macedonia!”

After the sacrifice to the god Fear, as Plutarch gravely assures
us, Alexander seemed jubilant in spirit, and returning to his
tent, made ready to take his rest. Parmenio, his oldest and ablest
general, sought him there and suggested that a night attack be
made, urging that their army would grow faint at heart could they
see as in broad daylight the countless hosts arrayed against them.
In conclusion Parmenio respectfully said, “And if I were Alexander
I would attack the Persians tonight.”

To this Alexander ironically replied “And so would I if I were
Parmenio.” On further remonstrance being made Alexander curtly
replied, “I will not steal a victory.” At this Parmenio withdrew
and Alexander lay down to rest.

A profound and most refreshing sleep came to Alexander. Morning
dawned and it seemed proper to rouse the men to breakfast and to
preparation for battle, but Alexander still slept. In the words
of Plutarch: “But at last, time not giving them leave to wait any
longer, Parmenio went to his bedside and called him twice or thrice
by his name, till he waked him, and then asked how it was possible,
when he was to fight the most important battle of all, he could
sleep so soundly as if he were already victorious. ‘And are we
not so, indeed,’ replied Alexander smiling, ‘since we are at last
relieved from the trouble of wandering in pursuit of Darius thro’ a
wide and wasted country, hoping in vain, that he would fight us?’
And not only before the battle, but in the height of the danger, he
showed himself great, and manifested the self-possession of a just
foresight and confidence.”

Alexander’s full front battle line was not so long as Darius’
center. And this so seeming fatal arrangement yet turned out to
be most favorable for Alexander. For instead of attacking the
Persian center where Darius commanded in person and where the
ground in front had been smoothed and prepared for the rush of
the three hundred scythe-chariots, Alexander attacked vigorously
the left wing, driving them in front of and towards the center.
The onslaught of the Macedonian phalanx was irresistible and the
Persian army, dominated by the god Fear, was in panic rout before
Darius could get his unwieldy forces full into action or send forth
the chariots upon which he so much relied.

Alexander pursued the fleeing enemy until urged back by messengers
from Parmenio saying his wing was surrounded by the Persians.
Alexander reluctantly returned and full victory for the Macedonian
army was soon proclaimed upon the field.

Darius, seeing that all was lost and that his chariot, wedged in
among dead bodies high as the shoulders of the horses, was unable
either to advance or to turn back, hastily leaped from his seat
and seizing a riderless mare, he galloped as best he could over
the bodies of the dying and the dead and thus escaped from the

The break in the friendship between Alexander and his ablest
general, Parmenio, began with the battle of Arbela. Was there
jealousy, cruel as the grave, in the heart of the older man as he
saw success after success crown the brow of the young commander?
Granicus, Issus, Arbela--Europe, Asia, Africa, the world--had gone
down successively under the Conqueror. Jealously is incipient hate.

      “He who ascends to mountain heights will find
      The loftiest peaks most wrapped in clouds and snow;
      He who would conquer or subdue mankind,
      Must look down on the hate of those below.”


All that the literatures of the world hold treasured in amber;
all that life, the primal fount of literature, holds as its human
heritage--find fitting application to Alexander the Great. The
color scale--from white thro’ tints to standard, and from standard
thro’ shades to black--of every emotion and passion of the heart of
man is fixed fadelessly upon the name and fame of Alexander.

Yet how human and dearly human it all is! We understand it today
even as Callisthenes understood it, and as the age B. C. and the
early age and the middle age understood it. We haven’t advanced
even yet very far from the primitive. The heart that in drunken
rage slew Clitus his friend, and then mourned his deed inconsolable
in his tent for three days--is easily cognizable today.

That quarrel between Alexander and his tried and true Macedonians,
with its subsequent reconciliation, has in it a ring of the old
young-world. For when Alexander returned to Susa with his worn out
troops, he at once sought out the thirty thousand boys whom he
had left there in training. Great was his delight at the progress
they had made in his absence; at their military bearing, their
ability to ride and hurl the javelin, and to perform other adroit
manœuvres. Alexander then thought to reorganize his army and send
home all the Macedonians who were in any way disabled, or who,
when urged to cross over the Ganges, had begged to be taken back
to their wives and children. But the sturdy veterans were sorely
offended at this proposal, and breaking out into a rage, declared
that they had been most unjustly dealt with, and that every
Macedonian would at once abandon the army, and that, perhaps, with
his pretty boys he might be able to keep the world which their
good swords had won for him. To this Alexander responded in deep
wrath that it should be as they said. He at once dismissed from his
service all the Macedonians and filled their places with Persians.

Now when the Macedonians saw that it was done even as they had
said, the scales of jealous anger dropped from their eyes and they
were deeply repentant. So laying aside their arms, and dressed
only in short undergarments they sought suppliantly the tent of
Alexander. But it opened not to their importunities. For three days
they stayed there neither eating nor drinking, but sorely longing
for the light of the countenance of Alexander, for every man loved
him. And at last the tent door opened and Alexander came forth, and
going affectionately among them he sat down and wept; and they wept.

Then Alexander, thinking it wiser that the maimed should embark
in the waiting vessels, spoke to them most kindly, praising their
valor and declaring that their deeds should be known throughout
the world: saying also that he would write concerning them to his
mother Olympias and to the Governor of Macedonia, giving orders
that the first seats in the theatres should be reserved for them
and that they should therein be crowned with chaplets of flowers.
Moreover every soldier’s pay should continue to him, and the pay
due to the fallen should be regularly sent to their wives and
children. And thus was reconciliation between Alexander and his
Macedonians happily effected.

How childish it all is--that jealous hate and the hasty reaction;
the humiliating importunities of barbaric love; the Conqueror
conquered and--in tears; the generous re-fusion of the old warm
feelings; the magnanimity of the Great; the joyous departure of the
honored veterans, their sitting in the seats of honor crowned with
a chaplet of flowers: childish? well, yes, but we older children
can understand and even dimly--remember.


Did Alexander believe himself descended from Jupiter Ammon? No. On
one occasion being wounded he said “This, my friends, is real blood
flowing not Ichor,”

      “Such as immortal gods are wont to shed.”

Yet if the reply of the gymnosophist be admitted as true,
Alexander was not a mortal. The Gymnosophists, or wise men of
India, were entertained at the court of Alexander, and among the
questions proposed to them by the young lord of the world was, how
a man might become a god: to this the sage replied “By doing that
which was impossible for men to do.” The deeds done by Alexander in
his brief thirty-two years seem beyond the merely human: and it is
certain that he was honored as a deity in the latter years of his
life. He had his friend and biographer, Callisthenes, tortured and
put to death because he had derisively laughed while the servile
court prostrated before the “present Deity”, and had refused to
follow their example.

“Man, vain man dressed in a little brief authority does cut such
capers before high heaven as make the angels mourn.” The awful
punishments inflicted upon Thebes, Tyre, Gaza; the maniacal madness
that satiated itself in the life-blood of Clitus--a warrior,
comrade, and friend, a soldier who at Granicus had thrust his own
body between Alexander and the down-plunging slaughtering sword
and so receiving in his own flesh the blow, had saved the life of
the man who should later slay him; the deadly ingratitude which
could forget the lifelong services of Parmenio, his father’s ablest
general, his own boyhood’s adviser, admirer, and friend, and, in a
fit of jealous rage, condemn to death Philotas, son of Parmenio,
and Parmenio; the hate-exultation which, triumphant at last, had
the feet of Batis, late satrap of Gaza and a bravely fallen foe,
bored thro’ and thereby tied to his chariot; then Alexander,
descendant of Achilles, drove three times thro’ the streets of
Gaza, dragging his living victim--naked, torn, bleeding, broken,
dying--thro’ the town in which so late he has reigned as Persian
satrap: surely at capers such as these well might the angels mourn.

Yet these atrocities are well nigh balanced by acts of heroism,
repentant generosity, benignity, magnanimity: and it is an open
question whether any other of the race of mortals, having the
world of his time absolutely in his own hands, would have acted as
wisely as Alexander.

The eunuch escaping from the Macedonian camp and bearing to Darius
the news of his wife Statira’s death, extolled the forbearance
and chivalrous courtesy of Alexander toward the Persian captives
and admiringly cried out “Alexander is as gentle after victory as
he is terrible on the field.” And Darius, so late King of Persia,
tallest and handsomest man of his time, husband of Statira, most
bewitchingly beautiful woman of Asia; but now alas! an uncrowned
king, loser of Arbela, a fugitive, bereft of sons, daughters,
wife--nevertheless on hearing of Alexander’s generous conduct
towards the royal captives exclaimed in tears, “Ye gods of my
family, and of my kingdom, if it be possible, I beseech you to
restore the declining affairs of Persia, that I may leave them in
as flourishing a condition as I found them, and have it in my power
to make a grateful return to Alexander for the kindness which in
my adversity he had shown to those who are dearest to me. But if,
indeed, the fatal time be come, which is to give a period to the
Persian monarchy, if our ruin be a debt which must be paid to the
divine jealousy, and the vicissitude of things, then, I beseech
you, grant that no man but Alexander may sit upon the throne of
Cyrus.” And when slowly bleeding to death from wounds inflicted by
his base betrayer, Bessus, satrap of a province into which Darius
had fled for safety--the dying monarch begged of Polystratus, a
chance attendant, for a little water: and on receiving it he said
that it had become the last extremity of his ill fortune to receive
benefits and not be able to return them. “But Alexander,” said he,
“whose kindness to my mother, my wife and my children I hope the
gods will recompense, will doubtless thank you for your humanity
to me. Tell him, therefore, in token of my acknowledgment, I give
him this right hand,” with these words he took hold of Polystratus’
hand and died.

The man who could inspire such sentiments of grateful admiration
into the heart of his dying enemy was more than mortal.

Plutarch tells us that Alexander, coming up at that moment, gazed
with painful emotion upon the dead form of Darius. And taking the
cloak from off his own shoulders he covered with it the prostrate
form of his late foe, and gazing down upon the fierce dead comely
face--he wept.


All the philosophies of the sleepy East and their antitheses
of the aggressive West seem to have receptively influenced the
myriad-minded Alexander.

Pride, not vanity, but pride essentially one with the chords of
being, expressed itself in the words “And were I not Alexander
I would be Diogenes.” Either highest or lowest, all or nothing.
Earth as kingdom or--a tub; no compromise, no half way, absolutely
and unconditionally either one extreme or the other: this seeming
perversity in the makeup of many men of genius has not been
sufficiently considered; it is not psychologically understood;
there is something humanly attractive about it; something
young-world young and something old, old as the heart of man. And
this perverse pride was the common link between Alexander and
Diogenes, and by it each understood the other: to the former,
indeed, fate awarded the earth-kingdom and to the latter--the tub;
but these extremes were, by the common link, essentially one.

The Gymnosophists, or wise men of India, whom Alexander consulted,
could not have deeply impressed the mind of the pupil of Aristotle,
for, as Plutarch tells us, he laughed at them and sent them away
with many presents.

Yet the sacrificial death of Calanus, one of these seers, could
not fail to affect forcibly the susceptible mind of Alexander.
Jests, dreams, auspices, oracles, theories, sophisms, philosophies,
metaphysical speculations in general--well, these are agreeably
adjustable; maybe so maybe not so; and when looked at too logically
they can all scamper away and hide themselves elusively in
Symbolism: but death, death in flames, self-sought, self-devised,
self-suffered--that is real, that is awful.

On the day of his death and whilst erecting his funeral pile
Calanus talked cheerfully with the Macedonians and urged them to
drink deep and enjoy the passing hours. He commended himself to
Alexander, whom, he said, he doubted not but that he should soon
see again at Babylon. Then when the pyre was finished, he set it
on fire, sprinkled himself, and cutting off some of his hair,
threw it into the flame as a first-offering of the sacrifice: he
then mounted the pyre, lay down calmly and covered his head in his
robe. He moved not as the crackling flames drew near, nor might
any one note the least tremor of fear in his limbs as the fire fed
on them, nor did any sigh or moan escape from his lips: tho’ what
contortions of agony may have twisted themselves on his face could
not be known for his head and shoulders were hid in his robe.

Alexander stood by and watched the scene. At first he thought to
interpose, but learning that such was the custom of the country,
and that the seer, by this sacrificial death, drew to himself
high honor and special veneration from the people, he forbore.
Alexander’s brow was clouded as he watched the full-fed flames:
in his mind re-echoed the threefold question of the Indian seer:
_Whence are we come; whereby do we live; whither do we go?_ Ah,
whither! in his heart ten thousand recriminative contradictory
questionings seethed voiceless, answerless. Alexander turned
dejectedly away and retired within his tent.

That night violent reaction from the depression of the day seized
upon Alexander. He ordered that all his army should rest and feast.
_Carpe diem_ was the dominating animus of the ensuing debauch. In a
delirium of drunken joy Alexander proposed a drinking bout offering
a crown to the victor. Promachus drank twelve quarts of wine and
to him was awarded the prize. But Promachus did not live long to
enjoy his reward, three days after he died from the effects of the
debauch as did forty others who had taken part in the drinking bout
at the great court feast.

There is undoubtedly a strong tendency in human nature to rush
from one extreme to the other. The best by corruption become
the worst; no one can fall so low as he who has been highest.
But from the lowest which has known the highest there rush at
times instantaneous recoil, re-ascent, re-attainment--momentary
tho’ it be--to the highest. Then when genius gilds that lowest,
that recoil, re-ascent, re-attainment--the thoughtless world is
thrilled, it listens anew, it understands.

Some of the chastest lyrics of the language have been written in
recoil from, in liberation and glad bird freedom from the slough of

The significant charm of Francis Thompson’s _Hound of Heaven_ lies
in what it connotes rather than in what it tells. Soul-struggle is
enmeshed in the lines, and defeat is heard in alto moan with every
note of victory. It is the violent rebound to the height gilded,
perhaps goldened, by genius.


The ode _Alexander’s Feast_ by Dryden is one of many contributions
to literature inspired by the Macedonian Madman.

      “Great genius is to madness near allied
      And thin partitions do their bounds divide.”

Perhaps the taking of Persepolis and the mad orgy of triumph there
indulged in, mark the flood-tide of Alexander’s good fortune and
likewise the fateful turning and re-flow of the tide. But what a

Given the effects of generous wine; and the warrior, the military
genius, the poet-philosopher, the dreamer of dreams, the world
conqueror, the fair-haired favorite of Zeus, is, indeed, in that
wondrous triumph-hour--a deity. That sycophant court-adulation,
that lulling love, that music, that wine might well “raise a
mortal to the skies or draw an angel down.” O music, elf of a lost
paradise, we remember with you, we lament, we love, we pity, we
deplore, we--weep. With young-world Alexander touched to tears by
old Timotheus’ lyre, we too lament a bravely fallen foe:

      “He sang Darius great and good
      By too severe a fate
      Fallen, fallen, fallen,
      Fallen from his high estate,
      And weltering in his blood.”

We too deplore human ingratitude:

      “Deserted in his utmost need
      By one his former bounty fed--
      On the bare earth exposed he lies
      With not a friend to close his dying eyes.”

We too muse mournfully perplexed o’er all this sorry scheme of
things and mingle our tears with those which thus perplexedly
flowed so long ago:

      “With downcast looks the joyless victor sate,
      Revolving in his altered soul
      The various turns of chance below;
      And, now and then, a sigh he stole
      And tears began to flow.”

Lyre of old Timotheus, wizard violin, symphony concert--for the
hour at least, we are what you make us, and whither you lead we
follow. Sadness, remorseful sorrow-love, youth and beauty caught
coiled in icy death--are these, as Poe asserts, the essential
elements of supreme beauty? Poe’s magically beautiful _Lenore_,
_Raven_, _Ullalume_, _Annabel Lee_ confirm the poet-critic’s
dictum. Love in sorrow, beauty in death, mutability, vicissitude
are the dominant chords in music, in literature, and in life.

But reaction follows depression, and violent activity succeeds
to passivity. And this the old musician knew who played so well
upon the all too humanly receptive heart of Alexander. The wail of
the Grecian ghosts “that in battle were slain and unburied remain
inglorious on the plain” call for vengeance and point out the
abodes of the Persian gods.

Thais leads the way, and Alexander, drunk with wine and with the
madness of music, follows whither she leads him; and soon the
temples of the gods, the palaces of the Persian kings, the city
Persepolis--are in crackling flame.

Suddenly Alexander is again Alexander. With shame of soul he sees
the ruin he has wrought and frantically strives to undo what he has
done. But too late; countermands clash with commands, confusion
feeds the flame, Persepolis falls.

Thus culminated the triumph-banquet held in honor of Alexander’s
conquest of Asia and immortally sung into song by John Dryden in
one of the best odes of the English language, _Alexander’s Feast_.


Alexander died in a comparatively short time after the battle
of Arbela and his world empire fell to pieces. What, then, was
the permanent good or decisive effect of his conquests? To this
question historians reply that the Hellenization of the Orient with
subsequent spread of Greek culture among the Arabian Saracens,
thence as vital principle re-animating the Renaissance--was the
result of Alexander’s conquest of Asia.

More than seventy Greek colonies were established along the route
of the Conqueror. These continued to flourish long after the far
seeing mind that planned them had ceased to foresee and plan.
Vigorous Hellenism was easily dominant over sleepy Orientalism.
And thus was bloodlessly won thro’ the slow centuries, the
great victory of freedom, civilization, culture, art, science,
philosophy--Hellenism. From Arbela (B. C. 331) to the sixteenth
century Renaissance is a conquering span that might well delight
the gaze of the young warrior who once wept because there were no
more worlds for him to conquer. As Napoleon’s crucial defeat was
not at Waterloo but in Moscow; as the British Revolutionary forces
lost the colonies not at Yorktown but at Saratoga; as Carthage of
old went down under world-conquering Rome not at Zama, but at the
Metaurus; so the incipient death blow to Alexander was inflicted
not in Babylon but at the banks of the Ganges. When his army
refused to follow him any farther; when his brave Macedonians wept
for their far away homes and begged to be taken back to their wives
and children; when his best friends and admirers saw in the wide
rolling Ganges and the enemy bristling the opposite bank, obstacles
insuperable even to Alexander; when at last the Conqueror turned
away unconquering, turned back, yielded--then came the fierce
chagrin-humiliation, the mad beginning of the end. The world marks
only the collapse-crash, but deeper insight sees sympathetically
the fatal bend or twist or crack or break having in it inevitably
the tragic collapse-crash.

The death of Alexander has been variously described. Some say he
died of poison; others, of the exceeding coldness of the waters of
the river in which he bathed; others, that his death is directly
attributable to the excesses, the mad orgies of sensual indulgence
into which he plunged himself as result of his chagrin at turning
back from the Ganges, and of his wild grief at the untimely death
of Hephaeston his favorite and friend. Doubtless the subjectivities
of the various biographers have obtruded themselves over the
objective reality and the simple truth will never be known.
Alexander died at Babylon, 323 B. C., aged thirty-two.



Had the battle of Zama been won by the Carthaginians and lost by
the Romans, then Semitic influence rather than Aryan, would have
moulded the civilization of Europe. These two mutually antagonistic
races have grappled together in mortal combat at Zama, Tours,
Jerusalem and, influentially, at Belgrade, Lepanto, Constantinople,
Adrianople--and the end is not yet. Will there ever be full amity
between these races?

But Rome won at Zama. And as Roman historians gravely assure us
that it was better for all subsequent civilization that Rome should
win, why we gratefully acquiesce; feeling, indeed, dully content
that fate should, at all past times and crises, have shown herself
as wisely beneficent to the winning cause as she is today. But
however superior Rome may have been to Carthage, and however Roman
valor, Roman dogged endurance, Roman integrity, (_Romana Fides_)
may have surpassed Carthaginian--yet Hannibal, favorite of Baal,
towered mountain-high over all Romans of his day, and for a time,
even over all Rome.

Hannibal’s personality thrills thro’ the centuries. The school-boy
with the good wonder-flush of admiration at the revealing vistas
of the past, understands Hannibal. That eternal enmity to Rome in
the son of Hamilcar; that youthful vow at the altar of Baal and its
life and death fulfilment; that Herculean crossing of the Alps;
Ticino, Trebia, Thrasymenus, Cannæ--Capua; Metaurus, Zama: exile,
suicide--why the school-boy understands it all: and Hannibal,
hunted victim of the past, is victor of the passing hour. Glamour
of the historic page, generous youth, poets in prose, dreamers of
dreams--and the Smoky City classroom is all aglow with white-light
from the Alps as Hannibal crosses; with red light from the bloody
waters of Lake Thrasymenus; with gold-glow from the rings severed
from the cold dead hands of Roman knights at dread Cannæ; with
mocking death-light as Hannibal defiantly dies!


And after the great victory at Cannæ Hannibal led his troops
into winter quarters at Capua. Here his soldiers, relaxed from
the severe discipline of war and wildly delighting in the genial
climate of southern Italy, gave themselves up unrestrainedly to
luxuries and pleasures. And just here at Capua, in the midst of
those luxuries and pleasures, lay potentially the defeat at Zama.

For the Romans, gaining courage from despair, grimly faced the
fatal losses of Cannæ, and never were the Roman people more royally
Roman than when they voted thanks to the consul, Terrentius
Varro the runaway loser of Cannæ,--“because he had not despaired
concerning the Republic” (_quod de republica non desperasset_).
Every day spent by Hannibal and his army at Capua trebly weakened
his fighting force and cause as it trebly strengthened the fighting
force and cause of the Romans. Capua lost Metaurus, Zama, Carthage,
and Semitic dominance in Europe. _Ave Capua!_


The Roman senate determined to carry the war into the enemy’s
country hoping that thereby Carthage would be constrained to summon
Hannibal and his army from Rome in order to defend the Carthaginian
capital. Nor was this hope vain. Hannibal’s eight years’ success in
Italy was negatived by this call from Carthage and his reluctant

Rome’s ablest general, Scipio, with a well equipped army awaited
Hannibal on his disheartened return into Africa. They met at Zama.

History or story relates that a personal interview between Scipio
and Hannibal took place before the battle. Each stood in awe and
admiration of the other: each felt mutually the charm of bravery,
integrity, excellence; as men they were friends, as leaders of
hostile armies, they were enemies. The interview proved futile.
After a proudly lingering farewell they parted with dignity; and
riding back to their respective armies prepared for immediate

When the fight was fiercest and success seemed to favor the
Carthaginians, suddenly the sun ceased to shine and darkness
enveloped the contending hosts. It was an eclipse of the sun
for which the Romans were, in great measure, prepared; the
Carthaginians, wholly unprepared. Panic fear and superstitious
terror seized upon Hannibal’s veterans; they who had crossed the
Alps, and stood knee deep in blood at Lake Trasymene and at Cannæ,
yet quailed in this midday darkness.

With the slow and ghastly return of the light of the sun, Rome’s
bull-dogs were again ferociously at slaughter; but the Semitic
heart had been smitten with awe of the unknown God; he would pray,
not fight; he would fall prone in adoration of the awful Deity of
darkness and of light. In vain did Hannibal strive to rouse his
terror-stricken legions, in vain did he himself perform prodigies
of valor: the hour of conquering Rome had come and on her way to
world-conquest lay Zama. The Juggernaut of destiny rolled on, and
Zama-Carthage fell to rise no more.


      “It is not in the storm or in the strife
      We feel benumbed and wish to be no more;
      But in the after silence on the shore--
      When all is lost except a little life.”--_Byron._

Hannibal was only forty-five when he lost Zama. That flame of
hatred toward Rome, kindled at the altar of Baal when he was a boy
of only nine years, still raged within him inextinguishably. He
had lost his right eye in the Roman campaign. His brave brothers,
Mago, hero of Trebia, and Hasdrubal, hero of Metaurus, had fallen
in battle. The second Punic War, the war of Rome against Hannibal,
or rather of Hannibal against Rome, had after phenomenal successes,
ended in the disastrous defeat at Zama and in the most humiliating
conditions of peace imposed upon Carthage by world-conquering Rome.
All, indeed, seemed lost except a little life; yet in this dull
defeat-peace, this wearily sullen after-storm, the old hate fires
insatiably raged.

Hannibal, unsupported and unappreciated by his own country, passed
over into Asia. He wandered from Asiatic court to court ever
striving to arouse enmity towards Rome or to incite the nations to
battle against her. Rome steadily pursued her inveterate foe. From
court to court he passed, and from country to country passed too,
the paid assassins whose sole object in life was to bring Hannibal
dead or alive to Rome.

And at the court of Prusias, king of Bythinia, Hannibal was at last
hopelessly trapped. Hatefully grinning faces glared in upon him
from corridors, doors, windows: Rome had won.

Hannibal’s presence of mind and proud dignity did not desert him
even in that crucial hour, even when he toyed with death. Whilst
adjusting his military robes in full presence of the leering faces
at corridors, doors, and windows, he took from his finger a ring
whose hollow setting contained a most potent poison. This he drank.
And before any one of that self-gratulating victor-gang realized
what was taking place, Hannibal fell forward dead.

The Catholic Church condemns suicide. The divine command _Thou
shalt not kill_ has as its complete predicate _either thyself or
another_. No man can escape from God. Death only shifts the scene.

Stoicism advocated suicide; and many philosophies of the past
taught that a man ought not to outlive honor.

When one considers not only the chagrin and humiliations and mental
agonies, but also the rank physical tortures inflicted upon the
vanquished in times past, the full meaning of _Vae Victis_ (Woe
to the vanquished!) is brought forcibly to the mind. Those were
wild-beast times and the jungle-fights are ferocious. Plutarch
speaking of the proscription list at the close of the civil
war between Cæsar and Anthony says: “The terms of their mutual
concessions were these: that Cæsar should desert Cicero, Lepidus
his brother Paulus, and Anthony, Lucius Cæsar, his uncle by his
mother’s side. Thus they let their anger and fury take from them
the sense of humanity, and demonstrated that no beast is more
savage than man, when possessed with power answerable to his
rage.” And we read in Marlowe’s “Tamburlaine” that this mighty
despot, conqueror of many Asiatic kings, made use of these one time
monarchs to draw him in his chariot: and that bridled and with bits
in their mouths they fumed forward under the swishing wire-lash,
while galling insults goaded on their pangs.

                “Forward, ye jades!
      Now crouch, ye kings of greater Asia!
             *       *       *       *       *
      Thro’ the streets with troops of conquered kings,
      I’ll ride in golden armor like the sun,
      And in my helm a triple plume shall spring
      Spangled with diamonds, dancing in the air,
      To note me emperor of the threefold world.”

Whether this be only “Marlowe’s mighty line”, or whether it be
the somewhat fantastic presentation of a dread reality--need not
be known. The thoughtful student of history knows only too well
just where to turn for human jungle-scenes. And there are many.
From Assyrian cruelty boasting of pyramids of severed ears, lips,
noses, and the deft art of flaying alive--down to Balkan-Turkish
atrocities and Mexican murders the forest-way is long and dark and
dreary. We hope light will yet shine upon this way. We dream that
the black hags of war and of demon cruelty will not dare disport
their hideousness in the future white-light. We would suspend
judgment as to the past; we would not condemn Hannibal; we would
play on the one-string lyre of hope--forlorn tho’ it be as Watts’
allegorical “Hope”--and we would wait kindly content with God’s
plan for this world and for a better world to come.



In Germany, in the modern principality of the Lippe, may still be
seen traces of the historic struggle between the Roman legions
under Varus and the Germanic barbarians led by Arminius. The names
“das Winnefeld” (the field of victory), “die Knochenbahn” (the
bone-lane), “die Knochenleke” (the bone-brook), “der Mordkessel”
(the kettle of slaughter), which still characterize various places
in the gloomy Teutoberger Wald, are in themselves reminders
of scenes of horror which were once dread realities; while
scattered here and there may still be seen traces of the Roman
camp--unmistakable evidence of the one time presence of the Roman


Perhaps all is fair in war, and the end justifies the means, and
the eleventh commandment “Do to the enemy what he’d like to do
to you”, being altogether heartless and godless is peculiarly
applicable to war: nevertheless the victory won by treachery never
sounds so clarionly joyous adown the ages as the victory following
a fair fight; and the deadly defeat that came by treachery has in
it a pathos that redeems defeat from disgrace. Time is just.

When Varus started out at the head of his legions to quell, as he
thought, an insurrection of a few unimportant tribes scattered
along the Weser and the Ems rivers, Germany seemed comparatively at
peace; and Arminius, the most dreaded war-lord of the barbarians,
seemed to have been won over by the blandishments of the Roman camp.

It was a gala day for the troops as with ample supplies, generous
baggage-wagons, plenty of camp followers, jesters, entertainers,
they turned away from the frontier and plunged into the Black
Forest. There was nothing to indicate that concerted action
on the part of the Germans was the cause of that far distant
uprising against Roman authority, and that within their ranks were
half-Romanized barbarians who would desert at a given signal and
use their arms against their present comrades; above all, that
Arminius had secretly instigated a general uprising and that the
Black Forests were blackly alive with the foe.

