Andrew Lang.

The International library of famous literature : selections from the world's great writers, ancient, mediaeval, and modern, with biographical and explanatory notes and with introductions (Volume SIXTEEN (16)) online

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Online LibraryAndrew LangThe International library of famous literature : selections from the world's great writers, ancient, mediaeval, and modern, with biographical and explanatory notes and with introductions (Volume SIXTEEN (16)) → online text (page 1 of 46)
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Bret Harte.



International jIibrary


Iamous Biterature

Selections from the World's Great Writers, Ancient, Medieval and
Modern, with Biographical and Explanatory Notes

with introductions by











jEMtion t>e %x\xc

Limited to 500 Copies

Copyright, 1898

This Edition de Luxe of The International
Library of Famous Literature is limited
to five hundred complete sets, of which this
copy is number iJ.J.l



Grace before Meat .

The Lass o' Gowrie .

Tammy .

Tales from the Fjeld

After Death

The Rift in the Lute

Kubla Khan

The Shadowless Man

Japanese Poems

The Heathen Chinee

Gambler's Luck

The Song of the Bell

The Man in the Bell

The Bells .

The Fatal Nuptials .

The Red Fisherman ; or the Devil's Decoy

Romance of a Poor Young Man

An Adventure with Brigands .

A Woman's Questioning ....

On the Value and Use of Libraries .

Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay .

To a Swallow building under the Eaves at


Heroism in Housekeeping

Each and All

"Women and Men

The Jackdaw of Rheims ....
Unreasonable Claims in Social Affections

and Relations



A Country Party .

The Goal of Life


The Physiology of Laughter .

Moral Education


Charles Lamb


Carolina Oliphant Nairne .


Carolina Oliphant Nairne .


Peter Christen Asbjornsen


Sir Edwin Arnold .


Jean Paul Bichter


Samuel Taylor Coleridge


Adelbert von Chamisso .


Basil H. Chamberlain (TV.)


Bret Harte ....


E. T. W. Hoffmann


Johann Friedrich von Schiller


William Maginn .


Edgar A. Poe


Eugene Sue ....


Winthrop Mackworth Praed .


Octave Feuillet


Theophile Gautier .


Adelaide Anne Procter .


James Baldwin


George Otto Trevelyan .


Jane Welsh Carlyle


Jane Welsh Carlyle


Balph Waldo Emerson .


Thomas Wentworth Higginson


Bichard Harris Barham


Arthur Helps . . . .


Arthur Hugh Clough



Arthur Schopenhatier .



William H. Mallock


George du Maurier



Philip James Bailey


Herbert Spencer .



Herbert Spencer .





Vanitas ....

The Despotism of Custom

Crossing the Bar

Adventures in Central America

The "W r eisshorn

The Orang-utan

The Mahogany Tree

Naturalism and Ethics

Songs of Seven

Supervision and Control

Amiel's Journal

The Attic Philosopher

How's my Boy ?

New York after Paris

The King of Denmark's Ride

In the Toils .

The Escape


The Bread Riot

Lady Moon

Saved from the Quicksands

Dinners .

A Dog of Flanders

In School Days

Nora's Resolve

A Pastor's Love

Pilate and the Crucifixion

of Other Worlds


Johann W. Goethe . 7580

John Stuart Mill . . . 758I

Alfred Tennyson . . . 7596

Laurence Oliphant . . 7597

John Tyndall . . . 7609

Alfred Bussel Wallace . .7621

Wm. Makepeace Thackeray . 7630

Arthur James Balfour . . 7631

Jean Ingelow . . . . 7644

Bichard A. Proctor . . 7652

Henri Frederic Amiel . . 7664

Emile Souvestre . . . 7674

Sydney Dobell . . . 7686

William C. Brownell . . 7688

Caroline Norton . . . 7699

Gustav Freytag . . . 7700

Maxwell Gray . . . 7714

Charles Stuart Calverley . 7733

Dinah Mulock . . . 7735

Lord Houghton . . . 7749

Grant Allen .... 7750

Owen Meredith . . . 7765

Louise de la Bamee . . 7765

John Greenleaf Whittier . 7775

Henrik Ibsen .... 7777

iZdouard Bod . . . 7789

Frederick William Farrar . 7797




Charles Lamb Frontispiece

Jean Paul Friedrich Richter 7334

Francis Bret Harte 7365

The Gaming Table 7386

Voices of the Tocsin 7394

Eugene Sue 7414

The Abbot of the Sea 7437

Thebphile Gautier 7469

" Before I trust my fate to thee " 7480

Home of Ralph Waldo Emerson 7510

Thomas Wentworth Higginson 7515

Arthur Schopenhauer 7529

Balliol College, Oxford 7544

Herbert Spencer 7561

John Stuart Mill 7581

The Alps 7609

" Heigh-ho ! daisies and buttercups " 7648

Richard Anthony Proctor 7652

Garden of the Tuileries, Paris 7674

Central Park, Xew York 7688

Dinah Maria Mulock 7735

Louise de la Ram6e (Ouida) 7765

Birthplace of John G. Whittier 7775

Christ before Pilate 7797






(From the " Essays of Elia.")

