Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

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Hyperion

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

1882





CONTENTS.





BOOK I.


Epigraph

CHAPTER I. THE HERO.

CHAPTER II. THE CHRIST OF ANDERNACH.

CHAPTER III. HOMUNCULUS.

CHAPTER IV. THE LANDLADY'S DAUGHTER.

CHAPTER V. JEAN PAUL, THE ONLY-ONE.

CHAPTER VI. HEIDELBERG AND THE BARON.

CHAPTER VII. LIVES OF SCHOLARS.

CHAPTER VIII. LITERARY FAME.


BOOK II.


Epigraph

CHAPTER I. SPRING.

CHAPTER II. A COLLOQUY.

CHAPTER III. OWL-TOWERS.

CHAPTER IV. A BEER-SCANDAL.

CHAPTER V. THE WHITE LADY'S SLIPPER AND THE PASSION-FLOWER.

CHAPTER VI. GLIMPSES INTO CLOUD-LAND.

CHAPTER VII. MILL-WHEELS AND OTHER WHEELS.

CHAPTER VIII. OLD HUMBUG.

CHAPTER IX. THE DAYLIGHT OF THE DWARFS, AND THE FALLING STAR.

CHAPTER X. THE PARTING.


BOOK III.


Epigraph

CHAPTER I. SUMMER-TIME.

CHAPTER II. FOOT-TRAVELLING.

CHAPTER III. INTERLACHEN.

CHAPTER IV. THE EVENING AND THE MORNING STAR.

CHAPTER V. A RAINY DAY.

CHAPTER VI. AFTER DINNER, AND AFTER THE MANNER OF THE BEST CRITICS.

CHAPTER VII. TAKE CARE!

CHAPTER VIII. THE FOUNTAIN OF OBLIVION.

CHAPTER IX. A TALK ON THE STAIRS.


BOOK IV.


Epigraph

CHAPTER I. A MISERERE.

CHAPTER II. CURFEW BELLS.

CHAPTER III. SHADOWS ON THE WALL.

CHAPTER IV. MUSICAL SUFFERINGS OF JOHN KREISLER.

CHAPTER V. SAINT GILGEN.

CHAPTER VI. SAINT WOLFGANG.

CHAPTER VII. THE STORY OF BROTHER BERNARDUS.

CHAPTER VIII. FOOT-PRINTS OF ANGELS.

CHAPTER IX. THE LAST PANG.





BOOK I.




Epigraph

"Who ne'er his bread in sorrow ate,

Who ne'er the mournful, midnight hours

Weeping upon his bed has sate,

He knows you not, ye Heavenly Powers."




CHAPTER I. THE HERO.



In John Lyly's Endymion, Sir Topas is made to say; "Dost thou
know what a Poet is? Why, fool, a Poet is as much as one should
say, - a Poet!" And thou, reader, dost thou know what a hero is? Why,
a hero is as much as one should say, - a hero! Some romance-writers,
however, say much more than this. Nay, the old Lombard, Matteo Maria
Bojardo, set all the church-bells in Scandiano ringing, merely
because he had found a name for one of his heroes. Here, also, shall
church-bells be rung, but more solemnly.

The setting of a great hope is like the setting of the sun. The
brightness of our life is gone. Shadows of evening fall around us,
and the world seems but a dim reflection, - itself a broader shadow.
We look forward into the coming, lonely night. The soul withdraws
into itself. Then stars arise, and the night is holy.

Paul Flemming had experienced this, though still young. The
friend of his youth was dead. The bough had broken "under the burden
of the unripe fruit." And when, after a season, he looked up again
from the blindness of his sorrow, all things seemed unreal. Like the
man, whose sight had been restored by miracle, he beheld men, as
trees, walking. His household gods were broken. He had no home. His
sympathies cried aloud from his desolate soul, and there came no
answer from the busy, turbulent world around him. He did not
willingly give way to grief. He struggled to be cheerful, - to be
strong. But he could no longer look into the familiar faces of his
friends. He could no longer live alone, where he had lived with her.
He went abroad, that the sea might be between him and the grave.
Alas! betweenhim and his sorrow there could be no sea, but that of
time.

He had already passed many months in lonely wandering, and was
now pursuing his way along the Rhine, to the south of Germany. He
had journeyed the same way before, in brighter days and a brighter
season of the year, in the May of life and in the month of May. He
knew the beauteous river all by heart; - every rock and ruin, every
echo, every legend. The ancient castles, grim and hoar, that had
taken root as it were on the cliffs, - they were all his; for his
thoughts dwelt in them, and the wind told him tales.