On went the Roman troops following their treacherous guides who
purposely led them into the dense marshy depths of the woods; and
when thus lost and entangled, their cavalry unable to advance,
and while all the troops were called upon to construct a rude
causeway over which the horses might proceed--suddenly from the
gloom encompassing them on all sides came deadly arrows, missiles,
javelins hurled by an unseen foe.

Varus seems to have been unable to realize that he was the victim
of a stratagem. His best men, officers and soldiers, were falling
around him; his cavalry slipping in slimy blood lay floundering
on the way; his light-armed auxiliaries, composed in great part
of brawny German youth, were slinking away and becoming strangely
one with the forces whence came the arrows, missiles, javelins.
Still Varus urged on the work on the causeway, and still veterans
advanced to the work as veterans fell and at last the gloomy march

The attack seemed over and Varus thought some isolated tribe of
barbarians had taken advantage of their hour of disability to
harass them on the march. On reaching a declivity of the woody
plain Varus drew up his forces as best he could in battle line and
thus awaited the coming of the foe. But Arminius was not prepared
to meet the Romans in battle; his rude warriors were no match for
the trained Roman soldiers fully protected by helmet, cuirass,
greaves, and shield. There could have been but one result to such
an encounter--victory for the Romans, defeat for the cause of
liberty and native land.

Arminius held in leash his blood-hounds all thro’ the night. The
Romans halted on the slope and, perceiving no enemy near, pitched
their camp with true Roman precision and then slept long and well
the heavy sleep of worn out nature that last night of mortal life.

At early dawn, while the Roman camp yet lay moveless, undreaming
of the savage blood-hounds around or the deadly ambush
ahead,--Arminius despatched men to the farther end of the defile
with orders to fell trees and erect an impassable barricade. He
then sent troops to different points of advantage on either side
of the defile thro’ which the fated army would advance; he gave
instructions as to concerted action at the sound of the agreed-upon
signal, and thus awaited the coming of morn and the renewed
activities of the Roman camp.

There is something sternly terrible in the human heart which
can thus joyfully contemplate the destruction of thousands upon
thousands of one’s fellow mortals. And yet, in this case, these
Roman soldiers were the concrete embodiment of a cause which would
enslave Arminius’ native land, intrude deadly enervation into the
integrity of a German home; and more--much more: Rome had deeply
wronged Arminius, lover of liberty, lover of native land; but even
more deeply had she wronged Arminius, the lover, and the man.
His wife, Thusnelda, was held a captive in Rome and his child,
a fair haired boy of only five years, had been made to grace a
Roman triumph. Rivers of blood could not wash away such seared yet
burning memories from the heart.

With fierce exultation did Arminius watch the waking of the camp,
the taking up of pickets, formation of line, and the slow winding
motion towards the way, the fatal way, he had foreseen they must
go. Had Varus even then become suspicious of concerted treachery,
he would have hastened back, would have plunged into the heart of
the unknown wood, would have remained in camp, would have done
anything under the sun rather than advance right into that narrow
densely wooded way ambushed at every vantage point on both sides
and shut in at the farther end by that barricade high as the tops
of the trees. But he looked and knew not; Arminius saw and knew and


Fate is always on the winning side. As day advanced and the
troops were all now fairly within the ravine, the heavens opened
in streams of torrential rain. The Black Forest seemed to groan
with impending doom: old Thor and Odin seemed fighting for their
altars in the Druid wood, and Roman Jove was no match for this grim
Teutonic Thor.

Arminius watched from the height; and just as the vanguard rounded
the curve at the summit of which rose the barricade of trees, the
signal for general assault all along the line arose clear and
decisive from the height.

The slaughter was appalling. The bulk of the infantry, fourteen
thousand men, were slain; while the cavalry which at first had
numbered about eighteen hundred horsemen, partly Romans partly
provincial, made here its last dread stand against the foe

Numonius Vola, a Roman cavalry officer, seeing the utter
uselessness of the attempt to continue the unfair strife, made a
bold dash for deliverance. At the head of a small force, he turned
away from the floundering mass of horses and men and plunged
into the unknown forest. He was, however, soon surrounded by the
Germans, and he and his soldiers were cut to pieces.

A brave band of Romans, last of that death-devoted multitude of
men, gained a point of vantage on a hill slope and arranging
themselves in a solid circle presented to the foe an almost
impenetrable line of glittering points of spears. The Germans, tho’
outnumbering them a hundred to one, yet quailed before that steely
welcome. Perhaps, too, being themselves brave men, they were in awe
and admiration of that heroic despair; perhaps, being perfectly
sure of their prey, they were loth to break the savage satisfaction
of gloating upon its desperation; perhaps no Arnold Winkelreid
opportunely came forth to offer himself in sacrifice upon those
outstretched points and so wedge open the way; perhaps, and O most
dread truth-perhaps! those wild children of the Druid wood saw
safely entrenched behind that helpless steel--worthy victims for
Odin. And thus the night passed--that awful last night upon earth
for the last of the legions of Varus.

There is an open space on the flat top of an overhanging rock,
darkly terrible even today and still the favorite haunt of century
old oaks: and this place tradition points out as the spot upon
which human sacrifices were of old offered to Thor and to Odin.
And thither the blue eyed barbarians dragged those Roman soldiers,
bravest of the brave, who had stood entrenched behind their
helpless steel until exhaustion overcame them and who at last
overpowered by sheer force of numbers, had been taken alive by the
implacable foe and dragged to the altar of sacrifice.

Strange indeed is that delusion, so often inextricably assimilable
with religious fanaticism, wherein a man makes himself believe that
he honors or placates Deity by immolating thereto his own enemy!
Truly the human-heart god is the deification of its own desires.
And that God-man upon the Cross who is essentially the everlasting
antithesis of the desires of the human heart is not of man. We
can understand Jove and Juno and Mars and Venus and even Odin and
Thor--they are ourselves only more so: not so the Christ crucified
on Calvary.


Fifteen thousand eight hundred men are estimated to have formed the
army lost in the Teutoberger Wald. This irreparable loss gave to
the heart of Cæsar Augustus its pathetic cry enduring even to the
day of death, “Varus, Varus, give back my legions, Varus!”

Suetonius tells us that at the news of the Black Forest disaster,
Augustus, in bitter grief, beat his head against the wall crying
incessantly and inconsolably, “Bring back my legions, Varus”: and
that after many years had passed and even to the day of his death
he lamented the loss as irreparable. Not, indeed, because so many
men had fallen; Rome was prodigal of human life; but because his
prophetic eye saw in this defeat the beginning of the end of Roman
supremacy; the change of policy from aggressive to defensive; the
fatal turning of a tide which should roll down upon southern Europe
in inundations of desolation.

Many other ancient writers attest the seriousness of this defeat
to Rome and corroborate what Suetonius says as to its effect upon
Augustus. Dion Cassius says, “Then Augustus, when he heard the
calamity of Varus, rent his garment, and was in great affliction
for the troops he had lost, and for terror respecting the Germans
and the Gauls. And his chief alarm was, that he expected them to
push on against Italy and Rome; and there were no Roman youth fit
for military duty that were worth speaking of, and the allied
populations that were at all serviceable had been wasted away.”

Florus also expresses its effects: “_Hac clade factum est ut
imperium quod in litore oceani non steterat, in ripa Rheni fluminis
staret_.” (The result of this disaster was that the empire which
had not been content that it be bounded by the shore of ocean was
forced to accept as its boundary the River Rhine).


There was an attempt made many years ago to erect a statue to the
memory of Arminius. The site chosen for this imposing monument
was, of course, the Teutoberger Wald. It was suggested that
contributions be received only from the English and German nations
and that the statue should stand as a memorial of the common
ancestry and heritage of the German-English races.

Arminius is indeed more truly an English national hero than was
Caractacus, if the Saxon genealogy be properly traced.

However, the project fell through. England and Germany are not yet
amicably one under the tutelage of a far off German war-lord: and
no colossal statue of Arminius--successful strategist and wholesale
slaughterer--rises today in gloomy Teutoberger Wald from out the
dark depths of Der Mordkessel.



Among the struggles of the past which seem decisively to have
subverted the old order of things and ushered in the new, is the
battle of Adrianople. There Valens, Emperor of Rome, was killed in
battle with the Goths; and the proud Roman army hitherto deemed
invincible, almost invulnerable, was defeated and destroyed.

How the wild-eyed children of the North must have gazed with
astonishment upon one another as they stood victors on that field!
They had not dared to hope that a Roman army would go down under
their undisciplined assault; and that an Emperor of Rome should
lie dead upon the battlefield was far beyond their wildest dream.
Doubtless they felt within them that first awakening of brutal
youth-strength: race-childhood was gone; race-manhood not yet come.
And enervated old Rome; cultured, wily, effetely civilized Romans
lay at the feet of these youthful, battle-flushed barbarians: and
history yet hears the cries that arose as those feet advanced
ruthlessly trampling.


If rivers could write history--what would the Nile tell us, the
Tigris-Euphrates, the Granicus-Issus, the Metaurus, the Aufidus,
the Tiber, the Danube, the Moskva, the Maritza?

Mysterious Nile--with sources for ages unknown; with inundations
death-dealing, life-giving; with crocodiles and alligators and
implacable river God: with Theban Karnak-Luxor and the Necropolis;
with Memphis and the Pyramids and the great Sphinx; with dynastic
silences perturbed by a few great names--Menes, Cheops, Rameses;
with the barge of Cleopatra wafted by scent-sick breezes to a
waiting Anthony; with cosmopolitan bad, sad, modern Memphis-Cairo.

Tigris-Euphrates valley--cradle of the human race! home of the
Accadians, a pre-historic people that had passed away and whose
language had become a dead classic tongue when Nineveh and Babylon
were young. Who were the Accadians? Who were the Etruscans? The
Euphrates and the Tiber will not tell.

Hanging Gardens of Babylon--world-wonder: Babylon as described
by Herodotus--city of blood and beauty and winged power: city
surfeited with the slaughter of Assyrian Nineveh: city of
the great temple of Bel: city of palaces guarded by majestic
colossi--Sphinxes, winged lions, man-head bulls; city of gold and
precious stones and ivory edifices and streets of burnished brass:
city of the fatal Euphrates, of Baltshazzar’s banquet and the dread
hand-writing upon the wall: city of a destruction so tremendous, so
terrible that the lamentation thereof, caught vibrantly in Biblical
amber, rings on and ever on adown the ages, “Babylon the great is
fallen, is fallen!”

      “They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
          The courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep:
      And Bahram, that great Hunter--the Wild Ass
          Stamps o’er his Head, but cannot break his sleep.”
                                          --_Omar Khayyam._

And the site of Babylon, that mighty Paris of the past, is not
now authoritatively known. Does the river know; does it remember
the glory and the horror-night and the gloom? Is the sad sighing
of rivers caused by the sorrows they see as they flow? And is the
eternal moan of ocean the aggregate of the throbs of woe that the
rivers have felt as they flow? Does nature know of mortal woe, does
she, indeed, lament with Moschus the death of pastoral Bion, with
Shelley, the untimely departure of Keats, our “Adonais”?

Fact or fancy, suggestive silence or assertive sound, poet-dream or
cynic-certainty--which draws nearer to truth? which shall prevail?

Granicus-Issus--bloody outlets of the wounds of the world when
Macedonian Alexander made Europe and Asia bleed!

Was Alexander the Great great? Moralize as we may; shudder at the
grim bloody outlets of a wounded world; wonder at the mad folly
of the masses who, at the caprice of a magnetic madman, wildly
slay and submit to be slain; see clearly, in the cut and statuary
past, the dolt unreason of it all, the uselessness, the Pelion-Ossa
horror: yet honestly recognize that deep down in the perverse human
heart there lurks loving admiration for--Alexander the Great.
Rameses, Cyrus, Alexander, Hannibal, Cæsar, Napoleon--we cannot
dissociate these men from their deeds; how then can we disapprove
their deeds and approve these men? Why is it that a Shelley, Byron,
De Musset, Swinburne, Omar--_ad infinitum_--enthrall us by the
charm of their written words, even tho’ we disagree with them in
their tenets, their philosophy of life, their conclusions: and we
censure and condemn their private lives! Can men, as Catullus sings
to Lesbia, both “adore and scorn” the same object at the same time?
There are many replies to these questions, but no satisfactory
answer. Psychologists, take note.

The military hero, the “chief who in triumph advances”, the
Warrior Bold, the idols of history will continue to glimmer
secure in cob-web fascination even when armaments shall have
been banished from off the face of the earth and wars shall be
remembered only as the myths of days that are no more. We forgive
Granicus-Issus-Arbela for the sake of Alexander the Great.

And the conqueror of the world died, aged thirty-two, in Babylon.
This cognizant old city and Accadian Euphrates were too wearily
wise to wonder two thousand years ago. They had seen the rise and
fall of many monarchs: and one more, this boy-wonder from the West,
could arouse no throb of pitying surprise from scenes that dully
remembered dead and gone dynasties. Why, death was old when Accadia
was young ten thousand years ago; lament this stripling? No. And
thus went out the conquered Conqueror of the world.

The little stream Metaurus witnessed perhaps the most momentous
battle of history. Yet no magic name shines forth from that strife
either as victor or vanquished. Nero, the Roman consul, victor; and
Hasdrubal, brother of Hannibal, vanquished; are not the names of
favorites of fame. As Byron says, of a thousand students hearing
the name _Nero_ nine hundred and ninety-nine recall the last
Julian Emperor of Rome, and one laboriously remembers the hero of
Metaurus. And yet were historians endowed with Platonic vision
whereby the great is perceived in the small, doubtless the bloody
conflict by the stream would be seen pivotal of history.

O hopes and fears and blasted dreams of so gigantic scale, played
on a stage of Alpine eminence, no wonder you stand spectacular
thro’ the ages!

      “Carthagini jam non ego nuntios
          Mittam superbos. Occidit, occidit
              Spes omnis et fortuna nostri
                  Nominis, Hasdrubale interemto.”

“Alas, I shall not now send to Carthage proud bearers of good
news,” said Hannibal, as he mournfully gazed at the severed head
of his brother, hurled insolently into his camp, even as with
impatient hope he awaited news of that brother’s coming and dreamed
the dream of their successfully united forces, attack on Rome,
victory, and the dispatch of proud messengers to Carthage. With
prophetic gaze did the hero of Cannæ see in that bloodily dead
face the negation of his eight years’ victory in Italy, his recall
to Carthage, his defeat at Zama, his exile and bitter death, and
the onward stride of world-conquering Rome over the ashes of

Cities that have been and that are no more: Niobe-woe: rivers that
know of that long ago and wearily sigh as they flow!

Old Tiber disdains the paragraph; a volume for it or--nothing.

Lordly dark Danube--so long the barrier between the known and the
unknown, civilization and barbarism, the magic sun-gardens of Italy
and the Teutoberger Wald!

“Varus, Varus, give back my legions, Varus”--that cry of Cæsar
Augustus, Ruler of Rome, Mistress of the World, was the first wild
note of a chorus of woe that arose in full diapason when Valens
fell in the battle of Adrianople. From the victory of Arminius over
the Roman troops under Quintilius Varus in the Black Forest of
Germany (A. D. 9) to the decisive victory of the combined Gothic
tribes over the veteran Roman army under Valens near the capital of
the Empire, the sympathetic student of history may hear ever that
losing cry of the Emperor-seer, “Give back my legions, Varus.”

Legend relates that on the Roman northern frontier there stood a
colossal statue of Victory; it looked toward the North, and with
outstretched hand pointing to the Teutoberger Wald, seemed to urge
on to combat and victory: but the night following the massacre of
the Roman troops in the Black Forest, and the consequent suicide of
Varus, this statue did, of its own accord, turn round and face the
South, and with outstretched hand pointing Romeward, seemed to urge
on to combat and victory the wild-eyed children of the North. Thus
did the Goddess of Victory forsake Rome.

The Moskva river is yet memory-lit with the fires of burning
Moscow; and its murmuring ever yet faintly echoes the toll,
toll, toll of the Kremlin bell. Three days and three nights of
conflagration--and then the charred and crumbling stillness! Snow
on the hills and on the plains; white, peaceful snow healing the
wounds of Borodino, blanketing uncouth forms, hiding the horror;
but within the fated city, no snow, nothing white, nothing
peaceful; gaunt icicle-blackness o’er huge, prostrate Pan-Slavism.

Yet surely cognizant old Moscow, secure in ruins, sighed, too,
o’er the gay and gallant Frenchmen caught fatefully in the trap of
desolation. Perhaps, too, the compensating lamentation of distant
Berezina mingled genially with the murmuring Moskva.

Little Nap Bonaparte met his Waterloo in Moscow: history to the
contrary notwithstanding.

“The soldiers fight and the kings are called heroes,” says the
Talmud. Of all that nameless host of ardent, life-loving men
who entered Moscow, stood aghast amid the ruins, started back
on that awful across-Continent retreat--the world knows only
Napoleon, history poses Napoleon, Meissonier paints Napoleon, Byron
apostrophizes Napoleon, Emerson eulogizes Napoleon, Rachmaninoff
plays Napoleon, and the hero-lover loves Napoleon. Why? Is there
any answer to ten thousand Whys perched prominently and grinning
insolently in this mad play-house of the Planets? None.

      “What hope of answer or redress
          Beyond the veil, beyond the veil!
             *       *       *       *       *
      And yet we somehow trust that good
          Will be the final goal of ill,
      That not a worm is cloven in vain;
          That not a moth with vain desire
      Is shriveled in a fruitless fire
          Or but subserves another’s gain.”
             *       *       *       *       *

The Maritza river, at one time called the Orestes river, is formed
by the confluence of two unimportant streams. Adrianople is
favorably situated, and ranks next to Constantinople in natural

Orestes, son of Agamemnon, built the city and gave his name both
to the city and the principal river. Emperor Hadrian changed the
name to Hadrianopolis (Hadrian’s city), thence our modernized
Adrianople. One almost regrets that the name of the restless
Orestes did not continue appropriately to designate the city of so
varying fortunes and vivid vicissitudes.

Adrianople was the Turkish capital for nearly a hundred years;
it was abandoned in 1453 when Constantinople came into Turkish
control. The ruins of the palaces of the Sultans yet grace the
ancient capital.

Adrianople is the faithful Moslem city of forty mosques. The mosque
Selim II. is a close rival to Santa Sofia.

Greek and Macedonian, Roman and Byzantine, Christian and Moslem,
Turk and Bulgarian, influences have in turn dominated the city of
three rivers; each re-baptizing it with blood: and the end is not

In 1713, Charles XII. of Sweden was a guest in the castle of
Tumurtish. Little then did the valiant Madman of the North dream
how ignominiously his own meteoric career would close: little did
he see himself as fixed in fame, not by his combats and victories,
not even by his gallant defeat at Pultowa, but by being the
inspiration in the moralizing mind of Dr. Samuel Johnson of the
following lines:

      “He left a name--at which the world grew pale--
      To point a moral or adorn a tale.”

The Vanity of Human Wishes is indeed exemplified not only in
Charles XII. of Sweden, but also in many other favorites of
fortune: not one of whom, perhaps, but would add to or alter his
own peculiar setting in fame--if perchance he should be able to
recognize himself at all in the historic figure masquerading under
his name. How seldom does it chance that the world honors a man for
what that man feels to be his best title to honor?

Would Julius Cæsar, red-hand conqueror of Gaul, know himself as the
Shakespearean hero? And Nero, Louis XI., Wallenstein, Henry VIII.,
Roderick Borgia--would they claim even passing acquaintance with
themselves as fame has fixed them? If these men took any of their
fighting qualities with them into the Spirit Land, there must have
been some flamy duelling when they met their respective biographers.

And so the blood of battle bathed Adrianople one thousand five
hundred and thirty-five years ago and--last year (1913). And we
talk learnedly about the defeat and death of the Roman Emperor
Valens, and of the effect of that victory upon our respected
barbarian ancestors with consequent doings of destiny, etc.,
etc.--because we _don’t know_: and we say little about the
Servian-Bulgarian-Turkish capture of Adrianople last year, because
it is too near and--_we know_. Then, too, who can poetize or
moralize or even sentimentally scribble over the yet hideously
bleeding wounds of war? When they are healed, when the moaning is
still, the mangled forms moveless, the cripples on crutches gone,
the lamentations silenced, the last-lingering heartache soothed in
Death--why, then, perhaps; but not now. Battle in the real is a
human butchering: and there is no other delusion under the sun more
diabolically sardonic than that which makes animal savagery seem
patriotism and the red-hand slaughter-man a hero. From the Homeric
Hector-Achilles, deliver the world, O Lord.

Strange, indeed, is the contrariety between the real of War and the
ideal, the far away hero and the near Huerta, the blood spilled and
stilled and the bright life-blood spilling, the sorrow silenced and
the agonized cries that arise, the battle of Adrianople, 378 A. D.,
and the siege and capture and re-capture of Adrianople (1912-1913).



If, in the battle of Chalons, Attila and his Huns had been
victorious over the combined forces of the semi-Christianized
Visigoths under Theoderic and the Romans under Ætius--then Hungvari
influence rather than Teutonic would have dominantly determined the
progress of the civilized world.

Rome had fallen: effete in her withered hand lay the rod of empire:
and swarming about her, now quarrelling among themselves and with
her, now fraternizing, but always more or less in awe of her
prostrate majesty were her barbarous children--Franks, Burgundians,
Alans, Lombards, Gauls, Alemanni, Visigoths, and Ostrogoths. These
had known Rome in the hour of her pride and power; they revered
the Rome that was for the sake of the Rome that had been; they
had imbibed something of her culture, her military discipline,
her laws, her religion. Semi-civilized, semi-Christianized, with
the bold Teutonic virtues yet pristine from the Black Forests
of Germany,--they were the possible material of an excellence
surpassing that of Rome, even when Rome could boast of excellence.

But about 450 A. D. hordes, innumerable hordes, _velut unda
supervenit undam_ (even as wave upon wave) of hideously ugly,
lithe, little, wiry, imp-like men poured into Europe from the
Asiatic lands north of the Black Sea. By their numbers, their
lightning-like rapidity, their uncanny appearance, and their brute
ferocity, they quickly swept the countries before them, put to
flight the Alans, the Ostrogoths, and other tribes dwelling along
the course of the Danube, and finally under their terrible leader
Atzel (Attila), Scourge of God, they confronted the civilized and
semi-civilized world in arms on the plain of Chalons.


From early dawn even until darkness frowned over the field the
blood-feast flowed: and Death was satiated.

Attila withdrew to his camp. He left an effective guard around his
wagons and outposts and made every thing ready for a prolonged
and obstinate resistance to the attack anticipated at early dawn.
Nevertheless he built for himself a massive funeral pile, placed
upon it his most valued treasures and his favorite wives, and was
fully prepared and resolute to apply the torch, ascend the pyre,
and so perish in the flames--should defeat fall to his fortune on
the following day.

Morning dawned. The awful work of death on the preceding day
appalled both armies; miles upon miles of outstretched plain lay
covered with carnage; the all-night-writhing mounds of men were
ominously still. Sullenly did foe gaze upon foe; but each recoiled
from renewal of the slaughter.

Still the advantage was with the allies; for Attila, so late the
fierce aggressor, was barricaded in his camp--tho’ grimly awaiting
attack indeed, and prepared to resist to the end and die like a
lion in his den.

Did the Romans know of that funeral pile? They may not, indeed,
have known the peculiar manner in which Attila would seek death,
but they knew that he would die by his own hand--if the worst came.
Cato had done so and Varus and Brutus and Cassius and Hannibal and
Anthony and Cleopatra--_ad infinitum_.

Addison, in his tragedy _Cato_, has graphically portrayed the
conflicting thoughts and emotions in the mind of a man who feels
that life cannot longer be borne and yet shrinks back from the
horror and the dread unknown.

Cato had lost the battle of Utica. He had been true to Pompey, he
had fought the last battle for the cause of Pompey--and lost. And
Cæsar was indeed god of this world, and the morrow held no place on
all this so vast earth for Cato; this lost-battle night must end it
all. He read Plato’s discourse on the immortality of the soul, and
in the lines of Addison, thus soliloquized:

      “It must be so. Plato, thou reason’st well:
      Else whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire,
      This longing after immortality?
      Or whence this secret dread and inward horror
      Of falling into naught? Why shrinks the soul
      Back on herself and startles at destruction?
      ’Tis the divinity that stirs within us;
      ’Tis Heaven itself that points out an hereafter,
      And intimates eternity to man.
             *       *       *       *       *
      The soul, secured in her existence, smiles
      At the drawn dagger and defies its point.
      The stars shall fade away, the sun himself
      Grow dim with age and nature sink in years;
      But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth
      Unhurt amidst the war of elements,
      The wreck of matter and the crash of worlds.”

But Attila did not mount his funeral pile. The day passed without
attack upon Attila’s formidable position. King Theodoric lay dead
upon the plain and his son Prince Thorismund, who had distinguished
himself in the battle, was victoriously proclaimed King of the

Ætius, Valentinian’s able general, held in leash both the Romans
and the Visigoths even while Attila slowly broke up camp and
withdrew in long lines leading northward.


The effect was that of victory for the allies. Rome was saved from
a fresh infusion of barbarism whilst her Teutonic element was
still semi-barbarous. The German characteristics--love of liberty,
independence, and reverential regard for women--thus dominated the
Christian civilization which now began to flourish vigorously out
from the decadence of pagan Rome.

If, as Byron says,

      “Cervantes laughed Spain’s chivalry away,”

then also it may be said that Lucan laughed Rome’s gods and
goddesses away. The laugh is the most insidiously potent of all
destructive forces when the laugher is loved and the times are
attuned to hear. Not satire, not personal bitterness, not even the
withering invectives of a Juvenal are as sweepingly effective as
the quills of ridicule, the inescapable miasma of the laugh. Once
let the grin distort the frown of Zeus and majesty trembles, awe
smiles, reverence dies.

And so the pagan deities were dead; their temples empty and
meaningless; and thundering Jove and jealous Juno and murderous
Mars and all the other deifications of the all too human heart of
man were impotently silent under the spell of the solemn central
figure of the new religion--Christ on the Cross.

And the Church in the name and with the power of that sublime
Sufferer taught the reverse of all that paganism had taught; of
all that the world had hitherto heard and heeded; of all that the
all too human heart of man held as dearest and best. “Love your
enemies,” said the Church to the men who had fought at Chalons.
“Blessed are the merciful, Blessed are the clean of heart, Blessed
are the peacemakers”, reiterated the Church to her semi-barbarous
children. And they understood only in part, and they did deeds of
appalling atrocity even while acquiescing to her teachings: for the
will to do good was, indeed, emotionally present with them, but
the power so to do failed them crucially. Yet their sins were of
surface-passions not of the inmost heart; for they were ever in
reverential awe of the sublime Sufferer on the Cross; for he spoke
as no man ever yet had spoken, and he lived what he said, and he
died praying for his murderers: and all this is not of man--as none
knew better than they who knew the naked human heart.


History has not done justice to Attila. History has not done
justice to any lost cause. For the winners, not the losers, are the
writers as well as the makers of history, and all forces combine to
make them unjust to the lost cause.

Herodotus gives us the story of Marathon, Thermopylæ, Platæa,
Salamis; Persia had no Herodotus: Homer extols the exploits of
the Grecian army, the valor of Achilles; but Hector had no Homer:
Roman historians tell the story of the Punic wars; Carthage from
her desolate site sown with salt cares not what they say, whilst
Hannibal, bravest of the brave, and supreme military genius, speaks
on the historic page only from the lips of the hated Romans.

When Protestantism finally won in England and the long able
reign of Elizabeth established it firmly upon a political basis,
then were fulminated against the Church of Rome all those unjust
accusations and gross misrepresentations which, crystallized in
history and in literature, seem ineradicable as fate. But truth is
older than history or literature, and more analytically powerful
than the synthetic forces of crystallization, and patiently
prevalent even over fate.

Elizabeth’s very legitimacy depended upon the establishment of
Protestantism in England and the overthrow of Catholicity; and to
this two-fold end the energies of the very astute daughter of Henry
VIII. were undeviatingly directed.

It takes about three hundred years from the time of a cataclysmic
upheaval of any kind before the minds of men can view it
dispassionately or estimate it without bias. But what are three
hundred years to age-old Truth?

Elizabeth possessed, in addition to the terse Tudor qualities,
the rare gift of foresight. She knew the power of the pen and
the possibilities for fame or infamy in the men of genius of her
time. And so her court was open to the great men of that day and
her smile of patronage was ever ready to welcome poet, artist,
dramatist, politician, warrior, traveler, historian, and statesman:
she became all to all and she won all.

As _Gloriana_ in Spenser’s immortal “Færie Queen” she reigns
forever. Bacon, Spenser, Sidney Smith, Raleigh, Voltaire--as Voices
having a thousand echoes throughout the years--have amply rewarded
that patient foresight and have fixed her in fame as--what she was
to them--Good Queen Bess.