[ Charles Lamb : An English essayist ; born in London, February 10, 1775 ;
died at Edmonton, December, 1834. He was a fellow-pupil with Coleridge at the
school of Christ's Hospital; in 1789 obtained a clerkship in the South Sea House ;
from 1792 to 1825 was an accountant in the East India Company, then retiring
on a pension. His "Tales from Shakespeare" and " Poetry for Children,"
with his sister Mary Lamb, are permanently popular ; but his fame rests on a
series of essays contributed to the London Magazine, appearing in collected
form as the "Essays of Elia" (1823) and "Last Essays of Elia" (1833), and
on his delightful letters.]

The custom of saying grace at meals had, probably, its
origin in the early times of the world, and the hunter state of
man, when dinners were precarious things, and a full meal was
something more than a common blessing. When a bellyful was
a windfall, and looked like a special providence. In the shouts
and triumphal songs with which, after a season of sharp absti-
nence, a lucky booty of deer's or goat's flesh would naturally be
ushered home, existed, perhaps, the germ of the modern grace.
It is not otherwise easy to be understood why the blessing of
food — the act of eating should have had a particular expression
of thanksgiving annexed to it, distinct from that implied and
silent gratitude with which we are expected to enter upon the
enjoyment of the many other various gifts and good things of

I own that I am disposed to say grace upon twenty other
occasions in the course of the day besides my dinner. I want
a form for setting out upon a pleasant walk, for a moonlight
ramble, for a friendly meeting, or a solved problem. Why



have we none for books, those spiritual repasts ; a grace before
Milton, a grace before Shakespeare, a devotional exercise proper
to be said before reading the " Faerie Queene " ? But the received
ritual having prescribed these forms to the solitary ceremony
of manducation, I shall confine my observations to the experience
which I have had of the grace, properly so called ; commending
my new scheme for extension to a niche in the grand philosophi-
cal, poetical, and perchance in part heretical, liturgy, now com-
piling by my friend Homo Humanus, for the use of a certain
snug congregation of Utopian Rabelaesian Christians, no matter
where assembled.

The form, then, of the benediction before eating has its
beauty at a poor man's table, or at the simple and unprovoca-
tive repast of children. It is here that the grace becomes ex-
ceeding graceful. The indigent man, who hardly knows whether
he shall have a meal the next day or not, sits down to his fare
with a present sense of the blessing, which can be but feebly
acted by the rich, into whose minds the conception of wanting
a dinner could never, but by some extreme theory, have entered.
The proper end of food — the animal sustenance — is barely
contemplated by them. The poor man's bread is his daily
bread, literally his bread for the day. Their courses are

Again, the plainest diet seems the fittest to be preceded
by the grace. That which is least stimulative to appetite,
leaves the mind most free for foreign considerations. A man
may feel thankful, heartily thankful, over a dish of plain mut-
ton with turnips, and have leisure to reflect upon the ordi-
nance and institution of eating ; when he shall confess a
perturbation of mind, inconsistent with the purposes of the
grace, at the presence of venison or turtle. When I have
sat (a varus hospes) at rich men's tables, with the savory
soup and messes steaming up the nostrils, and moistening the
lips of the guests with desire and a distracted choice, I have
felt the introduction of that ceremony to be unseasonable.
With the ravenous orgasm upon you, it seems impertinent to
interpose a religious sentiment. It is a confusion of purpose
to mutter out praises from a mouth that waters. The heats
of epicurism put out the gentle flame of devotion. The in-
cense which rises round is pagan, and the belly god intercepts
it for its own. The very excess of the provision beyond the
needs, takes away all sense of proportion between the end


and means. The giver is veiled by his gifts. You are startled
at the injustice of returning thanks — for what? — for having
too much while so many starve. It is to praise the gods amiss.