He had passed a sleepless night at Rolandseck, and had risen
before daybreak. He opened the window of the balcony to hear the
rushing of the Rhine. It was a damp December morning; and clouds
were passing over the sky, - thin, vapory clouds, whose snow-white
skirts were "often spotted with golden tears, which men call stars."
The day dawned slowly; and, in the mingling of daylightand
starlight, the island and cloister of Nonnenwerth made together but
one broad, dark shadow on the silver breast of the river. Beyond,
rose the summits of the Siebengebirg. Solemn and dark, like a monk,
stood the Drachenfels, in his hood of mist, and rearward extended
the Curtain of Mountains, back to the Wolkenburg, - the Castle of the
Clouds.

But Flemming thought not of the scene before him. Sorrow
unspeakable was upon his spirit in that lonely hour; and, hiding his
face in his hands, he exclaimed aloud;

"Spirit of the past! look not so mournfully at me with thy great,
tearful eyes! Touch me not with thy cold hand! Breathe not upon me
with the icy breath of the grave! Chant no more that dirge of
sorrow, through the long and silent watches of the night!"

Mournful voices from afar seemed to answer, "Treuenfels!" and he
remembered how others had suffered, and his heart grew still.

Slowly the landscape brightened. Down therushing stream came a
boat, with its white wings spread, and darted like a swallow through
the narrow pass of God's-Help. The boatmen were singing, but not the
song of Roland the Brave, which was heard of old by the weeping
Hildegund, as she sat within the walls of that cloister, which now
looked forth in the pale morning from amid the leafless linden
trees. The dim traditions of those gray old times rose in the
traveller's memory; for the ruined tower of Rolandseck was still
looking down upon the Kloster Nonnenwerth, as if the sound of the
funeral bell had changed the faithful Paladin to stone, and he were
watching still to see the form of his beloved one come forth, not
from her cloister, but from her grave. Thus the brazen clasps of the
book of legends were opened, and, on the page illuminated by the
misty rays of the rising sun, he read again the tales of Liba, and
the mournful bride of Argenfels, and Siegfried, the mighty slayer of
the dragon. Meanwhile the mists had risen from the Rhine, and the
whole air was filled with golden vapor, through which hebeheld the
sun, hanging in heaven like a drop of blood. Even thus shone the sun
within him, amid the wintry vapors, uprising from the valley of the
shadow of death, through which flowed the stream of his
life, - sighing, sighing!




CHAPTER II. THE CHRIST OF ANDERNACH.



Paul Flemming resumed his solitary journey. The morning was still
misty, but not cold. Across the Rhine the sun came wading through
the reddish vapors; and soft and silver-white outspread the broad
river, without a ripple upon its surface, or visible motion of the
ever-moving current. A little vessel, with one loose sail, was
riding at anchor, keel to keel with another, that lay right under
it, its own apparition, - and all was silent, and calm, and
beautiful.

The road was for the most part solitary; for there are few
travellers upon the Rhine in winter. Peasant women were at work in
the vineyards; climbing up the slippery hill-sides, like beasts of
burden, with large baskets of manureupon their backs. And once
during the morning, a band of apprentices, with knapsacks, passed
by, singing, "The Rhine! The Rhine! a blessing on the Rhine!"

O, the pride of the German heart in this noble river! And right
it is; for, of all the rivers of this beautiful earth, there is none
so beautiful as this. There is hardly a league of its whole course,
from its cradle in the snowy Alps to its grave in the sands of
Holland, which boasts not its peculiar charms. By heavens! If I were
a German I would be proud of it too; and of the clustering grapes,
that hang about its temples, as it reels onward through vineyards,
in a triumphal march, like Bacchus, crowned and drunken.

But I will not attempt to describe the Rhine; it would make this
chapter much too long. And to do it well, one should write like a
god; and his style flow onward royally with breaks and dashes, like
the waters of that royal river, and antique, quaint, and Gothic
times, be reflected in it. Alas! this evening my style flows not at
all. Flow, then, into this smoke-colored goblet, thou blood of the
Rhine! out of thy prison-house, - out of thy long-necked, tapering
flask, in shape not unlike a church-spire among thy native hills;
and, from the crystal belfry, loud ring the merry tinkling bells,
while I drink a health to my hero, in whose heart is sadness, and in
whose ears the bells of Andernach are ringing noon.