And so Attila and his Huns in low long sinuously winding northern
lines left behind them the carnage strewn plain of Chalons, and the
camp with its ominous pyre, and the dazed foe. And thus victory
remained to Ætius, last of the Romans: and the field of Chalons
which saved civilization and semi-civilization from an untimely
intrusion of rank barbarism; which secured domination to the
Teutonic race rather than to the Sarmatic; which freed Europe from
Asia--was the last victory of imperial Rome.

Attila died two years later; some say as the victim of poison
secretly mixed with his food by Ætius’ ever vigilant spies. With
him his vast empire passed away: and the leader who once claimed as
proud titles,--“Atzel, Descendant of the Great Nimrod. By the Grace
of God, King of the Huns, the Goths, the Danes, and the Medes. The
Dread of the World”--died ignominiously one carousal wedding night:
and history, ever unjust to a lost cause, writes his name among the
_Almosts_ and calmly commends the destiny by which Attila and his
Hunnish hordes were defeated in the great battle of Chalons.



The battle of Tours had as result the dominance of the Aryan race
over the Semitic in Europe; and of the Cross over the Crescent
throughout the world. As Gibbon says speaking of the phenomenal
conquests of the followers of Mohammed: “A victorious line of
march had been prolonged above a thousand miles from the rock of
Gibraltar to the banks of the Loire; the repetition of an equal
space would have carried the Saracens to the confines of Poland
and the Highlands of Scotland; the Rhine is not more impassable
than the Nile or Euphrates, and the Arabian fleet might have sailed
without a naval combat into the mouth of the Thames. Perhaps the
interpretation of the Koran might now be taught in the Schools of
Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people
the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet. From such
calamities was Christendom delivered by the genius and fortune of
one man.” (Charles Martel).

Persia, Lydia, northern Africa, Spain, had successively fallen
under the devouring zeal of the fanatics of the desert. Hot and
arid and consuming as the sun o’er yellow sands was the inspiration
of the Prophet fire-breathing thro’ the Koran. “The sword,” says
Mahomet, “is the key of heaven. A drop of blood shed in the cause
of God is of more avail than two months of fasting and prayer;
whoso falls in battle, all his sins are forgiven; at the day of
judgment his wounds shall be as resplendent as vermillion and
odoriferous as musk.” Hearts thus athirsting aflame had as their
dream-goal, their vermillion glory--the conquest and subjugation
of the city of the Cæsars, the city of the Church, Rome, Immortal

From the Bosphorus to the Gibraltar glowed the victor Crescent with
extremities burning into Europe. Unsuccessful on the Bosphorus
but successful on the Gibraltar, Spain was soon enveloped in its
fanatic fire and its flame-tongues darted over the Pyrenees.

The Saracens of Spain were commanded by Abderame, favorite of the
caliph Hashen, victor of many fields, idol of the army, and devout
believer in the promises of the Prophet. Abderame was proud of
his battle scars, not yet indeed resplendent as vermillion and
odoriferous as musk, but potentially so and cherished accordingly.
He would yet slay “many cut-throat dogs of misbelievers” and so
gain more vermillion. One is here tempted to say, in the words of
Virgil describing the sacrifice of Iphigenia,

              “Learn thou then
      To what damned deeds religion urges men.”

Too bad that the word “religion” must needs do service to express
the extravagances of mythology, the ravings of fanaticism, and the
teachings of the gentle Christ.

Eudes, duke of Aquitaine, first opposed the Moslems as they
advanced beyond the Pyrenees. He was at first successful but later
suffered a signal defeat at Toulouse, “in so much so”, says an old
chronicler, “that only God could count the number of Christians
slain.” Eudes himself escaped and hastening northward sought the
aid of Charles, duke of Austrasia, mayor of the palace, and soon to
be known as Charles Martel (Charles the Hammer.)

On came the conquering Saracen hosts, grown insolent by victory,
deeming themselves invincible, and proudly confident in the destiny
that should lead them to Rome. Asia and Africa were in arms
against Europe; the old against the new; maturity against lusty
youth; and they met steel to steel on the plains of Tours.

      “He either fears his fate too much
          Or his deserts are small;
      Who dares not put it to the touch
          And gain or lose it all.”

Tours towers in solemn awe in the vague _What might have been_. Was
it wise to have risked Christendom on the issue of one battle? The
result says Yes; but--

Upon what seeming trifles turns the hinge of destiny! The
casting-vote of Callimachus, urged by the eloquence of Miltiades,
made Marathon; panic-fear let loose among Darius’ million men
made Arbela; an eclipse of the sun won at Zama; Teutoberger Wald,
Chalons, Tours--invisible, unknown, but not the less effective were
the forces in these fights making fatefully for defeat and for
victory. That which we term a trifle may be as a single bead of
perspiration; trifling in itself, no doubt, but representative of a
force far from trifling.

Battle raged indecisively all day long from early light till dark.
Prince Charles seemed to wield the hammer of Thor. Abderame fell.
The Saracens withdrew sullenly within their tents. Quiet darkness
gathered mournfully over the living, the dying, and the dead.

And the next morning there was a great silence in the Moslem
camp; in so much that the Christians trembled as at some uncanny
treachery and stood awaiting they knew not what. But as the early
morning hours passed and broad daylight brought back manly courage,
the Christian army approached the camp of the enemy. It was
deserted. The foe had fled. Christendom had won.

Charles did not immediately pursue the fleeing Moslem hordes. He
still feared treachery. Perhaps, too, some wakening sentiment of
humanity restrained him from further bloodshed. The vast plains of
Tours were covered with ghastly forms horribly hacked and hewed
but now strangely still. According to an old chronicle the number
of Moslem dead upon the field of Tours was three hundred and fifty
thousand; that of the Christians, fifteen hundred. Surely that was
enough of slaughtering death even for Karl Martel.

The battle of Tours was fought Oct. 4, 732 A. D. The following
Spring Charles went in pursuit of the Saracens who were still
ravaging southern France. They withdrew from place to place
as Charles drew near; and ultimately--without risking another
encounter with the Hammer of Thor--they retired across the
Pyrenees. France was freed from the Crescent.


All writers agree that the eighth century was the darkest age of
the so-called Dark Ages. The Benedictine monks, authors of _L’
histoire litteraire de la France_ say that the eighth century was
_the darkest, the most ignorant, the most barbarous_ that France
had ever seen. It seemed to be the seething culmination of four
hundred years of Barbarism, one infusion following fast upon

In 407 A. D. the Vandals from the upper Rhine invaded Gaul and
Germany: in 410 the West Goths under Alaric besieged and sacked
Rome: in 429 the Vandals under Genseric came down upon Numidia
and Mauritania: in 443 the Burgundian invaders settled on the
upper Rhone and on the Saone: in 451 came the Huns under Attila.
Towards the end of the fifth century the Franks from the lower
Rhine came into Gaul, destroying every vestige of civilization that
had survived the invasion and occupation of France by the Vandals
and Burgundians. About this time, too, the Angles and Saxons
established themselves in Britain, and the Visigoths in Spain. In
the sixth and seventh centuries the Heruli, the East Goths, and
the Lombards destroyed whatever remained of Roman civilization in
northern Italy.

And now to complete this scene of chaotic confusion came the
fanatic Moslem hordes from the south. Surely every remaining
reminder of old-world civilization seemed about to be crushed and
broken to pieces between these contending crest waves of barbarism.
The cataclysmic clash and crash came at the battle of Tours.


William Turner, S. T. D. in his History of Philosophy speaking of
the eighth century says: “We can scarcely realize the desolation
that during these centuries reigned throughout what had been the
Roman Empire. Although surrounded by all the external signs and
conditions of dissolution and decay, the Church remained true
to her mission of moral and intellectual enlightenment, drawing
the nations to her by the very grandeur of her confidence in her
mission of peace, and by the sheer force of her obstinate belief
in her own ability to lift the new peoples to a higher spiritual
and intellectual life. It was these traits in the character of the
Church that especially attracted the barbarian kings. But, though
towards the end of the fifth century Clovis became a Christian, it
was not until the beginning of the ninth century that the efforts
of the Church to reconquer the countries of Europe to civilization
began to show visible results. The Merovingian kings--the
‘do-nothing-kings,’ as they were styled--could scarcely be called
civilized. Even Charlemagne, who was the third of the Carolingian
dynasty, could hardly write his name.”

The Church is for all ages and all conditions of men. She is
equally effective in answering the soul-questionings of savage
peoples, barbarous, semi-civilized, cultured, and æsthetic: of
a superstitious monk of the Thebaid and of the philosopher
Augustine, Bishop of Hippo: of a Thais of the desert and of
Ursula, virgin and martyr: of Charles Martel, of the bloody battle
Tours, and the gentle Francis of Assisi: of Constantine, Clovis,
Charlemagne; and of John Henry Cardinal Newman, Mangan, Oscar
Wilde, Strindberg, and Francis Thompson. As the manna that fell
from heaven for the Israelites had in it every taste that might
be in accordance with the peculiar desire of him who tasted, so
in like manner, the Church of all ages has ever brought to her
children that which was in accordance with their peculiar needs and
desires. Fiercely kind, sternly kind, firmly kind, humanly kind,
and divinely kind--as occasion may require, the Church has been and
may be.

In Charles Martel, hero of Tours, the Church had a gallant
defender. Under his son Pepin, and his greater grandson
Charlemagne, the Church made that leap forward, away from ninth
century barbarism, up and onward to her fair and full flowering in
the thirteenth century Renaissance.


At the second siege of Constantinople, when Moslemah with a
land force of one hundred twenty thousand Arabs and Persians
stood ready to attack the city; and a fleet of eighteen hundred
ships--as a moving forest,--covered the Bosphorus, Constantinople
seemed doomed. A night attack of the combined land and sea forces
was planned; and no one might reasonably doubt the issue of the
conflict. But here again the unexpected happened.

Truly the race is not to the swift nor is the battle to the strong.
Marathon, Salamis, Arbela, Tours, Cressy, Poitiers, Agincourt,
Saratoga, Valmy,--were battles not to the strong. “There’s a
divinity that shapes our ends.”

As night approached and the formidable “moving forest” gathered
round the doomed city, suddenly there darted amidst the towering
timbers--lighted monsters, Greek Fire-ships belching forth from
dragon-mouthed prows the fatal Greek Fire. Here, there, everywhere
plunged the fire-breathing ships leaving behind them Moslem vessels
in flames. The Bosphorus was on fire. Of the fated soldiers in that
mighty fleet of eighteen hundred ships, few escaped to make known
the tragedy or to describe the horribly magnificent scene.

What was the Greek Fire? how compounded? how used? how propelled?
does the world of today know the secret of Greek Fire? Gibbon
says: “The historian who presumes to analyze this extraordinary
composition should suspect his own ignorance and that of his
Byzantine guides, so prone to the marvelous, so careless, and,
in this instance, so jealous of the truth. From their obscure,
and perhaps fallacious, hints it should seem that the principal
ingredient of the Greek Fire was the naphtha, or liquid bitumen,
a light, tenacious, and inflammable oil, which springs from the
earth, and catches fire as soon as it comes in contact with the
air. The naphtha was mingled, I know not by what methods or in what
proportions, with sulphur and with pitch that is extracted from
evergreen firs. From this mixture, which produced a thick smoke and
a loud explosion, proceeded a fierce and obstinate flame, which
not only rose in perpendicular ascent, but likewise burnt with
equal vehemence in descent or lateral progress; instead of being
extinguished, it was nourished and quickened by the element of
water; and sand or vinegar were the only remedies that could damp
the fury of this powerful agent, which was justly denominated by
the Greeks the _liquid_ or the _maritime_ fire. For the annoyance
of the enemy it was employed, with equal effect, by sea and land,
in battles or in sieges. It was either poured from the rampart in
large boilers, or launched in red-hot balls of stone and iron, or
darted in arrows and javelins, twisted round with wax and tow,
which had deeply imbibed the inflammable oil; sometimes it was
deposited in fire-ships, the victims and instruments of a more
ample revenge, and was most commonly blown through long tubes of
copper which were planted on the prow of a galley, and fancifully
shaped into the mouths of savage monsters, that seemed to vomit a
stream of liquid and consuming fire.”

The paralyzing effect of fear let loose among a multitude of men
has decisively determined many a battle. When the Romans saw
elephants for the first time, and saw them too, in the midst
of Pyrrhus’ hostile hosts bearing down upon them--those brave
world-conquerors promptly turned and fled. Chariots armed with
scythes madly rushing down upon a body of infantry, were used with
success by the Britons against Cæsar’s terrified legions. And Greek
Fire, Byzantium’s secret for four hundred years, infused such
enduring terror into the hearts of the nations that had taken part
in that night attack upon Constantinople, that this remembering
fear, rather than the effective force of Byzantium, may be said to
have saved Christendom.

By the defeat of Tours in the west and the failure of the siege
in the east, the two horns of the Crescent, burning into Europe,
were effectively repulsed and chilled. Mohammedanism with its
threefold blight--propagation by the sword, polygamy, and religious
intolerance--was swept back into Asia, leaving Europe to develop
under the milder sway of Christianity.

Writers of note are unanimous in attributing to the victory of
Charles Martel over the Saracens at Tours the deliverance of Europe
from the thraldom of Mahomet. Even Gibbon so characteristically
fond of “Snapping a solemn creed with solemn sneer” speaks of this
battle as “the event that rescued our ancestors of Britain and our
neighbors of Gaul from the civil and religious yoke of the Koran.”
Arnold speaks of this victory as “among those signal deliverances
which have effected for centuries the happiness of mankind.” The
historian Ranke writing of this period points out as “one of the
most important epochs in the history of the world, the commencement
of the eighth century, when on one side Mohammedanism threatened to
overspread Italy and Gaul, and on the other the ancient idolatry
of Saxony and Friesland once more forced its way across the Rhine.
In this peril of Christian institutions, a youthful prince of
Germanic race, Karl Martell, arose as their champion, maintained
them with all the energy which the necessity for self-defense calls
forth, and finally extended them into new regions.” Schlegel, with
devoutly grateful heart, tells of this “mighty victory whereby the
arm of Charles Martel saved and delivered the Christian nations of
the West from the deadly grasp of all-destroying Islam.”



      “If you can keep your head when all about you
      Are losing theirs and blaming it on you:
      If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
      Yet make allowance for their doubting too.
      If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
      Or being lied about don’t deal in lies;
      Or being hated not give way to hating,
      And yet don’t seem too good or talk too wise.”


If--laconic fate-word! hinge of destiny! _If_ the Persians had
won at Marathon; and if the brilliant imagination of a Persian
Herodotus had fixed in fame the glories of conquering Persia:
_if_ the Peloponnesian War had not mutually destroyed the Grecian
empire: _if_ Alexander the Great had lost the battles Granicus,
Issus, Arbela; _if_ world-conquering Alexander the Great had been
successful in the conquest of his own down-dragging human heart,
and _if_ he had not died at Babylon, aged thirty-two, world-victor
and self-victim: _if_ the village by the Tiber had not advanced by
bloody strides o’er fixed-star battlefields from Rome a wilderness,
to Rome Mistress of the World: _if_ the barbarous hordes of the
North had not ever longingly before their eyes the fairyland of
southern Europe, the troll-gardens of Italy: _if_ Rome had not
become enervated; _if_ Gaul and Goth and Hun and Norseman had not
won: _if_ the Crescent had waved victorious o’er a fallen Cross at
Tours, Belgrade, Lepanto: if William of Normandy son of Robert the
Devil, had been pierced by an arrow and buried indistinguishably
among the dead on the slaughter-field of Senlac-Hastings--If!

But we are a perennially hopeful race and happily unimaginative and
dully content with the Real: and so we unquestioningly acquiesce
when grave historians tell us that in each and every historic
struggle the juggernaut determinant of the _If_ acted favorably to
the best interests of civilization and progress: so, too, would we
obligingly believe had the determinant favored the opposing cause.
Perhaps to all-conquering Progress as to world-conquering Rome,
all battles are victories; either as a victory proper with roll
of triumph-drum and flash of conquering colors, or as that grim
Cannæ-defeat potential of a future Zama-victory.

It is well that there should be two possible interpretations of
the answers of the oracle: thus is Truth ever serenely secure
unperturbed by the errors of mortals.


It is hard to control the winged steed. His next flight and
whereabouts of alighting are as happily unknown to the rider as to
the beholder--to the writer as to the reader. However Pegasus, the
real, can never fail to be interesting whether he leap over the
historic ages, or play antics on an _If_, or neigh irreverently in
the temple of Delphian Apollo, or speed to the finding of Harold
Godwin amid the indistinguishably dead on the slaughter-field of


Vikings of the northern seas, wolf-men of the Sagas, dark devotees
of Thor, heirs of Valkirie--little wonder that the semi-civilized
world shuddered at their distant approach; little wonder that
Charlemagne, hero of a hundred wars, grew sick at heart, foreseeing
the rivers of blood that should deluge fair France, when, one
day, by chance, his eagle gaze caught sight of the Dragon-Head
long-boats of the Northmen as yet far off, red-glittering on shaggy
northern seas.

Time passed; the Charlemagne vision had dread realization; France,
England, Southern Europe were overrun by conquering Saxon, Dane,

And Rollo of Norway, called Rollo the Dane, settled in northern
France. He named that part of the country Normandy in honor of his
native land. After many years of bloodshed and as advancing age
subdued the battle fever, he entered into a compromise compact with
Charles the Simple of France. Rollo was to do homage to the king,
be baptized, and marry Giselle, the king’s daughter: in return he
should be acknowledged as the lawful Duke of Normandy with right
of succession to his heirs forever. But rough old Rollo protested
against the humiliating conditions of the homage ceremony. It was
obligingly agreed that it should be done by proxy. History relates
that the warrior appointed as proxy in the homage ceremony felt
deeply the humiliation of having to kiss the slippered foot of King
Charles and that in this act he rudely raised the foot so high that
the monarch was unseated and fell from his chair. Amid the wild
hilarity caused by this scene and the seeming revival of barbarism,
King Charles was too fearful of Rollo to make open complaint:
concealing his chagrin he proceeded with the ceremony and no doubt
felt happily relieved when all was over, and Rollo at the head
of his wild followers stood forth as Robert, the first Duke of
Normandy. The baptism and the marriage followed in due succession
and thus was won over and fixed in civilization, Christianity,
and historic fame Rollo the Dane, forefather of six dukes of
Normandy, and of a long line of English kings extending directly or
indirectly from William the Conqueror to Queen Anne, last of the


William was the son of Robert, sixth duke of Normandy: William’s
mother was Arlotte, a peasant girl, daughter of a humble tanner of
Falaise. William was reared at the court of his father, and being a
beautiful and precocious boy as well as heir apparent of the realm,
he became a great favorite among the warrior courtiers of Duke

The magic of danger, the lure of the unknown, the glamour of
romance and chivalry lay, at that time, in a pilgrimage to the Holy
Land. Thither turned the eyes of the half-civilized descendants of
the savage old Vikings; and, as the war fever of youth abated, many
men, combining incongruously remorse for crimes and penitential
expiation with love of daring adventure, turned away from strong
feudal castles and lordly possessions in Europe to brave the
hardships and uncertainties of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Among
those thus lured into fatal uncertainties was Robert le Diable,
sixth Duke of Normandy. He left the realm to his son William--if
by chance he himself should not return--appointed Alan of Brittany
regent during William’s minority, and having left the boy safe at
the court of Henry of France, Robert set out on that pilgrimage to
the Holy Land from which he never returned.

Ever insatiably hungry is the heart of man. Pleasure is a mirage.
Yet perhaps, happier is it to fall and perish in full pursuit of an
ever receding pleasure than to walk inane in the beaten sand-way
and--live. To do is easier than to endure: to act is easier than to
wait; to roam abroad and strive is easier than to stay at home and
pray; to wander amid strange scenes and stranger men, to draw the
approving sword in a cause approved, to fight and die and leave his
bones to bleach on Asiatic plains were easier far for Rollo’s blood
than to wait and waste away secure in a feudal fortress of Normandy.

At Robert’s death there were various claimants to his possessions;
but, finally, owing, in great measure, to the fidelity of the
regent Allan of Brittany, the dukedom was secured for William. He
left the court of Paris, and soon after, taking full possession
of the realm, he began to exhibit those indomitable character
qualifications which together with his military education and
robust physical powers led him on from conquest to conquest even
unto the tragic culmination at Senlac-Hastings from which he came
forth blood-baptized as William the Conqueror.


When Ethelred, the Saxon King of England, fled from his realm and
left it to the victorious Danes, he sought refuge at the court of
Richard, the fourth duke of Normandy. There he met and married the
Lady Emma, sister of Duke Richard. This lady was famed for her
beauty and known throughout the realm as the Pearl of Normandy.

Edward of England, known in England as Edward the Confessor,
was the son of Ethelred and Lady Emma; and it was upon this
relationship that William, at the time of Edward’s death, laid
claim to the crown. Whatever may be said of this claim, it was at
least more tangible than that of Harold, son of Earl Godwin.

The days have gone by when the rights of blood relationship
were claims for which contending realms might squander fortunes
and armies: but he who estimates the ages past by the standards
of today, would better roll up and read no more the enigmatic
scrolls of history. Rivers of blood have freely flowed in order
that some royal rascal, slightly richer in royal rascality than a
rival claimant, might win a throne. Yet we who cannot understand
the code of the _Samurai_, as worked out logically today; we
to whom the principles of _Bushido_, when carried to the last
full measure of devotion, are fascinatingly unreal; we to whom
_jun-shi_, _hari-kiri_, _seppuku_ are words ominous, indeed, but
unintelligible even when translated into deed in the white light
of today[A]--how shall we be able to understand or estimate aright
the mysteries of the mighty past!

So upon this faint claim of relationship, William, the seventh
duke of Normandy, nephew of Lady Emma, Queen of England, founded
his right to the English throne: and for better or worse, right or
wrong, faint claim or no claim--he won.


William sought to strengthen his position by an influential
matrimonial alliance. Matilda, daughter of the Duke of Flanders,
became the object of his choice. This lady was very beautiful and
an adept in the accomplishments of her time--music and tapestry
weaving. In fact a wonderful piece of tapestry known as the Bayeaux
Tapestry and even now in a state of comparative preservation, is
said to have been the work of Matilda of Flanders, wife of William
the Conqueror. This famous piece of embroidery on linen is four
hundred feet long and nearly two feet wide; it is a series of
designs illustrating the various events and incidents of the Battle
of Hastings and other exploits of the Conqueror.

William and Matilda were married in 1052, the Battle of Hastings
was fought in 1066, so that the Bayeaux Tapestry has resisted the
gnawing tooth of time for more than eight hundred years.

Who shall unerringly perceive in the glare of the passing day, what
is great, what small: what is enduring, what evanescent! Linen
fibres, silken threads, a woman’s needlework--endure: shields,
helmets, swords, battle axes, all the iron horrors of Hastings have
passed away.

And the moral values of the passing hour are, to human perception,
equally elusive, intangible, untraceable. But are we called upon
to understand the full meaning of the passing show? Surely the
Power above us smiles at our endeavors to fit together here in Time
things whose fitness shall not have developed in a thousand years.

The old Norse story runs that when Thor went to Jotun-heim, the
home of the Giants, he failed ignominiously in the accomplishments
of the tasks imposed upon him. He struck with might and main at the
head of the prostrate giant Skrymir, but the huge creature only
moved restlessly and murmured in his sleep that a leaf or twig
had fallen upon his face. Thor failed in the race with Hugi. Thor
failed in the drinking bout proposed by Utgard-Loki. Thor failed in
the wresting match with Elli, the old nurse of Utgard-Loki. Thor
failed to lift the Giant’s sleeping cat, and though he tugged with
all his strength, he succeeded in lifting only one paw from the
ground. Thor failed apparently in every task that was set before

But, behold! when revelation was made, it was found that Thor had,
indeed, been Thor and that his failure-achievements had terrified
even the Norns. For the giant Skrymir later confessed to Thor that
by magic he had shielded his head with a mountain when Thor struck
with his hammer, and that the mountain had been well nigh severed
by the blow. And as to the race with Hugi, why Hugi is Thought;
and no man may hope to surpass the speed of thought. And as to
Thor’s failure in the drinking bout, why the drinking horn had been
secretly in connection with the ocean, and Thor’s deep draughts
had seriously lowered old ocean’s vast domain. And as to Elli, the
nurse, why she was Old Age and her no mortal may overcome. And as
to Thor’s failure to lift the sleeping cat--why the seeming cat
had been in dread reality, the Midgard serpent coiled around the
world, and his nearly successful efforts to rouse the serpent and
tear it from the charmed circle, had terrified even the Norns. And
so Thor was still Thor in his failure-achievements in Jotun-heim:
so likewise may we, in the great Revelation, be found to have been
splendid conquerors in the grim failure-strife of Time. And then,
too, shall a fateful Skrymir make known to us the true nature of
the forces against which we strove; the fatal necessity of failure
in such a strife, were we Thor or even Odin: then too shall we
learn with astonishment and delight the Herculean results of our
labors; and throughout all the upward cycles of our immortality we
shall be stronger and better because of our failure-achievements
down in earth’s Jotun-heim.


As there was some tie of consanguinity between William and Matilda,
their marriage could take place only by special dispensation from
the Pope. After some vexatious delays, however, this dispensation
was obtained, but William and Matilda were advised by the Pope to
erect a Hospital for incurable patients and two monasteries, one
for men, the other for women.

William and Matilda joyfully agreed to fulfill these conditions.
The hospital was built first, and later two imposing monastic
piles, one under the special patronage of Matilda, the other under
William, were erected at Cæn. Strange to relate that after forty
or fifty years had passed away, Matilda was brought to her wedding
monument monastery and quietly interred, and a few years later
William was laid to rest in his wedding monument monastery. And
thus near yet apart they have slept thro’ the long ages.


Harold Godwin and William of Normandy were not strangers to each
other when they drew up their battle forces on the field of
Senlac-Hastings. Harold had spent some months in Normandy at the
court of William some years prior to the death of Edward. And
William had made known to Harold his claim to the English throne
and his intention of maintaining that claim when the time should
come. History relates that Harold, concealing his own ambitious
designs, vowed solemnly to support William’s cause.

At the death of Edward, however, Harold found himself at the head
of a powerful Saxon faction and felt strong enough to oppose
William, should he persist in his intent to claim the throne.

But what about that oath made solemnly in the presence of the
Sacrament! Is a man ever courageously self-respecting and
invincibly valiant in whose soul festers the ulcer--perjury! When
Richard the Third went forth to battle upon Bosworth field, he was
already defeated and slain by his own avenging conscience.

When Harold heard of the landing of William’s Norman troops at
Pevensey, he was then in the north of England engaged in a struggle
with the Danes under the leadership of his own brother Tostig.
Harold was slightly wounded in this battle but, in the end, Tostig
lay dead upon the field and the Danes were put to flight. Thus
from a battlefield red with a brother’s blood, Harold, a wounded
man and a perjured man hastened southward to his fate in the dread
slaughter of Hastings.

      “And were things only called by their right name,
      Cæsar himself would be ashamed of fame.”--_Byron._

The word _battlefield_ is a euphemism for human shambles. And
“the chief who in triumph advances” is, in grim reality, but the
lustiest and the bloodiest of the dogs of war. And the Alexanders,
Cæsars, Napoleons are the madmen who have made men mad by their
contagion, and have so accumulated horrors Pelion-Ossa piled on
horrors as to make the angels weep o’er this mad planet of the

A forceful peculiarity of mental unsoundness is the vehemence with
which its victim conceives himself to be right and everybody else
wrong, himself sane and all not in agreement with him insane. This
fatuity is characteristic of ages as well as of individuals. It
is manifest in the complaisant superiority which every age, every
generation assumes toward the immediately preceding. “Back in the
past, during the Dark Ages, in primitive times, etc.” are the words
of balm with which the passing hour begins its own eulogy.

But blood is blood and hate is hate and war is war, whether waged
by Macedonian Alexander B. C. 331, or by the Balkan forces A.
D. 1912. Shades of the fallen upon that age-long battle ground!
wouldn’t you feel strangely at home in the fray if by any chance
you should come to life today?

International courts of justice, arbitration, disarmament,
World-Peace--will they ever prevail? Knowing the past, knowing the
heart of man, we answer _No_: dreaming of the future, dreaming of
the godlike in the heart of man, we answer _Yes_.

So all day long the tide of battle rolled--from early day till
dark. And William and his Norman followers were in possession of
the field, and round them lay a host of dead and wounded, yet by
reason of the sudden darkness and the exhaustion of the troops, no
search could be made even for the Norman wounded: and tho’ groans
and cries of thirst and deep sighings arose incessantly from the
writhing masses just darker than the darkness, yet no search could
be made or any aid given by reason of the utter exhaustion of the

And on that field of death and awfully dying life Harold Godwin
lay happily dead under a heap of the slain. Two monks, lanterns
in hand, went out to search for him and with them went also the
mother of Harold and Edith the woman that loved him. After hours of
fruitless search amid scenes of gruesome horror, and as the dawn
burst in red wonder over a bleeding world, Edith discovered Harold.
So changed was he, so mutilated, hacked and hewed, blood-clotted,
dismembered, that even his mother knew him not but the woman that
loved him knew. With great difficulty was the body of Harold
extricated from under the heap of the slain, but the monks and the
women persevered at their task and finally bore him away.