I have observed this awkwardness felt, scarce consciously
perhaps, by the good man who says the grace. I have seen
it in clergymen and others — a sort of shame — a sense of the
co-presence of circumstances which unhallow the blessing.
After a devotional tone put on for a few seconds, how rapidly
the speaker will fall into his common voice, helping himself
or his neighbor, as if to get rid of some uneasy sensation of
hypocrisy ! Not that the good man was a hypocrite, or was
not most conscientious in the discharge of the duty ; but he
felt in his inmost mind the incompatibility of the scene and
the viands before him with the exercise of a calm and rational

I hear somebody exclaim, Would you have Christians sit
down at table like hogs to their troughs, without remembering
the Giver ? No, I would have them sit down as Christians,
remembering the Giver, and less like hogs. Or, if their ap-
petites must run riot, and they must pamper themselves with
delicacies for which east and west are ransacked, I would
have them postpone their benediction to a fitter season, when
appetite is laid ; when the still small voice can be heard, and
the reason of the grace returns — with temperate diet and
restricted dishes. Gluttony and surfeiting are no proper
occasions for thanksgiving. When Jeshurun waxed fat, we
read that he kicked. Virgil knew the harpy nature better,
when he put into the mouth of Celaeno anything but a bless-
ing. We may be gratefully sensible of the deliciousness of
some kinds of food beyond others, though that is a meaner
and inferior gratitude ; but the proper object of the grace is
sustenance, not relishes ; daily bread, not delicacies ; the means
of life, and not the means of pampering the carcass. With
what frame or composure, I wonder, can a city chaplain pro-
nounce his benediction at some great hall feast, when he knows
that his last concluding pious word — and that in all probabil-
ity the sacred name which he preaches — is but the signal for
so many impatient harpies to commence their foul orgies, with
as little sense of true thankfulness (which is temperance) as
those Virgilian fowl ! It is well if the good man himself does
not feel his devotions a little clouded, those foggy sensuous
steams mingling with and polluting the pure altar sacrifice.


The severest satire upon full tables and surfeits is the ban-
quet which Satan, in the " Paradise Regained," provides for
a temptation in the wilderness : —

A table richly spread in regal mode
With dishes piled, and meats of noblest sort
And savor ; beasts of chase, or fowl of game,
In pastry built, or from the spit, or boiled,
Gris-amber-steamed ; all fish from sea or shore,
Freshet or purling brook, for which was drained
Pontus and Lucrine bay, and Afric coast.

The Tempter, I warrant you, thought these cates would go
down without the recommendatory preface of a benediction.
They are like to be short graces where the devil pla} r s the host.
I am afraid the poet wants his usual decorum in this place.
Was he thinking of the old Roman luxury, or of a gaudy day
at Cambridge? This was a temptation fitter for a Heliogaba-
lus. The whole banquet is too civic and culinary, and the
accompaniments altogether a profanation of that deep, ab-
stracted, holy scene. The mighty artillery of sauces, which
the cook fiend conjures up, is out of proportion to the simple
wants and plain hunger of the guest. He that disturbed him
in his dreams, from his dreams might have been taught better.
To the temperate fantasies of the famished Son of God, what
sort of feasts presented themselves ? He dreamed indeed,

•As appetite is wont to dream,

Of meats and drinks, nature's refreshment sweet.

But what meats ? —

Him thought he by the brook of Cherith stood,
And saw the ravens with their horny beaks
Food to Elijah bringing even and morn ;
Though ravenous, taught to abstain from what they

He saw the prophet also how he fled
Into the desert, and how there he slept
Under a juniper ; then how awaked
He found his supper on the coals prepared,
And by the angel was bid rise and eat,
And ate the second time after repose,
The strength whereof sufficed him forty days :
Sometimes, that with Elijah he partook,
Or as a guest with Daniel at his pulse.


Nothing in Milton is finelier fancied than these temperate dreams
of the Divine Hungerer. To which of these two visionary ban-
quets, think you, would the introduction of what is called the
grace have been the most fitting and pertinent ?

Theoretically I am no enemy to graces ; but practically I
own that (before meat especially) they seem to involve some-
thing awkward and unseasonable. Our appetites, of one or
another kind, are excellent spurs to our reason, which might
otherwise but feebly set about the great ends of preserving and
continuing the species. They are fit blessings to be contem-
plated at a distance with a becoming gratitude ; but the moment
of appetite (the judicious reader will apprehend me) is, perhaps,
the least fit season for that exercise. The Quakers, who go
about their business of every description with more calmness
than we, have more title to the use of these benedictory prefaces.
I have always admired their silent grace, and the more because
I have observed their applications to the meat and drink follow-
ing to be less passionate and sensual than ours. They are
neither gluttons nor winebibbers as a people. The} 7 eat, as a
horse bolts his chopped hay, with indifference, calmness, and
cleanly circumstances. They neither grease nor slop them-
selves. When I see a citizen in his bib and tucker, I cannot
imagine it a surplice.