He is threading his way alone through a narrow alley, and now up
a flight of stone steps, and along the city wall, towards that old
round tower, built by the Archbishop Frederick of Cologne in the
twelfth century. It has a romantic interest in his eyes; for he has
still in his mind and heart that beautiful sketch of Carové, in
which is described a day on the tower of Andernach. He finds the old
keeper and his wife still there; and the old keeper closes the door
behind him slowly, as of old, lest he should jam too hard the poor
souls in Purgatory, whose fate it is to suffer in the cracks of
doors and hinges. But alas! alas! the daughter, the maiden with
long, dark eyelashes! she is asleep in her little grave, under the
linden trees of Feldkirche, with rosemary in her folded hands!

Flemming returned to the hotel disappointed. As he passed along
the narrow streets, he was dreaming of many things; but mostly of
the keeper's daughter, asleep in the churchyard of Feldkirche.
Suddenly, on turning the corner of an ancient, gloomy church, his
attention was arrested by a little chapel in an angle of the wall.
It was only a small thatched roof, like a bird's nest; under which
stood a rude wooden image of the Saviour on the Cross. A real crown
of thorns was upon his head, which was bowed downward, as if in the
death agony; and drops of blood were falling down his cheeks, and
from his hands and feet and side. The face was haggard and ghastly
beyond all expression; and wore a look of unutterable bodily
anguish. The rude sculptor had given it this, but his art could go
no farther. The sublimity of death in a dying Saviour, the expiring
God-likeness of Jesus of Nazareth was not there. The artist had
caught no heavenly inspiration from his theme. All was coarse,
harsh, and revolting to a sensitive mind; and Flemming turned away
with a shudder, as he saw this fearful image gazing at him, with its
fixed and half-shut eyes.

He soon reached the hotel, but that face of agony still haunted
him. He could not refrain from speaking of it to a very old woman,
who sat knitting by the window of the dining-room, in a high-backed,
old-fashioned arm-chair. I believe she was the innkeeper's
grandmother. At all events she was old enough to be so. She took off
her owl-eyed spectacles, and, as she wiped the glasses with her
handkerchief, said;

"Thou dear Heaven! Is it possible! Did you never hear of the
Christ of Andernach?"

Flemming answered in the negative.

"Thou dear Heaven!" continued the old woman. "It is a very
wonderful story; and a true one, as every good Christian in
Andernach will tell you. And it all happened before the deathof my
blessed man, four years ago, let me see, - yes, four years ago, come
Christmas."

Here the old woman stopped speaking, but went on with her
knitting. Other thoughts seemed to occupy her mind. She was
thinking, no doubt, of her blessed man, as German widows call their
dead husbands. But Flemming having expressed an ardent wish to hear
the wonderful story, she told it, in nearly the following words.

"There was once a poor old woman in Andernach whose name was Frau
Martha, and she lived all alone in a house by herself, and loved all
the Saints and the blessed Virgin, and was as good as an angel, and
sold pies down by the Rheinkrahn. But her house was very old, and
the roof-tiles were broken, and she was too poor to get new ones,
and the rain kept coming in, and no Christian soul in Andernach
would help her. But the Frau Martha was a good woman, and never did
anybody any harm, but went to mass every morning, and sold pies by
the Rheinkrahn. Now one dark, windy night, when all the good
Christians in Andernachwere abed and asleep in the feathers, Frau
Martha, who slept under the roof, heard a great noise over her head,
and in her chamber, drip! drip! drip! as if the rain were dropping
down through the broken tiles. Dear soul! and sure enough it was.
And then there was a pounding and hammering overhead, as if somebody
were at work on the roof; and she thought it was Pelz-Nickel tearing
the tiles off, because she had not been to confession often enough.
So she began to pray; and the faster she said her Pater-noster and
her Ave-Maria, the faster Pelz-Nickel pounded and pulled; and drip!
drip! drip! it went all round her in the dark chamber, till the poor
woman was frightened out of her wits, and ran to the window to call
for help. Then in a moment all was still, - death-still. But she saw
a light streaming through the mist and rain, and a great shadow on
the house opposite. And then somebody came down from the top of her
house by a ladder, and had a lantern in his hand; and he took the
ladder on his shoulder and went down thestreet. But she could not
see clearly, because the window was streaked with rain. And in the
morning the old broken tiles were found scattered about the street,
and there were new ones on the roof, and the old house has never
leaked to this blessed day.