We know only what life has brought within our own cognition; beyond
that all is conjecture. The love turned to hate and delighting in
the avenging pangs of a lover is utterly uncognizable by the man or
woman unto whom love is love forevermore. Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s
weird poem “Sister Helen” is, thank God, quite meaningless to the
greater number of women: and yet such women as Sister Helen exist;
they know each other; they understand the poem.

Strange, indeed, was that practice among primitive people, of
injuring an image of an enemy and claiming that thereby, in like
manner, they injured the enemy. In the poem referred to, the
woman is engaged in the magic rite of holding a waxen image in
the flame and letting it slowly consume under incantation. She is
interrupted from time to time by her wondering little brother, and
in her answers to him Helen makes known her wrongs, her slighted
love, her love turned to hate, her revenge, her vindictive madness,
her black-art vengeance reaching even beyond the grave, her
triumph-despair. At the end of the incantation as for the seventh
time she turns the waxen figure and it breaks up and melts dripping
away--her perjured lover dies.

A formula of this magic rite runs as follows:

“Take parings, nails, hair, saliva, etc., of your victim and make
them up into his likeness with wax from a deserted bees’ comb.
Hold the waxen image in slow flame for seven consecutive nights
repeating intently over the image--

      ‘It is not wax that I am scorching,
      It is the liver, heart, spleen of _So and So_.’

After the seventh time, turn your figure and your victim’s life
will go out with the last drippings of the wax into the flame.”

Gladly would we relegate this grotesque rite back to the twilight
of animistic superstitions: but if we are vitally in touch both
with the past and with the passing hour, we dare not do so. There
is subtle relationship between this concretely hideous formula of
other days and such abstract expressions--not unfamiliar today--as
_mental assassination_, use of _malicious animal magnetism_,
hypnotic control of the aura, aggressive telepathic forces,
etc. The garb of the occult changes, adapts itself with Protean
pliability to the passing hour--but the inscrutable Occult forever
hid behind the Isis-veil, does not change.

It is said of Molière that behind the mask of comedy, he bore a
heart heavy with tragic woe: that his farces are satires on human
nature: that he, more piercingly than any other mortal, had gazed
down into the heart of man. Perhaps for Molière then, or such
as he, the all around understanding of every act or emotion is
sympathetically possible, but to the ordinary mortal there is full
knowledge only of that which has come within his own cognition.

Therefore, to depict the feelings of William the Conqueror, as
he stood among the dead and dying on the field of Hastings is
beyond the power of ordinary mortal. Whether he felt elated or
depressed--for we know that ofttimes in the hour of seeming triumph
there is deadly depression of soul; whether he turned heartsick
from the reproachful glare in dead and dying eyes and shuddered
that such things should be, or gazed delightedly and eagerly upon
the sullen silent faces of the Saxon foe: whether with infinite
pity regretful and remorseful he could have wept for the brave men
who lay dead because of him, or saw them not at all, or, at best,
only as stepping stones to a throne: who shall say? who shall know?

When a man as stoically severe as the late General Nogi, has
by chance been revealed to the world as a tender father and a
man weighed down by fatal woe even whilst he was urging on the
furiously victorious death-charges up the hill of Port Arthur--we
would willingly suspend judgment as to what may have been the
feelings in the hour of triumph deep down in the heart of William
the Conqueror.


William had left his wife Matilda as regent of Normandy when he set
out for the invasion of England. Robert, the eldest boy, a bright
lad of fourteen and his mother’s idol was also participant in the
regency. As the years rolled by and the boy grew more able and
willing to rule, Matilda willingly sank to second place in active
government and Robert was in deed if not in title the Duke of

Eight years passed by before William found his English realm
calm enough for him to leave it and make a visit to his old home
Normandy. At his coming he found all going on admirably without
him. Matilda was happy in the affection of her favorite son Robert;
and Robert a valiant young prince, was happy in the love of an
over-indulgent mother and the possession of ducal power. All this
was changed when William came. Perhaps jealousy of the place Robert
held in the affections of Matilda, perhaps insatiable avarice and
lust of power, perhaps unnatural hatred of the son who dared to
oppose the unconquerable will of the Conqueror--perhaps any or
all of these feelings intermingling impelled William to act as he
did, but certainly, in the light of calmer times, William’s conduct
towards his son Robert cannot be justified.

Robert was deposed from the place which he held during the regency
and which he had slowly grown to regard as his own. The proud
spirit of the princely youth could not endure this humiliation. He
fled to Flanders, and there among his mother’s friends and his own
followers and retainers, he gathered together an army and appeared
in open rebellion against his father.

Matilda was, indeed, a devoted wife to William, but she was an even
more devoted mother to her son; and her heart was torn with grief
when hostilities broke out and father and son were arrayed against
each other on the field of battle. It is related that Robert saved
William’s life in the engagement that followed. Both were in armor
and their faces were concealed by the helmet and visor, so that
they did not recognize one another. In the heat of the strife,
Robert saw one of his knights hurl a javelin at a burly figure on
horseback in the opposing ranks. With a cry and a groan the injured
man fell from his horse, and Robert horrified at the voice which
he recognized as his father’s, rushed headlong to the side of the
fallen man and rescued him from the feet of trampling horses. He
was touched with remorse and wept as William uplifted his helmet
and visor revealing a face white and weary and covered with blood.

The generous heart of the youth even then might have been won to
better things had William himself been morally high enough to draw
his son higher; but he was not.

That hasty action and as hasty reaction in the hearts of the
young-world children--hate surging suddenly into remorseful love,
strength into weakness, audacious rebellion into repentant
submission: and then as hastily surging back again! Robert saving
the life of his father against whom he had come in battle array:
Richard Cœur de Lion bitterly weeping at the bier of his father
whose death he had desired and hastened: Henry I. who never smiled
again after the loss of his son and heir when the _White Ship_ went
down: the Black Prince, chivalrously subservient to his prisoner
King John of France conquered at Poitiers--strangely fascinating
is this hasty action and reaction in the hearts of the young-world

Matilda succeeded in bringing about a reconciliation between her
husband and her son after that strange battle; but it was only
for a time. William was compelled to return to England and Robert
took advantage of this occasion to enforce his claim on Normandy.
Matilda was secretly in favor of her son (the women are always
right!) tho’ she tried to conciliate both. Rebellion again raged
in Normandy openly carried on by Robert and secretly abetted by
Matilda. William was, at the same time, threatened with an uprising
in England and was obliged to remain on the island. But certainly
there could have been little peace or happiness in the heart of the
man whose subjects were in insurrection against him and in whose
household there was hate and discord and rebellion.

As William became more and more alienated from Robert, he looked
more favorably upon his second son William Rufus and his third son
Henry. These in turn succeeded him upon the throne of England to
the exclusion of Robert, the rightful heir.

Robert languished in prison the last twenty-seven years of his
life--thus adding another chapter to the book in which is recorded
the story of men and women who have nearly succeeded in their
ambitious designs--but not quite: the _Almosts_ of literature and
of life; who have struggled fearfully and failed; whose fierce
activities have died down in dungeon gloom; who have been, in the
main, more sinned against than sinning; who have lived and happily
died leaving behind a tragic name flame-cut into fame.


Matilda died in 1082, and about five years later William followed
her to the tomb. Matilda died in the palace part of the monastery
at Cæn erected by William at the time of their marriage. Her last
days were deeply shadowed by the renewal of hostilities between
William and Robert, and by the death of a daughter, a young and
beautiful girl full of hope and promise, who had suddenly been
stricken with an incurable illness.

It was well that in those days in the twilight of the grave,
Matilda could not foresee the sad fate of her son Robert. Little
did that tender mother-heart dream of the destiny overhanging the
boy, when at that last clandestine interview she hastily blessed
him and kissed him good bye. Thank God for the heavy curtain rolled
down impenetrably between the present and the future.

William, notwithstanding his grievance against Matilda, came to see
her in her last illness. He was with her when she died. He followed
her in the funeral cortege to that monastery built by her in far
off happier days, and he stood sadly by as that devoted wife and
mother of his many children was laid to rest.

Philip of France abetted the cause of Robert, and William, now an
old man and grown excessively corpulent, was forced again to take
up arms. William was under medical treatment for his corpulency,
and Philip, hearing of this, jestingly remarked that “the old
woman of England was in the straw.” A tale-bearer repeated this to
William and in a rage the King swore that “the old woman of England
would soon make things too hot for him.” William kept his word;
burning villages and war horrors arose on every side as the irate
monarch began his march of revenge.

The town of Mantes, on the road to Paris, was in flames, and
William, riding thro’ and giving out orders in all directions,
failed to notice that his horse was treading upon smoking ashes.
Suddenly the horse reared violently, his feet evidently having been
burnt by smouldering flame, and William was internally injured. He
was borne by litter to a monastery just outside the gates of Rouen.
William soon realized that he was face to face with the King of
Terrors. He shrank with horror from the remembrance of his deeds:
he ordered that a large sum of money should be given to the poor
and that their prayers should be enlisted in his behalf; he gave
orders that all the churches of Mantes, destroyed by him, should be
at once rebuilt, and he richly endowed the monastery.

His sons William and Henry were soon at his side, but Robert came
not. When asked as to whom he bequeathed the kingdom of England he
replied that it had not been bequeathed to him, that, therefore, he
bequeathed it to no one, but that he wished that his son William
Rufus might succeed him.

William, at last, when he could hold it no longer, left Normandy to
his eldest son Robert.

William tried to make his peace with Heaven as the dread summons
came nearer and nearer. He was one morning suddenly aroused from a
comatose state by the ringing of the church bells. Hastily arising
and thinking himself in the clash of battle he demanded to know
what that clangor meant. On being told that it was the church bells
of St. Mary’s ringing for morning services, he lifted up his hands,
turned his eyes heavenward, and exclaimed, “I commend myself to my
Lady Mary, the holy Mother of God.” He then sank back and died.

William Rufus succeeded to the throne of England and after a
troubled reign of thirteen years, he died.

Henry, the youngest son of William the Conqueror, claimed the crown
and after overcoming his brother Robert in a terrible battle, he
quietly took possession of the throne. Robert was held a prisoner
by Henry I. until death released him twenty-seven years later.

So long ago were these scenes enacted, and so very long have
the actors slumbered! Would they recognize themselves in the
descriptions given of them today? and would they be pleased or
displeased with the parts attributed to them in the play?

However all the actors, immediate and mediate, connected with the
battle of Senlac-Hastings have long ago gone off the stage. The
colossal _If_ upon which once hung the history of England has
become fate-fixed actuality. The Houses of Plantagenet, Lancaster,
York, Tudor, Stuart--England’s story from 1066 to the passing hour
are inseparably woven one with the battle of Senlac-Hastings and
the _If_ determinant in favor of William the Conqueror.



What France won in three years (1428-1431) under the leadership of
Joan of Arc restored all that France had lost during the Hundred
Years’ War. Cressy, Poitiers, Agincourt were negatived by Orleans.

More wonderful than any myth of any nation under the sun, than any
concept of poetic fancy throughout all literatures, than any vision
of poet-sage or seer in all Sybilline rhapsodies--is the plain
historical narrative of the life and deeds of Joan of Arc. Some
power beyond the natural worked thro’ the peasant maid of Domremy.

“The people of Orleans when they first saw her in their city
thought that it was an angel from Heaven that had come down to
save them”, said an eye-witness of the scene who testified at the
reversal of Jeanne’s sentence ten years after her death. On the
contrary the Duke of Bedford, in a letter still extant, writing to
Henry VI. and lamenting recent disasters to the English army says:
“And alle thing there prospered for you til the tyme of the Siege
of Orleans taken in hand God knoweth by what advis.

“At the which tyme, after the adventure fallen to the person of
my cousin of Salisbury, whom God assoile, there fell by the hand
of God as it seemeth, a great strook upon your peuple that was
assembled there in grete nombre, caused in great part as I trowe,
of lakke of sadde beleve, and of unlevefull doubte, that they had
of a disciple and limb of the Feende, called the Pucelle, that used
fals enchantments and sorcerie.”

                      “So certainly
      As morn returneth in her radiant light
      Infallibly the day of truth shall come”

said the Maid of Orleans.

That day of truth has come. Around Joan of Arc the charmed circle
of the Church of Rome is drawn. Let no man dare to call evil
that which the Church calls good; let no man dare to attribute
imposture, hysterical exaltation, or necromantic might to one whom
the Church calls Blessed. Vindicated, rehabilitated, restored,
cherished, Blessed is now the Maid who died five hundred years ago
burned at the stake as a witch.

Condemned by the University of Paris, an ecclesiastical tribunal?
Yes. Hounded to the stake by Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais?
Yes. But the Church can shake off and disclaim the clinging
hands of her children whose touch pollutes her; and the Church
of all ages can outshine the lurid darkness of any one age, and
deprecate, and deplore and denounce the deeds done in that lurid
darkness. Splendidly, too, and with stern magnanimity, defying
apparent self-contradiction, can the Church reverse the decrees of
ecclesiastical tribunals, and stoop down to pick up and restore and
rehabilitate and bless a strangely foolish child whom kings and
courts and the great University of Paris had condemned and cast

The Church of the Middle Ages must ever stand darkly enigmatic to
the non-Catholic student of history. He cannot rightly appreciate
the binding force of spiritual authority. The withering away from
fear of Church censure, the clinging claim upon all the powers
of the soul in the prayers and ceremonies and sacraments of the
Church, the isolating horrors of her excommunications, the abject
fear of her spiritual punishments, powerful alike over prince
and potentate and peasant--are practically meaningless to the

That scene in “Richelieu” by Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, well
illustrates the power of the Church in the Middle Ages. King
Louis XIII. has sent to demand that Julie de Mortemar, Cardinal
Richelieu’s orphan ward, shall be immediately sent to the court
subject to the king’s pleasure. The girl clings to the Cardinal for
protection. To these messengers Cardinal Richelieu replies,

                  “To those who sent you!--
      And say you found the virtue they would slay
      Here--couched upon this heart, as at an altar,
      And sheltered by the wings of sacred Rome.

They go. But soon again comes Baradas, favorite of the king, First
Gentleman of the Chamber, and about to be made premier to succeed
the temporarily deposed Cardinal Richelieu. To Baradas’ insolent
importunities the eloquent old Cardinal in righteous wrath exclaims:

                    “Ay, is it so?--
      Then wakes the power which in the age of iron
      Burst forth to curb the great and raise the low.
      Mark where she stands!--around her form I draw
      The awful circle of our solemn Church!
      Set but a foot within that holy ground,
      And on thy head--yea tho’ it wore a crown
      I launch the curse of Rome!”

Baradas abashed retires, the king’s suit ceases; the Church has


France is assuredly a genius-mad nation: whether genius or madness
shall ultimately prevail is an answerless question. The Republic
shall go down in “a slough of mire and blood” is the current
prophecy today; but, then, France has gone down in mire and blood
many and many a time and, phœnix like, she has risen and soared
aloft led onward and upward by some strong Genius-Child.

Joan of Arc and Napoleon Bonaparte stand unique in history; each
picked up torn, bleeding, fragmentary France and restored her
to her rightful place in the family of nations. That Napoleon
Bonaparte, a man, a soldier, and a master of opportune occasion,
should have rescued France is not wonderful; but that the Maid of
Domremy, a timid girl aged seventeen, who “knew not how to ride
or to handle a sword”, whose hand never shed blood, should have,
amid most inopportune occasion, prevailed in battle against Talbot,
Gladsdale, Falstofe and the flower of the English Army is, past all
credence, wonderful.

France as a nation was extinguished by the Treaty of Troyes.
Isabeau of Bavaria, wife of Charles VI. deliberately and exultantly
aided the trembling hand of the imbecile king as he signed away
his kingdom. Henry VI. of England, infant son of Henry V. and
Catharine, daughter of Charles VI. of France, was proclaimed heir
of the united kingdoms France and England: later, at the death
of Henry V. this child was crowned at Paris king of England and
of France. Isabeau of Bavaria aided in the coronation ceremony,
graciously accepting young Harry Lancaster as king of France to the
exclusion of the rightful heir, her own son, Charles the dauphin.

As Schiller says:

                    “Even the murderous bands
      Of the Burgundians, at this spectacle
          Evinced some token of indignant shame.
      The queen perceived it and addressed the crowds,
          Exclaiming with loud voice, ‘Be grateful, Frenchmen,
      That I engraft upon a sickly stock
          A healthy scion, and redeem you from
      The misbegotten son of a mad sire.’”

Surely the first part of Merlin’s prophecy had been ominously
fulfilled: France was lost by a woman. Would a woman save
France? And far away--among the wooded hills of Domremy wandered
the splendid Dreamer who should, in three bright, bitter
years--flame-cut into fame forever--undo what Isabeau had done,
throw off the incubus of alien authority, negative the Treaty of
Troyes, and save France.

Thank God for the enthusiasts, for those who follow their Voices!
Tho’ their way lies thro’ adamantine opposition, they know it not,
their eyes are fixed on the goal; and even as one in hypnotic
somnambulism leaps on from toppling crag to crag unawed by the
sheer depths of yawning destiny o’er which he strides, so do these
enthusiasts press on to the goal: and they reach it.

Joan appeared at the camp at Blois, clad in a new suit of brilliant
white armor, mounted on a stately black war-horse, and with a lance
in her right hand, which she had learned to wield with skill and
grace. Her head was unhelmeted; so that all could behold her fair
and expressive features, her deep-set and earnest eyes, and her
long black hair, which was parted across her forehead and bound by
a ribbon behind her back. She wore at her side a small battle-axe,
and the consecrated sword marked on the blade with five crosses
which had at her bidding been taken for her from the shrine of St.
Catharine at Fierbois.

A page carried her banner which she had caused to be made and
embroidered as her Voices enjoined. It was white satin, strewn with
fleurs-de-lis; and on it were the words “_Jhesus Maria_”. And thus
spectacularly equipped Joan made her appearance at Orleans at the
head of an enthusiastic French army. The astounded English soldiers
could only stare and glare; and had it not been from their greater
fear of their irate commanders, these brave heroes of Agincourt
would have promptly run away in panic fright from this dread Maid.

Joan advanced towards the besiegers and solemnly admonished the
English generals to desist from their unlawful holding of Orleans,
to withdraw at once from France, and to spare further bloodshed.
Oaths and imprecations and ribald jests answered her earnest
abjuration. Joan returned to her ranks and gave order for battle.
Yet she shrank from the fury of the strife and her heart recoiled
and sickened at the sight of suffering and death. Joan’s most
trustworthy biographer tells us that her own hand never shed blood.

Joan was wounded at the battle around Orleans; an arrow from a
cross-bow penetrated her armor between the neck and shoulder and
remained fastened in the wound. Joan grew faint from pain and she
suffered La Hire to lead her from the fray. Recovering herself in a
little while, she sat up and withdrew the arrow with her own hands,
then putting a little oil on the wound, she mounted and galloped
back to where the battle was raging. Joan’s presence reinspired her
followers; mad dash after dash was made against the fort held by
Sir John Gladsdale. The English soldiers, thinking her to have been
mortally wounded, were terrified at her abrupt return. Again Joan
called out to Gladsdale to surrender and spare further bloodshed.
With an oath the infuriated general came out upon the drawbridge
shouting orders for a final desperate assault. As he stood thus
conspicuous between the two armies, a cannon ball from the town
crashed thro’ the drawbridge and Gladsdale fell and perished in
the waters. At the sight of this disaster, and also at the attack
upon the fort under the leadership of Joan in person, the English
army fled. The siege of Orleans was raised. The long imprisoned
Orleannais came forth and hailed Joan as their deliverer sent from


The raising of the siege of Orleans was quickly followed by the
decisive battle of Patay in which Talbot, the English commander,
was wounded and taken prisoner together with a large part of the
English army. The way now lay open to Rheims. Thither marched the
victorious French forces under Joan of Arc carrying with them the
perplexed and irresolute Dauphin. In the cathedral at Rheims, July
17, 1429, with all the solemn ceremonies of the coronation of
kings, this weakling was crowned Charles VII. of France.

Perhaps as the son of an imbecile sire and Isabeau of Bavaria,
Charles VII. couldn’t help being what he was. So in the shadow of
that comfortable Lombrosian theory we leave without reproach the
man whom, in the good sunlight of common sense and honest manhood,
we should scathingly reproach as dastard and ingrate.

After the crowning of Charles at Rheims, Joan desired to withdraw
from the king’s service and go back to Domremy. She declared that
her work was done; she, moreover, maintained that her Voices no
longer urged her to remain in the field, or pointed out unerringly
just what she should do. Du Nois and La Hire prevailed upon her to
remain with the army.

Joan was wounded in an unsuccessful attack upon Paris. And the
following spring in a sortie at Compeigne Joan was taken prisoner
by the Burgundians and subsequently sold to the English.

Joan was cast into prison at Rouen. Here the indignities to which
she was subjected, as related by her biographers, are almost
incredible. The apathy of the fickle French towards their late
“deliverer sent from Heaven”, and the dastardly indifference of
Charles VII. during her imprisonment and throughout her trial
and death form a conspicuous page in the black book of Human

_Et tu, Brute!_ (And thou too, O Brutus!) cried Cæsar as he fell
pierced, indeed, with twenty-three wounds, but slain at the sight
of his beloved Brutus among the murderers. That was death in
death. _And if my enemy had done this to me, verily, I could have
borne it. But thou, my friend and my familiar!_--This agonizing
cry--shrieked so that all the world may hear by Cæsar, Wolsey,
Joan--rises in bitter silence in many a heart. Only those we love
have power to wound us; and we stand defenceless, unresenting,
dim-wondering, yet loving. Nancy of the slums under the murderous
blows of Bill Sykes, Cæsar as he gazes at Brutus, Joan of Arc
blessing Charles VII. from her Calvary of flames--shine as
radiant silhouettes of human nobility on the somber overshadowing
background of human ingratitude.


      “This pure, this gentle creature cannot lie!
      No, if enchantment binds me, ’tis from Heaven
      My spirit tells me she is sent from God.”--_Schiller._

Both the French and the English firmly believed that Joan of Arc
was aided by some preternatural power; but was she borne upward
by “airs from heaven or blasts from hell”? Burned at the stake as
a Witch, Relapsed Heretic, Accurst--thus died the Maid whom the
Church has raised to her altars.

But ere we too scathingly condemn that scene, disgraceful alike
to the Church and to human nature, which was enacted in the Rouen
market-place May 31, 1531; it might be well to turn a balancing
gaze upon our own Cotton Mather madness which had its orgies upon
Gallows Hill, Salem, June-September 1692. Nor are we of the passing
day and hour sufficiently washed white of the soot of Occultism
that we may conspicuously disclaim the witch-burning at Rouen.
In the late Christian Science rupture accusations of “mental
assassination” and the use of “malicious animal magnetism” were
mutually charged. Just what that may mean in the esoteric circle,
I know not; but full meaning and full knowledge would doubtless
ramify back to Rouen.

      “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio,
      Than are dreamed of in your philosophy.”

Yes, infinitely more: all that the human eye can see or the ear
hear or the intellect know is but as a shore-lapping wave of the
infinite ocean of the Seen, the Heard, the Known. And what if some
eye be abnormally endowed with vision, or some ear be attuned
beyond the normal for hearing, or some finely fashioned intellect
transcend ordinary knowing--shall it not inevitably see more or
hear more or know more of that infinite ocean? and shall it not
fearlessly and fully make known what it sees or hears or knows? And
then what? Why we gregarious Little People, spitefully content in
limitations, will with consenting conscience, condemn the witch to

Joan’s Voices spoke to her more especially when the church bells
were ringing; they were mild and very kind; they always spoke
soothingly. When their music stilled she lay prostrate upon the
ground and wept because they had left her behind; because she had
not been able to ascend with them and go home to that waiting
Heaven. Joan’s Voices urged her to become the saviour of France.
And when the child remonstrated that she was only a poor peasant
girl and did not know how to ride a horse or handle a sword, the
Voices insistently replied, “It is God who commands.” And then the
Maid arose and went forth on that mighty mission.

Orleans, Jargeau, Troyes, Patay, Rheims, Laon, Soissons, Compeigne,
Beauvais were her victories. Then came the rapid flame-way of her
own emancipation.

As Joan stood bound to the stake, and as the smoke and flames were
hiding her from the _vulgus profanum_, a wild-eyed monk advanced to
the pyre. He held aloft a large iron cross having upon it an ivory
figure of the tortured Christ. A look of infinite sympathy and love
lit up the eyes of Joan as they rested upon the Christ. Her lips
parted in prayer. Blessings upon Charles VII., prayerful petitions
for her beloved France were heard thro’ the crackling flames. Not
once did her eyes turn from the tortured form upon the cross;
thence was coming the strength that enabled her to bear the pangs
of death, thence, too, the grace which urged her to pray for her

Round her rolled the fire; her long black hair was blazing, her
head, her face, her wondrous eyes were flooded in flame. All was
ending. But the monk held aloft the Crucifix. A gust of wind parted
the fire, again the charred eyes rested upon the tortured form on
the cross, her lips moved in prayer; and again she was lost in
flames. Thus perished Joan of Arc, aged nineteen, virgin and martyr.

Take not the ivory Christ away. ’Tis sorrow’s mutual friend; ’tis
the strength of strong agony; ’tis the sympathizing consoler of the
rack, the stake, the prison house of pain, the dim valley of the
Shadow, the Rouen sea of flames. The Crucifix understands.

Pan? Well, yes, for the bright blue Arcadian hour in young-heart
Arcady. But for the gray every day and the solemn night; for the
hours of pain and loss and parting and change, sickness, old age,
sorrow; for the crucial crises of life as they come in bitter pangs
to us of a lost Arcady; for the mother whose boy fell at Vera Cruz;
for a Joan of Arc in the flames--ah! take your grinning Pan away;
we want the Crucifix, we want the thorny crowned Christ who has
suffered and understands.

Ten years after the death of Joan, there was a judicial reversal of
her sentence of condemnation. Twenty-five years later the Church
instituted a thorough investigation of Joan’s claims, deeds, trial,
condemnation, and death. The process and results of this inquiry
may be found in detail in the work “Proces de Condemnation et de
Rehabilitation de Jeanne D’Arc,” published in five volumes, by the
Société de L’Histoire de France.

Many eminent English authors, besides innumerable French
biographers, have written in deep sympathy with Joan of Arc; among
them may be mentioned Southey, Hallam, Carlyle, Landor, de Quincy,
Lang, and our own Mark Twain. Voltaire’s vulgar burlesque-epic is
now generally regarded as an insult to France and a superficial
satiric calumny. Schiller in The “Maid of Orleans” distorts well
known historical facts.

In 1869 Mgr. Dupanloup, Bishop of Orleans presented at the Vatican
his petition and claims for the beatification of Joan of Arc.
The trial proceeded slowly, but on April 11, 1909, Pius X., the
present reigning pontiff, pronounced the decree which raised Joan
to the first step in the process of canonization. She was solemnly
declared Blessed. “A Mass and Office of Blessed Joan taken from
the _Commune Virginum_ with ‘proper’ prayers have been approved
of by the Holy See for use in the diocese of Orleans.” Joan’s
canonization is now under active consideration.



Cross or Crescent! We of the present time can form no adequate idea
of the import couched in those words in mediæval time. Strange
that rivers of blood should flow in the interests of the cause of
the Prince of Peace! Would the Christ,--who, dying upon the Cross
prayed for his murderers,--have it so? Perhaps over his friends
even more pitifully than over his erring inimical world the sublime
impetration unceasingly ascends _Father, forgive them for they know
not what they do_.

And Allah “the mild, the merciful, the compassionate”--where was
he that tragic Sunday morning October 7, 1571, when one hundred
thousand of his followers, singularly lacking in his characteristic
qualities, stood red-hand in slaughter! Alas for the ideal when
fitted to the real: it is shattered; its shimmering iridescence
dies down gray and dead.


The Ottoman empire, flushed by a long series of successes under
Solyman the Magnificent, had grown insolently aggressive. The
memory of Tours and of Belgrade no longer acted as a deterrent to
the fierce victors of Constantinople; their eyes were ever turned
longingly toward western Europe, and their dreams were of bloodshed
and victory.