I am no Quaker at my food. I confess I am not indifferent
to the kinds of it. Those unctuous morsels of deer's flesh were
not made to be received with dispassionate services. I hate a
man who swallows it, affecting not to know what he is eating.
I suspect his taste in higher matters. I shrink instinctively
from one who professes to like minced veal. There is a physi-
ognomical character in the taste for food. C holds that a

man cannot have a pure mind who refuses apple dumplings. I
am not certain but he is right. With the decay of my first
innocence, I confess a less and less relish daily for those innocu-
ous cates. The whole vegetable tribe have lost their gust with
me. Only I stick to asparagus, which still seems to inspire
gentle thoughts. I am impatient and querulous under culinary
disappointments, as to come home at the dinner hour, for
instance, expecting some savory mess, and to find one quite
tasteless and sapidless. Butter ill melted, that commonest of
kitchen failures, puts me beside my tenor. The author of the
Rambler used to make inarticulate animal noises over a favor-
ite food. Was this the music quite proper to be preceded by


the grace ; or would the pious man have done better to post-
pone his devotions to a season when the blessing might be con-
templated with less perturbation ? I quarrel with no man's
tastes, nor would set my thin face against those excellent things,
in their way, jollity and feasting. But as these exercises, how-
ever laudable, have little in them of grace or gracefulness, a
man should be sure, before he ventures so to grace them, that
while he is pretending his devotions otherwhere, he is not
secretly kissing his hand to some great fish — his Dagon — with
a special consecration of no art but the fat tureen before him.
Graces are the sweet preluding strains to the banquets of angels
and children ; to the roots and severer repasts of the Char-
treuse ; to the slender, but not slenderly acknowledged, refection
of the poor and humble man : but at the heaped-up boards of
the pampered and the luxurious they become of dissonant mood,
less timed and tuned to the occasion, methinks, than the noise
of those better befitting organs would be Avhich children hear
tales of, at Hog's Norton. We sit too long at our meals, or are
too curious in the study of them, or too disordered in our appli-
cation to them, or engross too great a portion of those good
things (which should be common) to our share, to be able with
any grace to say grace. To be thankful for what we grasp ex-
ceeding our proportion, is to add hypocrisy to injustice. A
lurking sense of this truth is what makes the performance of
this duty so cold and spiritless a service at most tables. In
houses where the grace is as indispensable as the napkin, who
has not seen that never-settled question arise as to who shall say
it f while the good man of the house and the visitor clergyman,
or some other guest belike of next authority, from years or
gravity, shall be bandying about the office between them as a
matter of compliment, each of them not unwilling to shift the
awkward burden of an equivocal duty from his own shoul-
ders ?

I once drank tea in company with two Methodist divines of
different persuasions, whom it was my fortune to introduce to
each other, for the first time that evening. Before the first cup
was handed round, one of these reverend gentlemen put it to
the other, with all due solemnity, whether he choose to say any-
thing. It seems it is the custom with some sectaries to put
up a short prayer before this meal also. His reverend brother
did not at first quite apprehend him, but upon an explanation,
with little less importance he made answer that it was not a


custom known in bis church : in which courteous evasion the
other acquiescing for good manners' sake, or in compliance with
a weak brother, the supplementary or tea grace was waived
altogether. With what spirit might not Lucian have painted
two priests, of his religion, playing into each other's hands the
compliment of performing or omitting a sacrifice, the hungry
God meantime, doubtful of his incense, with expectant nostrils
hovering over the two flamens, and (as between two stools)
going away in the end without his supper.