"As soon as mass was over Frau Martha told the priest what had
happened, and he said it was not Pelz-Nickel, but, without doubt,
St. Castor or St. Florian. Then she went to the market and told Frau
Bridget all about it; and Frau Bridget said, that, two nights
before, Hans Claus, the cooper, had heard a great pounding in his
shop, and in the morning found new hoops on all his old hogsheads;
and that a man with a lantern and a ladder had been seen riding out
of town at midnight on a donkey, and that the same night the old
windmill, at Kloster St. Thomas, had been mended up, and the old
gate of the churchyard at Feldkirche made as good as new, though
nobody knew how the man got across the river. Then Frau Martha went
down to the Rheinkrahn and told all thesestories over again; and the
old ferryman of Fahr said he could tell something about it; for, the
very night that the churchyard-gate was mended, he was lying awake
in his bed, because he could not sleep, and he heard a loud knocking
at the door, and somebody calling to him to get up and set him over
the river. And when he got up, he saw a man down by the river with a
lantern and a ladder; but as he was going down to him, the man blew
out the light, and it was so dark he could not see who he was; and
his boat was old and leaky, and he was afraid to set him over in the
dark; but the man said he must be in Andernach that night; and so he
set him over. And after they had crossed the river, he watched the
man, till he came to an image of the Holy Virgin, and saw him put
the ladder against the wall, and go up and light his lamp, and then
walk along the street. And in the morning he found his old boat all
caulked, and tight, and painted red, and he could not for his
blessed life tell who did it, unless it werethe man with the
lantern. Dear soul! how strange it was!

"And so it went on for some time; and, whenever the man with the
lantern had been seen walking through the street at night, so sure
as the morning came, some work had been done for the sake of some
good soul; and everybody knew he did it; and yet nobody could find
out who he was, nor where he lived; - for, whenever they came near
him, he blew out his light, and turned down another street, and, if
they followed him, he suddenly disappeared, nobody could tell how.
And some said it was Rübezahl; and some, Pelz-Nickel; and some, St.
Anthony-on-the-Health.

"Now one stormy night a poor, sinful creature was wandering about
the streets, with her babe in her arms, and she was hungry, and
cold, and no soul in Andernach would take her in. And when she came
to the church, where the great crucifix stands, she saw no light in
the little chapel at the corner; but she sat down on a stone at the
foot of the cross and began to pray, and prayed, till she fell
asleep, with her poor little babe on her bosom. But she did not
sleep long; for a bright light shone full in her face; and, when she
opened her eyes, she saw a pale man, with a lantern, standing right
before her. He was almost naked; and there was blood upon his hands
and body, and great tears in his beautiful eyes, and his face was
like the face of the Saviour on the cross. Not a single word did he
say to the poor woman; but looked at her compassionately, and gave
her a loaf of bread, and took the little babe in his arms, and
kissed it. Then the mother looked up to the great crucifix, but
there was no image there; and she shrieked and fell down as if she
were dead. And there she was found with her child; and a few days
after they both died, and were buried together in one grave. And
nobody would have believed her story, if a woman, who lived at the
corner, had not gone to the window, when she heard the scream, and
seen the figure hang the lantern up in its place, and then set the
ladder against the wall, and go up and nailitself to the cross.
Since that night it has never moved again. Ach! Herr Je!"

Such was the legend of the Christ of Andernach, as the old woman
in spectacles told it to Flemming. It made a painful impression on
his sick and morbid soul; and he felt now for the first time in full
force, how great is the power of popular superstition.

The post-chaise was now at the door, and Flemming was soon on the
road to Coblentz, a city which stands upon the Rhine, at the mouth
of the Mosel, opposite Ehrenbreitstein. It is by no means a long
drive from Andernach to Coblentz; and the only incident which
occurred to enliven the way was the appearance of a fat, red-faced
man on horseback, trotting slowly towards Andernach. As they met,
the mad little postilion gave him a friendly cut with his whip, and
broke out into an exclamation, which showed he was from Münster;

"Jesmariosp! my friend! How is the Man in the Custom-House?"

Now to any candid mind this would seem a fair question enough;
but not so thought the red-faced man on horseback; for he waxed
exceedingly angry, and replied, as the chaise whirled by;

"The devil take you, and your Westphalian ham, and
pumpernickel!"

Flemming called to his servant, and the servant to the postilion,
for an explanation of this short dialogue; and the explanation was,
that on the belfry of the Kaufhaus in Coblentz, is a huge head, with
a brazen helmet and a beard; and whenever the clock strikes, at each
stroke of the hammer, this giant's head opens its great jaws and
smites its teeth together, as if, like the brazen head of Friar
Bacon, it would say; "Time was; Time is; Time is past." This figure
is known through all the country round about, as "The Man in the
Custom-House"; and, when a friend in the country meets a friend from
Coblentz, instead of saying, "How are all the good people in
Coblentz?" - he says, "How is the Man in the Custom-House?" Thus the
giant has a great partto play in the town; and thus ended the first
day of Flemming's Rhine-journey; and the only good deed he had done
was to give an alms to a poor beggar woman, who lifted up her
trembling hands and exclaimed;

"Thou blessed babe!"