The island Cyprus belonged to Venice, but its situation made
it highly desirable as an Ottoman possession; and upon the old
principle that might makes right--a principle unfortunately ever
retaliatively new--the Turkish forces besieged Cyprus. The town
Nicosia, capital of Cyprus, fell an easy prey, and the atrocities
committed on the defenceless inhabitants horror-thrilled the
Christian world. Later the town Famagosta after a prolonged and
obstinate resistance was captured but under circumstances of
peculiar malignity. In the words of Prescott: “While lying off
Cephalonia Don John received word that Famagosta, the second city
of Cyprus, had fallen into the hands of the enemy, and this under
circumstances of unparalleled perfidy and cruelty. The place, after
a defence that had cost hecatombs of lives to the besiegers, was
allowed to capitulate on honorable terms. Mustapha, the Moslem
commander, the same fierce chief who had conducted the siege of
Malta, requested an interview at his quarters with four of the
principal Venetian captains. After a short and angry conference,
he ordered them all to execution. Three were beheaded. The other,
a noble named Bragadina, he caused to be flayed alive in the
market place of the city. The skin of the wretched victim was then
stuffed: and with this ghastly trophy dangling from the yard-arm of
his galley, the brutal monster sailed back to Constantinople, to
receive the reward of his services from Selim (son and successor of

Submit to that? Wait apathetically for the Turks to come to Venice,
Rome, Madrid and do in like manner? Well, no; not in the real,
whatever may be the ideal. What then? Why, _Fight_.

Non-resistance: and if thine enemy smite thee upon the cheek, turn
to him the other also; and if he take thy coat give to him also
thy cloak; love your enemies; do good to them that hate you and
despitefully use you: and as result, what? Crucifixion. A nation
of Christs would be put to death as unjustly as was the Christ of

Fortunately or unfortunately--we know not which it may prove to
be--only the Tolstoyan few will carry to their logical conclusions
the principles of non-resistance; and few, if any, even of the
Tolstoyan few, will abide by these conclusions and stand calm,
kind, compassionate, even under the fatal final Injustice. The
great body of men, of today as of every other day of the long ages
of time, defend their rights; and if that defence means that blood
must flow,--then let it flow. And all the more freely will blood
flow and all the more sternly indomitable will be the strife when
men feel themselves justified as they strike the blow; when they
feel themselves called upon to conquer or to die for a cause that
they hold just; when they fight elated and fortified with the
assurance that they stand as bulwarks warding off the concrete
embodiment of all that they hold evil from all that they hold dear
and good.

      “The bravest are the tenderest,
          The loving are the daring.”

Some of the bravest and the tenderest of men have trodden knee
deep in human blood. There have been wars just and inevitable; and
what has been may again be. We hope not; we dream not; the Peace
Palace of the Hague looms spectrally on the future horizon; we are
looking that way: and at times this Peace Palace seems assertively
real--ready to cope with armaments and with red-hot wrongs; but
again it rises fancifully and floats evanescently away and fades on
a gray sky. Is it Mirage?


Next in moral excellence to the Christian martyr is undoubtedly the
Christian knight.

Chivalry--fair flower of Feudalism, night blooming cereus wide
opening in white splendor exuding fragrance in somber mediæval
midnight! King Arthur and his Table Round; knights errant done to
death by Don Quixote and yet victors even over the smile; Chevalier
Bayard, the knight without fear and without reproach; Richard Cœur
de Lion, the Black Prince, Lohengren, Parsifal, Siegfried, Don John
of Austria--are flowerets of that Flower caught wax-white in amber
and fixed fadelessly.

In all the sweep of history from Egypt to the hour, there is
nothing nobler than the ideal Christian knight. To stand in awe of
the omnipotent God; to go about the world redressing human wrongs;
to love with young-world love bashfully reverent, constrained to
win the world and lay it humbly at _her_ feet; to reverence truth
and to scorn with scorn unutterable all the thousand and one
manifestations of the lie; to be loyal to king and country and God;
to be gentle, courteous, kind to all life from highest to lowest;
to stand face-front to the oncoming forces of evil and in that
fight grimly to conquer or die: there is nothing nobler.

And yet not for all the glory of Don John, ideal Christian knight
and hero of Lepanto, would I have one little stain of human blood
on my white hands.

      “New occasions teach new duties;
      Time makes ancient good uncouth.”--_Lowell._

Nevertheless he who would sympathetically and justly depict the
past should be capable of entering into and all round estimating
that ancient good now grown uncouth. And whatever the best men of
any given age or time or clime unanimously hold as best must, in
the deep heart of things, be best for that age or time or clime.
The knight, the hero, the Crusader, the victor over the Saracens
seemed best to the best men of the Middle Age.

Pope Pius V. earnestly advocated the cause of Venice. He appealed
to the Christian monarchs of Europe to join with the Holy See in
a League having for its object the total overthrow of the Ottoman
empire. He urged the aggressive policy of the Turks under Solyman
the Magnificent and his unworthy son and successor Selim II.; he
vividly portrayed the atrocities of Turkish conquest and the blight
upon civilization that ever unerringly followed in the wake of the
Crescent; and he endeavored by all means in his power to arouse in
the hearts of the children of the Church the spirit that had made
possible the First Crusade.

All Europe at this time mourned its Christian captives who were
languishing in Turkish dungeons or wasting away as galley slaves.
Twelve thousand of these Christian captives were chained to the
oars as galley slaves on the Moslem ships while the fight Lepanto
was raging; their liberation and restoration to freedom formed the
purest joy-pearl in the gem casket of that joyous victory.

Cyprus had just fallen into the hands of the Turks amid scenes of
unparalleled barbarity: and against the Turk as the destroyer of
civilization and the menace of Christendom all eyes were directed,
all hearts beat with desire to avenge, slay, destroy: and all these
feelings found outlet, and culmination and gratification in the
battle of Lepanto, under Don John of Austria, the Christian knight.


Ocean instability, ocean vastness, ocean majestic indifference to
the pigmy life and death struggles of men throw a magnetic glow
over sea fights.

When the bay of Salamis changed gradually from greenish gray to
red; when the Ionian sea slowly purpled off Actium, crimsoning the
frightened barge of Cleopatra and of love maddened Anthony; when
the waters at the entrance of the gulf Lepanto grew blood-red fed
by trickling streams from five hundred galleys: did ocean care? The
Titanic sinks and the billows dash high in foam play, they descend
sportively with her into her grave hole, they arise and roll on:
the Volturno blazes on a background of black sky, a foreground of
flame-lit angry rolling waves: and does ocean care?

Don John arranged his battle line in a semi-circular stretch of
about one mile embracing the entrance to the gulf of Lepanto
(now Gulf Corinth). The Turkish fleet lay concealed somewhere
on the water of the gulf and must come out at the entrance and
fight openly or remain bottled up in the gulf until forced out by
starvation. Don John knew his adversary, Ali Pasha, too well to
dream that the latter alternative would be accepted by the sturdy

Early Sunday morning (Oct. 7, 1571) Don John sighted a line of
ships far in the gulf but making steadily for the opening. Battle
was at hand. Don John, in his flagship, the Real, passed from
vessel to vessel encouraging and animating his soldiers. “You have
come,” he said, “to fight the battle of the Cross; to conquer or
to die. But whether you are to die or conquer, do your duty this
day and you will secure a glorious immortality.” He then returned
to his position in the center of the semi-circle, and in that
conspicuous position seen by all, he knelt in prayer under the far
floating banner of the League. His example was followed by all,
and the priests of whom there was at least one if not more on each
galley, went around giving the last absolution to the men as they
knelt in prayer.

The Ottoman shouts now filled the air as the long line of three
hundred galleys arranged as a crescent, paused for a moment at the
opening of the gulf. The center of the Christian fleet following
Don John advanced to the Ottoman center commanded by Ali Pasha;
the left wing under Barbarigo, the Venetian admiral, sought as
adversary the opposing wing under Mahomet Sirocco; the right wing
under Andrew Doria grappled with the opposing Mohammedan left under
Ulrich Ali, dey of Algiers. For four hours the battle raged.
So dense was the canopy of smoke enveloping the combatants that
neither side knew for a certainty which was winning until the
drawing down of the Ottoman banner and the hasty hauling up of the
Banner of the League on board the flagship of Ali Pasha made known
the result decisively. Shouts then rent the air and groans.

The Moslem left wing under the brave sea captain Ulrich Ali was
engaged in a fierce grappling fight with Doria, and the advantage
seemed to be with the Moslems. Don John seeing this, hastened
to Doria’s aid. Ulrich Ali, seeing that all was lost, ordered
his men at the oars to make all possible speed for escape round
the promontory. The Christian vessels gave chase, but the Moslem
galleys sped with the speed of the wind and were soon lost to
sight. About forty vessels were thus saved out of the three hundred
that had taken part in the engagement. Of these one hundred and
thirty were seized as prizes by the Christian forces, the rest
having been sunk or burned in the fight.

The Ottoman loss is estimated between twenty-five thousand and
thirty thousand; that of the Christians at eight thousand. The
superior marksmanship of the allies and their use exclusively
of firearms, while the Turks used in part bows and arrows; the
better make and equipment of the Christian galleys--are among
the causes to which human reason may attribute the incredible
disparity between the Turkish loss and that of the Christians in
this engagement. But there are many circumstances peculiar to this
battle for which human reason can assign no cause.

It is related on good authority that as the Christian soldiers
arose from prayer the wind which had hitherto been blowing steadily
from the gulf, suddenly veered around and blew right into the
faces of the enemy. In the course of the engagement the sun, too,
reached the point where its rays shot into the eyes of the Turkish
marksmen and caused them to err in their aim. Pope Pius V. who,
while the battle was in progress, was closeted in consultation with
a number of cardinals, in the Vatican, suddenly arose from his seat
and approaching the window and casting up his eyes to the heavens
exclaimed as tears of joy rolled down his cheeks, “A truce to
business; our great task at present is to thank God for the victory
He has just given the Christians.”


The struggle between The Real, Don John’s flagship, and the galley
bearing Ali Pasha was of course pivotal. Each commander felt that
upon him and his ship depended the issue of the combat. Both were
brave men, both must conquer or die: Don John conquered, Ali Pasha

The ships had grappled and a hand to hand conflict was raging upon
the decks. Blood slowly trickled down the sides of the galleys and
the waters were incarnadined.

In the heat of the engagement a musket ball struck the head of the
Moslem commander. He fell prone and lay for some time unconscious
upon a heap of the dying and the dead. But suddenly regaining
consciousness he attempted to rise and was at once recognized by
the surrounding Spanish soldiers. They were about to despatch him
with their swords when the wily Moslem appealing to their natural
cupidity made known to them the secret hiding place of his ship’s
treasure. The lure of gold led the soldiers to hasten below leaving
their victim to chance life or death on the deck. But just as
dear life seemed secured from the ruthless thrust of death, the
wounded commander was confronted by a strangely savage figure with
uplifted sword. It was one of the Christian galley slaves long
chained on Ali’s vessel and but that hour given freedom from the
hated oar. In vain did Ali Pasha appeal to this soldier’s cupidity;
nothing seemed quite so desirable to him as the death of the man
who had so long chained him a galley slave. The threatening sword
fell unerringly upon the wounded Moslem chief and buried itself in
his heart. With this retributive blow the tide of victory turned
decisively in favor of the Christians.


There are few characters upon the historic page more full in
promise and yet futile in attainment than Don John of Austria. The
idol of all Europe, the knight _sans peur et sans reproche_, the
hero of Lepanto--at the age of twenty-four; he died seven years
later in comparative obscurity; a rude hut hastily erected to
receive the dying commander served as his last resting place upon

As Don John lay in the agony of death, a terrific storm suddenly
broke over the camp; and as in the case of Napoleon under somewhat
similar circumstances, Don John partly arose, muttered incoherently
of battle and victory, then sank back and died. Did the rattle
of the storm suggest the din of battle? Or did vague visions of
another storm arise associatively in memory? History relates that
tho’ that battle Sunday, Oct. 7, 1571, was a day of ideal autumn
brightness, yet when the strife was fairly over and the battered
galleys with their dead and wounded and sorely wearied men were
heavily entering port, a storm suddenly arose: the skies darkened
ominously, lightning flashed from the lowering clouds, thunder
reverberated, and torrential rains poured down. For twenty-four
hours the storm continued. Was nature indignantly weeping over
the errors and sufferings of her children? Was she striving to
wash out from old ocean--the rugged, primal, favorite work of her
hands--those awful stains of blood?

As Don John had hastened to port under the gathering storm he gave
orders that the Moslem galleys rendered worthless by the battle
should be stripped of everything of value and then set on fire. And
so it was that when safe in port the Christian conquerors looking
out thro’ the storm saw the burning ships. They luridly lit up
the darkness and blazed wildly down to the waves--mutely eloquent
witnesses of the horror and desolation of war.

Did the dulling senses of the hero of Lepanto see that scene,
hear that storm--as the winds raged round his temporary shelter
and death in blasting splendor closed over all? Or did the fair
“castles in Spain” rise again spectrally with light upon them from
beyond the grave as the dreamer of royal dreams sank down to the
real? That wonderful African empire so near, so far: that beauteous
bride, Mary Queen of Scots, liberated, released, restored by his
own good sword; wooed and won and with her the throne of that
imperious usurper Elizabeth Tudor: that smile of pontiffs, that
commendation of Catholic Europe, that proud praise from the lips of
his father’s son, Philip II. of Spain--as he, the hero of Lepanto,
the champion of Christendom, returned fresh-laureled from new
combats and victories, a king, a crowned lover, an Emperor--Dreams!

      “Take, fortune, whatever you choose
      You gave and may take again;
      I’ve nothing ’twould pain me to lose,
      For I own no more castles in Spain.”

Don John is buried in the Escorial. His name and fame are
inseparably associated with the decisive victory of the Cross over
the Crescent off the entrance to the gulf Lepanto.

An admirable painting of this battle _The Victory of the League_ by
Titian still adorns the walls of the Museo, Madrid.

The petition _Mary, Help of Christians_ inserted on this
occasion in the litany of Loretto bears evidence even today of
the gratitude felt by Pius V. and with him all Christendom for
deliverance from the unspeakable Turk.

The historian Ranke speaking of the effects of this battle says:
“The Turks lost all their old confidence after the battle of
Lepanto. They had no equal to oppose to Don John of Austria. The
day of Lepanto broke down the Ottoman supremacy.”



Spain’s proudly invincible Armada left Lisbon, May 20, 1588 with
one hundred and forty ships and thirty thousand four hundred and
ninety-seven men; fifty-three shattered vessels, and ten thousand
men, vincible and humbled, returned to port Santander, Sept. 13,
1588. This disaster led to the decadence of Spain as a maritime
power, and indirectly to the decline of Spanish dominance both in
the old and in the new world.

The effects of any great event are not immediately discernible
nor are its causes ever fully revealed. When Philip II. of Spain
received with courteous equanimity his defeated admiral, the Duke
of Medina Sidonia, and to his words,

                    “And you see here, great King,
      All that remains of the Armada’s might
      And of the flower of Spain.”

made answer,

                      “God rules above us!
      I sent you to contend with men and not
      With rocks and storms. You’re welcome to Madrid.”--_Schiller._

did the great King see then either the causes or the consequences
of the vincibility of his Invincible Armada!

The character of Philip II. is portrayed upon the historic page in
colors of sharp contrast. To the Spaniards he was their Solomon,
their “prudent king”; to Motley and the Netherlands he was “the
demon of the South.”

Philip II. was the finished product of his age and nation. Pride,
intolerance, absolutism combined with excellent administrative
ability, deep tho’ narrow religious convictions, and rigorous
sincerity, characterized both the man and the monarch. To a victim
of an Auto da Fe he said with stern truthfulness, “If my own son
were guilty like you I should lead him with my own hands to the

As to Philip’s really having delivered his son, Don Carlos, into
the hands of the Grand Inquisitor as tragically told in Schiller’s
“Don Carlos”, well that is drama, not history. But when a noted
name and its suggested personality--for good or for evil and
unfortunately less frequently for good than for evil--are once
fascinatingly fixed in drama or story or song, not all the tomes
of contradictory evidence, not all the living archives of dead
centuries, not Truth itself, can shatter the crystal charm or make
it cease shining. Alexander the Great, world conqueror; Socrates,
the Wise; Plato, poet-philosopher; Aristotle, master of them
that know; Julius Cæsar, deplored of all nations; Mark Anthony,
Cleopatra’s lover; Nero, monster; Caligula-Commodus-Heliogabalus,
crowned madmen; Marcus Aurelius, Emperor-philosopher; Charlemagne,
the Good; Louis IX., the Saint; Louis XI., hypocrite; John of
England, child murderer; Richard III., deformed devil; Henry VIII.,
wife-killer; Machiavelli, serpent-sophist; Louis XIV., despot,
_Arbiter Elegantiarum_; Elizabeth, Good Queen Bess; Mary, Queen of
Scots, the lovely unfortunate; Philip II. of Spain, bigot: thus are
they fixed in the charmed circle of literature and thus shall they
glitter forever.

Is history itself any more reliable than drama? As to facts, Yes;
as to motives, intentions, cumulative causes, results, all round
truth, No. “Histories are as perfect as the historian is wise,
and is gifted with an eye and a soul,” says the astute Carlyle;
and every honest author feels at deepest heart the truth of these
words. The soft art of omission is known to every artist of the
pen. And condemnation euphemistically balanced by excusing
comment may, in one artistic sentence, satisfy at once a writer’s
conscience, his subjectivity, and the claims of his peculiar
environment. Can any one doubt that it was thus Macaulay wrote
his brilliant history of England? And even granted almost the
impossible--that an historian be ruggedly truthful and fearlessly
sincere; he is not thereby rendered wise, nor is he necessarily
gifted with an eye and a soul.

So in colors of sharp contrast upon the historic page will Philip
II. ever be portrayed; but both can’t be right. Perhaps tho’
they may be as sundered extremes of a prismatic ray which, when
complementary coloring shall have been added, will become white


Truly it was against storms and rocks as well as against such rough
sea-dogs as Drake and Hawkins and Raleigh and Frobisher and Howard
that the Invincible Armada contended. In the beginning of the
northward cruise as the Armada was rounding the corner of Spain,
off Corunna, a violent tempest arose. The frail caravels, and
galleons and galleasses of 1588 were not so independent of wave and
wind as are the Dreadnoughts of 1914. Yet ocean is still master of
man; and man’s most titan-like Titanic is but a puny plaything in
old Neptune’s hand.

Several vessels were lost in the storm, and the fleet was so badly
damaged that in consequence the Spanish Admiral was obliged to stop
off at Corunna for repairs. July 12th, after so inauspicious a
beginning, the fleet was again on its way northward.

Alexander Farnese, Prince of Parma, captain general of all
the Spanish armies, was at Dunkirk with a flotilla of large
flat-bottomed barges awaiting the Armada to convoy him and his
army across the channel. His plan was to invade England by way of
the Thames and land his veteran forces in London.

“Alexander Farnese, prince of Parma, captain general of the Spanish
armies, and governor of the Spanish possessions in the Netherlands,
was beyond all comparison the greatest military genius of his age.
He was also highly distinguished for political wisdom and sagacity,
and for his great administrative talents. He was idolized by his
troops, whose affection he knew how to win without relaxing their
discipline or diminishing his own authority. Pre-eminently cool and
circumspect in his plans, but swift and energetic when the moment
arrived for striking a decisive blow, neglecting no risk that
caution could provide against, conciliating even the populations of
the districts which he attacked by his scrupulous good faith; his
moderation, and his address; Farnese was one of the most formidable
generals that ever could be placed at the head of an army designed
not only to win battles, but to effect conquests. Happy it is for
England and the world that this island was saved from becoming an
arena for the exhibition of his powers.” Creasy.

As in 1588 Alexander Farnese with a chosen army awaited at Dunkirk
the assistance of the Armada both to clear the seas of Dutch and
English war ships and to convoy in safety his flotilla to the coast
of England: so, too, in 1805 Napoleon Bonaparte awaited at Boulogne
for Villeneuve to do him a like service; and in both cases the
English fleet took the offensive and destroyed at one blow both the
protective war boats of the enemy and the hopeful plans of the man
who waited. The sea fights at Calais Roads and at Trafalgar are
perhaps negatively momentous in history but not the less momentous.

The Spanish fleet after some disastrous fighting with the English
cruisers off the coast of Plymouth succeeded in reaching Calais
Roads (July 27). Here they were quickly semi-circled by the
combined Dutch and English fleet under Lord Charles Howard, high
admiral of England. The Spanish ships were far greater in bulk
than those of the opposing force and in the harbor of Calais they
were huddled together “like strong castles fearing no assault, the
lesser placed in the middle ward.” The lighter English ships, no
longer able to use their two best assets, nimbleness and advantage
of the wind, clung doggedly around these ocean leviathans awaiting
the hour of opportunity. At length early on the morning of the 29th
the English Admiral succeeded in thrusting eight Greek fire-ships
in among the compact wooden war vessels. The effect was electrical.
The Spanish ships cut their cables and were dispersed and the fight
ship to ship was soon in full progress. All day long from early
dawn till dark this battle raged. The Spaniards were driven out
from Calais Roads and past the Flemish ports and far out beyond
Dunkirk where the Prince of Parma waited. The English then ceased
pursuit. Lord Henry Seymour with an able squadron was left to
maintain the blockade of the Flemish port and to render ineffectual
the activities of the Prince of Parma.

Northward sped the vincible Armada farther and farther from sunny
Spain. She had many wounded men on board ships, her provisions
were failing, the channel filled with victorious Dutch and English
war boats offered no hope of a way of return, and at last in
desperation the Spanish admiral directed the course of his ships
around the northern coast of Scotland and Ireland. What a long
and cruel way home for wounded soldiers, starving sailors, and
disheartened generals! But even here ill luck pursued them. A
storm arose as they were passing thro’ the Orkneys; their vessels
were dispersed, many were lost. About thirty ships were afterwards
wrecked on the west coast of Ireland, and those of the crews who
succeeded in reaching the shore were immediately put to death. It
is estimated that fourteen thousand thus perished.

And in September of that memorable year there came straggling ship
by ship into the port Santander all that were left of the gallant
fleet that had sailed away five months ago to subdue England and so
win all Europe for Spain.

Nor was that plan at all chimerical, nor its realization
improbable. Spain was at that time in possession of Portugal,
Naples, Sicily, Milan, Franche-Compte, and the Netherlands; in
Africa she controlled Tunis, Oran, the Cape Verde and the Canary
islands; in Asia, the Philippine and Sunda Islands and part of the
Moluccas; in the New World, the empire of Peru, and of Mexico, New
Spain, Chili, Hispaniola and Cuba. Only England held out against
the power of Spain and stood adamantine to all her threats,
cajolery, caresses. Only England stood between Philip II. of Spain
and Spanish dominance in the old and in the New World. English
buccaneers seized upon his galleons on their return gem-laden
from Peru and Mexico. Drake the “master robber of the New World”
had signally dishonored Philip of Spain and had in requital been
honored by the English queen with the title _Sir Francis_. England
must be destroyed (Britannia delenda est.) Spain seemed powerful
enough by land and by sea to be as a new Rome to old Carthage: but
winds and waves and rocky coasts and adamantine Englishmen reversed
the Roman story (Britannia non deleta est.)


      “What we _appear_ is subject to the judgment
      Of all mankind; and what we _are_, of no man.”
                                 _Schiller in “Mary Stuart.”_

These lines upon the lips of Elizabeth Tudor are her condemnation
in the judgment of all mankind. Short sighted, indeed, and headed
directly towards the rapids of the all revealing Real is the mortal
who thus honors appearances.

Elizabeth would have Mary Stuart put to death, but would _seem_ to
have tried to save her: Elizabeth would sign the death warrant,
but would _seem_ to have been constrained, to have done so
regretfully, to have recalled the fatal sentence when, alas! too
late. But all this flimsy Seeming has been blown away by the rugged
years; and that which this Machiavellian queen thought subject to
the judgment of no man has become her condemnation in the eyes of

So close they lie together now in old Westminster Abbey--these
rival queens who once so cordially feared and hated one another!
and for whose conflicting ambitions all Britain was not room
enough, but one must die! How ignoble seems now the strife, how
despicable the deed of culminant hate, how diaphanous all the
Seeming! Was it worth while?

The death of Mary, Queen of Scots, at the hands of her cousin Queen
Elizabeth aroused a feeling of angry indignation in every court
of Europe. France, Spain, and the Vatican, openly denounced the
deed. And it was, in great measure, in execration of this unnatural
cruelty that Pope Sextus V. espoused the cause of Philip II. of
Spain and urged and aided the invasion of England.

Strange that such men as Edmund Spenser, author of _Færie Queen_
and Sir Walter Raleigh, mirror of chivalry, should have been among
the foremost to demand the death of the Scottish queen. But those
were turbulent times. Life and death never played the mortal game
more boldly and recklessly and desperately than in the sixteenth
century. The magic of the New World was upon the old; the glamour
of gem-lit El Dorados shimmered across the seas; and thither
responsively rushed in shaky ships and leaky caravels those whom
the gods would destroy made mad by the bite of the gold-tarantula.
“We are as near to heaven by sea as by land”, shouted Sir Humphrey
Gilbert as his frail bark was lost in the storm; as his deck
lights rose high and dashed low and darkened far down ’neath the
sea-lashing storm.

And night with wondering stars looked down upon De Soto’s lordly
grave. And then as now and even throughout the historic ages, the
prehistoric, the geologic--the thundering waters fell and formed
Niagara Falls. In silvery moonlight, in dazzling sun-radiance
rainbow-frilled, in blinding white of winter, in rainy spring, in
saber flashing summer storm--the thunder-waters fell; they fall;
they shall fall.

When Columbus and his crew, secretly fearful of falling off the
good old planet Earth, sailed the unknown sea; while Cortes
conquered Mexico (not yet calm); while Pizarro ravaged Peru; while
Balboa ascended the Andean heights and “silent upon a peak in
Darien” first saw the vast Pacific; while De Soto died and was
buried; while Drake circumnavigated the globe; while Mary, Queen
of Scots laid her head on the block and the axe fell; while the
Invincible Armada hurrying northward away from the foe, sailed
brokenly back to Spain by way of the Orkneys: while Julius Cæsar
fell pierced with twenty-three wounds; while Hannibal crossed the
Alps; while Alexander, world-conqueror, aged thirty-two died at
old Babylon; while Pericles of Athens reigned imperishably; while
Sardis burned and Sardis was avenged; while Marathon, Salamis,
Thermopylæ, Platæa, Mycale were fighting; while Babylon the Great
was captured by Cyrus; while the Memphian pyramids were building;
while the great Sphinx of Gizeh rose solemnly; while griffins and
dragons and gummy pterodactyls winged the air; while plesiosauri
and ichthyosauri fought for the empire of ocean; while the
original of the Pittsburgh Diplodocus Carnegiei was sixty feet
somewhere--why, even then were the waters rolling over the rock now
called Niagara; even then Niagara Falls that fall and shall fall
were falling.


The hostile encounters by land throughout the historic ages
have been practically countless; sea fights are few. Man feels
intuitively that the yielding wave is not the fit place for
battle. Salamis, Actium, Lepanto, Calais Roads are the chief naval
engagements of history.

When Rome had won her first game in world conquest and all Italy
was Rome, Carthage was mistress of the Mediterranean, and without
her permission no man might even wash his hands in her “Phœnician
Lake.” Triremes and quinqueremes with proudly curving prows scudded
over the blue waters or huddled together in port as bevies of black

And Rome had no fleet. But Rome could learn from her enemies; and
when a wrecked Carthaginian galley was dashed against the Latian
coast, Rome quickly learned the art of making galleys; and within
two months the waving forest near the coast was metamorphosed into
a fleet of one hundred and twenty Roman triremes.

And when the pain of growth was upon Rome making further conquest
fatally necessary, she embarked unsteadily upon her late waving
forest trees and went reeling forth to meet the swan bevies of
the Mediterranean. The hostile fleets engaged and Rome’s was

Then these sullen young-world children wildly wept, as did Romulus
and Remus, perhaps, in the cave of the she-wolf. But when they
were suckled and made strong with the milk of defeat, these wild
young Romans built themselves another fleet. And Duillius devised
a grappling contrivance whereby to catch and hold the enemy’s
ship until a drawbridge could be thrown across o’er which the
short-sword Roman soldiers might pass and so fight on the deck hand
to hand as on land.

Again the hostile fleets engaged on the blue Mediterranean. But as
the haughty quinqueremes with their decks filled with archers bore
down upon the awkward Roman triremes, the grappling “hands” arose,
the quinqueremes were grappled. Consternation prevailed among the
Carthaginians as the drawbridges from ship to ship were thrown
across, and the dreaded Roman soldiers short-sword in hand were
seen slaughtering the archers and the rowers. Rome’s first naval
victory was won.

If the blue Mediterranean could make known all that has taken place
upon its waves and shores--what a Homer of the waters it would be!
But nature is indifferent to the human tragedy.

That other scene off the coast of Carthage, after the second
Punic war, when Rome demanded as a condition of peace that the
Carthaginian fleet should be destroyed--yet burns upon the historic
page, but the waters that once reddened with the flames just ripple
unrememberingly. Five hundred galleys--towering quinqueremes,
sturdy triremes--were led out from the harbor before the mourning
gaze of the dethroned Queen of the Seas, and set on fire; she
watched them blaze down to the laughing waters.