A short form upon these occasions is felt to want reverence ;
a long one, I am afraid, cannot escape the charge of imperti-
nence. I do not quite approve of the epigrammatic concise-
ness with which that equivocal wag (but my pleasant school-
fellow) C. V. L., when importuned for a grace, used to inquire,
first slyly leering down the table, " Is there no clergyman

here?" significantly adding, "Thank G ." Nor do I think

our old form at school quite pertinent, where we were used to
preface our bald bread-and-cheese suppers with a preamble,
connecting with that humble blessing a recognition of benefits
the most awful and overwhelming to the imagination which
religion has to offer. Nbn tunc illis erat locus. I remember
we were put to it to reconcile the phrase " good creatures,"
upon which the blessing rested, with the fare set before us,
willfully understanding that expression in a low and animal
sense, till some one recalled a legend, which told how, in the
golden days of Christ's, the young Hospitalers were wont to
have smoking joints of roast meat upon their nightly boards,
till some pious benefactor, commiserating the decencies, rather
than the palates, of the children, commuted our flesh for gar-
ments, and gave us — horresco ref evens — trousers instead of



[Baroness Carolina Oliphant Nairne, song writer, was born in Perthshire,
Scotland, August 16, 1766, and died there October 27, 1845. Her life was spent
in Scotland, Ireland, and on the Continent. Her eighty-seven songs were writ-
ten for The Scottish Minstrel (1821-1824), under the pen name B. B. or Mrs.
Bogan of Bogan, and were posthumously published as " Lays from Strath-


earn. 1 ' Many of them are exquisite in form and sentiment, the more familiar
being "Land o' the Leal," "Caller Herriny " The Laird o' Cockpen," and
"The Auld House."]

'Twas on a simmer's afternoon,
A wee afore the sun gaed doun,
A lassie wi' a braw new goun

Cam' owre the hills to Gowrie.
The rosebud washed in simmer's shower,
Bloomed fresh within the sunny bower;
But Kitty was the fairest flower

That e'er was seen in Gowrie.

To see her cousin she cam' there,
An' oh! the scene was passing fair;
For what in Scotland can compare

Wi' the Carse o' Gowrie ?
The sun was setting on the Tay,
The blue hills melting into gray,
The mavis and the blackbird's lay

Were sweetly heard in Gowrie.

lang the lassie I had wooed,

An' truth and constancy had vowed,
But couldna speed wi' her I lo'ed,
Until she saw fair Gowrie.

1 pointed to my faither's ha',
Yon bonnie bield ayont the shaw,

Sae loun' that there nae blast could blaw,
Wad she no bide in Gowrie ?

Her faither was baith glad and wae;
Her mither she wad naething say;
The bairnies thocht they wad get play,

If Kitty gaed to Gowrie.
She whiles did smile, she whiles did greet,,
The blush and tear were on her cheek —
She naething said, an' hung her head;

But now she's Leddy Gowrie.




I 'vtish I kenned my Maggie's mind,

If she's for me or Tammy;
To me she is but passing kind,

She's caulder still to Tammy.
And yet she lo'es me no that ill,

If I believe her granny;
sure she must be wond'rous nice,

If she'll no hae me or Tammy.

I've spiered her ance, I've spiered her twice,

And still she says she canna;
I'll try her again, and that mak's thrice,

And thrice, they say, is canny.
"Wi' him she'll hae a chaise and pair,

Wi' me she'll hae shanks naggie;
He's auld and black, I'm young and fair,

She'll surely ne'er tak' Tammy.

But if she's a fule, and slightlies me,

I'se e'en draw up wi' Nancy;
There's as gude fish into the sea

As e'er cam' out, I fancy.
And though I say't that shou'dna say't,

I'm owre gude a match for Maggie;
Sae mak' up your mind without delay,

Are you for me, or Tammy ?



(Translated by Sir George Dasent, D.C.L.)

[Peter Christen Asbjorxsen, born at Christiania, Norway, January 15,
1812 ; died January 6, 1885. He studied at tbe university in his native place,
paying especial attention to zoology and botany, and later gave much attention
to the study of folklore. He taught and traveled ; was head forester in a district
in the north of Norway, and was subsequently sent by the government to investi-
gate the turf industry in other countries. Meanwhile he wrote voluminously
on the subjects of natural history and folklore, winning his reputation chiefly


through the latter. His greatest works are : " Norske Folke-eventyr " (Norwe-
gian Folk Tales), in collaboration with Moe, 1842-1844 ; and "Norske Huldre-
eventyr og Folkesagn " (Norwegian Fairy Tales and Folk Legends), 1845.]

Friends in Life and Death.

Once on a time there were two young men who were such
great friends that they swore to one another they would never
part, either in life or death. One of them died before he was
at all old, and a little while after the other wooed a farmer's
daughter, and was to be married to her. So when they were

Online LibraryAndrew LangThe International library of famous literature : selections from the world's great writers, ancient, mediaeval, and modern, with biographical and explanatory notes and with introductions (Volume SIXTEEN (16)) → online text (page 1 of 46)