CHAPTER III. HOMUNCULUS.



After all, a journey up the Rhine, in the mists and solitude of
December, is not so unpleasant as the reader may perhaps imagine.
You have the whole road and river to yourself. Nobody is on the
wing; hardly a single traveller. The ruins are the same; and the
river, and the outlines of the hills; and there are few living
figures in the landscape to wake you from your musings, distract
your thoughts, and cover you with dust.

Thus, likewise, thought our traveller, as he continued his
journey on the morrow. The day is overcast, and the clouds threaten
rain or snow. Why does he stop at the little village of Capellen?
Because, right above him on the high cliff, the glorious ruin of
Stolzenfels is looking at him with itshollow eyes, and beckoning to
him with its gigantic finger, as if to say; "Come up hither, and I
will tell thee an old tale." Therefore he alights, and goes up the
narrow village lane, and up the stone steps, and up the steep
pathway, and throws himself into the arms of that ancient ruin, and
holds his breath, to hear the quick footsteps of the falling snow,
like the footsteps of angels descending upon earth. And that ancient
ruin speaks to him with its hollow voice, and says;

"Beware of dreams! Beware of the illusions of fancy! Beware of
the solemn deceivings of thy vast desires! Beneath me flows the
Rhine, and, like the stream of Time, it flows amid the ruins of the
Past. I see myself therein, and I know that I am old. Thou, too,
shalt be old. Be wise in season. Like the stream of thy life, runs
the stream beneath us. Down from the distant Alps, - out into the
wide world, it bursts away, like a youth from the house of his
fathers. Broad-breasted and strong, and with earnest endeavours,
like manhood, it makes itself a way through these difficultmountain
passes. And at length, in its old age, its stops, and its steps are
weary and slow, and it sinks into the sand, and, through its grave,
passes into the great ocean, which is its eternity. Thus shall it be
with thee.

"In ancient times there dwelt within these halls a follower of
Jesus of Jerusalem, - an Archbishop in the church of Christ. He gave
himself up to dreams; to the illusions of fancy; to the vast desires
of the human soul. He sought after the impossible. He sought after
the Elixir of Life, - the Philosopher's Stone. The wealth, that
should have fed the poor, was melted in his crucibles. Within these
walls the Eagle of the clouds sucked the blood of the Red Lion, and
received the spiritual Love of the Green Dragon, but alas! was
childless. In solitude and utter silence did the disciple of the
Hermetic Philosophy toil from day to day, from night to night. From
the place where thou standest, he gazed at evening upon hills, and
vales, and waters spread beneath him; and saw how the setting sun
had changed them allto gold, by an alchymy more cunning than his
own. He saw the world beneath his feet; and said in his heart, that
he alone was wise. Alas! he read more willingly in the book of
Paracelsus, than in the book of Nature; and, believing that `where
reason hath experience, faith hath no mind,' would fain have made
unto himself a child, not as Nature teaches us, but as the
Philosopher taught, - a poor homunculus, in a glass bottle. And he
died poor and childless!"

Whether it were worth while to climb the Stolzenfels to hear such
a homily as this, some persons may perhaps doubt. But Paul Flemming
doubted not. He laid the lesson to heart; and it would have saved
him many an hour of sorrow, if he had learned that lesson better,
and remembered it longer.

In ancient times, there stood in the citadel of Athens three
statues of Minerva. The first was of olive wood, and, according to
popular tradition, had fallen from heaven. The second was of bronze,
commemorating the victory of Marathon; and the third of gold and
ivory, - a great miracle of art, in the age of Pericles. And thus in
the citadel of Time stands Man himself. In childhood, shaped of soft
and delicate wood, just fallen from heaven; in manhood, a statue of
bronze, commemorating struggle and victory; and lastly, in the
maturity of age, perfectly shaped in gold and ivory, - a miracle of
art!

Flemming had already lived through the oliveage. He was passing
into the age of bronze, into his early manhood; and in his hands the
flowers of Paradise were changing to the sword and shield.

And this reminds me, that I have not yet described my hero. I
will do it now, as he stands looking down on the glorious
landscape; - but in few words. Both in person and character he
resembled Harold, the Fair-Hair of Norway, who is described, in the
old Icelandic Death-Song of Regner Hairy-Breeches, as "the young
chief so proud of his flowing locks; he who spent his mornings among
the young maidens; he who loved toconverse with the handsome


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