Actium was fought on the Adriatic off the promontory on the west
coast of Greece. Here half the world was bartered for one fleeing
galley and one woman. While the conflict was yet doubtful and
victory seemed even favorably inclined to perch upon the prow of
Anthony’s vessel, the barge of Cleopatra shudderingly backed out
from the bloody fray, wavered, turned, and sped southward. Marc
Anthony followed. Upon the defeat of the allied Roman and Egyptian
forces at Actium and over the tragically dead forms of Anthony
and Cleopatra, Octavius Cæsar arose to world dominance, becoming
Augustus Cæsar, Emperor, Pater Patriæ, and one man Ruler of Rome,
Mistress of the world.

Lepanto was fought at the entrance of the Gulf of Corinth, not far
from Actium. Here the Cross triumphed over the Crescent and rescued
Europe from the deadly blight of Islamism. Don John of Austria,
aged twenty-four, led the Christian forces; Alexander Farnese
(Prince of Parma), then a youth of twenty, won here his first of
many laurels under the generously approving eyes of his young
cousin-commander, Don John.

And seventeen years later (1571-1588) the Prince of Parma, Captain
general of all the Spanish armies, awaited impatiently at Dunkirk
for Admiral Medina Sidonia to clear the channel of hostile vessels
so that he and his veteran army might sail across and attack
old England. He watched the fight off Gravelines. How his hot
Spanish heart must have indignantly throbbed even to bursting, as
helplessly cooped in port with a flotilla of unarmed barges to
protect, and Lord Seymour with a strong blockading squadron at the
mouth of the harbor, he could only see and know and acutely feel
that a fearful battle was raging all day long from dawn till dark
and that Spain was losing--Spain had lost. One by one hurrying
northward past the Flemish ports limped the disabled Spanish ships;
English and Dutch cruisers followed in fierce pursuit.

The invasion of England by way of the Thames, the conquest of an
inveterate foe, Success proudly placing a flaming carbuncle upon
the coronet of the Prince of Parma, the approving glance of Philip
and of the fair girl-queen Isabella, Spanish dominance in the old
and in the new world--all as burst bubbles died down in gray mist
as twilight descended, as dark night gathered over the wave and the
world and the fleeing scattered shattered ships of Spain’s vincible



The battle of Naseby was, perhaps, the anticipative preventive of
an English “French Revolution.” The difference between Cromwell’s
Ironsides and the gay Frondeurs measures the difference between the
English people and the French.

Charles I. aimed to be in England what Louis XIV. was in France.
Both fully believed in the divine right of Kings; both quoted
as their favorite text of Scripture, “Where the word of a King
is there is power; and who may say unto him ‘What doest thou?’”
But Louis dealt with the fickle Frondeurs and Charles with
Cromwell’s Ironsides; and this racial difference had as divergent
results--absolutism for Louis le Grand and the block for Charles

There will always be difference of opinion as to Cromwell’s
place in history. Was he liberator or tyrant, Christian ruler or
barbarously fanatic despot? There can be but one opinion as to the
injustice of the trial, condemnation, and death of Charles. The
Rump Parliament was certainly not representative of England. It was
Cromwell’s creature as arbitrarily as ever the Star Chamber was

“Must crimes be punished but by other crimes, and greater

But as a force in favor of constitutional government and civic
liberty, however abused in immediate practice; and as a threatening
protest against the abuse of power in high places; and as a veiled
challenge of defiance to every absolute monarch--the battle fought
June 14, 1645, at Naseby, Northamptonshire, between the Royalists
under Charles I. and the Parliamentarians under Fairfax must ever
be considered a victory decisive and for all time advantageous.


Henrietta Maria was the daughter of Henry IV. of France, the first
Bourbon, and his second wife, Maria de Medici. At the age of
fifteen she was married to Charles I. of England; and her best and
happiest years as wife, mother, and Queen were spent in England.

In this princess many of the leading Italian, French and English
characteristics were met and happily blended. Her dark, lithe
beauty (as shown in her portrait by Van Dyke), her musical ability,
instrumental and vocal, her fiery-hearted fidelity to the religion
of her mother, were, perhaps, her heritage from sunny Italy; the
France of Richelieu might, as an environment, conduce favorably
to that diplomatic waywardness which, in early years, invariably
won for the sweet girl-wife whatsoever her heart might desire; but
perhaps from England, land of realism, chilly fogs, and Cromwellian
barbarity, she imbibed her sturdy spirit of fortitude and heroic
endurance of sorrow.

“To bear is to conquer our fate”, and to refuse to bear and to
apparently end all by self-destruction, is to fail to conquer our

The hopes and promises of religion are of inestimable value as an
aid in the endurance of sorrows. When the dread culmination of all
earthly fears and horrors--the beheading of Charles I.--clashed
full upon the widowed heart of Queen Henrietta Maria, she withdrew
at once from the court of Paris and sought solace in seclusion and
prayer. The convent, not the court; the divine, not the human; the
hopes and promises of religion as red-glowed in the sanctuary of a
Carmelite convent chapel, held the balm that soothed her wounded
soul in that awful culminant woe.

Which is better--to bear or to fail to bear? to hope and endure
or despair and die? to pray and bless God saying, _The Lord gave
and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord_, or
to wither away in cursing and impotent hate? to believe and grow
strongly peaceful in the belief that God is good and all is for the
best; that all is little and short that passes away with time; that
God’s explanation shall exultingly explain forever and ever--or to
doubt, negative, deny, and bitterly live and despairingly die? Even
as a matter of merely human wisdom, it is well to believe in the
hopes and promises of religion.

The monastic sanctuaries that arise wherever the Catholic Church
flourishes, and that lure into their prayerful solitudes the
“hearts that are heavy with losses and weary with dragging the
crosses too heavy for mortals to bear” are surely indicative of a
far higher and happier state of society than that whose godless
defiance finds suicidal expression in the insidious drug, the
deadly acid, the desperate bullet.

The houses of Euthanasia of the near Socialistic future are surely
as stones unto bread in comparison with the monastic sanctuaries of
the Middle Ages.


How wonderful is the art which can impress upon canvas and so
preserve from generation to generation and from century to century,
a lifelike presentment of men and women whose flesh and blood
realities have long since mouldered dust with dust! The canvas
endures; the man dies?--Ah, no! he has but shuffled off the
earth-garment and left it earth with earth; he lives.

The Van Dyke portraits of Queen Henrietta Maria, Charles I. and
the children of Charles I. are mutely eloquent. The well-known
picture, “Baby Stuart”, a detail from the group, “Children of
Charles I.” suggests the high tide of love and happiness in
the life of Queen Henrietta Maria. She was then surrounded by
everything that heart could desire,--wealth, honor, power, a
husband’s unbounded love and confidence and three beautiful and
most promising children. They were Mary, who later married William,
Prince of Orange; Charles, who, at the Restoration, became the
“Merry Monarch” of England, and James, the baby Stuart, who later
became the unfortunate James II., the monarch who lost his crown,
and whose daughter Mary, wedded to her cousin, William, Prince of
Orange, son of that sister Mary, who, in the portrait, stands at
his side, abetted the deposition of her father and wore his crown.

There is something eloquently pathetic in the portraits of men and
women who have fallen victims to a tragic fate. The principle of
contrast is, doubtless, here at work, setting side by side with the
hour of portrayal that other hour of bitter death. Marie Antoinette
and her children, as fixed upon canvas by the court painter,
Madame Vigee LeBrun, derive their rich tonal qualities--warm
grays and reds, their charm of evanescence, their magically
somber fascination, from the shadows of the Conciergerie and the

The portrait of Charles I. as painted by Van Dyke, must ever
suggest to the thoughtful student of history that scene,
disgraceful alike to the English nation and to human nature which
took place on the scaffold just outside Whitehall Palace.

Yes; there are two sides to every question, and one is a ruler
exercising arbitrary power and impregnated with belief in the
divine right of kings and claiming it his prerogative to break
up his parliament and govern alone; the other is an assembly of
men, nominally a parliament, so narrowly fanatic and steeped in
human hate that they demanded as condition under which they would
agree to levy taxes for Charles I. to use in aid of Protestant
Holland, that he should first order every Catholic priest in his
own realm to be put to death and the property of all Catholics to
be confiscated. Charles refused. This side of the cause of the
rupture between Charles I. and his Parliament has not the historic
prominence of the other side. Why? Not very hard to tell _why_ if
one considers attentively the writers of the history of that period.

“I hope to meet my end with calmness. Do not let us speak of the
men into whose hands I have fallen. They thirst for my blood, they
shall have it. God’s will be done, I give Him thanks. I forgive
them all sincerely, but let us say no more about them”--these words
addressed to Bishop Juxon by Charles a few days before his death
attest the inherent nobility of his nature. Whatever the life of
Charles I. may have been, his death was kingly; and if death is
the echo of life then, too, his life must have been vocal with
virtues. But what virtue can outshine or even illumine the black
chaos of creed-fanaticism, odium, obloquy? What power can break up
and restore to their original settings the half-truths, untruths,
errors and lies glitteringly crystalized in history, drama, story
and song? Does time right ancient wrongs, readjust and make-whole
torn, century-scattered truths? We dream so; we say so; but at
deepest heart we whisper _No_.

With unruffled calmness, with dignity, with kingly grace, Charles
I. stepped from the opening of what had been in happier days his
banqueting hall and advanced upon the scaffold. In the words of
Agnes Strickland:

“It was past 1 o’clock before the grisly attendants and apparatus
of the scaffold were ready. Colonel Hacker led the king through his
former banqueting hall, one of the windows of which had originally
been contrived to support stands for public pageantries; it had
been taken out and led to the platform raised in the street. The
noble bearing of the King as he stepped on the scaffold, his
beaming eyes and high expression, were noticed by all who saw
him. He looked on all sides for his people, but dense masses of
soldiery only presented themselves far and near. He was out of
hearing of any persons but Juxon and Herbert, save those who were
interested in his destruction. The soldiers preserved a dead
silence; this time they did not insult him. The distant populace
wept, and occasionally raised mournful cries in blessings and
prayers for him. The king uttered a short speech, to point out that
every institute of the original constitution of England had been
subverted with the sovereign power. While he was speaking someone
touched the axe, which was laid enveloped in black crepe on the
block. The king turned round hastily and exclaimed, ‘Have a care of
the axe. If the edge is spoiled it will be the worse for me.’

“The king put up his flowing hair under a cap; then, turning to
the executor asked, ‘Is any of my hair in the way?’ ‘I beg your
majesty to push it more under your cap,’ replied the man, bowing.
The bishop assisted his royal master to do so and observed to
him: ‘There is but one stage more, which, though turbulent and
troublesome, is yet a very short one. Consider, it will carry you
a great way--even from earth to heaven.’ ‘I go,’ replied the king,
‘from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown.’

“He unfastened his cloak and took off the medallion of the order
of the Garter. The latter he gave to Juxon, saying with emphasis,
‘Remember!’ Beneath the medallion of St. George was a secret spring
which removed a plate ornamented with lilies, under which was a
beautiful miniature of his Henrietta. The warning word, which has
caused many historical surmises, evidently referred to the fact
that he only had parted with the portrait of his beloved wife at
the last moment of his existence. He then took off his coat and put
on his cloak, and pointing to the block, said to the executioner:
‘Place it so that it will not shake.’ ‘It is firm, sir,’ replied
the man. ‘I shall say a short prayer,’ said the king, ‘and when
I hold out my hand thus, strike.’ The king stood in profound
meditation, said a few words to himself, looked upward on the
heavens, then knelt and laid his head on the block. In about a
minute he stretched out his hands, and his head was severed at one


News travelled slowly in the days of long ago; and the trial,
death and burial of Charles I. were over long before intelligence
of the dire happenings in England had been carried into France.
Queen Henrietta Maria, then in the Louvre Palace, Paris, had just
received into her motherly arms her second son, James, who had
successfully passed through the belligerent lines and reached
safety in Paris. This joy was soon dulled into woe.

Ominous whispers among the Louvre circle and pitying glances caused
the queen to make inquiries. The worst was soon told. The queen
had expected imprisonment, perhaps even deposition and exile, but
death, the official beheading of an English sovereign--had not once
entered into her mind as among the possibilities. The queen sat
silent and tearless among her sympathizing English attendants. Pere
Gamache approached. She received him apathetically. Her aunt, the
Duchess de Vendome, took her hand and held it caressingly--but the
Queen seemed in a state of frozen woe; no moan, no sigh, no tear.
Pere Gamache withdrew unobserved and searching through the royal
chambers he found the little Princess Henriette, the four-year-old
idol of the once happy Stuart home. Leading the child gently by the
hand, he returned to the scene of grief.

At the touch of baby hands, the impress of childish kisses, the
unhappy Queen seemed slowly to come back to life even as it was,
and clasping her little daughter in rapturous tenderness to her
breast she wept. Long and wildly she wept and the frightened child
weeping responsively and clinging helplessly to her bosom saved her
at last to sanity and to heroic endurance.

Tennyson has beautifully expressed this power of childish love and
helplessness to save a mother from despair:

      Home they brought her warrior dead;
          She nor swoon’d, nor utter’d cry,
      All her maidens, watching said,
          “She must weep or she will die.”

      Then they praised him, soft and low,
          Called him worthy to be loved,
      Truest friend and noblest foe;
          Yet she neither spoke nor moved.

      Stole a maiden from her place,
          Lightly to the warrior stept
      Took the face-cloth from his face;
          Yet she neither moved nor wept.

      Rose a nurse of ninety years,
          Set his child upon her knee--
      Like summer tempest came her tears--
          “Sweet my child, I live for thee.”

A few days later the Queen withdrew from the French court for a
brief period of retirement and prayer in the Carmelite Convent.


While the drama in high places was playing before the world, a more
enduring side scene was enacting in a quiet English home. John
Milton, in political disgrace, in sorrow of soul, and in total
blindness was dictating to his daughters the lines of “Paradise
Lost.” Cromwell and his Roundheads, the Merry Monarch and his
dissolute court, James II. and his sorrows, passed away; the
visions seen by the blind old bard remain.

As literary immortality is the highest prize that fate holds
for mortals it is fitting that the cost of attainment should be
proportionately high. And in this adjustment fate is inexorable.
Heart’s blood and tears wrought into a book give it enduring
qualities: much, much; little, little; some, some; none, none. The
dictum of Horace in the olden day, _Si vis me flere_, etc., is
still the exponent of an author’s power.

That poem by Mrs. Browning, “A Musical Instrument,” has fixed in
rainbow evanescence--a Thoughts’ Niagara Bridal Veil--ten thousand
blending, blinding truths and beauties that prose could never hold
or catch.

Is the prize worth the price? In itself, No; but in the soul-growth
that its mastery implies and in the soul-wealth that it makes one’s
own forever and ever, Yes. Then, too, they to whom Fame shines as
an ever luring star, urging on, on, incessantly even through blood
and tears, are so formed by their fate that the prize seems to them
worth while; its winning seems life’s only good, its loss, life’s
supreme sorrow. “The attractions are proportional to the destinies.”

So who shall judge his unknown neighbor? Who shall justly say,
_Thou fool_ to the man who must needs follow his fate? Who shall
justly pity him whose poverty, disgrace, bitterness of heart, and
blindness of soul and body--lead to the star-luring heights of
literary immortality?

Milton was Latin secretary under Oliver Cromwell and a man of great
influence at the court. He shared in the amnesty proclaimed by
Charles II. at the Restoration. Milton’s remaining years were spent
in retirement and literary labors.

The return of the Stuarts shattered all his hopes, religious and
political. He seemed to see in the Stuart restoration the first
gathering gloom of a darkness which should overwhelm himself,
England, and all the earth. Subjectively this was true. Milton
never saw beyond that gathering cloud; and when the culminant
blackness of his own blindness closed in upon him, then, too, into
a common gloom sank Milton, England and all the earth.

      “And darkness shows us worlds by night
          We never see by day.”

Would Paradise Lost have been born into literature if Milton had
not become blind?

Would we of today find congenial that Milton of the old Puritanical
day? Do we admire the Miltonic God? Milton liked best his Lucifer,
and that liking elusively throbs through Paradise Lost and elicits


There must have been a great measure of compensation to Charles I.
in the filial devotion of his household. It is related that Prince
Charles, eldest son, and heir apparent to the throne, sent to his
father, when in prison, a document _carte blanche_ signed with his
name. And in a letter enclosed the Prince assured his father that
whatever conditions he should see fit to make with Cromwell and his
followers relative to the succession would be agreeable to him, in
token whereof he had signed his name to the document. There was
something heroic in that, and something even more magnanimously
heroic in the response of Charles I. He at once tore the document
to pieces, fearing that the enemy might get possession of it and
make use of it against Prince Charles. He wrote tenderly to his
son, admitting the pleasure his generous offer had given, but
declaring that death would be preferable to any act whereby the
rights of his children should be tampered with or signed away.

It is well to note these nobler actions and emotions in the lives
of kings: the ambitious selfishness and cruelty of a Macbeth, a
King John, a Richard III. are pedestaled for all the world to see;
why not the mutual magnanimity of the Stuarts? Truly the evil that
men do lives after them, the good is oftimes interred with their

At the death of Cromwell, after a five years’ stormy reign as Lord
Protector of England, and after a twelve years’ exile of the family
of Charles I., the people of England unanimously welcomed the
restoration of the Stuarts. Charles II.--known in France under this
title since the death of Charles I.--was crowned King of England.

The times were troubled. Roundhead and Cavalier still stood at
misunderstanding enmity one directly opposed to the other and never
the twain might meet. The pendulum swung with bewildering rapidity
from harshly somber Cromwellian Puritanism to the excessive
dissipation of the Court of the Merry Monarch: the country followed
the pendulum.

Charles II., while humane on the whole, and more inclined to ease
and pleasure than to troublesome revenge, yet displayed a touch
of the savage in his treatment of the body of Oliver Cromwell. He
ordered that it be disinterred and the head struck off. This was
done; and the ghastly head of the man who had ruled England with a
rod of iron for five years, was fastened to the gibbet at Tyburn.

Horrible is the hate which pursues its victim beyond death and
wreaks vengeance upon an unresisting mass of putrefaction! All such
excesses, no matter by whom committed or under what provocation,
are atavistic expressions of the jackal and the tiger in the heart
of man.

Truly there is no eye that can foresee the future! Cromwell,
passing for the thousandth time through the thoroughfare of
Tyburn, saw not there his own head fastened to a gibbet. Charles
I., at the stately banquet board of Whitehall Palace, saw not the
great end window of the hall opening upon the scaffold. And we,
secure in the hour, see not that other hour of fatal import that
yet shall be; and--’tis well.


Queen Henrietta Maria was not present at the scenes of acclamation
which welcomed the return of her son, Charles II. She was at that
time happily absorbed in the forth-coming marriage of her charming
daughter, the Princess Henriette Maria, to Philip, Duke of Orleans,
brother of Louis XIV.

Some time later Queen Henrietta Maria went to England. She resided
there three years, but her heart’s best interests were in sunny
France where her idolized daughter, the Duchess of Orleans, moved
amid the gay court of Versailles as its chief honor and ornament.
Charles II. and his wife, Catherine, of Braganza, reluctantly bade
farewell to the Queen-mother after accompanying her as far as the
Nore; but doubtless there was secret joy in the heart of Henrietta
Maria as the foggy shores of England receded from view and France
arose in expectancy.

Then, too, all seemed calm in England; Charles II. and his wife
were high in popular favor. Her second son, James, Duke of York,
was happily married and surrounded by a promising family. James’
eldest daughter, the Lady Mary, later Queen Mary II. of England,
was a great favorite with the affectionate grandmother, Henrietta
Maria. Anne, James’ second daughter, afterward Queen Anne of
England, was also attached to the kindly old Queen-mother.

The old-age years of Henrietta Maria rolled on in comparative
happiness. Some lives seem to have their sorrows scattered
uniformly over the years, a gentle drizzle, never dazzling
sunlight; other lives are marked by dynamic contrasts--brilliancy,
ecstatic light suddenly blackened by tornado blasts and torn by
lurid lightning, and after that, calm again and even the bright

Queen Henrietta Maria’s tornado blast and searing lightning flash
came full upon her when her husband was beheaded; her later years
were calmly happy. In philanthropic labors, in the exercise of
all the gentle charities of the Christian heart, in the hopeful
fulfilment of religious obligations, the old age years drifted
calmly to the great Calm.

It chanced that at that time the use of opium as a sedative,
narcotic, and harmless medicine was in vogue at the court. M.
Valot, favorite physician of Louis XIV., ordered it for the Queen.
In the best of spirits and laughing at the supposed wonderful
qualities of the new panacea, Henrietta Maria took the prescribed
drug. An hour later she fell into a peaceful slumber; the night
passed and the day passed, and still she slept. Alarm was felt,
her son-in-law, the Duke of Orleans, was soon at her bedside; the
little granddaughter, Anne, was brought near in hopes of arousing
the dormant sensibilities--but in vain. Queen Henrietta had sunk
into the calm; it was too good to leave; she stayed, sank deeper,
deeper, and with a little sigh of relief she died.


Jacques Benigne Bossuet, the eloquent pulpit orator of the court of
Louis XIV., added a classic to French literature in his masterly
discourse at the obsequies of Henrietta Maria. It was delivered in
the convent chapel of the nuns of the Visitation of Chaillot, whom
the late Queen particularly favored, and for whom she had founded
the convent.

The nobility of France were gathered together on this occasion, the
“most illustrious assembly of the world” sat spell-bound under the
eloquence of the “Eagle of Meaux.” Bossuet had proved equal to his

Perhaps, though, Bossuet is better known today by that other
funeral oration delivered some months later at the obsequies of
Queen Henrietta Maria’s youngest daughter, Henriette of England,
Duchess of Orleans.

When the old die, well--there can be no Shelleyan lamentation.

      “Grief made the young Spring wild,
      And she threw down her opening buds
      As if she autumn were and they dead leaves.”

The young spring may, indeed, thus lavishly lament for the young,
but not for the old. When a poet Keats, aged twenty-six, lies
brokenheartedly and beautifully dead; when a queenly woman, wife
and bereaved mother, aged twenty-eight, lies pathetically dead--oh,
then, all that Shelley may poetically declare, all that Bossuet may
magically proclaim, seem fitting and just and true. We understand
the young Spring tantrums; and the sobbings of the buds as roughly
sundered from the grief-swept trees, seem strangely familiar, as
though ages ago we ourselves had thus wildly wept when the world
was young.

Wealth, station, honor, health, happiness, youth, beauty,
love--today; and the tomb tomorrow! This contrast has ever most
forcefully appealed to the human heart. Bossuet knew full well the
force of this appeal and again the orator and the occasion were
well met.

“O vanity,” he exclaimed, “O nothingness! O mortals, ignorant of
their destiny! Ten months ago would she have believed it? And you,
my hearers, would you have thought, while she was shedding so many
tears in this place, while I was discharging a like office for the
Queen, her mother--that she would so soon assemble you here to
deplore her own loss? ‘Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.’ Nothing
is left for me to say but that that is the only sentiment which,
in presence of so strange a casualty, grief so well grounded and so
poignant permits me to indulge. No; after what we have just seen,
health is but a name, life is but a dream, glory is but a shadow,
charms and pleasures are but a dangerous diversion.”


“Keep cool, it will be all one in a hundred years.” So we say
to others, so we try to persuade ourselves; but the tempestuous
teapot seems fatally fixed over the live coals of life and the
teapot tempest must as fatally follow. So mightily important,
so imperative, so irresistibly puissant where those seeming
geyser-forces in their day; perhaps we who laugh at their spent
spray would more wisely learn the lessons they may teach us.

But just as a matter of spent spray and evanishing iridescence,
those struggles of the long ago seem magically beautiful; and
the men and women who figured prominently in them seem to peer
through the mist even as flame-light from which flame has fled,
even as pictured pain, reflex sorrows, unrealities--spray-shrouded,
color-clouded. Cleopatra, nobly dead, a Queen forever; ugly old
Socrates growing humanly dear and beautiful to all the ages as he
drinks the poison-hemlock; Marie Antoinette, in the tumbrel, at
the guillotine, under the glittering blade; Charles I. upon the
scaffold, on the block awaiting the headsman’s blow--these things
have been, but now they are not; yet they endure.



Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde, and Malplaquet--somehow these names
lie contiguous in the mind; so stored away, perhaps, in the brain
cells long ago, and thus forever associative.

Where is all that we know when it is not in play upon the plane
of consciousness? Where is the music of a Rachmaninoff--while he
sleeps? the reminiscent wealth of a Gladstone--while he plays with
his great grandchild? the genius of an Edgar Allan Poe--while
narcotic night silences the streets of Baltimore?

“Potentially down in subconsciousness,” says my glib psychologist.
Eloquent answer! But where and what _is_ subconsciousness?

Better is it silently to gaze wide-eyed, sincere, perplexed into
the omnipresent _I-do-not-know_, than to squirrel gyrate in the
old vicious circle, or to cob-web life-deep chaos with verbiage,
subterfuge, and explanations that do not explain.

Blenheim, cumulatively at least, stands for the first and fatal
blow that fortune dealt to her fair haired favorite Louis le Grand.
The treaties of Utrecht (1713) and Rastadt (1714) were an appalling
humiliation to the Grand Monarch who had imperiously dictated the
conditions of Aix-la-Chapelle and Nimeguen.

“There are no longer any Pyrenees”, said Louis XIV., arbiter of
Europe, as his grandson, a boy of seventeen, was raised to the
throne as Philip V. of Spain. And then all Europe flew to arms and
for thirteen years blood flowed and war dogs killed one another
because that boy was on the throne and Louis’ witty words had razed
the Pyrenees.

This war is known as the War of the Spanish Succession. A second
Grand Alliance was formed; England, Holland, Sweden, Savoy, Austria
fought against France. The famous English general, Marlborough,
and Prince Eugene of Savoy, in the service of the Emperor, won the
memorable battles, Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet.

The allies chose for the Spanish throne, the Archduke Charles, of
Austria, the second son of the Emperor Leopold I.; but when after
ten years’ fighting there was a vacancy in the imperial line and
Archduke Charles suddenly became Emperor of Austria, the allies,
fearing the preponderance of Austria in European affairs, withdrew
their claim. Philip V. grandson of Louis XIV., was permitted to
remain upon the throne of Spain.

The war ended disadvantageously for France. Philip V. was obliged
to renounce his claims to the succession in France, so that
France and Spain might never be under the same monarch; and thus
by miracle-words the august Pyrenees were reinstated (of course
they had been deeply disturbed and were, in consequence, duly
grateful!); England obtained Gibraltar and the island Minorca; the
Duke of Savoy was rewarded with the island Sicily, and Austria
obtained Milan, Naples, Sardinia, and part of the Netherlands.

Thirteen years of bloodshed for the whim of an ambitious old man!
And thousands fell on both sides, who if questioned, could not
honestly have told why they were killing one another.

      “‘Now tell us all about the war,
      And what they fought each other for?’
      Young Peterkin he cries,
      While little Wilhelmine looks up
      with wonder waiting eyes.”
             *       *       *       *       *
      “‘It was the English’, Caspar said,
      Who put the French to rout,
      But what they fought each other for--
      I couldn’t well make out:
      But things like that, you know, must be
      At every famous victory.”

And the world is as fatuous as Southey’s old “Caspar”, and we of
the awakening twentieth century are sorely perplexed “Peterkins”.
Why must things like that be; and why do men speak of successful
human slaughter as a “famous victory”; and why do martial music and
blare of trumpet and drum and epaulettes and ribbons and medals and
barbaric pomp in general--succeed in silencing the death groans and
in hiding from view the bloody agonies and the demon horrors of the

      “Why ’twas a very wicked thing”
          Quoth little Wilhelmine.
      “Nay, nay, my little girl”, said he,
      “It was a famous victory.”
      “But what good came of it at last”?
             *       *       *       *       *
      “Why, that I cannot tell”, said he,
      “But ’twas a famous victory.”

And the voice of the questioning child is lost in answerless
fatuity. When will the world hear and honestly answer?


Louis le Grand, greatest of the Bourbons, lived too long. For
seventy-two years (1643-1775) Louis was king and for, at least,
fifty years his power was absolute.

Louis’ long reign had as contemporary English history the
disastrous Civil War and the beheading of Charles I. (1649); the
Cromwellian Protectorate (1653); the Restoration of the Stuarts
(1660); the reign of the Merry Monarch, the misfortunes of James
II., the revolution of 1688, the battle of the Boyne, and the
final deposition and expulsion of James II.; the accession to the
throne of England as King William III., of Louis’ most inveterate
foe, William, Prince of Orange (1688); the death of King William
III. (1702); the reign of Queen Anne, her death, and the beginning
of the House of Hanover (1715).

On the continent the Thirty Years’ War was happily ended by the
treaty of Westphalia (1648). Peter the Great ascended the throne of
Russia (1682). In the great battle of Pultowa (1709) the power of
Sweden was practically annihilated; the madly victorious career of
Charles XII. of Sweden was stopped, and his successes together with
the more solid attainments of his predecessor, Gustavus Adolphus,
were rendered negative; Russia advanced over her prostrate foe to
her place among the nations.

For forty years success, pleasure, honor, power, and glory beamed
in full radiance upon Louis--both as man and monarch. Had he died
even as late as 1702 when William, his great rival foe, died, Louis
would have been, to all appearances, the most blessed of mortals
and his reign the most glorious in the annals of France.

If Pompey the Great had died on his triumphal return from the
Mithradatic war, his life would have been esteemed singularly happy
and free from the reverses and misfortunes that are the ordinary
lot of mortals. But Pompey lived to see all his blushing honors
grow gray, as the admiring eyes that had once adoringly gazed upon
Pompey the Great turned from him, the setting sun, to the dazzling
effulgence of the rising orb, Caius Julius Cæsar. Pharsalia lay in
that alienating gaze and assassination and bloody death.

The last years of Louis XIV. were burdened with many miseries.
His fortitude and magnanimity under these crushing blows form,
perhaps, his best claim to the title _Great_. The War of the
Spanish Succession ended with the humiliating treaty of Utrecht.
Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde, Malplaquet had, in great measure,
swept away all that the successful years had, with blood and
treasure, attained. But it was in his domestic relations that the
aged monarch was most sorely afflicted. The Dauphin died, and a
few months later his second son, the Duke of Burgundy, Fenelon’s
favorite pupil, died; Adelaide of Savoy, wife of the Duke of
Burgundy, soon followed her husband to the grave; their two sons
yet lived, and of these, the elder, a promising youth, died
suddenly and there remained only a delicate infant--the future
Louis XV.

Louis bore all these sorrows with fortitude and sublime
resignation. In the same stoic or heroic attitude of mind he looked
forward into the gathering darkness of death. There is something
truly great in the man who can suffer cataclysmic misfortunes and
deny to himself the relief of a cry of complaint.

Louis died calmly at Versailles, Sept. 1, 1715. His last words were
to his little grandson, a frail boy of five years; sadly the dying
monarch said, “My child, you are about to become a great king. Do
not imitate me either in my taste for building or in my love of
war. Endeavor on the contrary to live in peace with the neighboring
nations. Render to God all that you owe to him and cause his name
to be honored by your subjects. Strive also to relieve the burdens
of your people which I myself have been unable to do.”

And with this futile advice carrying with it his own confession of
failure Louis le Grand died. The king is dead--long live the king!



Russia came into existence as a nation on the day of the victory
of the Muscovite troops under Peter the First over the Swedes and
allies under Charles XII. of Sweden, at Pultowa, A.D. 1709. What
Russia has attained to since that date is known and startling
significant; what she was previous to that date is insignificant.

As Creasy says: “Yet a century and a half (two centuries) have
hardly elapsed since Russia was first recognized as a member of
the drama of modern European history--, previous to the battle of
Pultowa, Russia played no part. Charles V. and his great rival
(Francis I.), our Elizabeth and her adversary Philip of Spain, the
Guises, Sully, Richelieu, Cromwell, De Witt, William of Orange,
and the other leading spirits of the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, thought no more about the Muscovite Czar than we now
think about the King of Timbuctoo.”

Sweden lost on that dread day when “fortune fled the royal Swede”,
all that she had toilsomely gained thro’ the slow centuries. At
one blow her fairest provinces were torn from her; and the rival
Russian throne ascended to European prominence over the prostrate
power of Sweden.

Peter the Great even upon the field of victory fully realized that
Pultowa was for him the key to the Baltic. Even amid the carnage
of the slaughter-field where ten thousand men lay dying or dead
and the Vorksla river ran red, his eagle gaze beheld the Russia
resultant from the Treaty of Nystadt. Exultantly he cried out that
“the sun of the morning had fallen from Heaven, and the foundation
of St. Petersburg at length stood firm.”

From dread Pultowa’s day even to the hour, Russia has steadily
advanced by slow, gigantic strides unto a dominating prominence
among the family of nations. The cabinets of Turkey, Austria,
Germany, Italy, France, and England are secretly tho’ effectively
influenced by Russia.


Napoleon said that all Europe would ultimately become either
Muscovite or Republican. Which shall it be? The answer as deduced
from present tendencies might be--Republican: but no thoughtful
observer can fail to regard attentively and apprehensively that
sullen Sclavonic dominance extending insidiously and simultaneously
into India, Persia, Mongolia, Turkey, the Balkans, and Central

Amalgamation, the mergence of the many into one,
sameness--quiescent and content under a powerful, capable, and
just administration, seem to be and ever to have been the ideal
form of government. The empires of the past--Egyptian, Babylonian,
Persian, Grecian, Roman; the Holy Roman Empire and the Socialistic
commune of the future--all include as fundamental principle this
solidarity. So far, indeed, it has proved a marsh-light leading to
the marsh; but we dream that it will yet lead out of and beyond the
muddy, bloody marsh and ultimately light up millennial realms of
world-wide oneness, goodness, gladness, peace.


When Charles set out on that expedition having for its object the
castigation and possible subjugation of the upstart Tartar hordes
weakly held together by Peter of Russia,--all Europe believed that
Charles would briefly and successfully accomplish that object.

Sweden was then a power for whose alliance and friendly interest
the most powerful monarchs of Europe contended. Louis XIV. of
France sought the aid of Charles in the war then waging between
France and England; and Marlborough, leader of the English forces
in France, went personally to the court of Charles in order to
solicit that monarch’s aid or at least his neutrality in the great
struggle then in progress.

Charles himself was fully confident of victory; and in his
romantic plans drawn up for the future, the overthrow of Peter
formed only an episode. A year, perhaps, would be required for the
full accomplishment of the Russian enterprise; then he, Charles
of Sweden, victor of Moscow and arbiter from the Kremlin, would
hastily return to western Europe and begin preparations on a
gigantic scale for his master-achievement--the dethronement of the
Pope of Rome, and the demolition of the Papacy.

Desire-dream of many; achievement of none: for this magic
Gibraltar elusively endures bearing its age-old scars as brightest
ornamentations. Charles XII. did not, indeed, attack Rome; but did
Pultowa save the Papacy? No: the missiles of the Madman of the
North whether hurled in the real or only in that futile future
plan, would have been equally ineffectual; the magic rock would,
perhaps bear another scar bright shining today as trophy of its
past struggle and victory.

The lesson of history would seem to teach mortals to expect the
unexpected. At Saratoga, at Valmy, at Pultowa, in the Teutoberger
Wald, at Marathon, and at Babylon--the undreamed of, the altogether
unanticipated, unprepared for, both by the combatants themselves
and the world-spectators--took place.

Charles XII., who had set out from Sweden with an army of
eighty-five thousand men, Swedes and allies, escaped from the
shambles of Pultowa only by swimming across a river red with
blood and thus reaching an alien shore weak, wounded, a fugitive,
and comparatively alone. Eighty-five thousand men died for the
gratification of the personal ambition of the Swedish king; and,
by the irony of fate, for the ruination of their native land and
the aggrandizement of Peter the First, subsequently and, perhaps,
consequently Peter the Great, of Russia.


The battle of Pultowa was the first decisive victory of the
Sclavonic race over the Germanic. Arnold, in his _Lectures on
Modern History_, says that the last chapter of the history
of Europe will narrate the achievements leading to Muscovite
ascendency and the glories of world-dominant Panslavism.

Do nations and races attain only to a certain degree of excellence
and then deteriorate? And is that the plan fatefully fixed for the
planet Earth? Mycenæ, Troy, Philæ, Babylon, Athens make answer in
the affirmative.

A poem, _Christ in the Universe_, by Alice Meynell comes to mind.
In a few master touches the writer describes God’s way of revealing
Himself to us mortals:

      “With the ambiguous earth
      His dealings have been told us; these abide:
      The signal to a maid, the human birth,
      The lesson, and the Young Man crucified.”

But do the other planets of our solar system, do the stars, those
countless suns controlling countless planets--know aught of God’s
way of dealing with our Earth? Or can we even in loftiest flight of
thought conceive “in what guise He walked the Pleiades, the Lyre,
the Bear?”

Then the good glad confidence of the soul in touch with God, in
tune with the Infinite, in Te Deum ecstasy of exultation, overflows
in the concluding lines:

      “Oh, be prepared, my soul;
      To read the unconceivable, to scan
      The million forms of God those stars unroll
      When in our turn we show to them--a Man.”

They are indeed blessed in whom dwells this abiding confidence,
and for whom at times at least, there is overflow in Te Deum
exaltation. The slaughter-fields of history and rivers rolling
red; the answerless Whys wailing from out the past forlorn as
Pharaoh-ghosts in search of non-existent mummies; the chaos of it
all, from Memphis to modern Cairo; the damnable wrongs, the demon
cruelties, the awful sufferings, the hellish horrors--all sound
sonoral in orchestral harmony when faith and hope and good glad
confidence play dominant and the soul is exultant in God.


Charles XII. never rallied from the defeat of Pultowa. He did,
indeed, linger for a time in Turkey, striving to enlist the
sympathies of the Sultan in his behalf. And history relates that
at last the Sultan yielded to the importunities of Charles, and
that an army was fitted out for the invasion of Russia: but the
command of the forces was entrusted to the Vizier, not to Charles.
And the story runs that the Russians were completely trapped by the
Turkish troops and Pultowa seemed about to be avenged and the hand
of destiny turned backward; when Catherine, later the wife of Peter
the Great and first Empress of Russia, seeing the hopelessness
of exit from the trap into which the Russians had fallen, went
secretly by night into the tent of the Grand Vizier, and by her
charms, and by her gifts of gold, diamonds, and pearls bribed the
stern old soldier so that he failed to see the following day that
the Russians were secretly stealing away from the trap in which he
had caught them.

Charles withdrew to Sweden and, a war having broken out between
Norway and Sweden, he was killed at the siege of Frederickshall:
but just how he met death is not authoritatively known. He was
found dead in the trenches the night preceding the battle.

Voltaire has sympathetically told the story of Charles XII. of
Sweden. His meteoric career has often been used, as Johnson happily
said, “to point a moral or adorn a tale.” He ranks with Alexander
and Napoleon in personal magnetism, in phenomenal attainment, and
in the ultimate loss and evanishment of all attained. His name and
fame are ever subtly suggestive of--

                          Dread Pultowa’s day
      When fortune left the royal Swede;
      Around a slaughtered army lay
      No more to combat and to bleed;
      The power and fortune of the war
      Had passed to the triumphant Czar.



The surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga, though not, perhaps,
properly classed among battles, is, nevertheless, properly classed
among events momentous in their influence upon the destinies of
nations. Looking upon the American Revolution as a whole and from
a dispassionate distance, Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga is seen
to be the fateful turning of the tide which rolled from crest-wave
English victory back to slow but sure English discomfiture and
ultimate defeat.

As a result of the Colonial victory at Saratoga came recognition
of _the Independent United States of America_, first from France,
later from Spain, and still later from Holland. Confidence was
established; untried troops had stood breast to breast against
veterans of the British army, against skilled Grenadiers, and these
untried troops had won; they had caused the proud British general
to retreat from place to place, they had surrounded him at last on
Saratoga Heights and forced him to capitulate. The independence
of the thirteen original states and all evolutionary Republican
America lay potential in the victory of Generals Gates and Arnold
over Burgoyne and his veterans at Saratoga.


      “The best laid plans of mice and men
      Gang aft agley.”--_Burns._

Burgoyne’s plan was good; and had not General St. Leger failed to
capture Fort Stanwix and then to proceed along the Mohawk to its
confluence with the Hudson and there join his force to that of
Burgoyne; and had not General Baum failed to win the battle of
Bennington and so secure the magazines of provisions so sorely
needed by the British army; and had not Lord Howe considered
it more advantageous to cross over to the Delaware and attack
Philadelphia, rather than remain at New York ready for emergency;
and had not General Clinton been retarded in his victorious advance
up from Albany; if all, or perhaps any one of these conditions
had been the reverse of what they were, why, history might be the
reverse of what it is.

Momentous little things--so seeming trifling, inconsequential,
negligible--and yet potential of cataclysmic calamity! An insect
bores into the heart of an oak, and the forest monarch falls: a
tiny trickling rill freezes in the rock and the mountain is rent
asunder; a pine twig breaks under its weight of snow and the
awful avalanche comes crashing down. In the moral world, too, the
results seem altogether out of proportion to the cause: a glance
of suspicion and the bloom of perfect trust is gone from the heart
forever; an unkind word and love withers, a deed--it dies; one lie,
one little wormy lie, and the fair integrity of character has in it
the boring insect with which it may, indeed, flourish full foliage
for a season, but by which, in the end, it must, being hollow
hearted, succumb to the storm and fall and die.

Perhaps when Burgoyne sent for the Indians and made them part of
his fighting force, he then admitted into his moral makeup, as well
as his military, the mighty _little thing_ which should silently
yet forcefully work disaster. For many men who were irresolute as
to which side to join, being indeed loyal at heart to the mother
country and hesitating to strike against her, boldly threw in
their fortunes with the Colonists when they heard that the Red Man
formed part of the force of the advancing army. They knew what
savage warfare meant even better than Burgoyne knew. Many are
inclined to excuse Burgoyne on the plea that he knew nothing of
the horrible atrocities of the Indians when intoxicated with the
blood of battle: but fate did not excuse him. His Indians never
knew the intoxication of victorious battle--thanks to the stern
resolution of men who fought in defence of mothers, sisters, wives,
and children shuddering in nearby homes: and as defeat came and
ignominious retreat from post to post before the enraged advance
of a conquering foe, the Indians deserted the army and slunk away
through the western wilds back to their native tribes.


Strange that history remembers only Arnold the Traitor and not
Arnold the hero of Ticonderoga, Quebec, and Saratoga. Too bad he
didn’t die in that brilliant charge upon Burgoyne’s intrenchments,
where after overcoming all obstacles and apparently just on the
point of victory he was wounded in the same leg that had been
painfully injured in the assault on Quebec--and carried fainting
and profusely bleeding from the field. To be twice wounded for a
cause and then to betray it--perverse human heart, who shall know
its depths of perversity!

And yet the events since that time, which Arnold could not foresee
or foreknow, rather than the concomitant circumstances of that
time, which Arnold saw and knew, have proclaimed him Traitor. And
had the results been otherwise, had not his own mad efforts helped
turn the tide at Saratoga, Arnold might now be known as a shrewdly
diplomatic young officer who, influenced by a beautiful Tory
wife and seeing the cause of the Colonists desperate, had timely
transferred his allegiance to the British army and bravely helped
along the conquering cause of the mother country.

And Major Andre sleeps in honored rest in old Westminster Abbey;
while the man twice wounded in battle, the hero of Ticonderoga,
Quebec, and Saratoga sleeps in an unhonored grave having as
epitaph indelibly traced upon surrounding air and earth and water
and sky--Arnold the Traitor.


General Frazer was mortally wounded in the engagement which took
place October 7th. He died in camp the following day. The Italian
historian Botta gives the following account of his burial. “Toward
midnight, the body of General Frazer was buried in the British
camp. His brother officers assembled sadly around while the
funeral service was read over the remains of their brave comrade,
and his body was committed to the hostile earth. The ceremony,
always mournful and solemn of itself, was rendered even terrible
by the sense of recent losses, of present and future dangers, and
of regret for the deceased. Meanwhile, the blaze and roar of the
American artillery amid the natural darkness and stillness of the
night came on the senses with startling awe. The grave had been dug
within range of the enemy’s batteries; and while the service was
proceeding, a cannon ball struck the ground close to the coffin,
and spattered earth over the face of the officiating chaplain.”

There is something painfully pathetic in the scene thus presented
to the imagination. War has no respect for the rights of the living
or the dying or the dead.


On the 13th of October, 1777, General Burgoyne, besieged by
overpowering numbers on the heights of Saratoga and seeing that his
army was facing disease and famine, and being unable to establish
communication either with Lord Howe or with General Clinton--opened
negotiations with General Gates as to conditions of surrender.

At first General Gates demanded that the royal army should
surrender themselves prisoners of war. Burgoyne refused.

It was later agreed upon that “the troops under General Burgoyne
were to march out of their camp with the honors of war, and the
artillery--of the entrenchments, to the verge of the river, where
the arms and the artillery were to be left. The arms to be piled
by word of command from their own officers. A free passage was to
be granted to the army under Lieutenant General Burgoyne to Great
Britain upon condition of not serving again in North America during
the present contest.”

These conditions having been formally accepted, an army of weak and
wounded men laboriously descended the heights and marched out to
the place appointed for the laying down of arms. General Gates was
on this occasion extremely courteous, and the Colonial troops were
soon fraternizing with the English soldiers and striving in every
way to supply their many needs and wants.

General Clinton, who was but fifty miles down the river with
supplies and men, heard with dismay of Burgoyne’s surrender. Lord
Howe’s plans were all broken up by this sudden change of fortune.
And the far away, sleepily stubborn British Parliament felt the
first cold intimation that it might possibly be _wrong_ and Burke
might possibly be _right_ in their respective estimates of the
rebel children in the wide awake, wonderful New World.

And so the failure of the New York plans, culminating in Burgoyne’s
surrender at Saratoga, proved to be one of the mighty _little
things_ potential of results that change the destinies of nations.



“Bury my heart in Valmy,” said Kellerman, soldier of the Seven
Years’ War, victor of Valmy, Marshal of France under the first
Napoleon, and court favorite of the Bourbons--as the shadows of
old-age death deepened into darkness. And they buried his heart in

A simple monument on the crest of the hill, the bloodiest spot of
the one-time battle ground, tells to the thoughtful stranger the
story of a restless heart o’er whom as o’er Madame de Stael and
many another heir of a checkered heritage might be engraved as
epitaph, “Here rests one who never rested.”

The era ushered in by the battle of Valmy was especially prolific
of men whose political principles changed violently from one
extreme to the other; only to rebound again and again, until, at
length, weariness and cynic scorn of good in anything caused them
to drift in perplexed acquiescence wherever the tide rolled longest
and strongest. Talleyrand, Dumouriez, Marquis de la Rouarie,
Kellerman, La Fayette, Mirabeau, Duc de Chartres, and even Napoleon
Bonaparte were, in great measure, moulded into their respective
historic moulds by the lurid lightning play of antithetic forces
ever fatefully flashing and slashing and crashing around them.


Yet in August, 1792, when sixty thousand Prussians, and forty
thousand Austrians and fifteen thousand of the old French
_noblesse_ started out upon that “military promenade to Paris”:
or on the morning of September 20th, when that victoriously
advancing column prepared gaily for its first skirmish with the
raw revolutionary levies who filled the passes of the Argonne
wooded heights and threatened to impede that “promenade”--who could
see, or who could dare to dream what the issue of that encounter
would be; what results would follow; what rivers of blood would
flow; what lordly heads would roll from under the guillotine; what
national madness would break out barking at the peace of Europe;
what mighty Madman would arise urging on that national madness even
to Wagram, Austerlitz, Moscow, Leipsic, Waterloo!


Had Kellerman failed to come up just in time to join forces
with Dumouriez: had the Prussian advance been just an hour or
two earlier: had the heavy mists lifted from the Valmy hill
and Argonne wood revealing the relative positions of Kellerman
and Dumouriez: had the forcing of the defile by Clairfayt and
his Austrian corps proved fatally successful: had the Duke of
Brunswick resolutely charged a second time up that hill of
bristling bayonets: had the King of Prussia, urged on by a vision
of the future, authoritatively commanded that the hill be taken
and himself led the charge: ah! so we learnedly say from the calm
eminence far away, but history is made in the low blind fury of
the fray. Perhaps, too, there were potently at work upon that
fated battlefield, forces that elude the gaze of the dreamer on
the height far away:--a determining animus, moral and spiritual
potencies formed by the slow centuries and long controlled, but
now liberated and wildly free. Ghosts of ten thousand wrongs may
have arisen between the gilded ranks of the French _noblesse_ and
the ragged rows of the Carmagnoles: and, as the spirits that arose
over the tent of Richard the Third, the night before the battle
of Bosworth Field, cursed Richard and blessed Richmond; threatened
Richard with defeat and death on the morrow and cheered Richmond
with hopes and promises of victory; fought intangibly, invisibly,
yet potently present amid the awful carnage of Bosworth field
even until death trampled down Richard: so, in like manner, may
the ghosts of ten thousand wrongs have arisen between the men of
the old _regime_ and of the rebellious new--fighting for their
fellow-wrongs still writhing in the flesh, fighting the old, old
fight of retaliation, compensation, stern adjudication, infinite
justice. As the sun’s rays that reach earth are but one-millionth
of the rays emitted by the sun, so for every thing known, bright
shining on the historic page, there are a million things unknown.


About seven o’clock on that battle morn as the mists were
dissipating, the successfully united French forces saw with dismay
the slowly advancing army of the allies; long lines of Prussian
cavalry, Austrian light troops, solid columns of infantry,
batteries of artillery filled the valley and moved slowly,
sinuously toward the Valmy height.

Dumouriez anxiously scanned the white strained faces of his untried
troops. Would they fail him in the crucial hour? Would they break
away in panic rout when the death-play began? It was their custom.

      “He who fights and runs away
      May live to fight another day.”

At Tournay, at Lille, and in general throughout the opening
campaign this uncertain “heap of shriekers” had fled away as satyrs
pursued by Pan when the death-play began. Would the Carmagnoles of
today, and, at deepest heart, the _Jacquerie_ of many a yesterday,
dare to fight face to face and hand to hand against the august
_seigneurs_ of the old regime--late their dread lords and masters?
Three hundred years of culture lay between them.

Of all who took part in the battle that day, either among the
allies or the revolutionary forces, perhaps not one realized the
full importance of what had taken place as did Johan Wolfgang von
Goethe--then a young man and comparatively unknown; he had followed
the allies as a spectator, a curious seeker of strange scenes, a
bold hot-blood eager as his own Wilhelm Meister to taste adventure
at its source and to know the ways of the world in love and in war.
Goethe, with the unerring insight of genius, perceived that victory
to the Carmagnoles marked a new era. In his own words to comrades
in camp on the night following the battle; “From this place and
from this day forth commences a new era in the world’s history, and
you can all say you were present at its birth.”


Simultaneously with victory at Valmy, France broke from the cocoon
of monarchical forms and proclaimed herself a Republic. Even while
the battle was raging, the National Convention in Paris were
engaged in this deliberation, this liberation. The Republic of
France dates from September 20th, 1792. And under the regrettable
excesses of the Revolution, the reactionary repression of the First
Empire, of the Bourbon restoration, the revolt of 1830, of 1848,
even to Sedan and the hour--the spirit of democracy, of liberty and
independence born Sept. 20th, 1792, has flourished and flourishes
indestructibly, imperishably.

And yet as Dumouriez said, “France (revolutionary) was within a
hair’s breadth of destruction.” And had victory gone that day to
the allies, the throne of Louis XVI. would have been reinstated
on foundations so firm that centuries would not shake it. For in
La Vendee and throughout Brittany there was at that time a strong
uprising in favor of the throne: men such as the admirable old
Marquis de la Rouarie were abandoning the Revolutionary cause
and turning decisively back to monarchical principles; moreover
the recent atrocious September massacres had alienated the more
conservative and thoughtful men throughout France. Never was the
time more propitious for the return of the mild and humane Louis
XVI., the re-establishment of the monarchy, the substitution of
Reform for Revolution, and of concessive peace for fratricidal war.
But by that hair’s breadth republican France won; and that winning
mustered out the gentlemanly old regime and ushered in the arrogant
awful new.

The spirit of Valmy flies eagle-free over the world today. It is
the spirit making possible the face to face and hand to hand fight
between the laborer and the capitalist, the soldier and the king,
woman and man: and that Spirit tells strange and terrible tales of



Waterloo stands for the sudden darkening of the blazing comet,
Napoleon; and for the return of France to the realm of the real
after twenty-five years of hysterical unreality. Consequentially,
too, Waterloo meant the relaxation of the terrible war-tension
which had held rigid both Europe and the civilized world. The
victor-trampling of Napoleon’s troops was heard on this side of the
Atlantic; and our second war with England (1812-1814) was, in great
measure, both in origin and in purposeless conclusion, the result
of that victor-trampling.

After Waterloo (June 18, 1815) the war-weary world snapped tension
and sank to rest; tho’ perhaps the secret terror tremor was not
utterly stilled until six years later (May 5, 1821) when Napoleon,
Man of Destiny, lay dead at St. Helena.

Youth may idolize Napoleon, age may condemn: but so long as
human nature is what it is, we ordinary mortals--knowing the
difficulties that attend success, eminence, excellence; knowing the
almost insuperable obstacles that bar the way to supremacy, be it
cosmopolitan, national, provincial, municipal, or parochial--will
ever regard with loving wonder the man who won excellence and
world-wide supremacy.

It has been said that a base man or a thoroughly selfish man cannot
truly love or inspire love. Whom did Napoleon love? History answers
_Napoleon_. Yet Napoleon certainly inspired love. Josephine, the
army, the Old Guard devotedly loved Napoleon. In the song from the
French “To Napoleon” beginning with the line, “Must thou go, my
glorious Chief”, some ardent admirer lamenting Napoleon’s downfall
and doom cries out:

      “My chief, my king, my friend, adieu!
          Never did I droop before;
      Never to my sovereign sue,
          As his foes I now implore:
      All I ask is to divide
          Every peril he must brave;
      Sharing by my hero’s side
          His fall, his exile, and his grave.”

And elsewhere we read that at Napoleon’s farewell “all wept, but
particularly Savary, and a Polish officer, who had been exalted
from the ranks by Bonaparte. He clung to his master’s knees; wrote
a letter to Lord Keith, entreating permission to accompany him,
even in the most menial capacity, which could not be admitted.”

Too bad Nap didn’t die with the Old Guard. At _La Belle Alliance_
in the midst of that last square of his death-devoted friends and
lovers Napoleon should have died. “The Guard dies, it does not
surrender” replied that gallant band as they awaited the last
terrible onslaughts of the victor-breathing troops and thus were
they hewn down even to a man. And while this slaughter of his
Guard was going on, Napoleon, urged and aided by Marshal Soult,
was galloping away from the field. Too bad Napoleon didn’t die at


Hoping to strike a decisive blow at the Prussian forces under
Blücher before they could effect a junction with Wellington’s
advancing army, Napoleon marched upon Ligny (June 16, 1815). He
left Marshal Ney at _Quatre-Bras_ with instructions to oppose
the advance of the English army towards Ligny, and to fight
if necessary. Ney, taking advantage of Wellington’s temporary
absence, (he had ridden across to confer with Blücher and was then
hastening back) resolved to attack the Anglo-Netherland forces
under the Prince of Orange. He was repulsed; nevertheless he
succeeded in checking the advance of the army towards Ligny.

In the meantime Napoleon had gained a victory over eighty
thousand Prussian troops under Blücher, and they were even then
in ignominious retreat towards Wavre. Napoleon ordered Marshall
Grouchy to follow up the Prussians and to prevent them, at any
cost, from joining forces with Wellington. Blücher had been wounded
at Ligny and his army thoroughly demoralized: Grouchy, with an
army of thirty thousand men, seemed more than a match for such an
opponent; and doubtless, Napoleon, when hastening away from Ligny
to oppose his more formidable foe, felt sure that the Prussians and
Blücher were happily eliminated from the conflict confronting him.

But in that conference between Wellington and Blücher, it had been
agreed upon that in case of defeat at Ligny, Blücher should retreat
towards Wavre, and Wellington would withdraw towards Waterloo; so
that they would still be in line of direct communication, and a
union of forces might be effected. Wellington and Blücher trusted
each other implicitly. “Whether after victory or defeat, come to
me at Waterloo,” said Wellington. “I will come,” answered Blücher
grimly and--he came.

The following day (June 17) a reinforcement under Bülow reached
Blücher at Wavre; thus the loss sustained at Ligny was made good.
At Grouchy’s approach the following morning (June 18) Blücher
resolved to sacrifice deliberately a regiment of seventeen thousand
men in order to detain Grouchy and keep him from returning to
Napoleon, while he (Blücher) and Bülow with the bulk of the
Prussian army should hasten to the aid of Wellington at Waterloo.

Not at Wavre but at Waterloo was destiny at work; this Blücher
knew and he acted accordingly: this Grouchy did not know; and
after completely routing with great slaughter the Prussians
under Thielman, he kept up a meaningless pursuit following a
will-o-the-wisp, whilst Napoleon, after sending to him messenger
after messenger urging his aid, stood still at last and deadly pale
under the gorgeous June sunset, and saw all his hopes and dreams
go down in darkness as the ominous moving cloud emerging from the
direction of Wavre and advancing, glitteringly advancing, proved to
be Blücher--not Grouchy.

That deliberate leaving of seventeen thousand men as a bait in a
trap for the victorious French forces thundering onward from Ligny
is typical of the demon ingenuity of war. I have read somewhere
that in darkest Africa the lure to the tiger trap is a kid securely
fastened. Its fearful bleatings attract the night prowling brute:
there is a spring: then awful shrieks arise growing shriller and
shriller as the pangs of being devoured alive grow tenser and more
terrible: by this time the cannibals are upon the scene and the
trap is sprung.

Seventeen thousand soldiers as kid to the tiger lure--and men call
themselves civilized! Could a woman do that? No; woman is higher in
the moral scale than man. And the higher, thank God, is the kinder,
tenderer, the more compassionate. Wars and all hellish machinations
of cruelty must cease as the race, as a whole, advances into that
higher. And advancement, even tho’ zigzag, shall ultimately attain
to the higher and even to the highest. We dream so.


Perhaps no other battlefield of the historic past has been more
frequently described or rendered more vivid to mental vision than
the field of Waterloo. Victor Hugo’s masterly portrayal in _Les
Miserables_ is doubtless the best; but Sir Walter Scott, Lord
Byron, Captain Siborne, and Napoleonic writers _ad infinitum_ have
added richness of tonal qualities to the monochrome.

Those two long lines of undulating hills running nearly parallel,
with a valley half a mile in width between; the allied army under
Wellington on the northern ridge, the devoted French forces on
the southern; the artillery of each army firing incessantly upon
the other over the heads of the combatants in the valley and on
the lower slope; the forest of Soignies darkly waving in the
rear of Wellington’s forces; the village and ravine at the right
warding off a possible flank movement; the two hamlets La Haye and
Papillote at the left, strongly garrisoned of course and then, too,
expectant of Blücher’s approach from Wavre; Hougoumont, an old
stone chateau surrounded by a copse of beech trees, half way down
the slope nearly in front of the British right center--strongly
fortified, most important, strategic; Hougoumont--to be taken and
retaken seven times during that day of destiny and held at last
in flaming ruins by the British; the farm house La Haie Sainte
somewhat down from the British left center, heavily garrisoned,
expectant of what came; the French forces in superb battle array on
the Charleroi crest of the hill, with an open way to France behind
them and the hamlet La Belle Alliance, Napoleon’s headquarters, and
their idol Napoleon--before: why every school-boy knows the plan of
this most famous battlefield!

Had Napoleon’s star not been fatally descendant he must have won
at Waterloo. His forces, seventy-two thousand, were numerically
stronger than the opposing forces seventy-one thousand eight
hundred and five, under Wellington; then, too, his army was a unit
and unanimously devoted to him, whereas Wellington’s army was a
mixup of Belgians, Dutch, Nassauers, Brunswickers, Hanoverians,
with only twenty-four thousand English troops upon whom he could
implicitly rely. Wellington knew and Napoleon knew that the Belgian
and Netherland forces would far rather be fighting under the
French eagles than against them. And in truth these regiments did
disgracefully run away from before the advancing French columns
in the crisis of the strife, and the demoralizing effect of
their flight was counteracted only by the superhuman efforts and
life-sacrificing devotedness of England’s two brave heroes Picton
and Ponsonby.

It is true that Wellington confidently awaited a strong Prussian
reinforcement, eighty thousand--and Blücher. It is equally true
that owing to heavy rainfall and consequently almost impassable
roads between Wavre and Waterloo, Blücher who was eagerly looked
for at 3 p. m. did not reach the field until 7 p. m. and at that
time the battle was practically won by the British.

Had Napoleon’s pristine favor been accorded him--the magic favor
of fate that had made possible Areola, Rivoli, Jena, Ulmn, Wagram,
Austerlitz--he would have defeated Wellington at Waterloo, advanced
upon the advancing Prussians and completely routed them; and then
he would have hastened to crush separately and before a junction
could be effected the various contingencies of the Coalition even
then converging upon him by way of the Rhine, the Alps, and the
Pyrenees. But fate forsook her favorite at Waterloo. Olympian Zeus,
jealous of Promethean man, has decreed that if once, then certainly
not _twice_, shall a mortal transcend the lot of mortals.

It rained all night long that memorable seventeenth of June,
the night before the battle. Of those forces that thus drearily
bivouacked upon the opposing hills, some fifty thousand men thus
passed their last night upon earth. Nature wept for them. The skies
dissolved in tears at the mad folly of mortals. Rain, inconsolable
rain, fell from the early afternoon of the seventeenth, thro’
all the night, and sobbingly drizzled late on the morning of the
eighteenth as the armies went out to battle.

That dreary last night of life for fifty thousand men--what did
it mean to them! Did any flint-glitterings, struck out of sullen
gloom, zigzag thro’ the darkness of their minds? Why should
they fight? Why should they kill and be killed on the morrow?
Wellington, Napoleon--what were they to the common soldier; he
would be free, he would go to his home, he would live his life as
God gave it to him to live. Desert on the eve of battle! Ah, no!
Yet, why not?

“So free we seem, so fettered fast we are.” Honor bound tonight and
death bound tomorrow night! Who of those sleeping in yonder tents,
under the rain, shall fall tomorrow? Whom shall he kill? Who may

      “Some one has blundered.”
             *       *       *       *       *
      “Theirs not to make reply,
      Theirs not to reason why,
      Theirs but to do and die.”

Again, why? Half a million men must die because Napoleon
blundered--Why! And the tears of the rain made answer.

At half past eleven o’clock Sunday morning, June 18, shortly after
the village church bells had ceased ringing, the French forces
began descending the slope of the southern ridge and were soon
dashing across the valley. Their first object was the capture of
Hougoumont. In the words of Creasy: “Napoleon began the battle by
directing a powerful force from his left wing under his brother,
Prince Jerome, to attack Hougoumont. Column after column of the
French now descended from the west of the southern heights, and
assailed that post with fiery valor, which was encountered with the
most determined bravery. The French won the copse round the house,
but a party of British Guards held the house itself throughout
the day. Amid shell and shot, and the blazing fragments of part
of the buildings, this obstinate contest was continued. But still
the English held Hougoumont, tho’ the French occasionally moved
forward in such numbers as enabled them to surround and mask this
post with part of their troops from their left wing, while others
pressed onward up the slope, and assailed the British right.”

The fight then became general all along the line. As the French
advanced to the left center the Dutch and Belgians under Blyant
threw down their arms and fled from the field, whether as result of
fright, disinclination to fight, or treachery will, perhaps, never
be known. The second line consisted of two brigades of English
infantry and with these the gallant Picton charged the advancing
French columns already flushed with victory. Volley after volley
thinned the advancing ranks and then, at the opportune moment, the
British made a fierce bayonet charge. The French reeled back in
confusion, halted, and staggering tried to rally, but just then
a brigade of English Cavalry rushed down upon them. Two thousand
French soldiers were taken prisoners, the artillery-men of Ney’s
seventy-four advanced guns were sabered and the guns rendered
useless. The British cut the throats of the horses of the artillery
wagons, and severing the traces, left these poor brutes maddened
with pain to add to the horror of the slaughter. In this charge
Picton fell.

At La Haie Sainte, the fortified farm house that served as
protection of the British left wing, the French performed prodigies
of valor. At last Donzelot’s infantry gained possession of this
long desired point of vantage.

About 4 o’clock a corps of Prussians under Bülow made its
appearance at the French right. This disconcerted Napoleon’s plan
of general assault on the allied center. He sent ten thousand men
under Lobau to hold Bülow in check.

In the meantime, Wellington ordered another assault to be made
for the re-capture of La Haie Sainte. Ney repelled this attack,
but sent for reinforcements. Napoleon sent him the cuirassiers
under Milhaud. By mistake the forces of light cavalry under
Lefebvre-Desnouettes joined the cuirassiers and hastened to the
assistance of La Haie Sainte. Ney finding himself in command of
two powerful bodies of horse resolved to take the offensive; he
accordingly renewed the attack upon the British center. Wellington
had arranged his men in squares; these hedged in with bayonets
presented an almost impenetrable front to the enemy. Still they
showed signs of wavering; and Ney seeing his advantage sent
hurriedly for a reinforcement of infantry; Napoleon could send no

Lobau had succeeded in driving Bülow out of the village
(Planchenoit) on the French right; La Haie Sainte was still in the
possession of the French; and could Ney have obtained the infantry
he desired, historians agree that he would have succeeded in
forcing the British center. That hour was the pivotal beam of the
battle and it seemed about to dip in favor of France.

Nap watched the scene from the opposite hill. How his heart
must have thrilled to the air of old time victory; Wagram,

It was evening, the western sky was crimson with sunset, night
must soon come and end the conflict. Wellington, too, was ardently
longing that “the night would come or--Blücher.”

And just then on the ominous French right whence Bülow’s division
had been routed an hour ago, another darkly moving mass of men
appeared. Was it Grouchy--hope! or Blücher--despair! It was
Blücher. Napoleon turned deadly pale; he asked for a glass of water
but in his agitation, he spilled more than half the contents ere
his trembling hand could lift the glass to his lips. Thus bitterly
began Napoleon’s Waterloo.

Napoleon concentrated all his available forces, the reserve troops,
and the Old Guard for one more Herculean attack upon the British.
Across the plain they dashed, Ney leading the charge, and over
their heads played the French artillery in an incessant rain of
lead upon the opposing height. Men there were falling under it
like leaves in autumn. Wellington, observing the havoc wrought
by the French guns, ordered the British Guards to lie prone upon
the earth so as to be out of range of the bullets. As the French
approached the foot of the ridge, and even as they advanced up the
slope, the fire from Napoleon’s headquarters continued, but when
they had fairly gained the height, the French guns ceased firing.

On rushed the devoted French columns led by Ney, _bravest of the
brave_, who, covered with blood and dust, hatless, with clothing
torn, and on foot--five horses having been shot under him--still
dared to dream of victory. As the French reached the top of the
hill, for one madly exultant moment they thought that the enemy
had fled; but at Wellington’s hissing command, “Up, Guards, and at
them!”, they stood aghast as the very earth seemed to open and pour
out brigade after brigade of British Red Coats. The onslaught was
awful. Over the crest of the hill and far down the slope the French
were driven saber-slaughtered and slaughtering. _La Garde Reculée_
(The Guard is repulsed)--this cry with its ominous suggestion sped
from blanched lip to lip. And soon the most desperate of all defeat
cries _Sauve qui peut!_ (All’s lost: save himself who can!) became
general among the fleeing French forces.

At La Belle Alliance Napoleon attempted to make a rallying point;
he hastily pressed his few devoted followers into a square,
declaring it his intention to perish with them. But as it is the
surgeon that has most mercilessly used his knife upon others, who
shrinks back in awful dread from the knife as used upon himself:
so Napoleon who had seen thousands of soldiers die of bloody
wounds, could not endure for himself that which he had been willing
to witness in others. As the English drew near and, seeing the
hopelessness of the French position, called upon them to surrender;
and even as General Cambronne gallantly replied, “The Guard dies;
it does not surrender”, Napoleon spurred back his horse, turned,
and galloped at full speed from the field.


Napoleon a second time signed a treaty of abdication just
one hundred days after his flagrant violation of the first
treaty of abdication. One hundred days of doubtful triumph and
then--Waterloo: was it worth while!

The Machiavellian principles--honorable fraud; splendid rascality;
a ruler should combine the qualities of the fox and the lion;
no matter what the means may be, the vulgar are ever caught by
appearances and judge only by the event--which Napoleon had so
deeply imbibed from perusal of his favorite book _Il Principe_,
suffered sudden collapse of inflation and wraith-like glimmered
as will-o-the-wisps in a bog. That stripping away of names and
epithets and phrases and opinions and customs and sunlight success
from the--Lie: and that Lie in naked hideousness black-branded on
the soul for self and all the world to see;--how terrible a triumph
of the unseen over the seen, the real over the apparent, the truth
over the lie! What Austerlitz concealed Waterloo revealed. Outlaw
of Europe, execrable wretch, vile miscreant whom no promises or
vows could hold in honor, etc., were among the uncouth Teutonic
free translations of Nap’s subtly soft _Il Principe_.

And Josephine was dead; she had died a year ago while Nap was at
Elba. Josephine never knew the worst about Napoleon; she never
could have known the “execrable wretch” as the Congress of Vienna
knew him. Love and hate see differently the same objects. As she
would gladly have followed Nap to Elba, so, too, would she have
been a pitying angel at his side in the world-execration after
Waterloo, and in the bitter loneliness of St. Helena. Was Nap, the
real, what he was as known and loved by Josephine or what he was
as seen and hated by the Congress of Vienna; or neither?

That portrait of Napoleon by Delaroche comes to mind. We are sorry
for Nap in his hour of ignominy; we forgive him all the sorrows
that he caused--to others; we look with him fascinated into the
fatal future, we grieve with the stoic grief of the Man of Destiny.

Meissonier’s companion pictures “1807: Friedland” and “1814:
Retreat from Moscow” come to mind. Full success-sun convergent
from Austerlitz, Jena, Wagram shines in “1807”; penumbral shadows
gray-flecked with snows from Borodino, Moscow, Berizina lower in

Louis David’s statuesque picture “Napoleon Crossing the Alps”
comes to mind. It seems the “French Revolution on horse-back” yet
controlled, goaded up the ascent, led out from bleeding France, and
destiny-plunging on towards Italy, Prussia, Austria, Russia.

David’s canvas “Coronation of Napoleon and Josephine” comes sadly
to mind. From that rhapsody of color-splendor to bleak Helena
surf-lashed by the sea; from that act of crowning exaltation to
the signing of abdication at Fontainebleau; from that supreme
success in life to a failure-grave under the willows: ah! surely
there throbs within and between these antithetic scenes all that
enigmatic life may hold for us mortals. Nothing exists beyond--in
pleasure or in pain, in honor or dishonor, in success or failure,
in highest or lowest.


Napoleon spent the last six years of life on the island St. Helena
(Oct. 16, 1815--May 5, 1821). There are various stories told as
to his bitter loneliness whilst in exile, his ceaseless repining
at fate, his chafing chagrin under the cautious coldness of Sir
Hudson Lowe. Nap is most frequently represented walking alone
on the shore, his hands locked behind, his head lowered and his
“broad brow oppressive with his mind” bent sullenly forward. Again
as a caged eagle he stands for hours at a time on the rocky ledge
looking out over the gray waste of waters with eyes straining
towards France. And old ocean always inimical to Napoleon and
coldly conscious of Aboukir and Trafalgar enjoys indifferently
its final triumph. True to Britannia, Ruler of the Wave, the
gray waters roll impenetrable to bribery or betrayal, impervious
to sentiment or sympathy. Napoleon, victor of a hundred fields,
king-maker, arbiter of Europe, is caught and caged; his eagle wings
all torn and bleeding yet dash against the bars; he is eating his
heart, O restless sea, and he gazes on thee: old ocean rolled

Am I tonight participant in the woe that had its hours of agony one
hundred years ago? It seems so.


Balance is hard. And to see clearly all sides of a subject, however
conducive to balance, is destructive of enthusiasm. Hero worship
is, perhaps, a phase of hysteria, but without it there are no
heroes. No name upon the historic page, from Homer’s Achilles down
to Carlyle’s Cromwell, but shines with luster luminous from hero
worship. Alexander, Hannibal, Cæsar, Charlemagne, Napoleon--the
world will ever love them, not perhaps for what they were, but for
the vision splendid with which they are attended, and which was
formed and fitted to them by admiring love.


As Nap paced sleeplessly his rock kingdom under the flaky stars,
did memory ever conjure up a strange night scene in old Vincennes?
The young Duc d’Enghien, last of the race of the great Conde, was
asleep in bed. Suddenly, by order of the First Consul, the French
soldiery aroused the sleeper, dragged him from his luxurious couch,
hurried him across the French frontier, tried him by a military
commission, and then, in a ditch of the castle grounds, that very
night, by order of the First Consul, they shot to death the gay
young man. And they tied a lantern to his breast that it might
serve as target to his heart. Did Nap see that night scene from
under the flaky stars of St. Helena? His _Memoires_ do not so

Did the treacherously yielding waves that lapped his island home
ever suggest to Nap that horror scene, when after Austerlitz, as
the fleeing enemy were escaping over the frozen lake, the French
artillery, by order of the Emperor, played heavily upon the ice;
it cracked, broke, crashed down, and thousands sank within the
treacherous waves. Or did they softly sigh of Berezina, when the
heavily laden bridge broke down and his own devoted soldiers and
friends--those who had stood by him at Borodino, in Moscow, and in
the dread Retreat--struggled in the icy waters? Nap’s _Memoires_ do
not so record.

And the dark rolling billows surf-capped--did they at times suggest
low mounds in churchyards, or ominous ridges on recent battle
grounds? Half a million men had died that Nap might rise and--fall.
All Europe, from Lisbon to Moscow was dotted with their graves.
Surely in the retrospective leisure of exile, however it may have
been in the fever of the empire-strife, there was regret for all
the young life suddenly darkened into death; there was awakening
self-knowledge regretful, remorseful; there was lamentation at the
futility of it all, the horror, the agony, the shame; there was
prayer, the bitter prayer of Thais of the Desert, “Thou who hast
made me have mercy on me!” Maybe: not ours to know the enigmatic
heart of man; we only say there is no record of such feelings in
Nap’s memoirs.

Did the year 1809 loom sullen in retrospect? That year held in
record the capture of Pope Pius VII. and his confinement at Savona;
the ban of excommunication pronounced against Napoleon by his
illustrious prisoner; and Nap’s divorce from Josephine.

The Emperor was at this time at the height of his career. He was
drunk with power. In his hand as playthings were the kingdoms of
Europe, and he awarded them as whim or pleasure urged. To his
brother Joseph, too scrupulous to be great, Nap condescendingly
gave the throne of Spain; to his brother Louis, Holland; to his
brother Jerome, Westphalia; to a favorite general, Bernadotte,
Sweden; to Murat, Naples. At his touch, the Holy Roman Empire--no
longer, indeed, either holy or Roman or an empire--had crumbled
into dust. Germany lay prostrate; Austria humbled; Russia
chastened, yet friendly. Only England, secure in her watery
kingdom, dared to oppose his plans and resist his power.

And then this madman on the dizzy height dreamed a glorious dream.
The Pontiff, Pius VII., prisoner at Savona, would annul the
marriage with Josephine; then he would marry the sister of the Tsar
of Russia; then with the help of Russia he would conquer India and
“so strike England to the heart.” After that “it will be possible
to settle everything and have done with this business of Rome and
the Pope. The cathedral of Paris will become that of the Catholic
world.” And Napoleon shall be all in all. Perhaps, too, this
rhapsody ended half audibly with the adulatory words of the prefect
of Arras, “God created Napoleon and then rested from His works.”

But as seen from gray Helena, the Pope did not annul the marriage
with Josephine, nor did Nap marry the sister of Tsar Alexander or
long retain the friendship of Russia; nor did he conquer India and
so strike England to the heart; nor did he ever have done with that
business of Rome and the Pope. That “business” has seen the rise
and fall of many--and yet shall see.

Was Napoleon a Catholic? He died in the bosom of the Catholic
church after having devoutly received the sacraments. To General
Montholon he said: “I was born in the Catholic religion; I wish
to fulfil the duties it imposes and to receive the succors it
administers.” On another occasion he said, “It would rest my soul
to hear Mass.” These words having been reported to the Pontiff,
Pope Pius VII., one time prisoner at Savona, the gentle old man
immediately petitioned the English government to send a priest to
minister to the spiritual wants of Napoleon. In compliance with the
papal request the Abbe Vignali was sent to St. Helena.

Napoleon in his _Memoires_, speaking of Pius VII., calls him “an
old man full of tolerance and light”; and in euphemistic reference
to his troubles with the pontiff he writes, “Fatal circumstances
embroiled our cabinets; I regret it exceedingly.”

But whatever Nap may have been in exile at St. Helena, certainly in
1809-10, as arbiter of Europe, he was an arch enemy to the Catholic
church, and he acted in flagrant violation of all that the Church
stands for. And had his phenomenal success continued to favor him,
he would, without doubt, have lived and died an enemy to the Church.

Napoleon never ceased to be a deist. “Who made all that,
Gentlemen?” he said one night as he and his friends were gazing at
the starry heavens. As a statesman he perceived that religion is
an ally to good government, and doubtless he was sincere when he
said, “A society without religion is like a ship without a compass;
there is no good morality without religion.” Nap’s re-establishment
of the Church in France after the Revolution, and the Concordat
made in the beginning of his reign; the six years spent at St.
Helena and his death there, would seem to testify that Napoleon was
at deepest heart a sincere child of that Church so tolerant of
human frailty and so divinely compassionate towards those who come
contritely back from error’s devious ways and would sleep the last
sleep in her bosom.


      “The drying up a single tear has more
      Of honest fame than shedding seas of gore.
      And why? because it brings self-approbation:
      Whereas the other, after all its glare,
      Shouts, bridges, arches, pensions from a nation,
      Which (it may be) has not much left to spare,
      A higher title or a loftier station,
      Tho’ they may make Corruption gape or stare,
      Yet in the end, except in Freedom’s battles--
      Are nothing but a child of Murder’s rattles.”--_Byron._

The rattles of this preeminent child of Murder were heard in
deafening clatter over all Europe for twenty years; there is a
singular dearth of the acts that have honest fame or that conduce
to self-approbation. A steely selfishness from first to last marks
the career of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Nearly a hundred years have passed away since Nap’s dread Waterloo.
There have been wars since then and much blood has flowed, tho’
perhaps of no one battle since Waterloo may it decisively be said
that had victory gone other than it did go, all subsequent history
would be essentially different from what it is.

Perhaps in our Civil War the three days’ battle of Gettysburg
may seem to hold a determinant place. The continuance of slavery
and the break up of the young Republic of the West would surely
have made a momentous page of history--but one with which we are
happily unfamiliar. Nor would the import of that page affect only
us and our Republic; both continents are now more or less favorably
influenced by what we now are, so may they have been unfavorably
influenced by what we might have been. But Gettysburg is too near
for perfect vision. Then, too, the personal element, favorable or
unfavorable, is conducive to myopia. So with Waterloo, secure in a
hundred years’ perspective, the Battles of Destiny end.

In a hasty glance over the historic field from Memphis, 5000 B.
C. to Mexico, 1914 A. D.--the great conflicts of nations loom
sullenly as blood red peaks daubing the darkness. There is no
sequence; they lead nowhere; they just sullenly, luridly bleed.
Memphis; Nineveh; Babylon; Marathon, Salamis, Syracuse, Ægospotami,
Leuctra, Mantinea, Chæronea; Granicus, Issus, Arbela; Ipsus;
Cannæ, Zama, Cynoscephalæ, Magnesia, Pharsalia, Philippi, Actium;
Teutobergerwald; Chalons; Tours; Hastings; Orleans; Lepanto;
Blenheim; Naseby; Pultova; Saratoga; Valmy; Waterloo; Gettysburg;
Mukden; Adrianople; Mexico--as blood red peaks dot the darkness. Is
warfare and concomitant hate the natural state of man? The peaks
ooze blood in answer.

Some pessimistic glimmerings of the Epicurean philosophy seem to
scintillate out from the past. And that philosophy, crystallized in
Lucretius’ cynic saying, _Homo homini lupus_ (One man is a wolf to
another man) glitters in icicle harshness and coldness down in the
darkness. And yet amidst this general censure of the heart of man I
hear a shrill true cry of self exculpation. I am not a wolf to man
or beast or bird. My hands are clean; my heart is kind. Am I unique
in the human nature plan? No. May I affirm of self that which I
deny of others? No. My own light illumines the darkness and leads
upward and on.

_Cease Firing, Lay Down Your Arms_, “We speak for those (dumb
animals) who cannot speak for themselves”; “I would not enter on
my list of friends the man who needlessly sets foot upon a worm”;
“He who is not actively kind is cruel”--are among the utterances of
the hour that tip the farthest pendulum-swing from old Lucretius’
snarl. Wars must cease. The searchlight of civilization’s best
thought and feelings is turned full upon war--showing its hitherto
darkly concealed causes; its concomitant wrongs, sufferings,
shamble horrors; its calamitous, nation-suicidal results. However
necessary or inevitable the arbitrament by the sword may have been
in the past, it is so no longer.

Let wars cease: in the name of all the bloody battlefields from
Marathon to Waterloo; and in pity for all the war-woe from Egypt’s
Memphis down to Mexico--let wars cease.


[A] Death of General Nogi.


  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
  corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within
  the text and consultation of external sources.

  Except for those changes noted below, all misspellings in the text,
  and inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained.

  ‘Blucher’ has been replaced everywhere by ‘Blücher’.
  Pg 12, 63: ‘Peloponessian War’ replaced by ‘Peloponnesian War’.
  Pg 12: ‘fractricidal strife’ replaced by ‘fratricidal strife’.
  Pg 13: ‘seemed jubliant in’ replaced by ‘seemed jubilant in’.
  Pg 14: ‘attacked vigoriously’ replaced by ‘attacked vigorously’.
  Pg 19: ‘a fugutive, bereft’ replaced by ‘a fugitive, bereft’.
  Pg 24, 25, 59: ‘Rennaissance’ replaced by ‘Renaissance’.
  Pg 29: ‘terror siezed’ replaced by ‘terror seized’.
  Pg 38: ‘what Seutonius says’ replaced by ‘what Suetonius says’.
  Pg 52: ‘Platea, Salamis’ replaced by ‘Platæa, Salamis’.
  Pg 53: ‘upheavel of any’ replaced by ‘upheaval of any’.
  Pg 59: ‘of Assissi:’ replaced by ‘of Assisi:’.
  Pg 59: ‘Cressy, Potiers’ replaced by ‘Cressy, Poitiers’.
  Pg 60: ‘Gibbons says:’ replaced by ‘Gibbon says:’.
  Pg 60: ‘by the Greks’ replaced by ‘by the Greeks’.
  Pg 66: ‘pentinential expiation’ replaced by ‘penitential expiation’.
  Pg 68: ‘what evancescent’ replaced by ‘what evanescent’.
  Pg 77: ‘conquered at Portiers’ replaced by ‘conquered at Poitiers’.
  Pg 89: ‘Beauvias were’ replaced by ‘Beauvais were’.
  Pg 95: ‘John, ideal Chirstian’ replaced by ‘John, ideal Christian’.
  Pg 98: ‘Ulich Ali, seeing’ replaced by ‘Ulrich Ali, seeing’.
  Pg 98: ‘were siezed as’ replaced by ‘were seized as’.
  Pg 100: ‘similar cricumstances’ replaced by ‘similar circumstances’.
  Pg 103: ‘as a maritine’ replaced by ‘as a maritime’.
  Pg 104: ‘Artistotle, master’ replaced by ‘Aristotle, master’.
  Pg 104: ‘Macchiavelli, serpent’ replaced by ‘Machiavelli, serpent’.
  Pg 104: ‘any more realiable’ replaced by ‘any more reliable’.
  Pg 105: ‘galeons and galeasses’ replaced by ‘galleons and galleasses’.
  Pg 108: ‘buccanneers siezed upon his galeons’ replaced by
          ‘buccaneers seized upon his galleons’.
  Pg 109: ‘Macchievellian queen’ replaced by ‘Machiavellian queen’.
  Pg 109: ‘leaky caravals’ replaced by ‘leaky caravels’.
  Pg 117: ‘his side, abbetted’ replaced by ‘his side, abetted’.
  Pg 124: ‘enimity one’ replaced by ‘enmity one’.
  Pg 128: ‘in the tumbril’ replaced by ‘in the tumbrel’.
  Pg 130: ‘razed the Pyrennees’ replaced by ‘razed the Pyrenees’.
  Pg 130: In the poem by Southey a newline has been added
          after ‘looks up’. The rest of the poem has several lines
          out of order, but this has not been changed.
  Pg 132: ‘the Thiry’ replaced by ‘the Thirty’.
  Pg 138: ‘Te Deum ecstacy’ replaced by ‘Te Deum ecstasy’.
  Pg 140: ‘As result of’ replaced by ‘As a result of’.
  Pg 141: ‘neglegible--and yet’ replaced by ‘negligible--and yet’.
  Pg 146: ‘Prusia, urged’ replaced by ‘Prussia, urged’.
  Pg 149: ‘Brittainy there was’ replaced by ‘Brittany there was’.
  Pg 155: ‘the Coaliton even’ replaced by ‘the Coalition even’.
  Pg 158: ‘joined the curassiers’ replaced by ‘joined the cuirassiers’.
  Pg 160: ‘The Macchievellian’ replaced by ‘The Machiavellian’.
  Pg 160: ‘will-o-the’ wisps’ replaced by ‘will-o-the-wisps’.
  Pg 162: ‘True to Brittania’ replaced by ‘True to Britannia’.
  Pg 162: ‘young Duc d’ Enghein’ replaced by ‘young Duc d’Enghien’.

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